FOX Sports/Scout.com Top 50 - Preseason
This story originally published on FOXSportsRecruiting.com
Yearby and Cook lead No. 1 Central
Yearby and Cook lead No. 1 Central
Director of Scouting
Posted Aug 21, 2013
Scott Kennedy 60x80


High School football kicks off this weekend and here is a look at the Top 50 High School football teams in the Nation.

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Rank 

Team (Record) City, ST

1)
Miami Central Logo
Miami Central (0-0) Miami, FL

The Rockets were a relatively young team in 2012 when they dropped two of their first three games to nationally ranked teams before whipping off 11 in a row to claim the State Championship in 6A. The Rockets aren't young any more, and they return virtually their entire team including not one, but two of the nation's best running backs in Joseph Yearby (Miami) and Dalvin Cook (Florida). Central plays one of the nation's best schedules and they get started with another Sunshine State power in Dwyer out of Palm Beach Gardens.

Last: (12-2)
Next
: 8/24 Dwyer
2)
Saint John Bosco Logo
St. John Bosco (0-0) Bellflower, CA

Bosco returns virtually its entire team from a squad that was only beaten on the field once last year after having forfeited four non-league games due to an eligibility discrepancy. The Braves lose one All-State lineman, but they bring back massive Damien Mama (6'4/370) who will keep the chains moving when Bosco needs it most.

Last: (8-5)
Next: 8/30 @ Dominguez

3)
Booker T Washington Logo
Washington (0-0) Miami, FL

I can say one thing for Miami teams, they certainly don't back away from a challenge. Booker T. Washington opens the season this week against Georgia's best and No. 4 Norcross. Take a week off, and No. 1 Miami Central is looming. Florida State commitment Treon Harris returns at quarterback, and quarterback destroyer Chad Thomas (Miami) is back at defensive end.

Last: (13-1)
Next: 8/24 @ No. 4 Norcross
4)
Norcross (0-0) Norcross, GA

Norcross ran the table in 2012, and they're bringing back virtually their entire team. True, the Blue Devils lost running back Alvin Kamara to Alabama, but he was already splitting carries with electrifying Miles Autry who returns. Defensive end Lorenzo Carter is capable of taking over a game by himself. With Game 1 against No. 3 Booker T. Washington, motivation for summer workouts shouldn't have been a problem in Norcross. 

Last: 15-0
Next: 8/24 No. 3 Booker T. Washington
5)
Paramus Catholic Logo
Paramus Catholic (0-0) Paramus, NJ

Speaking of taking over a game, Paramus Catholic returns the most electrifying man in high school football in athlete extraordinaire Jabrill Peppers (Michigan). Peppers will play all over the field for the Paladins, and the State Champions return 18 total starters. The 2013 season kicks off with a bang on 9/8 against No. 44 Gilman.

Last: 10-2
Next: 9/8 No 44. Gilman
6)
Dematha Logo
DeMatha (0-0) Hyattsville, MD

Two of DeMatha's losses in 2012 came against Good Counsel who finished in the Top 15. The Stags are well suited to get revenge in 2013 with 15 starters returning including a whopping nine on defense. DeMatha is equipped with senior quarterback John Lovett and a pair of Big Ten running backs in Taiwan Deal (Wisconsin) and Mark Allen (Penn State). DeMatha has a terrific schedule including Virginia power Phoebus, Top 50 Watch squad Godby out of Florida and Good Counsel waiting on 9/27.

Last: 9-3
Next
: 8/24 Phoebus
7)
Edna Karr Logo
Karr (14-0) New Orleans, LA

Karr went undefeated in 2012, and the Cougars are bringing back a stacked 2013 team. If Jabrill Peppers isn't the most electrifying man in high school football, then Karr athlete Speedy Noil is. One guess on how his nickname came about. Noil is one of eight returning starters on offense, and the defense is spearheaded by defensive end Gerald Willis who plays the game angry. Karr's front seven also includes linebacker Donnie Alexander (LSU) and defensive tackle Joyan Williams (Oklahoma State).

Last: 14-0
Next: State Champions
8)
Serra Logo Helmet
Serra (0-0) Gardena, CA

Quite simply, the Cavaliers are loaded with D1 talent. There are more players who will suit up for Serra this year that will sign D1 scholarships in the next three years than 20 STATES will produce. Quarterback Jalen Greene (Boise State) returns, and he will be counted on heavily. He rushed for over 1,000 yards last year, but he'll be behind three new offensive lineman and without last year's top two running backs including junior Malik Roberson who was lost to a knee injury during track season.  

