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St. Thomas, Central, NW all nationally ranked

The National Prep poll released its preseason national rankings Monday, and South Florida's top 3 teams all appeared in the top 35.

St. Thomas Aquinas, a national champion in 2008, debuts at No. 7.

The Raiders are once again in national title contention, and will open the season in the Kirk Herbstreit Challenge on Labor Day. They will take on Texas powerhouse Dallas Skyline at Cowboys Stadium. Aquinas (13-1, state semifinalist in 2009) also plays No. 18 Camden County (GA) at home Oct. 1. Defending Class 5A state champion Tampa Plant is ranked No. 2 and Bradenton Manatee, which eliminated Aquinas from the playoffs is ranked No. 21.

Miami Central is ranked No. 29, and Miami Northwestern is No. 34

The Rockets play one of the nation's toughest schedules, traveling out-of-state twice to start the season, and hosting another out-of-state opponent. Central opens up at Camden County (GA) Sept. 3, then travels to Texas to play in the Florida-Texas Classic against Dallas Madison Sept. 11. On Oct. 29, the Rockets will host Alabama power Prattville at Traz Powell Stadium. Oh yeah, and they also play Northwestern, Booker T. Washington and Hialeah, all among Miami-Dade County's best.

The Bulls, led by the county's top prospect quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, hope to reclaim their position atop Dade this season. They could face Central twice and play Booker T., Hialeah, Columbus and Carol City.