College Football Recruiting 2012: The Top Elite Uncommitted Recruits
As National Signing Day approaches, I have come to find that the more and more I look at my board and other research avenues, the more I realize that many of the upper-echelon players have made their decisions.
There aren't that many uncommitted top-tier prospects left this cycle. It's an interesting occurrence, but that's how things have unfolded this 2012 recruiting year.
Sure, we have many big-name, high-profile, highly-ranked recruits still mulling their options, but in general, a lot of the better recruits are already committed.
Here are the best recruits who have yet to commit.
22. Demetrious Cox, DB
Demetrious Cox is a 6'1", 185-pound safety prospect from Pennsylvania. I think he fits best in a zone-oriented scheme, as he can float around and use his instincts to make plays.
Cox shows solid awareness on the back end, excellent ball location skills and has a knack for getting his hands on the football. He'll plug the run with confidence but also has the route recognition and natural range to make plays on the ball in the passing game.
Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Pitt and Wisconsin are in the mix.
21. Davonte' Neal, CB/WR
Perhaps the fastest player in Arizona, Davonte' Neal is a solid downfield threat.
He gets behind a secondary with ease, as the 5'9", 175-pounder explodes off the line in his release and eats up cushion in a hurry as a receiver.
Ohio State, Notre Dame and UCLA are a few to name.
20. Josh Harvey-Clemons, WR/LB
At 6'4" and nearly 210 pounds, Josh Harvey-Clemons shows very good knowledge of the game on defense, plays with instincts, can set the edge and is a sound athlete.
If he sticks at OLB, his transition quickness will allow him to become one of the better cover LBs in the country.
Florida, Alabama and Georgia are the top three, with Florida State behind them.
19. Thomas Johnson, WR
Thomas Johnson is a playmaker in every sense of the word. He may not be the biggest receiver, but he has great speed and a knack for finding the end zone.
At 6'0", 175 pounds, he is dangerous after the catch. RAC is his middle name, and getting to paydirt is his game.
Cal and Oregon are the leaders, with TCU in the mix.
18. Ronnie Stanley, OT
Ronnie Stanley plays for Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, which is one of the elite and premier programs not just in Sin City or Nevada, but on the West Coast as a whole.
At 6'6" and 285 pounds, Stanley has the ability to play left and right tackle. He's light on his feet, quick and agile. Yet Stanley has solid strength, and he can maul in the run game.
USC, Miami, Arkansas, Notre Dame and Auburn are just the tip of the iceberg.
17. Aziz Shittu, DT
Aziz Shittu burst on the scene a few weeks ago, as he was basically unblockable at the Nike Camp in Los Angeles. He dominated one-on-ones and made evaluators go back and watch more tape of his junior season.
At 6'3" and 275 pounds, Shittu had 6.5 sacks and more than 75 stops from his defensive tackle spots as a junior. He does it with a combination of snap quickness, strength and athleticism on every snap.
Stanford, Cal, USC, Florida, Michigan, UCLA and Texas A&M are his top schools.
16. D.J. Foster, RB
D.J. Foster is similar to Kenyan Drake in playing style, as he also is a dynamic athlete at the RB position.
He's 6'0", 185 pounds, and while he needs to tack some more mass onto his frame, he does show great speed and playmaking ability.
Foster can make a defender miss with some serious shake-'n'-bake moves as an RB, and he can catch the ball like a WR.
USC, ASU and Cal are his final three.
15. Zach Banner, OT
Zach Banner stands 6'9"—yes, 6'9"—and weighs 300 pounds. He is not just a stick figure, as he shows great athleticism on the edges to set up quickly, bend his knees, slide, mirror and anchor versus all rushers.
Banner can use his long arms to wash, but he can also get up in targets' chests as a drive blocker.
USC, Oklahoma and Washington are his top three.
14. Jordan Diamond, OT
Jordan Diamond's skill set, upon watching him on film projects, works well in a zone-blocking scheme offense.
Diamond shows a great ability to get up on linebackers on the second level, and he can hit moving targets efficiently.
At 6'6" and 290 pounds, he has solid athletic ability and knee bend, which helps him in pass protection. Diamond does a good job of sliding when engaged and recovers well.
I just would be shocked if Diamond didn't wind up at Michigan.
13. Tracy Howard, CB
At 6'0" and 175 pounds, Tracy Howard has the length that many teams are looking for in corners these days. Receivers are getting bigger, so corners need to be as well.
Yet Howard also has solid coverage skills and can come out of his backpedal easily and fluidly. He can carry receivers deep and will sniff around in the run game as well.
Florida State is in the driver's seat, but Miami, Florida and LSU are in the hunt, among others.
12. Nelson Agholor, ATH
There is talk that Nelson Agholor may be the most athletic player in Florida this year, and his tape does nothing to dispel that notion.
At 6'2" and 180 pounds, he makes play after play all night long.