Last: 14-2
Next: 8/31 Desert Ridge (AZ)
9)
Allen Logo
Allen (14-1) Allen, TX

Allen will have to rely on its defense early as the Eagles lost eight starters to graduation. But Allen doesn't lack experience as many younger players got reps during the Eagles' 16 game march to the State Championship. Christian Sam (Arizona State) leads the defense at linebacker. The Eagles get tested right away against perennial power Southlake Carroll.

Last: 15-1
Next: 8/30 Carroll (Southlake)
10)
Apopka Football Helmet Logo
Apopka (0-0) Apopka, FL

The Darters went 13-2 last year and return 10 starters on defense as well as senior quarterback Zack Darlington (Nebraska). Apopka continues the trend of top teams stepping out of their comfort zone to play inter-state matchups as Apopka begins its season with arguably South Carolina's top program in Byrnes. 

Last: 13-2
Next: 8/24 at Byrnes (SC)
11)
De La Salle Logo
De La Salle (0-0) Concord, CA

Look up Well Oiled Machine on Wikipedia, and there should be a De La Salle helmet shown. De La Salle's precision offense and fast defense led the Spartans to yet another Open Division Bowl Championship (California doesn't do playoffs) in 2012. De La Salle doesn't face its most challenging schedule and should have little trouble returning to another Open Division Bowl.

Last: 15-0
Next: 8/30 Clayton Valley
12)
Mentor Football Logo
Mentor (12-2) Mentor (OH)

Mentor's young squad made a run in the playoffs before falling to Whitmer. The Cardinals lose starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky to North Carolina, but return eight starters from an offense that averaged 46.5 points per game. A 9/6 game with No. 15 St. Ignatius should be a good early test.

Last: 12-2
Next: 8/30 McDowell

13)
DeSoto Logo
DeSoto (0-0) De Soto, TX

What DeSoto lacks in experience on offense, the Eagles make up for in talent. DeSoto only has four returning starters on offense, but one of them is one of the top high school quarterbacks in the country in senior Desmon White who passed for over 3,000 yards and rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2012. The good news is that the defense returns eight starters, the bad news is the defense gave up 45 and 51 points to Carroll and Allen respectively in DeSoto's last two playoff games.

Last: 14-1
Next: 8/30 Martin
14)
Poly Logo
Poly (0-0) Long Beach, CA

Poly started 1-3 in 2012 before going on a terrific run to win the prestigious Pac-5 Division in Southern California. The Jackrabbits have the experience to avoid another slow start including the nation's top secondary tandem in safety JuJu Smith and cornerback Iman Marshall. But the opening schedule is still a tough one with matchups against City-Section power Crenshaw, Servite, and Top 50 member Corona Centennial.

Last: 12-4
Next: 8/30 Crenshaw 
15)
St. Ignatius Logo
St. Ignatius (0-0) Cleveland, OH

St. Ignatius was surprised by Mentor in the playoffs last year, and both teams are loaded again for a run in 2013. St. Ignatius has one of the top linebacking corps in the nation in Kyle Berger (Ohio State) and Dameon Willis. St. Ignatius plays a killer schedule including No. 5 Paramus Catholic, No. 12 Mentor, and No. 20 St. Xavier.

Last: 11-2
Next
: Season Over
16)
Good Counsel Logo
Good Counsel (0-0) Olney, MD

Good Counsel lost a lot of talent to graduation, but the Falcons return a lot as well including linemen Sam Mustipher (Notre Dame) and Jesse Aniebonam. Good Counsel will be tested early against rival Gilman and Florida power Immokalee.

Last: 11-1
Next
: 8/23 Gilman
17)
Hamilton Logo
Hamilton (0-0) Chandler, AZ

The Desert Swarm defense may be back in vogue as Hamilton returns nine starters from a unit that only gave up less than 13 points per game en route to a State Championship.

Last:  (12-2)
Next: 8/31 @ Eastlake (CA)

18)
Houston Lamar Logo
Lamar (0-0) Houston, TX

Lamar saw a magical run end in the State Championship last year as they fell to Allen, but the Redskins are returning eight starters on offense including SMU commitment Darrell Colbert.

