The Top 10 Recruits to Come out of the Central Valley During the Internet Age

Stephen Dunn

The Fresno and Bakersfield areas have produced a huge amount of talented defensive backs in recent history.

We move to California in the next part of looking at the best recruits to come out of the Pac-12 states during the Internet recruiting coverage era and the Golden State gets a little tricky. Putting together the Top 10 recruits to ever come out of California would be a very impressive list, but since the state is so large in both geography and population, we have broken it up into five major regions/cities - greater Sacramento, Bay Area, Central Valley, greater Los Angeles and greater San Diego.

We are now moving to the Central Valley area which we are pretty much grouping as anything around the Fresno, Bakersfield and Modesto areas and not including the Sacramento area, since it is getting it's own article.

1. T.J. McDonald Class of 2009 S Fresno - Edison - USC

The son of NFL player Tim McDonald, T.J. was rated as a five-star recruit by Scout and Rivals and has great size and athleticism for the safety position, making him one of the top recruits on the West Coast. T.J. quickly followed in his father's footsteps by committing to USC over every elite program in the nation. T.J. played four years at USC and ended up leaving as an All-American.

2. Tee Shepard Class of 2012 CB Fresno - Edison - Notre Dame

A big corner with great coverage skills and range, Shephard was one of the top-rated defensive backs in his class and earned offers from pretty much every big time school in the country. Shepard played out his recruitment and ended up signing with Notre Dame over Arizona State but would end up not staying there and has since enrolled at Oklahoma.

3. David Ausberry Class of 2006 WR Lemoore - USC

Ausberry came along when big receivers were all the rage and he fit the mold as a 6'4 215 target with soft hands and great body control, making him one of the country's top recruits. Ausberry looked poised to become the next Mike Williams when he signed with USC over Georgia, Nebraska and Ohio State. Ausberry wasn't overly productive at USC, but did end up getting drafted in the seventh round.

4. Robert Golden Class of 2008 CB Fresno - Edison - Arizona

A fantastic cover corner with great strength and instincts, Golden was given five stars by Scout and was one of the top-rated cornerbacks in the nation. Golden was a huge score for Mike Stoops and Arizona as he chose the Wildcats over Fresno State, Oregon and Oregon State. Golden had a good career as a Wildcat, but was never a star and has started a career in the NFL after going undrafted.

5. Deontay Greenberry Class of 2012 WR Fresno - Washington - Houston

Another big receiver that was one of the best red zone threats in his class, Greenberry earned five stars from Scout. Greenberry had elite offers from all over the country, but in a huge surprise, signed with Houston over Arizona State, Notre Dame and USC. Greenberry had a great freshman season at Houston, with more than 500 yards receiving and three touchdowns.

6. Cliff Harris Class of 2009 CB Fresno - Edison - Oregon

Great size and acceleration, along with a nose for the ball made Harris one of the top corners in the Class of 2009. Harris considered teams all up and down the West Coast, before signing with Oregon. Harris was becoming one of the best cornerbacks in the nation at Oregon when he began a string of off-the-field incidents that ended his career.

7. Tevin McDonald Class of 2010 CB Fresno - Edison - UCLA

T.J.'s younger brother wasn't quite as big or highly-rated, but was still one of the top corners on the West Coast in 2010. Tevin didn't follow in the footsteps of his older brother and father though and signed with UCLA. Tevin looked like he was becoming one of the best safeties in the conference, but was recently dismissed from UCLA and transferred to Eastern Washington.

8. Derek Carr Class of 2009 QB Bakersfield - Christian - Fresno State

The younger brother of number one overall draft pick David Carr, Derek was a four-star recruit and one of the best quarterbacks out West in the Class of 2009. It was no surprise that Derek's recruitment was rather quiet and he signed with Fresno State and followed in his legendary older brother's footsteps. Like his brother before him, Derek has turned into an All-American candidate despite not playing for a BCS school.

9. Johnny Johnson Class of 2013 CB Fresno - Central East - UCLA

Johnson is just another in a long line of top defensive backs to come from the area, and was probably the best from a class of guys in the area that was extremely impressive. Johnston stretched out his recruitment and unlike his Central East teammates, Hatari Byrd and L.J. Moore stayed on the West Coast and signed with UCLA over Washington.

10. Kevin Palma Class of 2013 LB Tulare - Mission Oaks - Stanford

Massive for a high school linebacker at 6'2 248, Palma's motor and hitting ability made him one of the best inside linebacker prospects in the nation. Palma ended up with Stanford in hopes of becoming their next, big, intimidating All-American linebacker.

Also considered

Hatari Byrd Class of 2013 S Fresno - Central East - Oklahoma

Anthony McCoy Class of 2006 TE Fresno - Bullard - USC

L.J. Moore Class of 2013 CB Fresno - Central East - Oklahoma

John Mundt Class of 2013 TE Modesto - Central Catholic - Oregon

Nathan Rhodes Class of 2002 T Bakersfield - East - Washington

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