College Football Recruiting 2013: The 20 Most Impressive Prospect Videos
Let's face facts, the days of college coaches traveling from town to town to watch high school football are long gone. Well-produced highlight films aren't just the norm, they're expected if a recruit wants to attract attention from coaches outside of their own zip code.
Keep in mind that there are several things that go into making a great prospect video. They include:
- PLAYER TALENT: No amount of editing can make an average player look great.
- UPDATED CONTENT: Videos from your sophomore year will be penalized.
- CAMERA WORK: If you're shaking the camera, we can't see if the player is good or not.
- PLAY ORDER: If you play two ways, feature the position you'll play at the next level.
- VIDEO QUALITY: They should have great plays only, and not overstay their welcome.
Also, I'd like to add that I'm only including those videos who've been uploaded to YouTube and been made public—because no great player should be hidden behind a recruiting service's monthly subscription fee.
Oh yeah, if you like this article, follow me on Twitter @russell_arch—and if you disagree, or have your own favorite reel, please leave it in the comments (below).
So without further adieu, let's take a look at the Top-20 Prospect Videos from the Class of 2013.
20. Tyrone Swoopes: QB (Whitewright, TX)
On top of that, at 6'5", Swoopes appears to be a good six inches taller than most of his competitors. Not sure what division Whitewright High plays in, but this kid definitely dwarfs the competition.
Swoopes recently committed to Texas, so here's hoping Mack Brown has some other footage of his new QB actually passing the ball. Otherwise, it would seem that Swoopes would be a better fit at Army, Navy or perhaps Georgia Tech.
19. E.J. Levenberry Jr.: LB (Woodbridge, VA)
E.J. Levenberry Jr. is obviously a great player. Strong, fast, big...everything you want in a linebacker prospect. But boy oh boy does this video struggle to showcase him.
First off, the footage is shot so wide, it's hard to identify Levenberry pre-snap...and even harder to track him once he enters any sort of pile.
That having been said, Levenberry impresses with his ability to both rush the QB and drop into coverage. He drives through every one of his tackles and constantly moves the ball-carrier backwards at the point of impact.
18. Adam Breneman: TE (Camp Hill, PA)
At 6'5" and 220 pounds, Adam Breneman has the perfect size to play tight end at the next level, but it's his great hands and toughness as a runner that truly set him apart.
In this junior season video, Breneman looks like a young Rob Gronkowski, and he makes one tough catch after another and drags defenders down the field. It's no wonder he holds more than 50 offers from programs all over the country.
From a purely production standpoint, the camera work is shot painfully wide, but at least we can see the whole field as Breneman runs all over it.
17. Derrick Henry: Athlete (Yulee, FL)
What happens when you're the biggest and fastest player on the field? You score a lot of touchdowns, that's what.
What's better? This video shows Derrick Henry as a sophomore (at 225 pounds), running past many players who are two years older than him. As a junior, Henry was listed at 241 pounds, and apparently he was just as unstoppable with 2,610 yards and 33 touchdowns. Hey, where's that video?
Considering that he put on nearly 20 pounds between his sophomore and junior seasons, I wonder how big he'll be once he makes it to the University of Georgia—where he committed to last summer.
16. Jaylon Smith: LB (Fort Wayne, IN)
Jaylon Smith is a truly impressive athlete. At 6'3" and 202 pounds, he possesses great size and speed and appears to have plenty of room to add weight at the next level.
On a completely separate note, Smith would have been ranked higher on this list, if it weren't for the fact that two of the first few plays appear to be illegal ones. The opening play (:05 seconds in) shows Smith making illegal contact with a receiver and then intercepting the pass that was intended for him. A few plays later (:45 seconds in), you can clearly see Smith throw down a defender who attempts to defend the screen pass, an obvious pass interference call.
What's worse is that these plays didn't even need to be included.
Smith is clearly a special athlete with unlimited potential for the college game and has offers from coast to coast. Sometimes I wonder what people are thinking when they cut these videos.
15. Marcell Harris: DB (Orlando, FL)
Marcell Harris is a punishing defender and an amazing special teams player. The same instincts that get him to the the ball-carrier to make a tackle, serve him well as a kick returner.
What's even more impressive?
This five-minute video that's packed with spectacular plays contains only five games from his junior season.
He also possesses an amazing skill for stripping the football on his tackles, which only makes him more dangerous as a defender.
In addition, he's another prospect that has the height (6'2" and 205 pounds) to possibly make the switch to linebacker at some point down the road.
