College Football Scouting Reports for the Top 25 Recruits of 2013
National signing day is upon us, and Full Ride is pleased to introduce you to the Top 25 recruits of the 2013 class. Keep reading to see scouting reports for future stars of college football.
Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting star ratings and rankings are courtesy of a composite system from 247Sports.
25. WR Ricky Seals-Jones
Committed to Texas A&M
As one of the most talked-about recruits in the 2013 class, Ricky Seals-Jones stands to make waves at the next level.
With an eye-opening combination of size, speed and athleticism, the 6'5", 230-pound athlete has the tools to either be a dynamic dual-threat quarterback, or a serious weapon at receiver in college. It's easy to get the feeling that no matter where he finds himself, he will make a big impact.
The Texas native is rated as a 5-star recruit and will easily be one of the top athletes to enter the collegiate level.
He's very quick off the line as a receiver, generally using fluidity and finesse to burst past defenders. At this point, he's best as a vertical threat, but he has the tools to develop into a player who can make an impact on short, intermediate and long routes.
As of now, though Seals-Jones could stand to improve as far as route running is concerned. He doesn't play low enough to the ground at times on his cuts, which especially hinders his short routes.
The Sealy High School product also needs to be more physical in general. He has the size to be an asset, even when he faces staunch press coverage, but he tends to overly rely on his quickness and speed instead of taking a challenge on the line.
Overall, Seals-Jones is still learning the game of football and its subtleties, but his explosiveness—especially for a player his size—is hard to pass up. Given the right coaching, he could flourish.
24. RB Keith Ford
Committed to Oklahoma
Keith Ford is 5’11”, 203 pounds and hails from Cypress, Tex. He played his final year of high school football at Cypress Ranch, where he led the Mustangs to a 10-5 record and a trip deep into the Texas state playoffs.
Rivals and 247 Sports have differing rankings. Rivals has him as the No. 7 back in the nation and No. 6 overall in Texas, while 247 Sports ranks Ford as the No. 4 player in his position and No. 4 in Texas.
Ford was also an Associated Press Class 5A Honorable Mention All-State selection.
Watch the video to see which NFL player Ford’s game compares to.
23. WR Robert Foster
Committed to Alabama
As one of the top receivers in the 2013 class, 6'2", 185-pound Robert Foster is a 5-star recruit and the top wide receiver in the country, according to 247's rankings.
A speedy receiver who has been clocked in the 40-yard dash in the 4.4 range, Foster has the legs to be a dynamic player down the field.
But what's perhaps more impressive, the prized player from Central Valley High School (PA) has incredible fluidity, burst and change-of-direction skills. He makes the most out of his speed, which makes him a home-run threat at all times. And because of his fluidity, he gets to top speed quickly yet deceptively, oftentimes gaining separation in no time.
Foster also appears to have a natural feel for the game. He seems to know when to turn on the afterburners, find a crease in the defense and explode after the catch. Beyond that, he's a tough, physical player who doesn't shy away from contact. That's instantly apparent when he's returning punts or kicks, and it is also evident in his fearlessness sprinting down the field.
While his physicality will undoubtedly help, Foster will need to bulk up to be a better blocker in college. He also needs to work on his route-running, but that should come in time.
Overall, this is a dynamic, big-time recruit who could become a game-changer at the next level.
22. RB Kelvin Taylor
Committed to Florida
Kelvin Taylor was in diapers when his father, Fred, was helping lead the Florida Gators to a national championship-winning season in 1996.
Fred Taylor is still remembered as a Gators great years later. Now, his son Kelvin is among the top 25 football recruits set to invade college football next season.
Taylor checks in at 5'10", 216 pounds, he rushed for 10,688 yards in four years at Glades Day School in Belle Glade, Fla, and boasts a prototypical running back frame. He has a strong lower body and rarely looks off balance because of it.
Taylor is more of a power back than an elusive one. He's not going to make many guys miss or simply outrun the defense to the end zone. His strengths are his power, instincts and lateral movement. He keeps moving after contact and has the ability to hit the hole without hesitation to get upfield.
Speed and shiftiness are two areas he could improve on. Not that he isn't quick enough to succeed at the college level, but in order for Taylor to make a real difference against defenses, he'll need to add to that element of his game.
