Comparing Each Top 10 2015 Recruit to Prospect from Class of 2014
Comparing the top 10 recruits in the 2015 class to players in the 2014 group is harder than many think. Just because a quarterback in the 2015 class is a 5-star passer does not mean he compares to a 5-star field general from last year.
Making comparisons is an art to a degree, as it helps people get a more familiar idea of a player they may not know much about. This piece is designed for readers to come away with a better picture of the nation's elite prospects this year.
A 5-star press corner is a similar player to a 5-star defensive back who signed with Florida in February. A 2014 quarterback has an identical skill set to a USC commit, plus a 2015 defensive end's explosiveness will look familiar to a lot of Miami fans.
10. Daron Payne, DT
2014 comparison: Derrick Nnadi
Daron Payne is a 5-star defensive tackle from Alabama who is 6'2" and 316 pounds. His main assets are his quickness at the snap and his explosive power.
Payne looks similar to 4-star defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi, who signed with Florida State last month. Payne's a bit bigger than the 6'1", 305-pound Nnadi, but they both posses first-step quickness and strength to make plays in the trenches.
9. Iman Marshall, CB
2014 comparison: Marlon Humphrey
At 6'1" and 190 pounds, Iman Marshall is a big 5-star cornerback who can do a lot of things on the perimeter. He's a great athlete, plus he plays with incredible instincts and awareness.
Marshall's size and ability to use his head to make plays is reminiscent of the skill set 5-star cornerback Marlon Humphrey showed during the 2014 recruiting cycle.
Humphrey, who signed with Alabama, isn't as thick as Marshall, but both show the potential to become effective in all three main coverage alignments.
8. Kendall Sheffield, CB
2014 comparison: Nick Harvey
Sheffield, who is 5'11" and 180 pounds, is a terrific athlete who has exceptional short-area quickness. Like Harvey, Sheffield can explode out of transition when covering, plus both players have good speed.
Harvey can impact the running game more at this point, but Sheffield matches him in many other categories.
7. CeCe Jefferson, DE
2014 comparison: Chad Thomas
Thomas, a 5-star defensive end last year, signed with Miami. Jefferson is shorter at 6'2" to Thomas' 6'5" frame, but their sudden explosiveness off the edge at the snap are both terrific.
Another similarity the two have is their deceptive strength. Both players can covert speed to power while rushing the quarterback, plus they can hold their own versus running plays.
6. Ricky Town, QB
2014 comparison: Kyle Allen
Ricky Town is a 5-star quarterback from California who is committed to USC. At 6'4" and 205 pounds, Town has above-average arm strength, good accuracy and makes good decisions with the ball.
He can throw receivers open with his solid ball-placement skills, plus he understands how to make throws with anticipation. Town is somewhat of a bigger version of 2014 5-star quarterback Kyle Allen.
Allen grades out higher in the mobility category, while Town's arm is stronger at this point, but they're similar passers.
5. Martez Ivey, OT
2014 comparison: David Sharpe
Like Sharpe, Ivey excels as an athletic pass-blocker who can slide and mirror pass-rushers with ease. Also, like Sharpe, Ivey needs to improve his technique, strength and tenacity as a run-blocker.
Both players have what it takes to be elite left tackles in college over time.
4. Josh Rosen, QB
2014 comparison: Keller Chryst
Josh Rosen is a 6'4", 205-pound quarterback who is a 5-star recruit in the 2015 class. Rosen has good arm strength to push the ball downfield, plus he can pitch with touch and control on a consistent basis.
Although Keller Chryst has a stronger and thicker frame, the 2014 4-star Stanford signee has a well-rounded skill set like Rosen's.
Both play with confidence and intelligence, plus they both have deceptive mobility. Rosen would shock the universe if he didn't sign with UCLA, so it's going to be fun watching these two passers duel in the Pac-12 in a few seasons.
3. Mitch Hyatt, OT
2014 comparison: Casey Tucker
Although he's only 271 pounds right now, 5-star prospect Mitch Hyatt has a chance to become a good left tackle in college.
Hyatt, who is 6'5.5", has great technique and intelligence, plus he moves his feet well. He's tough at the point of attack and just has a well-rounded game. Although Hyatt isn't as nasty a run-blocker as 4-star 2014 offensive tackle Casey Tucker, he's not far behind the Stanford signee in that department.
2. Kevin Toliver II, CB
2014 comparison: Jalen Tabor
It's simple to quickly summarize the kind of player 5-star prospect Kevin Toliver II will become one day. Although he can play well in off-man coverage, the LSU commit is a tall and long future press corner.
The same thing can be said about 5-star 2014 cornerback Jalen Tabor, who signed with Florida last month. Toliver is 6'2" and 185 pounds, while Tabor is 6'1" and 182 pounds.
Toliver is a step faster at this point, but the two cover men both can jam and re-route receivers at the line of scrimmage. To further split hairs, Tabor has better ball skills than Toliver.
However, their identical length and instincts will make them both starting cornerbacks in the SEC.
Said Chad Simmons of Scout.com about Toliver, "Not many cornerbacks out there are built like this one."
1. Trent Thompson, DT
2014 comparison: Travonte Valentine
At 6'4" and 292 pounds, 5-star defensive tackle Trent Thompson is a playmaker in the trenches. He's equally impressive versus running plays and passing plays.
Thompson explodes upfield at the snap, plus he has good power and strength. Although 4-star 2014 defensive tackle Travonte Valentine weighs more than Thompson at 338 pounds, the LSU signee and the 2015 prospect are similar players.
When he plays at full tilt, Valentine can work well as a gap-penetrator like Thompson, plus he has no issues anchoring versus the run. Thompson plays with a bigger motor and more consistent effort, but Valentine is capable of doing a lot of the same things.