He can factor as a safety, receiver, running back or corner. Talk is his best spot may be safety, but you can't count him out as a receiver. He's dynamic with the ball in his hands, but then again, he could be an All-American safety.
Watch out for Florida, USC, Florida State and Notre Dame.
11. Kyle Murphy, OT
Kyle Murphy is another great OT, standing at 6'7" and 270 pounds, and he has solid athleticism for an offensive trench man.
Murphy excels in pass protection and gets by through being simply more athletic than his opponents. Once he gets coached up in college, look out, because he will combine athleticism with technique, and that could equal no sacks for opposing rushers.
USC, Stanford, Cal, Oregon and Florida are the main suitors.
10. Josh Garnett, OL
Josh Garnett may be the best offensive guard prospect from the Washington area since Steve Schilling.
At 6'5" and 275 pounds, he has a high ceiling and plays with great athletic ability, knee bend and strength. He may also be able to kick out to tackle in college.
Garnett has good snap quickness, gets into his opponents' chest, walks them back and he can finish. He holds his own in pass protection, as he can work well in the short-area confines at guard.
Stanford, Michigan and Notre Dame are the front-runners.
9. Avery Young, OT
When you watch Avery Young move around on tape, you wonder if he could even play tight end—he is that athletic.
He has not even scratched the surface as to how good he can be, as the 6'5", 275-pounder looks like a potential left tackle.
Young can set up quickly, slide, mirror, bend, recover and anchor versus rushers, down after down. Once he learns good hand placement and how to mix up his sets, he could develop into an All-American left tackle.
Georgia, Florida, Auburn and Alabama seem to be the core four right now.
8. Darius Hamilton, DE/DT
Darius Hamilton is a 6'4", 245-pound defensive prospect who can do it all.
Most ends at the high school level only focus on their pass-rushing prowess, yet Hamilton shows the strength to anchor and shed against the end.
Toss that in with his elite pass-rushing ability, and you see a five-star prospect on the defensive edge.
Rutgers, Cal, Florida and Tennessee are just a few that have been mentioned.
7. Ronald Darby, CB
Ronald Darby is 5'11", 175 pounds, and the name of his game is speed and quickness. He's wiry-strong, but Darby has speed to spare.
Darby is one of the fastest players in the nation, and any time you have the nickname "Nitro," then you know you have some skates on you.
He's also a solid RB and WR as well, and there is some debate about whether those are better positions for him.
He's de-committed from Notre Dame and has added Clemson, LSU, Auburn and Florida State to his list.
6. Arik Armstead, DE/OT
A 6'8", 280-pound monster, Arik Armstead can play DE, DT and even OT for you.
In fact, Scout.com has him as its top OT prospect. However, Armstead has no interest in playing OL in college and is really only considering schools that want him as a DE.
Cal, Auburn, Oregon and Notre Dame are the final four, and a decision should be made this week.
5. Stefon Diggs, WR
Stefon Diggs is a player who can factor as a receiver or safety.
I could move him onto the ATH board or DS board, but in the end, he is simply too good with the ball in his hands to not play on offense in my opinion.
At 6'1" and 190 pounds, Diggs is a quicker-than-fast athlete, but he does have tremendous speed. His RAC ability is amazing, and he is likely tops in this category in the country for 2012.
Diggs can shake, bake and clean the dishes routinely.
Florida, Auburn and Cal have all gotten trips thus far.
4. Kwon Alexander, LB
At 6'2" and 210 pounds, Kwon Alexander is a fantastic linebacker prospect. He has tremendous play speed and range and will be a three-down defender in college.
Alexander projects well at WILL, but I think he can also play SAM in a 4-3 scheme due to his ability to carry tight ends around the field in coverage.
Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Florida State are the favorites.
3. Andrus Peat, OT
At 6'7" and 280 pounds, Andrus Peat is the top line prospect in the country and will be a franchise left tackle.
He reminds me a lot of USC left tackle Matt Kalil coming out of high school: Sound in his technique, smart, patient and savvy in pass protection, Peat is an elite offensive lineman.
Nebraska, Florida State, Arizona State, Stanford and USC are in the hunt.
2. Mario Edwards, DE
A 6'4", 297-pound DE prospect who looks like a DT and moves like a receiver, Mario Edwards is an elite player who should only get better in college.
Edwards is an excellent athlete for such a large man. He shows great snap quickness, flashes the ability to make speed into power, has good range and can anchor against TEs versus the run.
Edwards has FSU, Texas, Oklahoma and LSU as his main suitors.
1. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR
At 6'6" and 220 pounds, Dorial Green-Beckham has the hands, separation quickness, catch-in-crowd ability and playmaking talent to become a dominant receiver in college.
He's viewed as the top player in the nation by various publications and made a couple "wow" catches at the Army Game earlier this month.
Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama and Arkansas are all in the running.