Top Schools for Each Uncommitted 2015 5-Star Defensive Recruit
Among the 34 5-star recruits in the 247Sports Composite Rankings, 16 defensive prospects remain uncommitted. College coaches from all over the nation are doing all they can to land them.
However, reading between the lines, one can get a solid feel for the top schools in each uncommitted 5-star defensive recruit's recruitment. At some point, these prospects will have to narrow their lists, and this piece could be a sneak preview.
A Pac-12 school could pluck a defensive end from the SEC, while a Big 12 program is looking to steal a defensive tackle from Alabama. Plus, several linebackers have multiple elite options.
Tarvarus McFadden, DB
At 6'3" and 198 pounds, Tarvarus McFadden has prototypical size for a cornerback. The Florida native loves to use his length to press receivers at the line, and he has the quickness and speed to recover.
He also has solid ball skills. He is capable of playing the football like a receiver when it's in the air, which is part of the reason why the 5-star defensive back could become a great free safety in college.
Florida State and LSU are his top schools, per 247Sports. Also, keep an eye on Auburn.
McFadden told the following to Justin Hokanson of AuburnSports.com (subscription required) on April 23, "I could say Auburn is a factor in this. Only reason I was high on Florida State is my family visited and my parents enjoyed it. I want to come back. I like the atmosphere, everybody around, it was real nice. I can tell everybody is into the school."
Shy Tuttle, DT
Hailing from North Carolina, Shy Tuttle is a 5-star defensive tackle who has the strength to dominate the trenches. The 6'3", 315-pounder displays a quick first step at the snap, plus he plays big at the point of attack.
He is capable of playing with solid leverage, and he has the short-area quickness to get to ball-carriers in pursuit. His top suitors right now are Alabama and North Carolina, per 247Sports.
John Houston, LB
Linebackers with the speed and athleticism to cover on passing downs have become more in demand. That is why 5-star prospect John Houston is a hot commodity.
Although he is only 211 pounds, the California native has the explosiveness and quickness to launch to ball-carriers all over the box. Houston, who is 6'3", also has no issues in dropping into coverage and running with tight ends and running backs down the field.
USC leads Alabama and UCLA, according to 247Sports.
Tim Settle, DT
At 6'3" and 318 pounds, Tim Settle is another powerful 5-star defensive tackle in the 2015 class. The Virginia native has quick and heavy hands, which he uses as weapons after the snap.
He can anchor with great strength versus running plays, and he also can push the pocket from the interior as a pass-rusher. Tennessee leads schools such as Clemson, Alabama, Florida State and Oklahoma State, per 247Sports.
Terry Beckner Jr., DE
Listed as a 6'4", 293-pound defensive end, Terry Beckner Jr. will likely move to defensive tackle in college. The East St. Louis, Illinois, native generates good power in his punch, and he also has above-average athleticism.
Beckner's strength will improve significantly over the next few years, which doesn't bode well for opposing offensive linemen. The 5-star prospect is a rare defensive lineman who can play effectively in both a 3-4 or 4-3 alignment.
Missouri, Ohio State and Michigan were mentioned recently by Beckner to Tim Sullivan on TheWolverine.com (subscription required).
Justin Hilliard, LB
Justin Hilliard is a 5-star linebacker who will be a star in college. The Cincinnati native is a terror on the second level who loves to attack.
Hilliard, who is 6'2" and 230 pounds, can hold his own versus offensive linemen at the point of attack. He quickly sheds blockers before using his short-area quickness to surge to ball-carriers. He also can squeeze the pocket from the edges.
Notre Dame, Michigan, Iowa, Alabama and Ohio State are his top schools, according to 247Sports.
Keisean Lucier-South, DE
Hailing from California, Keisean Lucier-South is a talented defensive end who is a classic speed-rusher. At 225 pounds, he isn't going to dance much with powerful blockers at the point of attack, but the 5-star recruit knows how to use his quickness to his advantage.
Lucier-South, who is 6'5", is capable of standing up as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Schools such as Notre Dame, UCLA, USC, Michigan and Texas are in the mix, per 247Sports.
Daron Payne, DT
While he can play defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme, Daron Payne may be better suited as a defensive lineman in a two-gap scheme. His strength, power and heavy hands are all impressive.
