Princess Anne #1 Tony Grimes breaks through the Green Run defense (Photo: Lance Hinton/recruit757)
Here’s the Fab 30 for the recruiting class of 2021
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
Normally, we’d release this list athlete by athlete in August, prior to the start of the season.
Since the season was delayed, the timing is different and we are more than 12 months removed from any on-field performances that earned these players their rank.
Almost all of the athletes involved have made their college commitment, and some of them are already done with their high school career since their college program wouldn’t want them to risk injury this spring. Still others have already enrolled in college.
2021 recruit757 Fab 30
#30 Shyheim Cannon – Norcom: Cannon (WR 6-0 160) is a speedster whose output at wide receiver was a key to the Greyhounds playoff run. He was paired with wide receiver Karon Prunty (Kansas) and quarterback Coby Smith in an offense that carried them to the Region 3A semifinal. Shyheim pulled in quite a few offers including Towson and Western Carolina, but as of February had not made a college commitment.
#29 Marqeese Dietz – Norview: Dietz (DB/WR 5-10 180) is one of the best uncommitted Class of 2021 football athletes in the region. His play at quarterback early in his high school career was remarkable, and he continued to show versatility as a wide receiver and defensive back in his junior season. He committed early to William and Mary, then retracted that commitment last summer.
#28 Kole Williams – Nansemond River: Williams (MLB 5-11 210) is a force at linebacker in a Warrior defense that had quite a bit of success in 2019, despite him missing some playing time early in the season. Kole earned a First Team All-District selection as a junior.
#27 Jahke Hilliard – Oscar Smith: Hilliard (DE 6-1 210) had a great junior season where his team advance to the state championship game. He earned First Team All-Region 6A and First Team All-757 honors at DE in 2019. 90 tackles, 48 solo, 18 TFL, 1 PBU as a junior.
#26 Breyden Byrd – Woodside: Prior to his junior season, Byrd transferred from Surry County and had a big impact on the Woodside defense in 2019. The Wolverines made a playoff run and Byrd showcased his skill as an edge rusher. He committed to the US Naval Academy.
#25 Demetrius Johnson – Maury: Johnson was a First Team All-District selection as a linebacker in 2019 and it’s easy to see why. He’s all over the field on the defensive side of the ball. He’s also a playmaker on special teams with skills to punt block. Demetrius pulled offers from Toledo, Virginia State and Norfolk State, but is uncommitted as of now.
#24 Desmond Green – Salem: Green started all 12 games as a sophomore for Salem, and followed that up with a stellar campaign in his junior season as the Sun Devils #1 target in the passing game. He committed to Navy in the Summer of 2020, but flipped that commitment before signing day and inked with James Madison.
#23 Carlton Winston – Ocean Lakes: Winston played at Landstown through his junior season and transferred to Ocean Lakes in 2020. He is speedy, elusive and puts himself in position to make plays. Winston was selected First Team All-Beach District at defensive back in 2019. He signed with Campbell in the early signing period.
#22 Caymen Mills – Green Run: Mills was a bit of a late bloomer, rising to prominence in his junior season. He has great length for a cornerback (6-0 185) and pulled some significant offers after his junior campaign. He signed with the University of Louisiana-Monroe in the early signing period.
#21 Messiah Russell – Warwick: Russell started his high school career with Hampton Roads Academy before transferring out. He was Second Team VISAA All-State as a freshman, then continued to earn honors in the VHSL. As a junior, he was selected First Team All-Peninsula District as a defensive back. He signed with James Madison in the early signing period.
#20 Eric Gibson – Maury: Gibson led the Commodores to the Class 5 State Championship in 2019. He holds a 4.0 GPA and could pretty much write his own ticket to college academically. In his junior season he had 3,578 passing yards and 40 TDs plus 207 rushing yards and 3 TDS in 15 games (15-0). 75% completion percentage. Uncommitted as of February 2021.
#19 Donovan Everette – Norview: Donovan’s younger brother Daylen bolted for IMG Academy after his junior season and has made a big name for himself there as a running back. The elder Everette brother is a playmaker at defensive end (6-3 210). Donovan signed with Navy in the early signing period.
#18 Dominic Wilson – Cox: Wilson was a strong talent as a sophomore and blossomed in 2019. He played multiple positions, including linebacker, wide receiver and even quarterback. He led the team in tackles in 2019 with 75. Offensively, Wilson had 11 catches for 207 yards and 4 TD. Also, 41 carries for 324 yards. Signed with Navy in the early signing period.
#17 Denzel Lowry – Landstown: as a defensive lineman, Lowry has been a force in the trenches for Landstown. He was First Team All-Region as a sophomore and he followed that up with a Second Team VHSL Class 6 All-State selection in 2019. Lowry signed with Old Dominion in the early signing period.
#16 Stephon Dubose – Indian River: Dubose has been big and physical throughout his high school career, but in his junior year and ever since he has hit the weight room and trained himself into college-ready form thanks to Giavanni Ruffin and TNDO Gym. As an offensive tackle (6-3 285), he steamrolled running lanes for the Indian River offense. He signed with Old Dominion in the early signing period.
#15 James Smith – Princess Anne: Smith (DE 6-3 235) attracted a lot of college attention leading into his junior year and throughout his 2019 season. He has a great motor, plays under control, and should see a lot of success as an edge rusher at the next level. He signed with the University of Louisiana-Monroe in the early signing period.
#14 Marquise Brunson – Princess Anne: Brunson attracted a lot of early interest as a man-child and weight room beast. He was a Second Team All-Region 5A defensive tackle as a sophomore and he built from there. He racked up college offers from Power Five schools in-state and out-of-state, but ultimately signed with Liberty and graduated early.
