CFB Recruiting 2013: 20 Elite Recruits Expected to Have Monster Senior Seasons
Last year, I remember my jaw dropping when I was writing about Johnathan Gray and his production. Sure, I had heard of Gray a little bit, but when you really paid attention to his stats, they were simply amazing.
With this now being the 2013 cycle, I want to focus on the potential productions of the recruits of this class. I have arrived at a good 20 prospects that I expect to have a big time senior season for their high school teams.
Being productive is what it really comes down too and the following 20 recruits are players whom I project to be the most productive this season. Let's get started.
20. Larenz Bryant, OLB
Bryant is a 6'2", 210-pounder from North Carolina that got 144 tackles and seven picks last year. Then he also chipped in over 1400 yards rushing a 21 TDs.
The South Carolina commit is a very productive football player and even bigger things are expected from this year. Is it a stretch to ask for 170 tackles, 10 interceptions to go along with 1700 yards and 25 TDs?
19. LaQuvionte Gonzalez, WR
Headed to Texas A&M, Gonzalez got his senior season jumping off right last week by rushing for 61 yards and a TD, adding 46 yards receiving and TD and also a 91-yard kickoff return for a TD.
His 5'11" frame is sleek at just 160-pounds, but he's incredibly fast and athletic. I expect a memorable do-it-all type of season from Gonzalez.
18. Tim Williams, DE
Ends are supposed to be productive, but when see a stat line of 115 tackles, 45 for loss and 16 sacks that is just sick.
Tim Williams is one of the top players in the country and the Louisiana native is a 6'4", 230-pound DE that can ball out. 20 sacks should be easily reachable for the explosive edge defender as a senior.
17. Marquez North, WR
Last year, as a junior, North was a primary deep threat as he had over 1000 yards receiving but only 39 grabs. With everything he's learned this off-season, a more well-rounded player is expected be seen around North Carolina.
The 6'3", 210-pounder should use better route running to work more underneath, which should increase his reception total. He still is plenty fast, so his deep speed should increase his yardage to the 1300 range and I expect 25 TDs.
16. E.J. Levenberry, LB
Levenberry is a big 6'2", 230-pound 'backer that excels as a run stuffer. He plugged holes amazingly as a junior which netted him over 150 tackles.
He has improved a good amount this offseason so with size, strength and ability to anchor in run alleys vs. blockers, do not be surprised to see the Florida State pledge get close 200 tackles in Virginia.
15. Laquon Treadwell, WR
Treadwell is a 6'2", 200-pound WR from Illinois that can really run. He has great size, quickness, length and is one of the top offensive play makers in this class.
As a junior, he caught about 75 balls for over 1400 yards and 18 scores. I think he'll end up at Michigan, after a senior season that sees him approach 90 receptions for 1800 yards and over 25 TDs.
14. Mike Mitchell, LB
After shooting up the board this offseason, Mitchell should take the momentum he has right now and light up the Texas high school scene.
He's a big 6'4", LB prospect that weighs close to 220-pounds. With his excellent play speed, tenacity, toughness, instincts and quick read ability Mitchell should top the 151 tackles, 32 TFLs and 11 sacks he had a junior, this season.
13. Derrick Henry, RB
Henry is too big and too fast to not have a monster senior campaign. The Florida native stands 6'3", 240-pounds and has great athleticism.
He rushed for 2610 yards and 33 scores as a junior, so topping that may be tough. Yet, 2700 yards and 40 TDs is reachable for a player of his size and speed.
I expect him to announce for Alabama on the 28th of this month.
12. Dee Liner, DT
Hailing from Alabama, Liner had a junior season that saw him total 83 tackles and 17 sacks. The 6'3", 275-pounder can play both DT and DE, so I expect a season of 100 tackles and over 20 sacks for the Auburn commit, should he stay focused.
11. Greg Bryant, RB
Bryant was one of the best players in Florida as a junior, rushing for over 2100 yards and 25 TDs. He's bulked up to 5'11" and nearly 210-pounds for his senior season.
