College Football

8 Recruits with Best Shot to Finish No. 1 in Class of 2015

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IJune 3, 2014

8 Recruits with Best Shot to Finish No. 1 in Class of 2015

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    Credit: 247Sports

    As recruiting moves into the summer, many players will be stepping out more often to showcase their skills. That means more evaluations will be made, which will lead to the fluctuation and fluidity of various recruiting rankings.

    The No. 1 spot is the obvious aiming point of every recruit in the country. However, only a few prospects have a legit shot at finishing this recruiting cycle on top.

    A 5-star defensive tackle is trying to continue his reign, while a 5-star linebacker is steadily rising up the rankings. The same can be said about an explosive 5-star defensive end, plus a list such as this one wouldn't be complete without a quarterback.

CeCe Jefferson, DE

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Moving forward, a recruit to keep an eye on is 5-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson. Although he has only average size for his position at 6'2" and 250 pounds, Jefferson is among the most explosive players in the country.

    The Florida native also has the strength to hold his own at the point of attack, which allows him to play bigger than his listed size. Jefferson is also awfully versatile, as he can play both defensive end positions, 3-4 outside linebacker and even defensive tackle on passing downs.

    He is No. 4 in the 247Sports Composite Rankings right now, but it's not out of the question he finishes No. 1. Look for Jefferson to sign with Florida.

Martez Ivey, OT

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Another player who will be in consideration for the No. 1 spot is 5-star offensive tackle Martez Ivey. Left tackle is one of the most important positions of value in football, and Ivey has the potential to be a terrific player at the position.

    At 6'6" and 270 pounds, the Florida native has fantastic athleticism and agility. He isn't the strongest player at the point of attack, but Ivey can shadow and mirror pass-rushers in space with ease. 

    His outstanding movement skills and high ceiling at a valued position make him a serious threat to finish this cycle as the top recruit in the nation. Scout.com has already joined the Ivey bandwagon, as it has him at No. 1 in the Scout 300.

Kevin Toliver II, CB

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    Credit: 247Sports

    As usual, Florida has a ton of talent this year. That is why it's not shocking the third consecutive player on this list is a Sunshine State native.

    Kevin Toliver II is a 5-star cornerback who is 6'2" and 185 pounds. He's a prototypical press corner with long arms and surprising strength. Toliver has great quickness to recover in a flash, which he also uses to close quickly out of transition.

    His ball skills and run support need to be improved, but he is an excellent athlete who also has a great feel for routes in coverage. The LSU commit was once the No. 1 player in the 247Sports Composite Rankings, and he could easily ascend back to the spot from his current No. 3 ranking.

Malik Jefferson, OLB

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Hailing from Texas, Malik Jefferson is the most talented player in the Lone Star State. He's a 5-star linebacker who is a phenomenal athlete on the flanks.

    Linebacker is not valued as highly as other positions in football, so not many second-level defenders get No. 1 consideration. However, Jefferson could be a rare exception. The 6'2", 225-pounder can play just about every linebacker position in both a 4-3 and 3-4 scheme.

    He possesses fantastic instincts and awareness, plus he works with a ton of range. Jefferson needs to improve his skills in coverage, but he has the quickness and pass-rushing ability to get to the quarterback.

    It's almost impossible for a 5-star prospect to be underrated, but that could be the case for Jefferson, who is "only" No. 9 in the 247Sports Composite Rankings. However, the final No. 1 spot is attainable, as the Texan could reach the mark with a few strong camp outings this summer and a big senior season in the fall.

Byron Cowart, DE

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Byron Cowart is actually the No. 1 player in the Rivals 100, so he's already on top of one major recruiting board. 

    Cowart just has to continue moving forward to build a consensus, which shouldn't be too tough. At 6'4" and 250 pounds, he uses a sharp combination of power and short-area quickness to cause problems for offenses. 

    The Florida native can shoot upfield with a quick first step to attack passers. He has no issues converting his speed to power to walk blockers back into the pocket, plus he can reach ball-carriers well in pursuit.

    Cowart's strength can also be seen when he sheds blockers after setting the edge, as well as when he works his way through guards during the snaps he plays inside. Finishing No. 1 on every major recruiting board is in his sights.

Josh Sweat, DE

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Right now, the No. 2 player in the 247Sports Composite Rankings is Josh Sweat. He's enjoyed a steady rise up the board this spring, and it wouldn't be shocking to see him finish slotted at No. 1.

    While the 6'5", 237-pounder isn't a power player, he has impressive explosiveness, first-step quickness and athleticism on the edges. Sweat can bend, dip and rip well during a rush before showing off a terrific surge to close on the ball.

    Sweat's length, range and long arms are also ideal traits for success at his position. While he does have a similar hairstyle to the new edge player for the Houston Texans, Sweat is the closest resemblance on the field to Jadeveon Clowney among all defensive end prospects in recent years. 

    On April 24, Sweat told Steve Hare of IrishIllustrated.com (subscription required), "I have a good first step and leverage. I'm always keeping my hands moving too. It's not always just a straight up bull-rush all the time."

Trent Thompson, DT

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Trent Thompson is the No. 1 prospect in the 247Sports Composite Rankings, and it's going to take a lot for another recruit to move him out.

    Thompson is a prototypical fit as a three-technique defensive tackle. The Georgia native is 6'4" and 292 pounds, and he uses his size and quickness to make plays. Thompson has a great motor, which can be seen when he slips through gaps to make tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

    He jumps on top of blockers well as a pass-rusher, and his strength is also an asset. Thompson is the recruit who sits on the throne right now, and he may never get up.

Josh Rosen, QB

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    Credit: 247Sports

    When it comes to considering football players for No. 1 honors, the first position to look at is quarterback. This year, the top passer in America is 5-star stud Josh Rosen, according to 247Sports.

    No. 1 quarterbacks usually receive serious consideration for the No. 1 overall ranking.

    From California, Rosen has the makings of a superstar. At 6'4" and 205 pounds, he combines good size with great arm strength, accuracy, confidence, awareness, poise and deceptive mobility.

    Rosen has a good stroke when launching throws to targets with his right arm, plus he's comfortable making pre-snap checks at the line of scrimmage.

    He looks a lot like Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons on tape. Rosen has a legit shot to be considered the No. 1 recruit in the 2015 class by the start of next February.

     

    All recruiting ratings and rankings are from 247Sports' Composite Rankings.
    Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals and 247Sports.
    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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