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December 12, 2004

Hargrave's Sweet 16 commitments

Off limits.

Sixteen recruits at Hargrave Military Academy's annual combine on Monday of last week fell into that category. Each one had already signed a letter-of-intent or verbally committed to a Division I-A school months ago.

At Hargrave those kinds of actions are taken seriously. The nation's top post-graduate program heavily encourages players to stay committed - one of the main reasons it attracts so many top ranked-recruits.

Still, many top assistants coaches came just to make sure that other coaches stayed away from their prized commitments. The group included Georgia quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo, N.C. State defensive backs coach Greg Williams, Maryland wide receivers coach James Franklin, Virginia offensive coordinator Ron Prince, and other assistant coaches from Virginia Tech.

Here's the latest news on each commit, including how they faired at the combine (the school they are committed to is listed in parenthesis after their names):

BRANDON ALBERT (Virginia)
He probably be making up one end of an NFL offensive line someday. Many coaches and recruiting analysts have talked about the pro potential of this 6-foot-7, 340-pound man-child from Edgewood, Md. Hargrave offensive coordinator Ryan Sulkowski can't stop talking about his gentle side. "Brandon is the best kid on the team," he said. "He will do anything you tell him to." He didn't compete in any of the individual tests.

ANDRE BROWN (N.C. State)
The muscular running back ran a combine-low 4.32 that caused some noise among the large crowd of coaches near the finish line. One coach just shrugged his shoulders, and said, "that's Andre Brown, he runs what ever he wants." The 6-foot-3, 215-pound recruit, who was ranked the No. 10 running back from the class of 2004, from Greenville, N.C., also ranks among the strongest players at Hargrave. He reportedly needs to raise his SAT score from a 910 to a 1010 to be eligible for next season.

JAMAR BRYANT (Georgia)
The future Bulldog turned in the fastest 40 time (4.41) of any receiver at the combine. Consider his 6-foot-2, 190-pound frame and it's easy to imagine this Rockingham, N.C., recruit, who Rivals.com ranked the No. 34 athlete from the class of 2004, developing into a playmaker in the SEC. He also has the respect of his peers. "Jamar Bryant is the toughest receiver to guard here," Hargrave cornerback Paul Crews said. "He is just so quick off the ball." Bryant may end up playing safety for UGA, and he is expected to enroll in classes there by the start of the spring semester.

DEMONTE BOLDEN (Tennessee)
Rivals.com's No. 1-ranked prep school prospect didn't disappoint. Any 6-foot-5, 300-pound defensive tackle that runs a 4.85 simply can't. But, that wasn't the number that was responsible for the big smile on the future Vol's face the entire combine. Earlier in the day, he found out he was academically eligible. Now, he is hoping to be in classes at UT in less than a month. "Demonte has so much potential," Sulkowski said. "If he keeps doing things the right way he is going to do very well in the SEC."

FRED FAIRCHILD (Arkansas)
Not a highly coveted recruit coming out of Little Rock (Ark.) Central High, this 6-foot-3, 205-pound defensive end/outside linebacker is proving that he should have been. The biggest proof came when he ran a 4.48 - a time lower than most defensive backs and receivers. With that type of speed, he may end up being a pass-rush specialist.

BRANDON FANNEY (Alabama)
A starter on Hargrave's D-line. That commands instant respect this season. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound prospect from Morristown, Tenn., didn't participate in the individual drills.

JARED GAITHER (Maryland)
Rivals.com's No. 3 prep school prospect will be one of the ACC's most intimidating players the moment he arrives on Maryland's campus. The monstrous 6-foot-9, 330-pounder from White Plains, Md., ran a 4.75 - a time lower than some of the linebackers.

BRANDON HOLLAND (Virginia Tech)
Might be an All-ACC offensive guard one day. The 6-foot-6, 276-pound recruit from Roanoke, Va., ran a 4.93. He is praised by the Hargrave coaching staff for his run-blocking ability.

PIERA JERRY (Mississippi):
Offensive lineman do not enjoy seeing this future Rebel line up in front of him. The 6-foot-2, 270-pound prospect from Batesville, Miss., has size, speed and strength. He ran a 4.83 and benched 225 pounds 20 times. Still, his most impressive moments may have come in one-on-one linemen drills where he proved to be nearly immovable.

BRANDON LANG (Georgia)
One of the most athletic players at a combine loaded with ridiculous amounts of athleticism. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound tight end from Tucker (Ga.) High, who is ranked the No. 10 prep school prospect in the nation by Rivals.com, didn't run the 40 or compete in any of the individual tests. But, he did make a pair of impressive grabs in the 7-on-7 drills, including stretching out to make a tough catch near the sideline and holding onto the ball after a big hit. But, he might never catch a ball in college. Mark Richt and his staff reportedly want to play him at defensive end.

OLU HALL (Virginia)
Might be UVA's next great linebacker. It's nearly impossible to ignore the 6-foot-4, 220-pound prospect from Fairfax, Va., even in a room full of big-name recruits. He didn't participate in individual tests or 7-on-7 drills, but still managed to impress just by standing on the sidelines. He has a physically imposing frame and a huge wingspan -- features that led Rivals.com to rank him the No. 7 weak side defensive end in the nation from the class of 2004.

TERRY MITCHELL (West Virginia)
Might be the next great quarterback from Virginia's talent-rich Tidewater area. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound prospect from Virginia Beach didn't participate in the individual tests, and he was actually outshined by fellow signal callers Chris Allison and Aubrey Norris in the 7-on-7 drills. But, Sulkowski thinks Mitchell, who is mostly a pocket passer, will be a good fit for the Mountaineers' spread offense. He is expected to be in Morgantown, W.V., by January.

WILLIAM WALL (Virginia Tech)
Fast enough to beat offensive tackles and strong enough to plug up running
lanes. The versatile 6-foot-5, 255-pound prospect from Chesapeake, Va.,
dominated during one-on-one linemen drills. He also ran a 4.74 -- the lowest
time among D-linemen besides Fairchild.

LORENZO WASHINGTON (Alabama)
Note to all future SEC coaches: Do not try to run around this promising defensive tackle. The 6-foot-5, 275-pound recruit finished the shuttle test in 4.04 - a lower time than every single player, including all the defensive backs. He also ran a 4.82 in the 40.

SAM WHEELER (Virginia Tech)
This fullback from Blacksburg, Va., may be plowing open running lanes for Hokie running backs very soon. With a 6-foot-3, 225-pound frame and solid speed (he ran a 4.61), he has the potential to be a devastating blocker.

WILLIE YOUNG (N.C. State)
One of the Wolfpack's several recruits from the Sunshine State. Many coaches wanted to see the promising defensive end run the 40, but the 6-foot-4, 210-pounder from Rivera Beach, Fla. didn't participate in any of the individual tests. But, few doubt his ability. "I think Willie will be able to help N.C. State right away," Sulkowski said.


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