Breaking Down Each 2015 5-Star DT Recruit
Investing in the defensive line is crucial for a team's success, especially in the interior at the defensive tackle position. Looking at the 247Sports composite rankings, there's several premium 5-star defensive tackle recruits.
These prospects have the maximum amount of stars attached to their name for a reason. They're wanted by major programs coast to coast, plus they all have outstanding skill sets.
A defensive tackle in Georgia can fit in any scheme, while a Texan has exceptional strength at the point of attack. Plus, there's a defensive tackle in California who is just scratching the surface on his potential.
Tim Settle is a 5-star defensive tackle from Virginia who will be ready to play as a true freshman. Settle plays with solid technique for a player his age, showing good hand placement when punching blockers and playing with impressive leverage.
At 6'3.5" and 305 pounds, the big man has good first-step quickness to engage with blockers at the snap. He plays as big as his listed size at the point of attack due to impressive strength and power. Settle has no issues stacking blocks to read and react to plays, but his quickness and deceptive agility also allow him to work as a gap-penetrator.
He can push the pocket in the interior as a pass-rusher, and he displays a noticeable surge to close and finish on ball-carriers.
Alabama, Ohio State and Virginia are his top suitors, says 247Sports.
Hailing from California, 5-star defensive tackle Rasheem Green is another elite recruit from Los Angeles powerhouse Serra High School.
Green, who is 6'5" and 275 pounds, is the most athletic defensive tackle on this list. He has rare movement skills for a player at his size and position, which helps him make plays others can't. Green shoots upfield at the snap, and he uses the force he generates to convert speed to power at an impressive rate.
He's at his best when he can attack gaps and pursue ball-carriers. Green doesn't have the best technique, as he is a raw player who is still learning the tricks of the trade. He needs to get better at lowering his pad-level and using his mitts as weapons.
However, with his size, athleticism, good strength and solid awareness, he has as much upside as any prospect in the nation.
Keep an eye on USC with Green.
Any defensive coordinator looking for a physical presence inside the defensive trenches needs to look hard at 5-star defensive tackle Shy Tuttle.
From North Carolina, Tuttle is a 6'3", 315-pounder with excellent strength. He excels as a run defender who can stack blocks and anchor at the point of attack. He would be a great fit in a two-gap defensive scheme, and he can play defensive end in a 3-4.
Tuttle shoots his hands well into his targets, creating a jolt when striking. He drops his weight quickly when he reads the run, which causes problems for offensive linemen. Tuttle's ability to make a mess in the middle is a sight to see, as he can even anchor versus double-teams.
He's a solid pass-rusher, but Tuttle's best value is as a nasty, tough and physical run defender.
Alabama, North Carolina and Clemson are just some of Tuttle's top schools, according to 247Sports.
Although he plays like a bull in a china shop, 5-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack also works with awareness and quick scheme-read ability.
Mack recognizes double-teams, pulls, traps and down-blocks well, which helps him be even more menacing for opposing offenses. Another asset Mack has is his powerful 6'2", 310-pound frame.
Mack has dominant strength at the point of attack, which wears on guards after four quarters of play. He has no problems anchoring versus run plays, showing two-gap strength. Mack also has good quickness at the snap and when closing in pursuit.
As a pass-rusher, he's best at bull-rushing and converting speed to power. He's not going to spin around blocks, nor will he utilize much of a swim move. However, Mack's explosive first-step and strength help him get to the passer more times than not.
He's committed to Texas A&M.
At 6'2" and 316 pounds, it's awesome to watch 5-star defensive tackle Daron Payne constantly beat his teammates off of the ball.
He's a big-bodied defender with good toughness and power. Payne, who can anchor with ease, shows immediate ball-location skills at the snap, which shows he plays with awareness and instincts. He has a good feel for the running game due to his ability to recognize blocks.
Payne has a big-time motor, as he hustles and pursues the ball hard every play. He punches and strikes with strength, but flashes some hand-quickness to counter offensive linemen when escaping and shedding blocks.
He's an above-average pass-rusher at this point because he's bigger and stronger than many of his opponents. Yet, Payne appears to be best suited as a run-stopping specialist in a two-gap scheme, and he wouldn't be a bad fit at all in a 3-4 defense.
It would be a major upset if the Alabama native did not sign with one of the Iron Bowl schools.
Thompson, who is from Georgia, is 6'4" and 292 pounds. Out of all of the defensive tackles on this list, he is the quickest and most explosive at the snap.
Thompson is at his best when he is asked to penetrate gaps and make plays. He has the strength to be fine in a two-gap scheme, but this is an attack-style player who can be a disruptive problem for offenses.
Thompson is always on the move, using his quick hands to punch and press blockers off of him to stay clean in pursuit. He doesn't always have the best hand-placement and technique, but his pad-level is low on a constant basis, plus he understands his mitts can be used as weapons.
Thompson has solid ball-location and vision, and his surge to close on the ball is more than noticeable. As a pass-rusher, he beats blockers by jumping on top of them at the snap, but he can covert speed to power.
In all, Thompson is simply an explosive playmaker who has the skills to be a dominant defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense.
Georgia, Florida State, Alabama and Auburn are some of his top schools right now, according to 247Sports.
Said Chad Simmons of Scout.com:
As he refines his game and improves fundamentally, watch out.