Payne, who is from Alabama, is 6'2" and 316 pounds. The 5-star prospect has adequate quickness at the snap, and he plays huge at the point of attack. While Texas is said to be in the hunt by 247Sports, this race will come down to Auburn and Alabama.
Byron Cowart, DE
A 5-star defensive end from Florida, Byron Cowart is a terrific prospect who can also kick inside to make his presence felt. The 6'4", 250-pounder can punch a blocker and set the edge with ease versus a running play.
He also does a great job of converting speed to power as a pass-rusher, which usually results in him walking an offensive lineman deep into the pocket. Becoming a permanent defensive tackle is not out of the question for Cowart right now.
Oregon leads Florida, Alabama and Clemson, per a report by Woody Wommack of Rivals.com (subscription required).
Rasheem Green, DT
Rasheem Green is a 5-star defensive tackle who is one of the country's best prospects. The scary thing is that he isn't anywhere close to his ceiling as a player.
The 6'5", 275-pound Californian has excellent athletic ability to make plays in the trenches. He also has solid strength to shed blockers, plus he can be dynamic in pursuit of ball-carriers.
USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington are in the mix, according to 247Sports. Stanford also should not be counted out.
Kendall Sheffield, CB
Kendall Sheffield is a 5-star recruit based solely on pure athleticism. However, he also great cover skills to menace receivers all over the field.
Sheffield, who is from Texas, is 5'11" and 180 pounds. He has outstanding speed and quickness, which is why he will be able to play on the field side of the defense on critical downs. When he becomes more willing to peel off the perimeter to support the run, he will truly start to become a complete cornerback.
Texas A&M, Texas, Alabama, LSU and several others are among Sheffield's top schools, per 247Sports.
Malik Jefferson, LB
Malik Jefferson is a linebacker from Texas who is so athletic that he can fit into any type of defensive scheme. He can rush as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme and has the skill set to play all three linebacker positions in a 4-3 alignment.
At 6'2" and 225 pounds, the 5-star prospect is simply a stud. He'll need to improve his ability in coverage, but Jefferson could be ready to help as a true freshman.
Alabama and Texas A&M are standing out, per 247Sports, but many other schools still have a legit shot.
Iman Marshall, CB
Another big cornerback in the 2015 class is Iman Marshall, who is 6'1" and 190 pounds. He has loose hips to mirror receivers in coverage, and he displays ideal short-area quickness to recover and close on balls.
The 5-star California native has fantastic instincts and awareness. Marshall also isn't afraid to come up to support the run from the perimeter.
USC, UCLA, Alabama, Stanford, Notre Dame, Ohio State and LSU are his top suitors, according to 247Sports.
CeCe Jefferson, DE
CeCe Jefferson is a defensive end who can get to the quarterback with quickness or power. He has the strength to anchor and shed versus running plays, and the Florida native is also capable of playing inside.
Jefferson, who is 6'2" and 250 pounds, can convert his speed to power with ease as a pass-rusher. He's one of the most versatile defensive prospects in the nation.
A variety of schools will be in and out of the mix for him, but it would be shocking if the 5-star recruit didn't sign with Florida.
Josh Sweat, DE
Hailing from Virginia, Josh Sweat is a phenomenal talent at defensive end. He needs to keep improving his strength, but the 5-star prospect has exceptional first-step quickness to jump on top of offensive tackles.
At 6'5" and 237 pounds, he knows how to stay active with his hands when rushing. Sweat also can chase running backs from the back side with great speed.
Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Georgia and Ohio State are a few schools who are hunting Sweat the hardest, per Adam Friedman of Rivals.com.
Trent Thompson, DT
Trent Thompson is a 5-star defensive tackle who makes a ton of plays inside the trenches. He is not a one-trick pony versus the run or pass, as the Georgia native works with a terrific combination of quickness and strength.
Thompson, who is 6'4" and 292 pounds, can squeeze through gaps almost immediately at the snap. He has no problems in using his strength to power through blockers, plus he displays his short-area quickness when he surges to finish on ball-carriers.
Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, Clemson and Florida State are among his top schools, per Woody Wommack of Rivals.com.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.
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