The college football recruiting class of 2013 is filled with a plethora of extremely talented football players, but which position groups are the strongest?
Figuring that out goes a long way in helping us characterize what this class is about. Does it feature star quarterbacks of the future? Will it be a class that's remembered for offense or defense?
This also helps us notice trends in football. If a whole bunch of elite offensive prospects are being recruited, chances are we'll see some great offensive football in the next few years. The same could be said for defense.
Either way you look at it, it's good to know the strength of a recruiting class. Here's a breakdown of the three strongest positions in the class of 2013:
Note: All rankings for this breakdown via the 247Sports composite rankings.
5-star inside linebacker Reuben Foster, who's currently committed to Auburn, is arguably the biggest name at linebacker. He checks in at 6'1'', 250 pounds and displays all the intangibles that lead one to believe he can be great. He's extremely physical, fundamentally sound and he can play strong at the line of scrimmage while also being effective laterally.
Another must-know linebacker in this class is 5-star outside linebacker Jaylon Smith, who's a Notre Dame commit. Smith is 6'3'', 218 pounds, so he has the size to be a physical linebacker, but he also runs a 4.44 40-yard-dash according to 247Sports. He possess top-notch speed that will allow him to be effective in space, and also as a pass-rusher.
Other great linebackers that will be entering the college ranks in this class are 5-star Matthew Thomas (uncommitted), 4-star Trey Johnson (uncommitted) and 4-star Daniel McMillian (committed to Florida) amongst many others.
A big name you'll want to remember is 5-star receiver Laqon Treadwell, who's currently uncommitted. Treadwell is 6'3'', 195 pounds and he clocked a 4.40 in the 40-yard-dash according to 247Sports, so he's big and fast enough to really stretch the field as a receiver. He also possesses great athleticism and football instincts, so he's a receiver that's going to be able to run any route you ask him to and he'll make a lot of big plays.
Another player that should take off really fast is 5-star receiver Derrick Griffin, who's committed to Texas A&M. He's 6'7'', 210 pounds, so he has the potential to become a huge target for the Aggies. The fact that he'll be playing with Johnny Manziel will only boost how effective he can be, so don't be surprised if he becomes a star in college football.
Other big receiver names from this class include 5-star receiver/athlete Ricky Seals-Jones (uncommitted), 5-star Robert Foster (uncommitted) and 5-star Robbie Rhodes (commited to Baylor), but that's only scratching the surface.
2013 features a few top notch 5-star cornerbacks in Kendall Fuller (Virginia Tech commitment), Vernon Hargreaves III (Florida commitment) and Jalen Ramsey (USC commitment). All three players have that important combination of speed, physicality and athleticism that will make them shutdown corners at the college level.
They'll be able to play strong against the run, but most importantly, they'll make plays when the ball is in the air.
Other corners from this class that are sure to make noise at the college level are 5-star Mackensie Alexander (uncommitted), 4-star Cameron Burrows (Ohio State commitment),and 4-star Priest Willis (uncommitted)
One of the big trends in this class is the abundance of playmakers. As football continues to trend towards spread offenses and high-octane passing attacks, we'll see positions like outside linebacker and cornerback continue to become more and more important. They'll also be emphasized more at the high school level, which means that the talent at those positions will continue to get better.
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The abundance of wide receivers is also not surprising, and that's a trend that's going to continue. With the passing game becoming so prominent, not just in college football but in the NFL as well, we'll see the need for more than one elite receiver on a team increase.
The edges, flats and seams are going to become more and more important as passing games evolve. Players that can thrive in those zones, as well as defend them, will be in high demand from the high school level all the way up to the NFL.
These players will become very prominent in college football recruiting. The recruiting class of 2013 is proof of that.