14. Shane Morris: QB (Warren, MI)
Shane Morris might be a bit thin at the moment (6'3" and 183 pounds) but boy can he sling the ball. Like most left-handed QBs his throwing motion looks incredible, and he's got amazing accuracy and touch on his deep passes. On top of that, Morris shows some good athleticism on his bootleg passes and designed runs.
Morris has apparently been committed to Michigan since May of his sophomore year, so Wolverine fans have something to look forward to once Denard Robinson ends his career in Ann Arbor.
13. Robert Nkemdiche: DE (Loganville, GA)
I can hear it now. "What?! This guy is the No. 1 prospect in the country? How could his video be ranked this low?!" Just hear me out.
Yes, Robert Nkemdiche is truly a special blend of size and athleticism. After all, how many times does one see a 6'5" and 265-pound tailback?
My issue with this video is that virtually no one expects Nkemdiche to play running back in college, and yet the viewer is fed a steady diet of toss-sweeps and off-tackle runs that don't mean a whole lot in evaluating his talent as a college player.
It's not until almost minute in that we start to see Nkemdiche's play as a defensive lineman, and the best plays by far are stacked into the last minute of the 2:37 reel.
Nkemdiche might be the No. 1 overall recruit (on the Rivals 100), but the video editing of this highlight reel knocks him down a few pegs.
12. Henry Poggi: DE (Baltimore, MD)
Hall of Fame linebacker Dave Wilcox once said, "What I do best is not let people block me. I just hate to be blocked.” After watching his video, my guess is that Henry Poggi would echo that statement.
Poggi is a relentless defensive lineman and a devastating blocker from the tight end position, and he seems to have a "mean streak" unlike many players I've ever seen. He routinely tosses his blocker to the side and pins the defender under his weight when he's blocking.
At 6'3" and 250 pounds, Poggi also looks like he has plenty of room to grow over the coming years. This news should be exciting to the program that lands him and a nightmare to those offenses in the conference that must face him.
11. Leon McQuay III: S (Seffner, FL)
A safety who hits like a linebacker.
That was my first impression upon watching this tape. Leon McQuay III is listed at 6'2" and 177 pounds but plays like a guy who weighs 200-plus pounds.
His timing on his hits is impeccable as well. Always seeming to strike the receiver at the moment the ball arrives and giving no time for the opposing player to secure the football.
There's no doubt that McQuay will fill out as his career progresses, and I truly feel sorry for those wide receivers who have to run crossing routes through his defense.
10. Kendall Fuller: DB (Olney, MD)
Kendall Fuller is a big cornerback prospect (6'0" and 185 pounds) with an obvious instinct to know where the ball is going and great hands. There's a great play right off the bat where he jumps a route and takes the interception the distance.
He also shows an ability to power through blocks and make tackles in the open field.
Then, around the two-minute mark, he also shows off his abilities as a kick/punt returner.
And as if that weren't enough, the last two minutes feature Fuller's considerable talents as a wide receiver.
9. Michael Hutchings: LB (Concord, CA)
Great video. Great player. Michael Hutchings is a linebacker with special abilities to read plays and react to the ball. He cuts through the line to meet running backs head-on and has the speed and hands to drop into coverage and snatch an interception as well.
At 6'2" and 210 pounds, Hutchings could very well play safety in some defensive schemes at the next level and excel well beyond where he might at the linebacker position.
His athleticism is off the charts, and that shines even though he plays for an extraordinary football team at De La Salle.
8. Vernon Hargreaves III: DB (Tampa, FL)
I usually deduct some major points for not having a current highlight reel, but in Vernon Hargreaves' defense, the kid was spectacular as a sophomore and this 2010 footage is legit.
People throw around the term "lock-down cornerback" too much these days, but it certainly fits this kid's skills at the position.
In just over five minutes, Hargreaves shows off his considerable coverage skills, his hard-nosed tackling ability and his talent for making great plays on special teams.
The most impressive play, however, might occur at the three-minute mark, where Hargreaves defends a wide receiver on the near side of the field and still manages to track down a breakaway running back on the far side of the field.
I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for his junior highlights...and hoping he commits to my favorite team come February 2013.
7. Max Redfield: DB/WR (Mission Viejo, CA)
Max Redfield is one of those truly rare players that looks equally comfortable at any position he plays on the field.
His highlight reel starts off with some very impressive catches as a wide receiver, including one where he completely readjusts to an under thrown ball and makes a great grab. The footage then transitions to Redfield making interceptions and blowing up ball-carriers from his safety position—and finally shows him make a phenomenal special teams play on a blocked field goal attempt.