Last: 15-1
Next: 8/30 Klein Forest
19)
Cibolo Steele Football Logo
Steele (14-1) Cibolo, TX

Steele is going to be big and fast in 2013 with college prospects up and down the lines of scrimmage including offensive lineman Deionte Noel (Texas Tech) and defensive lineman Josh Malin (Baylor). The speed will be provided by running back Justin Stockton (Texas Tech).

Last: 14-1
Next: 8/30 James Madison (San Antonio)
20)
St. Xavier Logo
St. Xavier (0-0) Cincinnati, OH

St. Xavier returns balance on both sides of the ball with six on offense and six on defense from a hard luck squad that played one of the toughest schedules in the nation. Each of St. Xavier's five losses came to a FOX Top 50 squad. Iowa commitment C.J. Hillard leads the Bombers' offensive attack at running back, and Nick Carovillano (Indiana) spearheads the defense. The 2013 slate isn't any easier as St. Xavier opens with Indiana power Ben Davis before taking on Colerain and Brentwood Academy (TN).

Last: 6-5
Next: 8/30 Ben Davis (IN)
21)
Byrnes Logo
Byrnes (0-0) Duncan, SC

It's almost news when Byrnes doesn't win a State Championship as dominant as the Rebels' program has begun. Byrnes fell to Gaffney last year, but as typical, the Rebels are reloading. With nine starters returning on offense including quarterback Shuler Bentley, the Rebels should put up Techmo numbers in some of their games this year. They'll be tested early though as No. 10 Apopka comes calling this week.

Last: 11-3
Next: 8/24 No. 10 Apopka
22)
Katy Logo
Katy (0-0) Katy, TX

Katy needs to rebuild after losing 13 starters to graduation after its State Championship run in 2012. Junior running back Rodney Anderson will look to pick up the load after Adam Taylor left for Nebraska. The Tigers are big along the lines of scrimmage including tight end Logan Lister (6'5/240, Rutgers).

Last: 16-0
Next: 8/29 Klein
23)
University School Logo Ft. Lauderdale
University (0-0) Ft. Lauderdale

University finished with a Top 5 season last year and should make another run at the Top 10 with Auburn commitment Sean White back in control at quarterback and Notre Dame commitment Richard Yeargin leading the defense at linebacker. University's schedule gets a massive upgrade with the addition of Miami Central (who don't the Rockets play this year?) and Manatee.

Last: 12-0
Next: 8/30 @ Taravella
24)
  Bellevue Logo
Bellevue (0-0) Bellevue, WA

In 2012 Bellevue's season was essentially over after a Week 1 game against Euless Trinity (Texas). 2013 is similar with a game against Skyline in the game we all wanted to see in 2012. Both teams look a little weaker on paper in 2013, but Bellevue is a lot like De La Salle in that they just keep churning the machine (and the State Championships). Bellevue is home to one of the nation's best two way players in Budda Baker. 

Last: 15-0
Next: 9/7 Skyline
25)
Hoover Logo
Hoover (15-0) Hoover, AL

2013 is the year of the two-way athlete and Hoover has one of its own in 5-Star defensive back - receiver Marlon Humphrey. The Bucs open 2013 with a tough Colquitt County team out of South Georgia.

Last: 15-0
Next
: State Champions
26)
John Curtis Christian Logo
John Curtis (14-0) River Ridge, LA

It's a shame that John Curtis had the team last year and the schedule this year. Don't get me wrong, Curtis will be good, but the 2012 FOX National Champions were loaded and untested. The 2013 schedule features No. 7 Karr, No. 37 St. Augustine, and No. 46 Aquinas (FL) along with a stronger in-state slate. After breezing through 2012 by and average score of 48-4, the Patriots' record might not be as pretty, but the season will be a whole lot more fun.

Last: 14-0
Next: 9/6 Bergen Catholic (NJ)
27)
Oscar Smith Logo
Oscar Smith (0-0) Chesapeake, VA

Oscar Smith is going to have one of the top defensive lines in the nation in 2013. Scout's No. 1 defensive tackle Andrew Brown (Virginia) plays for the Tigers and Class of 2015 Top 50 prospect Josh Sweat lines up with him at end.

Last: 11-2
Next: 9/6 Lake Taylor
28)
McEachern Helmet Logo
McEachern (0-0) Powder Springs, GA

McEachern was on the edge of Georgia's elite teams in 2012, but with 16 starters returning, including 10 on defense, the Indians look to make the leap to the next level. 

