Army All-American Game 2013: Ranking the Top 10 Defensive Recruits Participating
On Saturday, another postseason all-star game domino will fall, as the Army game will kick off in San Antonio. This game is the second of the two big-time all-star games that features the nation's best college football recruits.
Earlier this week, we took a look at the top 10 offensive players participating in this game, so today, it's only right that we switch it up and check out the defense. Whittling the list down to just 10 stud defenders was a tough task, as the rosters for both the East and West squads are both packed with talent.
Yet I had to settle on just 10, so here are the top 10 defensive players at the Army game.
10. Daniel McMillan, LB
A 6'2", 220-pound 'backer, McMillan can play all three spots in a 4-3 alignment. He's headed to Florida, so it'll be interesting to see how he fits in Dan Quinn's scheme.
However, McMillan really looks the part physically and has solid athleticism to fill up run alleys and get to perimeter runs. He shows good movement in his drops, and I think he can play in coverage on passing downs.
9. Mackensie Alexander, CB
A Florida native, Alexander is a confident guy that has the mental acumen of a CB. He's instinctive, quick, speedy and plays with a bit of a chip on his shoulder.
The 5'11", 175-pound cover man has deceptive strength and can press a WR at the line. He mirrors well and has very good transition quickness.
8. Mike Mitchell, LB
Seeing Mitchell run and hit on Saturday should be fun, as he's a big 'backer at 6'4" and 220 pounds. He's from Texas and plays with great strength at the point of attack, toughness and straight-line speed.
Mitchell is expected to announce his decision on Saturday between Oregon, Ohio State and Texas A&M. I'd be pretty shocked if he didn't choose Ohio State.
7. Eddie Vanderdoes, DT
Vanderdoes is a complete and huge load in the middle at 6'3", 305 pounds. He could possibly be the strongest player amongst the top recruits in the country this year and is a man at the point of attack.
The Northern California native has good snap quickness, heavy hands and fights to pressure with good power. He was committed to USC, but has re-opened his recruitment.
6. Jonathan Allen, DE
A 6'3", 255-pound edge defender, Allen is from Virginia and can play with his hand in the dirt or standing up. He blasts off the ball and crosses the line of scrimmage quickly to squeeze the pocket, bends well and has the ability to convert speed to power.
Committed to Alabama, Allen is a great fit for Kirby Smart's versatile-oriented scheme. He can play rush end in 30-fronts and move to a traditional DE when the Tide move to 40-fronts.
5. Kendall Fuller, CB
Fuller is headed to play where his brothers did at Virginia Tech. He's a 5'11", 190-pound CB prospect with tremendous all-around athleticism.
I like him best as a one-on-one man cover corner. Fuller has solid press jam ability to re-route receivers, hips to mirror their releases and speed to carry people deep. He'll come up and help in run support and can be dangerous when returning picks.
4. Kenny Bigelow, DT
Bigelow has been pretty dominant this week during Army game practices. His 6'3", 297-pound frame has excellent snap quickness, strength and slippery ability to penetrate gaps.
Bigelow is such a good athlete for a big man that he could see time as a strong side DE at USC. If he wanted to, he could become a great TE too. His instincts and natural talent should make him a multi-year starter.
3. Jaylon Smith, OLB
Smith made the trip to Texas from Indiana this week and should be one of the best players on the field Saturday. He's a 6'3" OLB that weighs between 215-220 pounds and has impressive athletic ability.
Smith, a Notre Dame commit, excels in coverage, as he's almost like a big safety. He can sustain coverage matchups against any offensive skill position while being a solid run defender too.
2. Eli Apple, CB
Apple is from New Jersey and committed to Ohio State pretty early in the process. He's a big corner that stands nearly 6'1" while weighing 185 pounds.
Thanks to his incredible instincts, anticipation and awareness, Apple makes plays many other CBs can't. He shows great coverage ability, speed, transition speed and discipline.
Apple's a smart player and a recruit I expect to see on the field for Urban Meyer as a true freshman.
1. Su'a Cravens, S
Remember in last year's Army game how it was pretty apparent Shaq Thompson was the best player on the field?
Well, Cravens has that type of ability, and he could very well be the best overall and all-around football player in San Antonio right now.
At 6'1", 205 pounds, Cravens can play safety, WR, OLB or RB. He is blessed athletically, but has outstanding instincts and a natural feel for the game. I like him best as a roaming SS, where he can factor on all three levels of a defense.
He's the player that I'm most anxious to see on Saturday, and that's saying something.
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.