#13 Rodney Hammond – Booker T. Washington: Rodney was a sensation from the time he hit the field as a freshman. He had several 100+ yard rushing games in 2017, improved in 2018 with a First Team All-Region selection at running back, then as a junior he shined as a running back and defensive back for the Bookers. Hammond surprised some by verbally committing to Pitt in the middle of his junior season. He signed with the Panthers in the December early signing period.
#12 Zemarion Harrell – Salem: What makes the Sun Devils such a potent force in the Beach District? It’s athletes like Zemarion Harrell. While running backs like Kaelon Black carry the rock and eat up yardage in the ground game, athletes like Harrell contribute to a stifling defense. The Salem defense pitched seven shutouts in the 2019 regular season and only allowed a total of 22 points. That’s an easy recipe for going 10-0 heading into the playoffs. Harrell signed with Coastal Carolina.
#11 Myles Alston – Ocean Lakes: Wide receiver Myles Alston is a legacy at Ocean Lakes. His older brother Mike Alston played for Ocean Lakes and is now on the Dolphins’ coaching staff. Myles is a steady receiver with sure hands, and he’s been a contributor in the Ocean Lakes offense since his freshman season. Alston signed with Pitt in the early signing period.
#10 Isaiah Henderson – Salem: Henderson is yet another versatile athlete in our Fab 30 list. He’s a high academic athlete, and he attracted offers from schools like Virginia, Virginia Tech, Northwestern and the service academies. His play at defensive end, linebacker and tight end contributed to Salem’s many deep playoff runs. Henderson signed with the Air Force Academy and will head to Colorado after his senior season.
#9 Maurice Freeman – Oscar Smith: Freeman (SS 6-0 190) rose to the top early and has been part of a pipeline of athletes that has kept the Oscar Smith football program rolling as a state championship contended. In 2019, they fell one game short of a state championship and he is a part of a stellar returning lineup for the Tigers. He’s committed to the University of Indiana, but it appears that he’ll play his senior season for Oscar Smith.
#8 Isi Etute – Cox: Etute was an early commit to Virginia Tech, and unlike some top players in the 2021 recruiting class, his commitment didn’t waver. Isi roams the defensive side of the ball (LB 6-3 200). When paired with Trevion Robinson in the 2018 season, the Cox Falcons had their best season in school history (9-3). Robinson’s loss was notable in 2019, but the duo will now be reunited on a much larger stage in Blacksburg.
#7 Trevion Stevenson – Phoebus: Stevenson fits in the mold of long and rangy defensive players who top this list. He’s a 6-5 220 pound outside linebacker and edge rusher whose skills will translate easily to the college ranks. Stevenson had some commitment issues over his high school career, giving a verbal commitment to Bobby Wilder and Old Dominion, then decommitting when Wilder was obviously on his way out. Trevion committed to Chris Beatty and Pitt before backing out there and ending up with Dre Bly and the University of North Carolina.
#6 Nathan Boerbooom – Great Bridge: College coaches usually have an affinity for coach’s kids, and Nate Boerboom is no exception. His dad, Great Bridge head coach Brian Boerboom, is an ex-college football player and college football coach. Nathan took to the training and discipline, and that will translate well at the college level. He also played multiple positions including tight end and quarterback. The Boerbooms moved here from Florida (Brian is a Great Bridge alum), and Nathan opted to head back to Florida, signing with UCF.
#5 Malik Newton – Lake Taylor: Newton had an early impact as a running back with the Titans and he racked up yardage and touchdowns over his first three years as a varsity athlete. More recently, he rounded into form as a middle linebacker. His build, strength, and willingness to punish opposing players physically made him irresistible for a lot of college coaches. He’ll be able to hit the ground running as a true freshman at the college level. Newton also excels at baseball, and there was a chance that he would opt for the diamond over the gridiron. He is one of a few local players who takes state champion credentials with him to college. Malik signed with Pitt.
#4 George Wilson – Green Run: Wilson came to the Green Run football program as an athletic, converted basketball player. He immediately put his length and speed to work on the edge of the Stallion defensive line, and had an impact. Power Five colleges took notice and offers rolled in after his sophomore season when he was still raw. Wilson has plenty of upside and will improve with college coaching. He committed to South Carolina, but when the Gamecocks fired head coach Will Muschamp, Wilson signed with Florida State.
#3 Mike Green – Lafayette: The schools in the Bay Rivers District don’t get as much attention in the 757, but college coaches certainly know where to go when they want talent. The BRD doesn’t get overlooked, and over the past ten years, the number of players heading to Division I schools from the BRD has increased exponentially. Mike Green is a 6-4 200 pound pass-catching machine, and he’s equally adept as a rangy outside linebacker. UVA scooped up a commitment from him early in 2020.
#2 Naquan Brown – Ocean Lakes: Brown showed lots of versatility in his junior season by adding pass-catching to his skill set. He played on both sides of the ball and it pushed the Dolphins deeper into the playoffs. Brown is a fearsome edge rusher as a stand-up defensive end and outside linebacker, a role he’s likely to play in college. He also used his 6-3 210 pound frame as a tight end in 2019, and his playmaking kept many an Ocean Lakes drive alive. Brown committed to LSU over the summer, but later flipped that commitment to Pitt before signing day.
#1 Tony Grimes – Princess Anne: Grimes comes in with an asterisk only because he not only graduated early, but he also hit the field for the University of North Carolina in September. He was a class of 2021 athlete all the way up until July. Grimes was the #1 cornerback prospect in the nation, so it’s easy to select him as the #1 athlete in our Fab 30.
– Andy Hilton