At 6'2" and 195 pounds, Redfield reminds me of another two-way kid from Southern California from a could years back: Marquise Lee. And just like the current USC Trojan, I could see Redfield making his mark on either side of the ball and standing out no matter where he lands in college.
6. Montravius Adams: DT (Vienna, GA)
This kid is the very definition of "disruptive."
After watching a few plays, it's clear that Montravius Adams is nearly impossible to block at the high school level. He is a scary mix of strength, agility and speed and has great instincts on the snap to get around anyone that stands in his way.
At 6'3" and 290 pounds, Adams already has the size to play defensive tackle at the next level and will only get stronger in the years to come.
As for the video, there's a slight problem with the lack of spot shadowing Adams in order to maximize the effect of the highlights—but once you get used to the fact that No. 52 always lines up over the center, it's pretty easy to follow.
5. Ricky Seals-Jones: Athlete (Sealy, TX)
At 6'5" and 220 pounds, with tons of speed and athleticism, Ricky Seals-Jones looks like the spitting image of 2011's No. 1 overall player Dorial Green-Beckham.
This highlight video has a little bit of everything, and everything is pretty friggin' spectacular—long runs from the quarterback position, a great open-field block to help a teammate to intercepting a pass (yeah, he apparently plays safety) and taking it the distance.
This kid jumps off the screen.
Yet another early commit to Mack Brown's Texas squad; this kid could easily play wide receiver, or if he gains 10-15 pounds, he could create some nightmare matchups at tight end.
4. Reuben Foster: LB (La Grange, GA)
Reuben Foster is another player who plays both ways in high school. And although he's an impressive running back, it's at linebacker where he truly stands out.
Which is why it's a bit confusing that his tape starts off with three pretty impressive runs before transitioning to his defensive footage.
At 6'2" and 228 pounds, Foster is the type of linebacker that gives his competition nightmares. His speed, ability to shed blocks and instincts for seeking out the ball-carrier are simply amazing. He drives the offensive player backwards tackle after tackle and switches direction on a dime.
Foster is already committed to Alabama, adding more firepower to the the already stout Crimson Tide defense.
3. Eddie Vanderdoes: DT (Placer, CA)
At 6'4" and 285 pounds, Eddie Vanderdoes is college ready as a junior in high school.
It's hard to describe such a big human being as "light on his feet," but that's exactly what comes across on Vanderdoes' highlight reel. On any given play, he runs around, through and over the offensive player trying to block him and yet always has his eye on the ball carrier.
It's truly remarkable that even though he plays with his hand on the ground, it feels like you're watching a giant linebacker cutting through the defense and leveling the ball carrier. The motor never stops.
If there's one criticism of the tape, it's that, at just over eleven minutes, the running time could have been cut in half and had the same impact.
2. Joey Bosa: DE (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Okay, first things first, Joey Bosa stands 6'5" and weighs 260 pounds. Second, he starts off his video with a perfectly executed BACK FLIP?! The guy gets style points right there, but he also gives you a taste of the athleticism that's to come on his film.
Oh yeah, and from strictly a "film" perspective, this thing is top notch. Great camera work and excellent spot shadowing of Bosa on every play.
Bosa is everything you love about a defensive lineman if he plays for your team and everything you hate if he plays for your rival. He's got a real mean streak in him and plays with the kind of aggression that makes defensive coordinators swoon.
He's also got long arms for swatting passes and keeping away offensive linemen, as well as speed for tracking down running backs and quarterbacks in a hurry.
But as much as Bosa's film impresses in 2012, the possibility of adding 20-30 pounds to that lean frame has to impress college coaches from around the country even more.
1. Dorian O'Daniel: LB (Olney, MD)
Dorian O'Daniel is a defensive coordinator's dream and also the top prospect video of 2013...so far anyways.
A linebacker with more than just physical abilities, O'Daniel makes impressive pre-snap reads and always seems a step ahead of the offense lining up against him.
Just watch his feet on every defensive play before the ball is snapped. You can clearly see a guy who's studied game films and knows how certain alignments give away the path of the ball-carrier.
Or perhaps he's picked up these bits of information from playing running back, which he also does quite well. Either way, these unique skills led to an amazing 17 tackles-for-loss and five sacks as a junior.
At 6'1" and 205 pounds, O'Daniel needs to gain some weight to play linebacker at the next level. Or perhaps he could make the transition to strong safety? At any rate, it appears that the sky is the limit for a kid with "football smarts" like this.