I've commented several times during this 2013 recruiting cycle that the defensive talent in in this class is very impressive. More defensive prospects sit at the top of the board than last year and the defensive depth in this class is great.
When things shake out on signing day and teams look at their full completed classes, rest assured that many programs will be satisfied with their future defensive depth charts stemming from this class. For this read, let's take a quick look at the top 12 defensive prospects that are committed.
These are the 12 best defenders in the country this year who have already committed to schools.
McMillan is a 6'2", 220-pound 'backer that stack in the middle or play on the flanks. He shows quick read and react ability, sniffs out ball carriers and can play with good range.
I really love McMillan's frame, as he appears to be set to add on at least 15-20 pounds in Gainesville. This is a LB that should be able to be a factor on all three downs.
'Bama hit a home run here, as Walker is a perfect scheme fit for their defense. With Nick Saban loving to mix 3-4 and 4-3 alignments, Walker can play DE in 30-fronts and DT when Alabama goes to 40-fronts.
At 6'4" and just about 280 pounds, Walker can surge off the ball well. He's got good length to stay clean, flashes some strength to press blocks and has gap penetration quickness.
Commitment: Ohio State
Burrows is an Ohio native and one of the best CBs in the nation. You have to love his size at 6'2" and 200 pounds, yet Burrows also has the speed to carry WRs deep.
His has solid flexibility in his hips, length to press and re-route at the line and good transition quickness. He'll need to make sure he plays hard each snap in Columbus.
Allen will head south to Tuscaloosa from Virginia. He's a 6'3", 245-pound edge defender that can crash hard. He shows the ability to get into a blocker's body, can bend well and revs up when he is near the passer.
He could be the next great pass rusher for the Crimson Tide.
Vanderdoes may be the strongest top tier prospect in the country.
He's a man in the trenches at 6'4" and 305 pounds. He isn't the quickest off the ball, but Vanderdoes can pop a blocker at the point of attack, stack up, read, shed and use solid pursuit quickness to finish.
He'll be a pocket pusher in the interior and this is a guy that strikes me as a future NFL 3-4 DE prospect.
Commitment: Virginia Tech
Fuller is a very athletic CB prospect with good size at 5'11" and 190 pounds. He can mirror a WR off the line, showing great lateral agility and natural man cover skills.
Fuller has good length to make plays on balls versus bigger WRs, solid speed, transition quickness and is a playmaker when he gets his hands on the ball.
Commitment: Notre Dame
Sometimes when I watch Smith, he's almost a big safety. His coverage skills are very admirable and he can latch on to RBs, TEs and even WRs.
To be able to do that at 6'3", 220 pounds is very impressive. His strength is coming, and Thomas will attack the line of scrimmage versus the run. He'll easily be a three-down 'backer for the Irish.
Commitment: Ohio State
Hailing from New Jersey, Woodard is solid to the Buckeyes. He's a 6'0", 185-pound cover corner that can also work well in zone schemes too. Woodard plays with outstanding awareness, anticipation and discipline.
He's got good size, great athleticism and comes out of transition well. He'll go up and fight for balls and also supports the run off the defensive perimeter.
Not a lot of teams wanted to play Bigelow's squad from Maryland this year, so he didn't get that much game action. That's a shame, because it's a sight to see this 6'3", 300-pounder play.
Bigelow is a great athlete, has excellent snap quickness, plays big at the point of attack, locates the ball quickly and shows good instincts. He can play some DE in various fronts, but projects best as a 3-technique DT at USC.
Lawson, from Georgia, is still committed to Auburn, but his commitment to the Tigers isn't solid at all.
Gus Malzahn is keeping his fingers crossed because he knows getting a 6'1", 250-pound DE with an explosive get off, great strength, shedding ability and versatility isn't easy.
Wherever Lawson ends up, he should be a near immediate contributor.
A marvelous player, Cravens is a natural and instinctive playmaker. He's a 6'1", 205-pounder that will begin his Trojan career as a safety, but could grow into an OLB.
With so much athleticism, a knack for the ball, the ability to play underneath, around the box and on the back end, he's a future star.
I expect Cravens to leave USC as a better player than T.J. McDonald was and being mentioned in the same breath as Troy Polamalu.
Pretty much a complete CB prospect, Hargreaves is the top committed defensive prospect in the nation. He's a 5'11", 180-pounder from Florida that has it all.
From sound technique, deceptive strength, loose hips, mirror ability, transition quickness, speed, awareness and instincts, Hargreaves has it and displays it.
He will come up and try to tag a ball carrier and will be a team captain one day for Will Muschamp.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He 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 and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (formerly 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.