Overall, Taylor is an exceptional player who has the potential to become the next great running back in Gainesville.
21. DE Carl Lawson
Committed to Auburn
The nation's top-ranked weak side defensive end, Carl Lawson had 26 sacks and 36 tackles for a loss his senior season.
Lawson's physicality and quickness off the ball will make him an immediate threat for the Auburn Tigers. He can get after the passer and turn the corner on the pass rush very quickly.
Watch the video to see which NFL player Lawson compares favorably with.
20. RB Thomas Tyner
Committed to Oregon
Scintillating 5-star recruit Thomas Tyner spent his high school days dominated opposing defenses in Oregon.
Tyner, who reportedly runs a 4.3-second 40-yard dash, is considered the No. 20 prospect in the nation, the nation's best running back and the top player in the state of Oregon by 247Sports. A home-run threat every time he touches the ball, Tyner has made a habit of carving up opposing defenses.
His most notable performance was a marvelous game where he broke away for 643 yards and 10 touchdowns against Lakeridge High School (OR).
Tyner also has prototypical size for the FBS level. Listed at 6'0" and 207 pounds, he has more than enough build to withstand the punishment of a college football season. And while his calling card is unquestionably the track-star speed, Tyner has a ton of sneaky power too, keeping his legs until the whistle sounds.
In other words, Tyner is almost a carbon copy of some of the greatest college football stars in recent memory. He will dominate and be a mainstay on many highlight reels during his college career.
19. TE O.J. Howard
Committed to Alabama
O.J. Howard has the athletic ability to be a game-changer and has committed to taking his skills to Alabama. This 6'6", 221-pound prospect is a 5-star recruit, and it's easy to see why.
He has a wide frame that suggests he could easily handle more bulk without losing his explosiveness. Howard will likely end up as a tight end or H-Back, but he also has potential as a pass-rusher. However, it is his soft hands and body control that make him likely headed toward the offensive side of the ball.
He naturally catches the ball away from his body, and he will rarely drop passes that hit him in the hands. To that end, it is easy to hit this lengthy target in the hands. He can cover a lot of space, and he has solid ball skills. This makes him nearly impossible to stop in jump-ball situations.
Further, Howard is a good runner that has enough explosiveness to exploit the seam in defenses. He is not a polished route-runner, but this certainly is not uncommon for a recruit, and solid coaching will help him make quick strides in the department.
Once he gets the ball, he is a load to bring down, and he has an excellent stiff arm. He needs some work blocking, but he has the upper-body strength to effectively use his hands. He also plays with a high motor and appears to be very coachable.
18. DE Chris Jones
Photo courtesy of 247sports
Committed to Mississippi State
Mississippi's top recruit, defensive end Chris Jones was a late comer at the top of the recruiting rankings in the 2013 cycle.
He has gone from unranked by some services to No. 18 in 247's Composite Rankings in a few short months. Jones committed to Mississippi State early, but has been entertaining offers from Auburn and Alabama as of late.
(Jones) has one of the highest ceilings in the class,” Simmons said. “He is so quick off the ball, he has great range on the edge, and he has so much room to improve. He is now the top prospect in Mississippi.
17. DE Jonathan Allen
Committed to Alabama
5-star recruit Jonathan Allen is one of the most intriguing prospects of the 2013 class.
The standout defensive end from Stone Bridge High School (Ashburn, Va.) already possesses an NFL-type body at 6'3" and 260 pounds, but has the explosiveness to get off the ball in a hurry and become a pass-rushing force.
What makes Allen special is his versatility due to such a unique speed-size combination. He can shift to linebacker in the 3-4 scheme, but even as a bookend on the edge, Allen has proven to be stout against the run, chasing running backs to the sidelines when plays bounce to the outside.
As a sophomore at Stone Bridge, Allen registered 20 sacks and eight forced fumbles. While his production hasn't been as eye-popping since, his physical measurements have become increasingly so. Allen also had to overcome double-teams on a consistent basis and still has much room for improvement from a technique standpoint.
With 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash, it is clear that Allen is a rare athletic specimen.
With great coaching, the sky is the limit for Allen. All signs point to him being a future first-round selection when he decides to leave for the pros.
