The NFL Comparison for Top 10 ATH Recruits from Class of 2015
Being labeled an "athlete" as a recruit means you are a versatile football player who projects to be able to have success at multiple positions. The 2015 class has a great group of talented athletes who will be the subject of some fierce arguments between offensive and defensive college coaches.
This piece will focus on the 10 elite athlete prospects, with each warranting an NFL comparison.
A 5-star athlete from Georgia plays like an NFL receiver, while an athlete from Ohio resembles an outside linebacker who plays for the St. Louis Rams.
At 5'10" and 165 pounds, Jalen Christian is not the most physically intimidating prospect in the country. However, he strikes fear into the hearts of defenses by being a dangerous threat with the ball.
The 4-star recruit hails from Maryland, where he dazzles as a running back and receiver. Christian has excellent quickness and agility, plus he can also make plays as a returner on special teams.
He compares to Dexter McCluster of the Tennessee Titans.
Malik Dear is a 4-star athlete from Mississippi. At 5'9" and 217 pounds, Dear has a compact frame with a ton of balance.
He works well as a running back due to his natural vision and instincts. He also has outstanding hands and quickness, which can be seen when he runs routes as a receiver. Dear will be able to create a lot of mismatches in college.
He'll be a great all-around running back like Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens.
Most prospects labeled as athletes have smaller frames, but Chris Warren is not like most prospects. The 4-star Texas native is already 6'2" and 220 pounds.
Warren is a big and strong running back with the size of a tight end. He can also be used as a fullback and H-Back, plus he has enough athleticism to play linebacker. Viewing him generally as a running back, Warren compares favorably to Jonathan Dwyer of the Arizona Cardinals.
Hailing from Washington, D.C., Marcus Lewis is an athletic 4-star prospect who can play receiver, cornerback or safety. He'll likely start his college career as a cornerback, but don't be surprised to see him eventually defending the seams.
Lewis, who is 6'1" and 187 pounds, has loose hips in space. He displays above-average transition quickness and isn't afraid to get physical with a receiver at the line. Baltimore Ravens defensive back Jimmy Smith is the Florida commit's NFL comparison.
Rachel Klein of Scout.com wrote on March 24: "Lewis made the decision to transfer to IMG Academy in Bradenton (Fla.) where he will finish out the remainder of his high school career."
At 6'1" and 185 pounds, Shawn Burgess-Becker is a player who will find a role for himself at Alabama. Whether it be as a receiver, strong safety, free safety or cornerback, the Florida native will get on the field soon enough.
Burgess-Becker is a talented 4-star athlete with outstanding instincts and vision. He moves well in space and always makes a play for the ball. Safety is his best position, as he can cover tight ends well and help out in run support.
At that position, Burgess-Becker plays like San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle.
A California native, 4-star recruit Stanley Norman is among the best athletes in the country. He's a versatile player who can play receiver, cornerback, safety, running back and return kicks and punts.
Cornerback and receiver are the 6'0", 180-pounder's top positions. Norman doesn't back down from anyone, plus he possesses an outstanding short-area burst to make plays.
His future may be brightest as a cornerback, and Desmond Trufant of the Atlanta Falcons is his NFL comparison.
Brian Cole is a 6'2", 190-pound athlete with a lot of raw skills. Cole can be used on offense as a running back and receiver or on defense as safety.
He is fluid with the ball in his hands, and the Michigan native uses great speed to skate around the field. Cole also has solid strength and tackle-breaking ability as a running back, plus his instincts and vision would help him become a starting safety in college.
Yet, receiver is his likely destination. Look for him to develop into a player similar to Marvin Jones of the Cincinnati Bengals.
At 6'1" and 205 pounds, Jerome Baker can make plays as a linebacker or running back. He has quick feet to weave around defenders as a running back and has the strength to break tackles.
Yet, his athleticism and speed transition best to outside linebacker. The Ohio native has the ability to play three downs on the second level, where he fills alleys and covers running backs, tight ends and even receivers.
Baker resembles St. Louis Rams outside linebacker Alec Ogletree on the field.
An Auburn commit, Kerryon Johnson is a smart and intelligent player who has a great short-area burst. He can play running back or safety, plus the Alabama native is capable of excelling as a receiver, outside linebacker and kickoff returner.
Johnson, who is 6'0" and 200 pounds, projects best as a running back. His vision and instincts are excellent as a runner, and he can surge through holes with force.
Montee Ball of the Denver Broncos is his NFL comparison.
Terry Godwin could be an All-SEC cornerback at Georgia. He has excellent quickness out of transition, as well as natural cover skills.
The problem is the 6'0", 168-pound athlete could be an even better receiver. Godwin, who hails from the Peach State, is a 5-star prospect with terrific speed and run-after-catch ability. He'll develop into a better route-runner over time, which will make him a nightmare for cornerbacks.
He compares to Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Cecil Shorts III.
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