8 Most Versatile 2013 College Football Recruits
Jalin Marshall (Photo: 247Sports.com)
The vast majority of college football recruits step onto campus knowing exactly how they'll be contributing to their football programs. There are quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, linebackers, kickers and all the rest. But there are also those select few who have raw, unadulterated talent who either don't fit into one positional category or, better yet, can play more than one position.
The recruits listed at the “athlete” position can provide a program with some much needed versatility, filling holes in the roster while not being locked into one particular spot before the final depth chart is released.
With that versatility playing an ever-increasing role in the perpetually changing game of college football, we've put together our list of the most versatile “athletes” of the 2013 college football recruiting class.
When Brady Hoke came to Michigan a couple of seasons back, he wanted to make Midwest recruiting, particularly in Michigan itself, a priority. Looking at the 2013 class, Hoke has already secured commitments from six of the state's top 10 recruits, according to Rivals.com.
Among that group is Wyatt Shallman, a 6'3”, 245-pound 4-star recruit from Detroit Catholic Central. Shallman primarily lined up as a fullback in high school, where his size and strength combined for huge chunks of yards. His awareness of the field allowed him to find openings in the defense and exploit them with his moderate speed.
While we will probably see Shallman as a redshirt next season, that should give the coaching staff in Ann Arbor ample time to determine exactly where Shallman will fit in the Wolverines' scheme. Fullback is obviously an option, but so too is linebacker or defensive end.
Tyrell Robinson is a 6'4”, 185-pound 4-star recruit out of Lincoln High School in San Diego, California. Rivals.com has Robinson listed as the No. 14 recruit from the state of California and the No. 5 athlete nationally.
At first glance, Robinson's size may have some believing his versatility will be limited, but after committing to Oregon, the sky's the limit. The Ducks recruit very well for their system, and regardless of a sub-200 weight, Robinson could find himself playing almost any skill position on the field.
Tyrell was primarily a linebacker in high school, but with his quickness, a move to corner isn't out of the realm of possibility. Heck, with the way Oregon does things, Robinson could even be seen on offense or special teams.
Along with his twin brother Tyrell, Tyree Robinson will also be attending Oregon in the fall.
Rivals.com placed Tyrell as the No. 6 athlete nationally, just behind his brother at No. 5.
The similarities between Tyrell and Tyree extend beyond the physical similarities. They both have impressive speed, and their lanky statures (6'4”, 185 lbs) make their running seem almost effortless.
Tyree was a very good wide receiver in high school, and he may continue in that role in college. But like his brother, we're not counting out any skill position at this point.
Cornelius Elder, a 5'11”, 170-pound 4-star recruit out of Ensworth High School in Nashville, Tennessee, is the No. 5 recruit from the Volunteer State, according to Rivals.com.
Elder is also the No. 7 athlete prospect this season and is the highest-ranked athlete that remains uncommitted (as of February 3). Elder has made four visits, most recently to Georgia Tech. Auburn, Ohio State and UCLA are also likely destinations for Elder.
Elder is a two-sport athlete in high school (football and basketball) and is looking for an opportunity to continue competing on the hardwood.
Elder is fast, possessing 4.5 speed. He's also strong enough to shrug off all but the most punishing of tacklers, and he has tremendous field vision. While primarily a tailback, his elusiveness will certainly have coaches thinking about Elder as a return specialist or slot receiver.
If he continues to grow, a position on a secondary unit isn't out of the question either; Elder might be able to run down any ball-carrier in the nation.
ArDarius Stewart is a 6'1”, 190-pound recruit from Fultondale High School in Fultondale, Alabama. Stewart visited Alabama shortly after the Tide's most recent BCS National Championship Game victory and committed shortly thereafter.
Listed as a 4-star athlete, Stewart is the No. 3 athlete in the nation, according to Rivals.com, and the No. 4 overall recruit from the talent-rich state of Alabama.
Steward has over 100 all-purpose touchdowns in his high school career (including 50 in his senior season), but was moved to defensive back in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game.
Stewart has stated his preference to play wide receiver for the Crimson Tide, but with time spent all over the field in high school, including quarterback, wide receiver, defensive back, and on special teams, Nick Saban may have other ideas for this kid who can contribute in many different ways.
Kendell Beckwith comes out of East Feliciana High School in Jackson, Louisiana. In high school, Beckwith was an elusive quarterback who could throw the ball down field, run around defenders like a speed halfback or plow over would-be tacklers like the best fullbacks.
But this 6'3”, 228-pound 4-star recruit (Rivals.com's No. 3 Louisiana recruit, No. 4 national ATH) looks to have a bright future on the defensive side of the ball when he arrives at LSU this year.
Beckwith was a man among boys as a defensive end at East Feliciana, and Les Miles is clearly hoping he can bring some of that intensity to the Tigers. While LSU has been particularly deep on defense over the past few seasons, the Tigers are returning just four defensive starters from 2012. It's possible Beckwith could impress coaches just enough to forgo a redshirt season in 2013.
Full Ricky Seals-Jones Scouting Report
Ricky Seals-Jones is a 6'5”, 220-pound recruit out of Sealy, Texas, who has committed to Texas A&M. Seals-Jones is also a 4-star recruit and ranked as the No. 2 athlete by Rivals.com.
Throughout his high school career, Seals-Jones was about as versatile as any recruit we see these days. He carried the ball with ease, threw the ball like it was something he was born to do, played defense (amassing numerous interceptions) and even eclipsed the 100-tackle mark in his career at Sealy High School.
There's no doubt Kevin Sumlin will have fun watching this young player come fall camp. The only problem left is trying to figure out where Seals-Jones can best contribute to the Aggies.
That's a good problem to have.
Jalin Marshall is the top-ranked athlete recruit in the nation, according to Rivals.com. The Middleton, Ohio, native recently committed to Ohio State, selecting the Buckeyes over Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Tennessee and UCLA, among others.
Marshall was originally a slot receiver, but moved to the quarterback position in high school where he showed some terrific arm strength. He also possesses good speed with a 4.5-4.6 range in the 40-yard dash, and with a time approaching 4.1 in the shuttle.
His 5'11”, 196-pound frame may be a little undersized for a quarterback in the Big Ten, but he could very easily play receiver, running back or even safety for Urban Meyer in Columbus.
With so much potential to make big plays at varying positions on offense and his No. 1 national ranking at the ATH position from Rivals.com, we've given Marshall the top spot on our list of most versatile college football recruits for 2013.