16. CB Kendall Fuller
Committed to Virginia Tech
Cornerback Kendall Fuller hails from Olney, Md., and played his senior year of football at Our Lady Of Good Counsel High School.
The 5-star cover man had a great senior year where he led the Falcons to a 11-1 record with 27 tackles, one sack and three interceptions.
Watch to see which NFL player we compare 247Sports’ No. 3-ranked corner in the country to.
15. DB Jalen Ramsey
Committed to Florida State
Jalen Ramsey will be a major addition in the Seminoles secondary and is expected to be a pure nightmare for opposing quarterbacks.
The 5-star recruit is a terrific athlete who also played wide receiver in high school.
The 6'0", 189-pound defensive back from Brentwood, Tenn., is very long and uses that length to break up passes and create matchup problems. Though he does not have blazing speed, he does have a quick first step and tremendous instincts that allow him to stand toe-to-toe with players who have more natural speed.
There are times when Ramsey is going to struggle in coverage, specifically one-on-one, as he is still learning the position and his technique tends to get sloppy. But it is not such a detriment that it knocks his ceiling down that much. There will be plenty of time to learn all the little intricacies that go into playing cornerback at the next level.
Most alarming of all, Ramsey is just the tip of the iceberg in what promises to be one of the best recruiting classes in the country at Florida State, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
14. WR Laquon Treadwell
Committed to Ole Miss
The class of 2013’s top wide receiver prospect, Laquon Treadwell will be catching football for the Ole Miss Rebels during his collegiate career.
Treadwell announced his decision a couple weeks ago at a press conference in his hometown of Crete, Ill., much to the delight of the folks in Oxford, Miss.
Hugh Freeze and the Rebels are getting a tall and extremely athletic football player in Treadwell, who is 6'3" and runs a 4.4 in the 40.
Find out more about Treadwell and what he means to Ole Miss down the line in the latest from Full Ride.
13. QB Christian Hackenberg
Committed to Penn State
Christian Hackenberg should soon quell any worries about the quarterback position in State College. Out of Fork Union Military High School in Virginia, Hackenberg has quickly established himself as one of the most sought-after recruits in the nation. The 5-star prospect is ranked 13th overall and second among pro-style quarterbacks by 247Sports.
Hackenberg is a true pocket passer. At 6'4" and 210 pounds, he has elite size and a powerful arm that allows him to make pretty much any throw on the field.
In addition to that arm strength, what truly sets him apart from other QBs is his perfect timing and spot-on accuracy. A three-quarters delivery means he isn't truly utilizing his ideal size to the fullest, but that hasn't stopped him from being great so far.
Not only was Hackenberg selected to the Under Armour All-America Game and The Opening, but he also finished in a tie for second in ESPN's Elite 11 quarterback competition.
It will be interesting to see how Hackenberg progresses in the ever-evolving landscape of college football. Judging by his unique skill set, however, that progression will probably go pretty well.
12. RB Derrick Henry
Committed to Alabama
Derrick Henry is easily one of most anticipated players in the nation to hit the collegiate level. Not only is he ranked as the 12th-best prospect and top-ranked athlete in the nation, per 247Sports, but Henry is also the most productive high school running back ever.
And that's not just hyperbole.
In a game in which he carried the ball 58 times for 482 yards and six touchdowns (seriously) en route to a 47-7 Class 4A FHSAA playoff win for Yulee HS in Florida, Henry passed Ken Hall as the nation's all-time leading rusher with 11,610 yards.
But Henry isn't just about the numbers. At 6'3" and 240 pounds, the U.S. Army All-American was a true specimen to behold at the prep level. He can absolutely steamroll defenders, but he's also fast and athletic and can run away from them if necessary.
While he certainly has exciting agility and consistently shows the ability to get outside the tackles, the big running back projects more as a player who will simply need to find the hole and move north. He's someone who would be well served to utilize his size and pound in between the tackles.
With his unique combination of size and athletic ability, Henry could easily play any number of other positions, including anywhere on the defensive edge somewhere as part of the front seven.
No matter where he ends up in Nick Saban's plans, it's safe to say that Derrick Henry is a truly elite prospect who will shine bright on the big stage.
11. QB Max Browne
Committed to USC
Max Browne is the nation’s top quarterback prospect and is ranked 11th overall by 247Sports.