Last: 8-3
Next: 8/24 Brookwood
29)
St. Joseph Regional Logo
St. Joseph Regional (0-0) Montvale, NJ

St. Joseph took a leap forward in 2012 with big wins over Don Bosco and Bergen Catholic, and the Green Knights look good in 2013. Kevin Wilkens anchors the offensive and defense lines and quarterback Spencer Aukamp returns at quarterback. The schedule is a tough one with DeMatha and New Smyrna Beach (FL) joining an already solid slate.

Last: 10-2
Next: State Champions
30)
Centennial Logo
Centennial (0-0) Corona, CA

For the first time in years, Centennial doesn't have to replace its quarterback and leading rusher. That's bad news for Huskies' opponents as quarterback Robert Webber threw for nearly 4,000 yards and rushed for another 780, and running back Tre Watson (Cal) rushed for nearly 1,500 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Last: 14-2
Next: Season Over
31)
Stephenville Helmet - Logo
Stephenville (0-0) Stephenville, TX

Stephenville will be strong in the trenches with four returning starters on the offensive line. Junior quarterback Jarrett Stidman leads the attack on offense.

Last: 14-0
Next: 9/6 @ Aledo
32)
Punahou Football Helmet Logo
Punahou (0-0) Honolulu, HI

Hawaii's top program returns 14 starters from an 8-3 2012 squad including one of the top defensive linemen in the nation in junior Canton Kaumatule. Senior quarterback Larry Tuieta is already committed to Hawaii. The Buff 'n Blue head state-side for a game against Helix (CA) on 8/31.

Last: 8-3
Next: 8/31 @ Helix (CA)
33)
Mount Carmel Logo
Mount Carmel (0-0) Chicago, IL

The Caravan brings back a host of talented players from a 13-1 2012 team including big defensive tackle Enoch Smith (Michigan State. Matt Domer leads the offense at running back. 

Last: 13-1
Next: 8/31 St. Patrick
34)
Coppell Logo
Coppell (0-0) Coppell, TX

Coppell was solid on defense in 2012 giving up less than 11 points per game, and they'll only be better this season with 5-Star defensive end Solomon Thomas returning. Coppell's playoff run was cut short with a tough second round matchup against DeSoto.

Last: 11-1
Next: 8/30 Longview
35)
Manatee logo
Manatee (0-0) Bradenton, FL

Manatee's perfect season was upended by St. Thomas Aquinas in 2012. The Hurricanes had a cakewalk schedule after beating Miami Central and it cost them late. Manatee must replace quarterback Cord Sandberg (Mississippi State), but they still return eight starters. The schedule gets an upgrade as well with games against No. 44 Gilman (MD), Friendship (DC), and No. 23 University.

Last: 13-1
Next
: 9/1 @ Gilman (MD)
36)
North Gwinnett Logo
North Gwinnett (0-0) Suannee, GA

The Bulldogs are going to put up a lot of points behind senior receivers Caleb Scott and Nate Brown. North Gwinnett will test their mettle early with opening games against Camden County and at Grayson.

Last: 11-2
Next: 8/24 Camden County

37)
Saint Augustine Football Helmet Logo

Saint Augustine (0-0) New Orleans, LA

The Purple Knights had a solid season in 2012, and they bring back the nation's best player in running back Leonard Fournette, the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson. While Fournette is the headliner, he's not alone on a talented squad that includes defensive back Jermaine Roberts and defensive lineman Courtney Garnett, both of whom are committed to Texas. St. Augustine will get a chance to skyrocket up this list with dates against Louisiana powers No. 7 Karr (9/13) and No. 26 Curtis (10/4).

Last: 9-4
Next: 9/7 McDonogh 35
38)
Grand Rapids Christian Logo 
Christian (0-0) Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Rapids Christian brings back one of the best weapons in the Midwest in wide receiver Drake Harris (Michigan) after a State Championship run in 2012. 

Last: 13-1
Next: 8/29 @ South Christian
39)
Colerain Logo
Colerain (0-0) Cincinnati, OH

(One of Ohio's top programs, Colerain fell to a powerful Archbishop Moeller team last year, but returns a good nucleus of talent including playmaker Trevon Hudson. Colerain always plays a tough schedule and this year is no different with early games against No. 20 St. Xavier and No. 50 Trinity.

Last: 12-1
Next: 8/30 Park Vista (FL)
40)
Jordan Beetdiggers Logo 
Jordan (0-0) Sandy, UT

The only blemish on the Beetdiggers' record in 2012 was a loss to Top 50 squad St. John Bosco. Jordan returns eight starters on defense from a State Championship squad and they should be even better this year.

