ESPN RISE has put together it list of juniors who are sure to be on the top of every college's radar and All-American lists heading into their senior seasons.
Player of the Year: Christian Lemay, Butler (Matthews, N.C.)
It's the second straight year this honor has gone to the Carolinas as Lemay follows 2008 winner Marcus Lattimore of Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.). To anyone who saw Lemay interact and throw among the various quarterbacks at last summer's Elite 11 Quarterback Camp in Southern California, to see what he did during the 2009 season was no surprise.
Lemay, who as an incoming junior was chosen to be one of the few so-called ballboys at the Elite 11 event, shined from his first snap to his last in leading Butler to a 15-0 record and Class 5A state championship.
The goal at the beginning of Lemay's season, however, had little to do with individual glory. It was just to help Butler get past Independence, its Charlotte-area rival and a program synonymous with success in the Tar Heel State. The Bulldogs won a thriller in the regular season, 31-24, over Independence and had to face the Patriots again in the playoffs.
This set the stage for the most impressive outing of Lemay's season as he completed 15 of 19 passes for 415 yards and three touchdowns in lifting Butler to a convincing 38-14 win. The Bulldgos rolled in their state final one week later and the honors have been rolling in for Lemay since.
For the season, Lemay, who has dozens of college offers already, including many from the SEC, finished with 3,291 yards passing and another 577 rushing. He also had 44 touchdown passes with just two interceptions and added another four more scores rushing.
FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
WR Jarvis Landry, Lutcher (La.) 6-0, 190
A two-time all-state selection, Landry put up staggering numbers as he snared 80 passes for 1,406 yards and 15 touchdowns. He recently committed to LSU over national offers from the likes of Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Miami and others.
WR Kasen Williams, Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.) 6-2, 200
Fast, physical receiver who also is a state high jump champ helped Skyline to a third straight state title in Washington. He grabbed 74 passes for 1,209 yards and 20 touchdowns, including three in the state title game.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Gig Harbor (Wash.) 6-6, 240
He's maybe the nation's top recruit at tight end for the Class of 2011 with over 20 offers already made. He caught 60 passes for 1,050 yards and 10 touchdowns for the season.
OL La'el Collins, Redemptorist (Baton Rouge, La.) 6-4, 285
This massive lineman led Redemptorist to a 10-2 mark and earned Class 3A all-state honors. He has already committed to LSU.
OL Watts Dantzler, Dalton (Ga.) 6-7, 315
The son of former Georgia Bulldog Danny Dantzler looks to be SEC-bound as well after earning Class AAAA all-state honors this fall.
OL Antonio Richardson, Ensworth School (Nashville, Tenn.) 6-5, 305
Small school star from Tennessee has big-time talent. He paved the way for all-state RB Orleans Darkwa while drawing early offers from the likes of Alabama and Tennessee.
OL Brandon Shell, West Ashley (Charleston, S.C.) 6-7, 310
The nephew of NFL Hall of Famer Art Shell has the bloodlines, earned all-state honors in the Palmetto State this fall and is already hotly pursued by SEC and ACC powers.
OL Christian Westerman, Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.) 6-5, 275
Arizona's top prospect for the Class of 2011 already holds over 20 scholarship offers and earned Arizona Republic All-Arizona honors as a junior. He was a main reason why Hamilton won second straight state title and ended at No. 3 in the final ESPN RISE FAB 50.
QB Christian Lemay, Butler (Matthews, N.C.) 6-3, 195
The ESPN RISE Junior of the Year led Butler to an undefeated season and No. 5 ranking in the ESPN RISE FAB 50.
RB Ka'Deem Carey, Canyon del Oro (Tucson, Ariz.) 5-9, 185
He led Canyon del Oro to a 14-0 mark and Class 4A Division I state title, rushing for an eye-opening 2,738 yards and 43 touchdowns. He was the Arizona Republic's Offensive Player of the Year.
RB Kenny Hilliard, Patterson (La.) 6-0, 218
He was the National Sophomore of the Year one year ago and almost won it for the juniors with another strong showing. Already a three-time all-state pick, this early LSU commit rumbled for 2,512 yards and 32 touchdowns this fall.
RB Herschel Sims, Abilene (Texas) 5-10, 195
Abilene's first state title in more than 50 years featured Sims in the starring role as he finished with 2,357 yards rushing and scored 41 touchdowns.
PK Jake Van Ginkel, Upland (Calif.) 6-0, 175
Arguably the best kicker in the nation including seniors, Van Ginkel booted 16 field goals, including five of at least 40 yards this fall. He also drilled 48 touchbacks on kickoffs and averaged 40 yards per punt for 12-2 team.