The Sammamish, Wash., star out of Skyline High School stands at 6’5” and 210 pounds—a massive frame that could stand to hold much more muscle—and enters college with plenty of promise.
Browne is the top QB recruit in the nation for good reason. He threw for over 8,000 yards and 95 touchdowns combined in his sophomore and junior seasons—phenomenal numbers he is expected to duplicate at the next level.
Add in the fact that the towering quarterback was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year, and the hype around the young prospect is much deserved.
With Browne’s size and on-field prowess, football fans will be watching a future NFL star suit up on college football Saturdays. Expect to see plenty of highlights from Browne during his collegiate career due to his immense skill set and high football IQ.
10. DT Montravius Adams
Committed to Auburn
At 6’4” and 310 pounds, defensive tackle Montravius Adams has the necessary size to be a critical force in the trenches.
In addition to having an ideal frame, Adams is a remarkable athlete for his position. He has the strength and motor to be a dominant run-stopper, in addition to the explosiveness he has to get after the quarterback.
As Harvey Simpson of the Cordele Dispatch notes, Adams racked up 95 tackles this past season while taking down a ball-carrier in the backfield 34 times before heading into the Class A title game at Vienna High School in Georgia. The tremendous production earned the 5-star prospect a spot in the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game.
Like any high school prospect, Adams still needs to develop his technique and continue learning the nuances of his position. He is a raw talent, but he is also an extremely exciting player.
His physical skills give him unlimited potential, and as long as he continues to work on his craft, he will be a star at the collegiate level.
9. DT Kenny Bigelow
Committed to USC
A 5-star defensive tackle, 247Sports ranks Kenny Bigelow as the No. 9 overall prospect in the class and second-best defensive tackle.
Based on his highlight reel, Bigelow seems fully worthy of his hype. An explosive player with a fantastic burst off the line, he has been a superstar almost since the moment he stepped foot on the Eastern Christian Academy campus.
Bigelow has the ability to be extremely disruptive against both the pass and run, projecting as a three-down lineman at the next level. After also playing tight end and linebacker in high school, he's a guy with far more nimbleness than most at defensive tackle.
The Maryland product will be a welcome addition to the college football scene. Fans should expect to see him wreak havoc each week, as Kenny Bigelow is a name all football fans will remember.
Bigelow is exactly the type of prospect who can help bring forth a cultural change to the troubled USC program. It's not a guarantee that he will step right in and become an instant star as a freshman. Still, there is little reason to think Bigelow won't live up to his massive hype.
8. LB Matthew Thomas
Committed to Florida State
Linebacker Matthew Thomas is a raw talent, but he has all of the elements to become an All-Star at the next level. The 6'3", 210-pound monster creates havoc and pursues the ball extremely well.
Watch to see which NFL player Thomas compares favorably with and why 19 schools have shown interest in the linebacker.
7. DT Eddie Vanderdoes
Committed to Notre Dame
Eddie Vanderdoes is a 5-star recruit widely considered to be the best DT prospect in the nation.
Quick and aggressive, the 6'2", 310-pound lineman is a relentless pass-rusher and is very effective against the run game. As a senior, Vanderdoes accounted for over 70 tackles and nine sacks.
6. LB Reuben Foster
Committed to Alabama
The nation's top-ranked inside linebacker, Reuben Foster has had a very public recruiting process, as he decommitted from both Alabama and Auburn before committing to Alabama again on Monday night.
The 6’1”, 240-pound prospect led his high school to an 11-2 record the past year, with 49 tackles and six sacks.
Every suitor will be holding their collective breath on national signing day to see if the 5-star prize will flip one last time away from Tuscaloosa.
5. S Su'a Cravens
Committed to USC
One of the many gems of USC's recruiting class, Su'a Cravens is arguably the best two-way player in the nation.
While he has the speed, size, hands and jumping ability to be a terrific wide receiver or running back, the Vista Murrieta star will likely spend his days on the defensive side of the ball with the Trojans.
Cravens ranks as the fifth-best overall prospect and top safety by 247Sports' estimate. And despite coming out of the football hotbed that is California, he is listed as the best player from the state. It doesn't take long to see why, either, as Cravens is clearly an absolutely electric player no matter where he stands on the field.
