Best Fits for Top Uncommitted ATH Recruits in Class of 2015
The 2015 recruiting class is in the midst of a commitment-filled timeframe that features several of the nation's premier players pledging to programs during the final stretch of their junior years. With so many top targets flying off the board, it's imperative for teams to maintain positive momentum with uncommitted prospects.
There are still many undecided difference-makers who fall under the "athlete" category—versatile players who have college scouts split on their ideal position. Here, we'll rank the top 10 available athletes while projecting where they will end up on signing day.
10. Stanley Norman (Gardena, Calif.)
Size: 6'0", 180 lbs
School: Junipero Serra High School
Stanley Norman is the latest coveted recruit to emerge from perennial Southern California contender Junipero Serra High School. He received offers from Notre Dame, Tennessee and Louisville last week.
Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA and Cal are just a few of the Pac-12 programs pursuing his signature. Norman added an offer from Florida State in early January.
Best Fit: UCLA
Jim Mora and his staff have done an excellent job recruiting and developing defenders in recent years. The Bruins offense appears to be catching up, and Norman would be an excellent addition to a promising 2015 class at wide receiver.
9. J.W. Ketchum III (Missouri City, Texas)
Size: 5'11.5", 201 lbs
School: Fort Bend Marshall High School
JW Ketchum III flashed his skills while lined up at quarterback in 2013, accounting for 24 total offensive touchdowns (10 through the air). He's more likely to land at receiver or defensive back in college, but there are surely some squads willing to give him a look behind center.
His recruitment reached another level in late January, when a two-week span featured offers from Alabama, Boise State, Wisconsin and Oklahoma. Texas and Baylor both view Ketchum as a crucial in-state prospect.
Best Fit: Baylor
Aside from deciding which school he wants to attend, Ketchum must make up his mind about a desired position. Baylor could offer an opportunity for early reps at receiver in an explosive offensive attack that continues to improve.
8. Jalen Christian (Damascus, Md.)
Size: 5'10", 165 lbs
School: Damascus High School
Jalen Christian lives on the border of new Big Ten country (Maryland and Rutgers move into the conference this fall) and longtime ACC territory. Collegiate attention is arriving accordingly, as Nebraska, Duke, Virginia Tech, Ohio State and Clemson are among a long list of options in each conference.
South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky provide potential SEC options, and Christian is likely to see increased interest in the coming months.
Best Fit: South Carolina
The Gamecocks have a proud tradition at defensive back, which is appealing to prospects with plans to someday play in the NFL. Steve Spurrier and his staff are highly effective in their recruitment of the mid-Atlantic region, and Christian is another target to bring south.
7. Derrick Dillon (Franklinton, La.)
Size: 5'11", 180 lbs
School: Pine High School
Derrick Dillon has been active on the road in recent weeks. His spring stops so far include Florida State, Florida and Mississippi State. He also attended a February junior day at Texas A&M.
Dillon, who accounted for nearly 2,000 rushing yards while primarily playing quarterback last season, has added offers from Texas, Oklahoma, Utah and Notre Dame since late March.
Best Fit: Florida
The Gators may be able to offer Dillon an opportunity to play quarterback, a chance that likely isn't in play with several of the programs recruiting him. Florida also has an immediate need at receiver, which he can quickly fill if he winds up at the position.
6. Chris Warren (Rockwall, Texas)
Size: 6'2", 220 lbs
School: Rockwall High School
Chris Warren, widely viewed as a running back prospect at the next level, has rushed for 24 touchdowns during the past two seasons. His campus visits include Texas, Arkansas and Alabama.
Iowa and Auburn offered on the same day in February. Both teams appear to remain firmly in the mix.
Best Fit: Texas
Charlie Strong is looking to add attitude to his offensive attack, and Warren would be able to fill a role in the backfield. He runs with authority and could enter a situation that resembles an open competition at running back.
5. Osa Masina (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Size: 6'4", 218 lbs
School: Brighton High School
Osa Masina is an impact running back and linebacker who looks like he could evolve into a dangerous edge-rusher. He rushed for 25 touchdowns and tallied 87 tackles last season, earning offers from Notre Dame, Nebraska, USC and Oregon.
BYU and Utah commenced their respective recruitment of the in-state star long ago. Michigan, Oklahoma and Wisconsin are also in the mix.
Best Fit: Notre Dame
Masina can slide into an outside linebacker role with the Fighting Irish early in his career. Notre Dame has delivered top-tier recruits from out West plenty of times before.
4. Malik Dear (Jackson, Miss.)
Size: 5'9", 217 lbs
School: Murrah High School
Malik Dear has made several trips to Ole Miss and Mississippi. The versatile athlete is a major threat in any offensive attack, but it will be hard for a program to pry him away from his home-state options.
His offer list includes Alabama, Southern Miss and USC. Don't be surprised if another SEC squad like Tennessee or Texas A&M identifies him as a top target during spring evaluations.
Best Fit: Ole Miss
The Rebels have assembled an impressive corps of offensive playmakers through recent recruiting classes. Ole Miss can add to the arsenal with Dear, who could star for a rising SEC squad without leaving his home state.
3. Jerome Baker (Cleveland, Ohio)
Size: 6'1", 205 lbs
School: Benedictine High School
Jerome Baker visited Florida and Tennessee last week, expanding his horizons as SEC teams continue to come calling. He spent a junior day at Penn State earlier this year.
The Nittany Lions would love to steal a key in-state target away from a conference rival. Ohio State has been eyeing him up as a possible commit and hosted Baker last month.
Best Fit: Ohio State
In the end, Baker's best option may be the closest one. Ohio State spreads the ball in its offensive attack, and Urban Meyer always has room for a talent like the Cleveland star. He'll design ways to deliver Baker the ball in space and has never been shy about getting playmakers involved early in their college career.
2. George Campbell (Tarpon Springs, Fla.)
Size: 6'3", 184 lbs
School: East Lake High School
George Campbell made noise early in the 2015 recruiting cycle when he committed to Michigan. However, he backed off that pledge this past winter and welcomed ensuing offers from the likes of USC, Texas Tech, South Carolina and Cal.
He visited Florida and Florida State earlier this month. Campbell also has Auburn and Alabama in pursuit.
Best Fit: Florida State
Campbell can continue the parade of big-framed, athletic wide receivers in Tallahassee. The Seminoles will always get receivers touches, regardless of who eventually replaces Jameis Winston. Campbell is another effective downfield threat.
1. Brian Cole (Saginaw, Mich.)
Size: 6'2", 190 lbs
School: Heritage High School
Brian Cole has spent substantial time on the recruiting trail this year. His visits include trips to Ohio State, Tennessee and Michigan State.
Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin provide alternate options in the Big Ten. He may also emerge as a Notre Dame target depending on how this spring turns out for the Fighting Irish.
Best Fit: Michigan
Brady Hoke hasn't been able to land the effective offensive talent he'd like in Ann Arbor, but the defensive secondary has seen a surge of playmakers during his tenure. Cole could add to the stockpile and provide the possibility of pairing up with top-ranked 2014 athlete Jabrill Peppers in the secondary.