Top 2015 College Football Recruiting Target for Each Top 25 Team
Recruiting boards are still being set but many programs already know who their No. 1 recruiting target is.
In this day and age of early scholarship offers and film being distributed and evaluated well before a player's senior season, college coaches have a good idea who will be receiving the bulk of their attention.
This piece will be a quick look at each top recruiting target of the Top 25 teams in the final AP Poll. While priorities do change as more information is acquired, the following players are the most wanted by each Top 25 program.
Top target: Zach Okun, OL
A 4-star guard from California, Zach Okun is a wanted man in Seattle. The 6'4", 310-pound blocker works best as a guard, where his strength allows him to play like a giant at the point of attack.
Okun has adequate athleticism and short-area quickness, but he's most dangerous in a phone booth. His powerful playing style would help Washington in the trenches.
Top target: Drew Richmond, OT
Drew Richmond is a raw 4-star offensive tackle with a ton of potential. He flashes elite athleticism to slide and mirror with rushers, plus he is capable of performing several blocks.
Richmond, who is 6'5" and 315 pounds, is one of the top players in the state of Tennessee for 2015. Vanderbilt would be wise to go after him hard, as he could develop into one of the better blockers in the SEC in a few seasons.
Top target: Darian Roseboro, DE
If Duke is going stomp with the big dogs on a consistent basis, it is going to have to recruit like one. Landing 4-star defensive end Darian Roseboro would be a great start.
Roseboro, who is 6'4" and 265 pounds, is a North Carolina native who can play end and tackle. He displays terrific strength at the point of attack, plus he's capable of anchoring and shedding to make stops against the run.
Top target: A.J. Alexander, WR
Wisconsin would love to add 3-star receiver A.J. Alexander to its offense for a number of reasons. For starters, he's 6'3" and 212 pounds.
Next, the Virginia native has the speed and athleticism to make plays in the passing game. Alexander has solid build-up speed, plus he displays good hands in traffic. He could become a No. 1 receiver in Madison.
21. Arizona State
Top target: Cameron Scarlett, ATH
Hailing from Portland, 3-star athlete Cameron Scarlett would fit in well at Arizona State. He projects as a running back in college due to his solid speed and strength.
Scarlett is 6'1" and 195 pounds right now, but he will likely get to be 210 pounds before he starts his freshman season. He would give the Sun Devils' spread offense a physical running presence.
20. Notre Dame
Top target: Jashon Cornell, DE
A 5-star talent, Jashon Cornell is an elite defensive end with big upside. The 6'3", 245-pounder has great first-step quickness to shoot upfield at the snap.
Cornell can bend when rushing, plus he does a solid job of converting speed to power. He has good range in pursuit, as well as solid toughness to set the edge against running plays.
Top target: Iman Marshall, CB
Big cornerbacks with speed and instincts are hard to come by, which is why 5-star prospect Iman Marshall is a hot commodity on the recruiting trail.
At 6'1" and 190 pounds, Marshall has good transition quickness and route-recognition skills. He has no issues matching up with big receivers, and he can be left on an island by himself. With USC needing more help at cornerback, he's definitely the Trojans' No. 1 target.
John Houston, a 5-star linebacker, also was considered.
18. Texas A&M
Top target: Kendall Sheffield, CB
Another 5-star cornerback on this list, Kendall Sheffield is among the best players in Texas in the 2015 class. He's a sticky cover corner who has outstanding short-area quickness to close on the ball.
Sheffield drives hard when coming out of his backpedal after displaying loose hips and mirror ability. He has quick hands to press at the line, plus he'll squeeze from the perimeter against running plays.
17. Oklahoma State
Top target: Will Sunderland, S
From Oklahoma, 4-star safety Will Sunderland is one of the better run-supporting safeties in the country. He has great size at 6'3" and 187 pounds, plus he displays terrific awareness in the box.
Sunderland has adequate skills in zone coverage, but he's at his best when he can attack the line of scrimmage and fill alleys. He would give Oklahoma State a physical enforcer-type in its secondary.
Top target: Josh Rosen, QB
Easy pick here, as UCLA is all in for 5-star quarterback Josh Rosen. The California native plays about half an hour from Westwood, so the Bruins are sure to see him a lot.
At 6'4" and 205 pounds, Rosen has a good stroke and impressive arm strength. He can accurately deliver the ball to targets downfield, but he also exhibits good mobility to buy time with his legs.
Greg Biggins of Scout.com had this to say about Josh Rosen:
He can throw with touch and is accurate throwing short, intermediate and deep balls. He's also very intelligent and highly competitive.
Top target: Emmitt Smith, LB
Emmitt Smith could be the best linebacker prospect from Kentucky since current USC 'backer Lamar Dawson. He has outstanding first-step quickness to file holes against running plays, as the 6'1", 230-pounder would fit well as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.
Dawson is a 4-star defender who has great short-area acceleration, as well as fine strength at the point of attack. Louisville would be wise to pay him a ton of attention.
Top target: Tyron Johnson, WR
A quicker-than-fast athlete with slick skills on the perimeter, 5-star receiver and New Orleans native Tyron Johnson is a prime target for LSU.
He has great quickness when releasing off the line, which allows him to eat up cushion in a hurry. Johnson has terrific ball skills and hands, plus he's competitive when traffic is around. His ability to explode with the ball in his hands makes him dangerous after the catch.