At 6'1" and 205 pounds, he still doesn't have the ideal size to play at linebacker in the Pac-12, but he certainly has the potential to land there.
Cravens provides coaches with immense versatility. Cravens is strong and aggressive, plays fast, hits hard and has shown the ability to slip past blockers and get into the backfield. Of course, he also demonstrates the footwork, instincts, quickness and ball skills of an elite safety in coverage.
A truly unique talent, it's difficult to label Cravens with a position right now, which is definitely not the worst problem to have as far as real problem go.
4. OT Laremy Tunsil
Committed to Ole Miss
Laremy Tunsil will be a huge signing for one of the colleges that is hot on his trail.
This offensive tackle hails from Lake City, Fla., and is a monster of a player with a 6’6”, 295-pound frame. He helped Columbia High School to a 11-2 record with a rushing attack that gained 236.1 yards per game.
247Sports ranks Tunsil as the top offensive tackle in the 2013 class.
3. CB Vernon Hargreaves III
Committed to Florida
Every school in the nation seemed to want Vernon Hargreaves III—and rightfully so.
Football excellence runs in the Florida commit's family. The 5'11", 185-pound product of Wharton High School in Tampa, Fla., is the son of South Florida defensive end and special teams coach Vernon Hargreaves II.
Vernon is heralded as being one of the smartest and quickest defensive back recruits whose only area of improvement is in his tackling ability. And even that isn't of huge concern.
Hargreaves is a 5-star recruit who ranks as the best cornerback prospect and the third-best prospect overall. In his senior season, Hargreaves had five picks, five forced fumbles, 110 total tackles and two fumble recoveries. He is also ready—right now—to step onto the field and dominate.
The honors have barely stopped rolling in for Hargreaves, who was recently named a Florida Mr. Football finalist, according to the Tampa Bay Times, after being named Florida's Class 8A Player of the Year by the Florida Dairy Farmers.
Hargreaves' versatility is what truly sets him apart. He also has experience as a wide receiver and will be a valuable asset on special teams. You can expect to see Hargreaves get in the mix very quickly at the collegiate level, where he is bound to have a long and successful career—and make SEC QBs wish they had chosen another conference.
2. LB Jaylon Smith
Committed to Notre Dame
Jaylon Smith is a flat-out playmaker, good enough that 247 Sports ranks him as the top outside linebacker in the 2013 class. Watch the video to see which NFL player Smith’s skills compare to.
He played his high school ball in Fort Wayne, Ind., and his 6’3”, 218-pound body makes him a great fit in any defense.
Smith helped Bishop Luers High to a great 2012 with an 11-4 record. He was a dual-threat player, as he played both linebacker and running back for the Knights.
1. DE Robert Nkemdiche
Committed to Ole Miss
Robert Nkemdiche is a monster. The nation's top-ranked recruit possesses talent rarely seen from a defensive end as an incoming freshman. Almost every recruiting service agrees Nkemdiche is the top player of this year's class, illustrating exactly how highly regarded the 6'4'', 285-pound pass-rusher is around the country.
What makes Nkemdiche special is his extraordinary combination of size, strength and athleticism. A lot of recruits, especially those who are still early in their development as players, usually feature one of those traits. The Grayson High School sensation stood out because he wraps all three into one well-built package, which left coaching staffs around the country in awe. Players with his type of potential simply don't come around often. He is as close to a can't-miss prospect as you can get.
He is not just a pure edge-rusher, either. The Georgia native has already shown the ability to stuff the run just as well as he attacks the passer, and he made getting in the opponent's backfield an every-down occurrence.
Nkemdiche still faces some hurdles on his journey to stardom, however. The transition from high school to college is typically a tough one for defensive linemen. The offensive lines he will face next fall will be exponentially better than what he has faced so far.
The other thing he will find out quickly is that highlight-reel plays aren't enough anymore. He needs to assert himself as a force from the very first snap and maintain that level of intensity throughout the game. The spotlight will be bright.
That said, he has handled every challenge thrown his way so far and there's no reason to believe that won't be the case moving forward.
Full Ride is Bleacher Report's weekly college football recruiting show that pulls back the curtain to bring you the hottest news, analysis, interviews and highlights. Follow Full Ride on Twitter.