College Football Recruiting 2013: 10 Potential Plug-and-Play Recruits
An aspect that we forget about in recruiting is that these prospects are just 17 and 18 years old and that they still have a ton of developing to do. From a physical standpoint, they still are growing and adding weight and strength.
Then, from a mental standpoint, they have much to learn technique-wise and instinct-wise. However, there are a handful of prospects that flash "plug and play" potential. This means that you sign 'em up, plug 'em in your lineup and play 'em.
Here are 10 prospects that could fit that mold.
10. Keith Ford, RB
The main traits that get the 5'11", 200-pound RB from Texas on this list are his tackle-breaking ability and his run vision.
Ford has the strength to gain yards as his own blocker and escape the clutches of a tackler. Committed to Oklahoma, Ford definitely has a chance to be a workhorse back almost immediately.
9. Tim Williams, DE
The role for which you can plug and play Williams in isn't as a starting, every-down DE, but as your third-down/designated pass-rusher.
Williams and his 6'3", 230-pound frame can get after the passer as well as anyone in the country.
You can take his letter of intent, shorten up his defensive playbook, use camp to add a move or two to his pass-rush plan and tell the Louisiana native to "go squeeze the pocket" on passing downs.
8. Eli Woodard, CB
Woodard, from New Jersey, has excellent instincts, awareness, quickness and size at 6'0" and 185 pounds. He shows a muscular frame that could see him move to safety down the line.
Yet his cover skills are so good that Woodard can plug and play as your nickel corner right now. He can copy a WR on the line, flip his hips open to turn and run, chop his feet down and drive on the ball to make a bid for it.
He's headed to Ohio State.
7. Ty Isaac, RB
Isaac is an RB from Illinois that goes 6'2"-6'3" and nearly 220 pounds. He has solid run strength, but his best trait is his quickness, speed and hands.
Isaac can burst to and through holes, using good vision to see creases from behind the line, and he has the strength to challenge in an alley sometimes and the wiggle to elude in the open field.
He can also be deployed into the slot or the wide perimeter and catch like a WR. He's committed to USC.
6. Eddie Vanderdoes, DT
I'm usually reluctant to put any trench players on these type of lists, because the beating OLs and DLs take is not for the faint of heart and true freshmen usually aren't ready.
Well, the 6'4", 295-pound Vanderdoes may be ready, as he has excellent strength. Vanderdoes has good initial quickness, solid agility and some short-area pursuit ability, but he can stop and stack the run in college right now.
He has brute strength and can anchor and be a run-stopper immediately. It'll be nice to see how the NorCal native fares at The Opening.
5. Derrick Green, RB
Green, from Virginia, has really gotten better this offseason. His speed has improved and so has his foot quickness and burst.
Looking at some of his junior tape, I felt the 6'0", 225-pounder would be just a two-down power back. Yet he has shown the speed and short-area burst to make many think otherwise lately.
With his size, strength, quickness and solid speed, you can plug and play Green as your top RB.
4. Kenny Bigelow, DL
Bigelow is another DL that's ready for college ball right now. From Delaware, he goes 6'3", 297 pounds and is just a beast.
Bigelow can explode off the ball at the snap, work into an OL's body, punch physically at the point of attack, separate with quickness and burst on either the ball-carrier or the passer.
Whether it be as a three-technique DT or as a strong-side DE at USC, look for Bigelow to get early playing time and be a young standout.
3. Vernon Hargreaves III, CB
Hargreaves is ready to play for a BCS program today. He's extremely instinctive, smart and heady, as the Florida native goes 5'11" and 185 pounds.
Hargreaves has perhaps the best CB technique in the country and shows excellent cover awareness.
With quick feet, loose hips, a quick close on the ball and good speed, you can plug and play Hargreaves as a CB and he'll be fine.
2. Robert Nkemdiche, DE
Nkemdiche looks like a college junior already. From Georgia, he stands 6'5" and 270 pounds and has outstanding, overwhelming strength.
Nkemdiche is a man amongst boys and has the frame, strength, power, quickness, athleticism and pursuit speed to factor from day one.
He's the No. 1 recruit in the country, and any school that signs him is pretty much getting an instant starter.
1. Reuben Foster, LB
The more I watch film of this guy, the more I want to watch film on this guy.
Reuben Foster has a chance to be special. If I were him, I'd find it hard to be entertained playing my senior year in high school football. Foster is ready for the big time and could seriously fight for playing time at Alabama next year.
The 6'2", 245-pound 'backer has every physical tool you need to have, plus great instincts, ball vision and playmaking ability.
He may not start at 'Bama as a true freshman, but at any other program, you would take his letter of intent and put his name atop the MLB depth chart.
Edwin Weathersby has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects & writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (now ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.