One Skill the Top 10 College Football Recruits of 2013 Class Must Improve
If you ask any player that is serious about his craft, he'll tell you that there's always something in his game and skills that he can get better at. The drive to improve is vital and is what separates the good from the great; just ask Jerry Rice.
If you're not getting better, then you're getting worse, and that applies to the top 10 recruits of this 2013 class. Each of them have something that they can improve upon and after studying them on tape throughout this cycle, I'm pretty sure I know what it is for each of them.
In this piece, I'm going to list one thing that each top 10 recruit can improve on. Let's get this thing going!
10. Kelvin Taylor, RB
Taylor is the best pure RB prospect in the country right now and is committed to Florida. At 5'11", 216 pounds, he has great quickness, instincts, vision, hands and runs with solid power.
He is a quicker-than-fast athlete that has great elusiveness but lacks long speed. I would like to see him work on his speed training and try to add an extra gear to consistently finish long runs in the SEC.
9. Carl Lawson, DE
Lawson is at this slot on my board right now due to some movement by other prospects. He's still an elite player and the 6'2", 252-pounder is as explosive a DE as we've seen in some time.
What I think Lawson can improve is his quickness at locating ball-carriers. Sometimes he can get so caught up at beating up a blocker physically at the point of attack that a ball-carrier can get free.
Locating the ball and separating from blockers quickly is the skill Lawson can improve.
8. Eli Apple, CB
Apple has all the tools to become an All Big Ten CB and possibly more. He's 6'0", 185 pounds, is a great athlete and has outstanding football intelligence.
The only knock I have on him right now is his wrap-tackling ability. He'll come up in run support, but I think he could become a better tackler with refined technique. If not, he may become a leaky yardage tacker in Columbus.
7. Jaylon Smith, OLB
Smith is a 6'3", 220-pound OLB headed to Notre Dame that excels in pass coverage. I think he's a safe prospect to not become a bust due to worse case scenario that he's a nickel LB.
Smith has good instincts and can attack ball-carriers to stop the run, but he has got to get stronger at shedding OLs to free himself up. Getting coached up on this area of his game will take it to new heights.
6. Kenny Bigelow, DT
Bigelow is a physical force in the trenches due to the 6'3', 297-pounder's explosiveness, athleticism and strength.
He can just simply get it done as a DL and could play some DE in Clancy Pendergast's varying defensive scheme.
Bigelow has beat competition on the high school level by being more athletic and stronger than his opponents. He needs to develop more moves as a pass-rusher and start to learn how formulate plans to set up blockers' downs ahead of the current one.
5. Matthew Thomas, OLB
What an athletic marvel Thomas is at 6'3", 210 pounds. He has special athletic traits and the speed to hawk ball-carriers down through traffic with ease.
Thomas also is a good pass-rusher and can attack a passer with solid snap quickness off the edge.
He needs to add more bulk and get stronger in his take-ons. Thomas won't be able to run around every single block in college and will need to challenge OLs at the point of attack, shed them and make stops.
That'll come with added strength and coaching.
4. Su'a Cravens, S
A gifted athlete, Cravens could easily play RB, WR or OLB and still be among the nation's best. He's 6'1", 205 pounds and is an incredibly natural instinctive football player.
He's due to play safety at USC and has the speed, ball skills, football intelligence and playmaking ability to factor as a true freshman. The only thing Cravens has to be concerned about from a skill set stand point is his man coverage skills.
He's not a lockdown cover man and will need to quickly hone his man coverage ability to play against WRs in the offensive-oriented Pac-12.
3. Reuben Foster, LB
It's not hard to see Foster's main weakness and skill he must improve. If you don't know by now, then I'll tell you: pass coverage.
The 6'2", 242-pounder can do everything to stop the run and has the athleticism to be a solid zone defender. He just needs to get more reps at buzzing back, locating receivers and being more aware of his surroundings and the ball.
He flashed some pass coverage skills at the Under Armour game, which leads me to think that he's on the right track.
2. Vernon Hargreaves III, CB
A special player, Hargreaves was amazing at the Under Armour game if you're an evaluator.
He just has the makings of a complete corner and I'm not afraid to say that he possibly could be the best CB prospect in recruiting history.
He has solid size at 5'11", 185 pounds and can leap with any WR in the country. However, Hargreaves has to continue working on his jump ball play to make sure bigger college WRs don't get the best of him routinely on red-zone fades.
1. Robert Nkemdiche, DE
The nation's top prospect has excellent power, strength, explosiveness, ball location skills and size at 6'5" and nearly 280 pounds.
He just needs to learn how to use his hands better to shed and separate from blocks. Right now he gets by on overpowering opponents and being quicker than them.
With that hand use will come more moves in his pass-rushing ability, and if that happens, then we could be watching a Michael Strahan-type of DE develop in front of our eyes.
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.