Last: 12-1
Next: 8/23 Plain City
41)
Granite Bay Helmet Logo
Granite Bay (0-0) Granite Bay, CA

Granite Bay got off to a rough start in 2012, so it was only fitting that they met a similar team in Long Beach Poly in the D1 Bowl in California. Two teams that rose from the ashes of early season losses bring back a lot of talented experience in 2013.

Last: 13-3 
Next: 9/6 Folsom

42)
Southlake Carroll Logo
Carroll (12-2) Southlake, TX

Carroll's defense let them down in a loss to DeSoto to end the 2012 campaign, but the Dragons return six starters on defense including linebacker J.B. Copeland. It's right back into the fire for Carroll as they open their season with No. 9 Allen.

Last: 12-2
Next
: 8/30 No. 9 Allen
43)
Denton Guyer Logo
Guyer (0-0) Denton, TX

Guyer had a potent offense in 2012 averaging better than 46 points per game including 48 in the State Championship. It's only going to get better. Quarterback Jerrod Heard (Texas) is one of the most dynamic players behind center in the nation.

Last: 14-2
Next: 8/29 at Cedar Hill

44)
Gilman Logo
Gilman (0-0) Baltimore, MD

Gilman lost a lot of talent from the 2012 team, but the Greyhounds continually re-load. The Greyhounds may have to rely on their defense early led by senior linebacker Melvin Keihn and defensive back Troy Vincent (Penn State). 

Last: Def Barbe 35-14 
Next: State Champions
45)
Ensworth Logo
Ensworth (0-0) Nashville, TN

Ensworth keeps adding up State Championships against mostly lackluster competition. That changes this year as No. 50 Trinity gets added to the mix. While that won't affect the Tigers' State Championship hopes, it sure makes the season more interesting.

Last: 14-0
Next: State Champions
46)
Aquinas Logo
Aquinas (0-0) Fort Lauderdale, FL

The top private school program in the nation's richest hotbed for talent, the Raiders reload every year.  Sure Aquinas only returns eight starters, but that means teams better get them early while their young talent is getting experience. Aquinas has a week off before its showdown with No. 26 Curtis on 9/13.

Last: 13-2
Next: 8/31 Miami Northwestern
47)
Toledo Whitmer Logo
Whitmer (14-1) Toledo, OH

Whitmer must replace a talented core of players, but the Panthers were an offensive juggernaut in 2012 hanging 42 on Central Catholic and 62 on a good Mentor team among others. Of the top Ohio teams, Whitmer's schedule is the least compelling, but they're still a force come playoff time.

Last: 14-1 
Next: 8/30 @ Perrysburg
48)
Pike Football Helmet Logo
Pike (0-0) Indianapolis, IN

Pike was bounced from the playoffs in 2012 by Top 50 member Lawrence Central in 2012, but the Red Devils are loaded for a 2013 run. Pike returns 16 starters from its 9-4 team including wide receiver Dominique Booth (Tennessee)

Last: 9-4
Next: (8/23) North Central
49)
Cedar Park Helmet Football Logo
Cedar Park (0-0) Cedar Park, TX

The Timberwolves started 0-2 before reeling off 14 games in a row on the way to a State Championship in 2012. Back to back championships shouldn't be out of the questions with 16 starters returning. 2013 presents a chance at redemption with the first two games against the two teams that blemished Cedar Park's record, Austin Westlake and Cooper.

Last: 14-2
Next: 8/30 Westlake (Austin)
50)
Louisville Trinity Logo
Trinity (0-0) Louisville, KY

Trinity averaged more than 45 points per game in 2012, and the Shamrocks are going to need to put points on the board in droves early in the season because they return only one starter on defense. The 2011 FOX National Champion is certainly capable of reloading with young talent, but the schedule is daunting. It includes No. 45 Ensworth, No. 39 Colerain, and perennial powers Lawrence Central (IN) and Archbishop Moeller among others.

Last: 13-1
Next
: 8/23 Ensworth

Scott began with Scout as the Southeast Regional Manager in 2002. In addition to his recruiting responsibilities, Scott developed and ran the National Scout Combine series from 2005 thru 2008. Scott has been Director of Scouting since 2006 and oversees the Recruiting Rankings for Scout.
Follow ScoutKennedy on Twitter
  


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