With 2013 recruiting already underway, we've been taking some quick looks at various prospects. I do feel the need to remind you that we are still in the information gathering stage and that the boards and lists we're assembling now will be dramatically different over time.
However, names and prospects are starting to stick out, and last week we examined an early peek at the top 10 offensive playmakers.
Today, we'll check out the top 10 defensive playmakers.
McQuay is a 6'1", 185-pound rangy safety prospect from Florida. He's all over the field against the run and pass and can help a back end in various ways.
Speed, athleticism, instincts and range are his best traits and why he's a big-time prospect. Florida, USC, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Florida State and Michigan have offered, among others.
Brantley is man in the trenches at 6'2", 295 pounds. He can fit in any front, 40 or 30, and can do whatever you need him to do: rush the passer, stop the run, stack blocks, free up LBers, etc.
He's a playmaker in the trenches and has already told Florida he will be signing with them next February.
Fuller is a defensive playmaker in every sense of the word. He's a 5'11", 185-pound CB that plays bigger than his size. He'll jam and re-rout, carry receivers around the field and will make a play for the ball.
His instincts are great, and he has offers from Florida State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State and Oklahoma.
Cravens is a big safety prospect at 6'1", and weighing around 200 pounds. He can come up and sniff out a ball carrier against the run as an extra defender in the box.
Yet Cravens is also athletic enough to roam and patrol the deep middle, use his speed to cover and go pick off balls against the pass.
Bigelow, who stands 6'2" and weighs 280 pounds, hails from the northeast state of Delaware. He's very explosive at the snap, jumps on top of OLs with ease and just out-hustles blockers right now.
He looks like a solid future 3-technique that can 1-gap, slip blocks and be a solid interior pass-rusher. He'll do this at USC.
Hargreaves has incredible instincts for the CB position and is a heady player. He's like an amped-up version of Ishmael Adams.
At 5'11", 180 pounds, he shows great foot quickness, comes out of transition well and will make a play for the pick. Florida State, Notre Dame, Florida, Michigan, Miami and Ohio State have all offered.
Hutchings clearly is the best LB prospect to come out of De La Salle since the days of D.J. Williams and Kevin Simon. This guy's just a phenomenal playmaker.
He's 6'1", 215 pounds and could be this year's version of Kwon Alexander. Hutchings has excellent range, good play speed, ball location skills, vision and doesn't get caught up in traffic.
Conner may be in the same class as a Karlos Williams, Shaq Thompson or Landon Collins. At 6'1", 200 pounds, Conner can be seen reading runs, reacting and just flying up to fill run alleys for stops.
Then he can also be seen getting off the hashes, patrolling and roaming, picking off passes and enforcing WRs deep.
Foster could be the best LB prospect for 2013. He's 6'1", 245 pounds, and he'll light up run alleys in a flash. He's instinctive against the run, can take on and shed well and is a solid wrap tackler.
Foster's committed to Alabama.
Nkemdiche may be the best player in the country for 2013. He's a 6'4", 275-pound warrior in the trenches. He can play DT or DE for you, but he will be more than just a swing DL in college.
It really just matters what he wants to do; does he want to stick at DE, or grow into a DT? Whatever Nkemdiche decides, he's going to be pretty darn good at it.