With his strong running style, strength, vision, quickness and instincts look for Bryant to finish his final season in high school ball at over 2400 yards and 33 TDs.
10. Matthew Thomas, OLB
Thomas had almost 120 tackles as a junior and finished with 13 sacks too. The 6'3", 210-pounder is one of the best defensive players in the country for 2013.
From Miami, he plays for Booker T. Washington High School, which is no stranger to playing big time football. A season of 130 tackles and 25 sacks should be the statistical goal for Thomas.
9. Kenny Bigelow, DT
Bigelow's Maryland high school team will ask him to be more of a play maker at DT than a space eater. This should fit the 6'3", 300-pounder's game perfectly.
After a junior year where he got himself 15 sacks, 20 should be the new goal along with showing better hand usage. Committed to USC, Bigelow is on his way to being a star.
8. Derrick Green, RB
The sad thing for Virginia high school football players that play defense is that Derrick Green is even bigger, faster and stronger than he was as a junior, when he rushed for over 1500 yards and 20 TDs.
That is why I'm comfortable putting him on this list this high because Green should easily top 2000 yards and 30 TDs for his Hermitage High School team.
7. Carl Lawson, DE
Lawson was playing football last year just based off his superior quickness, athleticism and strength to beat many of the blockers that challenged him in Georgia.
Now he has learned a ton this offseason and the 6'2", 255-pounder should see his production sky rocket. He had 80 tackles, 15 sacks and 31 TFLs as a junior.
Committed to Auburn, 100 tackles, 25 sacks and 45 TFLs are all attainable goals for him.
6. Justin Davis, RB
It's going to be interesting to see the final stats for Davis, as he plays with Zack Greenlee who's an emerging QB prospect for Lincoln High School in Central California.
The 6'0", 200-pound Davis ran for almost 2400 yards and 36 scores total last year. He could approach those same numbers, top them or even see his production decrease due to the rise of Greenlee in the passing game.
Davis is committed to USC.
5. Robert Nkemdiche, DE
Nkemdiche plays on a Grayson High School team in the Atlanta area that could be tops in the country.
He doesn't seem like the type that would let his senior season fizzle and whimper so the 19 sacks he had last year should increase.
He's the top player in the country, has something to prove every time he's on the field and is too big and strong at 6'4", 270-pounds not to have a monster senior season.
4. Ty Isaac, RB
Isaac is a big 6'3", 220-pound RB with good speed, elusiveness, burst and receiving ability.
The Joilet High School baller is committed to USC and coming off of a 2100 yard and 45 TD junior season. His rushing numbers could decrease, but only because Isaac's receiving ability should be featured a bit more.
Nonetheless, another huge campaign and a state title game appearance is very likely to happen.
Update: According to ESPN.com, Issac was hurt in the first game of the season but should be back before the end of September.
3. Reuben Foster, LB
Foster won't let the hassles of transferring from Troup County in Georgia to Auburn High School in Alabama hinder his senior season.
The 6'2", 245-pounder had 185 tackles and 14 sacks last year, so 200 tackles and 20 sacks is the next step. Perhaps the best pure football player in America, look for Foster to first wow Auburn as a high school senior then as a collegian.
2. Max Browne, QB
Browne threw for over 4000 yards and 45 TDs as a junior. His interception total was just seven, showing that he knew where to throw the football, made good decisions and was accurate.
This year, the 6'5", 215-pound USC commit from Seattle should throw for over 4500 yards, 50 TDs and no more than five picks.
1. Kelvin Taylor, RB
Taylor has been producing since the eighth grade in Florida football and does it at Glades Day High School in Belle Glade.
He's a 5'11", 216-pounder with excellent quickness, vision, instincts, good speed and lateral agility. He ran for 2884 yards and 40 touchdowns last year and I truly believe that a 3000 yard, 45-50 TD season could be in the works
If so, he would easily be my pick for Mr. Football in Florida and perhaps Gatorade National Player of the Year for 2013.
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.