Top target: Soso Jamabo, RB
Some will list 5-star running back Soso Jamabo as an athlete, but he's a pure running back. The Texan is 6'3" and 210 pounds, and he has a good blend of size, speed and strength.
Jamabo isn't a sudden athlete, but when he can build up and get his legs churning, he has the ability run by defenders. He has solid instincts with the ball, plus he knows how to use his strength to push piles.
Baylor runs a spread offense, but Jamabo's powerful running style would add another dimension to the Bears' offensive attack.
12. Ohio State
Top target: Tim Settle, DT
Tim Settle is a 5-star defensive tackle who is going to be ready to play college football before the end of his senior season in high school.
The Virginia native is 6'3.5" and 305 pounds, plus he seems to have above-average athleticism. Settle explodes upfield at the snap before using his strength and heavy hands to dictate to blockers. He hustles in pursuit and is a playmaker in the trenches.
Top target: Canton Kaumatule, DE
Canton Kaumatule is a 4-star defensive end from Hawaii who is nearly 6'7" and 275 pounds. He needs to polish his game and technique, but Kaumatule possesses solid instincts on the edge.
He plays with power to set the edge and shed, but he displays great first-step quickness as a pass-rusher. Kaumatule's motor is as impressive as any in the 2015 class.
Top target: Tarvarus McFadden, DB
A 4-star prospect, Tarvarus McFadden is a versatile defensive back who can play several different positions in the secondary. The 6'2.5", 180-pounder is a smart defender with good cover skills and toughness.
McFadden, who is from Florida, has loose hips to turn and run with receivers with ease. However, he also doesn't have a problem helping linebackers in run support.
Top target: Christian Kirk, WR
Hailing from Arizona, Christian Kirk is an explosive 5'10", 190-pound receiver who is a threat to secondaries as soon as he breaks the huddle. He launches off the line into his routes, plus he has the ability to detach from defenders with ease at junction points.
After the catch, Kirk has the burst to dart upfield while dodging and eluding defenders all the way to the end zone.
Top target: George Campbell, WR
With his size and speed at 6'3" and 184 pounds, 5-star prospect George Campbell has the potential to be a cross between former Clemson receivers Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant.
Campbell is a Florida native who is a raw route-runner, but he has a ton of natural ability. His athleticism, game-breaking speed and solid ball skills make him a coveted prospect.
Top target: Daron Payne, DT
At 6'2" and 316 pounds, 5-star defensive tackle Daron Payne is a load in the trenches. He's a feared player around Alabama due to his imposing frame and brute strength.
Payne is inconsistent with his quickness at the snap, but he plays with the power of an elephant at the point of attack. The big man can drop his weight and anchor versus any offensive lineman, plus he has an impressive motor.
Top target: Jalin Barnett, OG
While he can play tackle, 5-star offensive lineman Jalin Barnett has the potential to be an all-conference guard in college. At 6'4" and 315 pounds, the Oklahoma native is a mauler who plays with a mean streak.
Barnett can dance with defensive linemen in a phone booth to protect the passer, but his strength and power are his best assets.
Oklahoma needs to lock him up as soon it can.
Top target: Terry Beckner Jr., DE
Going after Terry Beckner Jr. is a wise move for Missouri, as they'll need someone to replace departed defensive ends Michael Sam and Kony Ealy.
From East St. Louis, Beckner is an athletic 5-star defender on the edge who is 6'4" and nearly 270 pounds. He has impressive quickness at the snap, but he also shows above-average strength to hold his own versus the run.
Once he refines his technique and hand-use, Beckner will be big time.
4. South Carolina
Top target: Albert Huggins, DT
An in-state prospect for South Carolina, 5-star defensive tackle Albert Huggins stirs up memories of a young Timmy Jernigan, a stud defensive tackle from Florida State who'll likely be a first-round pick this May.
Huggins has just enough quickness in his 6'3", 279-pound frame to lead one to believe he can play defensive end. However, he fits best as three-technique defensive tackle charged with shooting gaps and making stops in the backfield.
3. Michigan State
Top target: Ricky DeBerry, OLB
It shouldn't be a shock that Michigan State's top target is a defensive prospect. Adding 4-star linebacker Ricky DeBerry would only strengthen the Spartans' defense, as the Virginia native has a good skill set on the flanks.
DeBerry, who is 6'2" and 240 pounds, has great athleticism and above-average range. He'll fire into alleys to fill with strength, but also has the vision and speed to track running backs outside the box.
Top target: Trent Thompson, DT
The 6'4", 292-pound Georgia native has excellent first-step quickness at the snap to penetrate creases. He also has the strength and power to beat up blockers at the point of attack. Thompson has great short-area quickness to close on the ball, plus he has solid pass rush ability.
1. Florida State
Top target: Trent Thompson, DT
Yes, 5-star defensive tackle Trent Thompson is also Florida State's top recruiting target right now. At 6'4" and 292 pounds, the Georgia native is a disruptive playmaker in the trenches who is a menace to offensive lines.
Thompson can choose to blow by blockers with his quickness before using his speed to chase running backs. He can also decide to bull rush guards and sit them in the lap of the quarterback on passing plays.
Florida State and Auburn just competed for the national championship and now they're competing for the nation's No. 1 player.