- Bill Conley
When looking at the states of West Virginia and Virginia, the Tidewater area has long been a hotbed for skilled football players. In recent years athletes like Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech), E.J. Manuel (FSU) and Tajh Boyd (Clemson) are three examples of the talent that has emerged from this part of the Old Dominion. The 2010 class also has ample representation of skilled players from the Tidewater-Hampton region. As a matter of fact, the three top players in the state are skill position players and all are from the Tidewater area -- Justin Hunter (Virginia Beach, Va./ Ocean Lakes), Phillip Sims (Chesapeake Va./ Oscar Frommel Smith) and Nick Dew (Virginia Beach, Va./ First Colonial). Not only are these players in the ESPNU 150 but they are among the best at their positions nationwide. For example, Sims is the No. 1 ranked quarterback in the country, Hunter's the No. 5 wide receiver and Dew checks in at No. 6 in our safety rankings. Although it's the skill that stands out in Virginia, there are some fine linemen on both sides of the football as well as outside linebackers in the region.