1 Thing Top 25 Recruits in Class of 2015 Must Improve On

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IJuly 8, 2014

1 Thing Top 25 Recruits in Class of 2015 Must Improve On

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    Credit: 247Sports

    All top-tier recruits have incredible talent. Their skill sets got them to where they are now, but each has at least one thing in his game he needs to improve upon.

    Looking at the top 25 recruits in the 247Sports composite rankings, a weakness can be found in every prospect's game. A 5-star quarterback needs to improve his mobility, while a 5-star offensive tackle must get stronger.

    Strength is also a concern with a 5-star defensive end, while a few cornerbacks need to work on their tackling techniques.

25. George Campbell, WR

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    Credit: 247Sports

    George Campbell is a speedy receiver with great size and length at 6'3" and 184 pounds. He is a playmaker with the ball in his hands, but his mitts are actually the issue with him right now.

    Campbell needs to improve his ball skills and ability to pluck passes with his hands. He drops too many balls for a 5-star recruit, and he appears to fight throws when he has to extend his catch radius.

24. Preston Williams, WR

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Another big 5-star receiver in the 2015 class is Preston Williams. Committed to Tennessee, the Georgia native could become a No. 1 pass-catching option in the Volunteers offense.

    At 6'4" and 191 pounds, Williams has the size as well as the speed to consistently threaten secondaries. To continue trending in the right direction as a player, the stud receiver must become a more disciplined route-runner.

    Learning how to sink his hips to cut more sharply out of his breaks will help Williams' game immensely. 

    Williams told the following to Rob Cassidy of Rivals.com (subscription required) on June 13: "Football is my first love. I know how people look at me -- not as a real athlete. Opinions are going to be opinions, and everyone has their own opinions. They don't bother me. I know who I am."

23. Damien Harris, RB

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    Damien Harris has great physical tools to be a successful starting college running back. At 5'11" and 205 pounds, the Kentucky native has a solid combination of speed and strength.

    Harris even has the hands to help out on third downs. However, the 5-star runner will not always be asked to leak out of the backfield on passing plays. That means he'll need to upgrade his vision and recognition in pass protection, especially when it comes to picking up blitzes.

22. Terry Beckner Jr., DL

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    Credit: 247Sports

    From Illinois, Terry Beckner Jr. is a 5-star defensive end who looks like he'll eventually be moved to defensive tackle in college.

    Already 6'4" and 293 pounds, Beckner has good strength and quickness in the trenches. He needs to improve his hand placement when striking blockers, which will ultimately help him escape grabs by offensive linemen in college. 

21. Justin Hilliard, LB

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    Justin Hilliard is an athletic 5-star linebacker who is committed to Ohio State. The Ohio native is lethal in pursuit at 6'2" and 230 pounds.

    While Hilliard isn't necessarily weak, he'll be helped by adding strength to strike blockers with more force when shedding. This will make Hilliard even more of a menace in alleys on the second level. 

20. Kyler Murray, QB

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    Credit: 247Sports

    At 5'11" and 180 pounds, Kyler Murray doesn't have ideal height for a quarterback. That's not going to change, so it makes no sense to list it as something he needs to work on.

    What Murray can do is continue honing his mechanics and ability to subtly find passing lanes inside the pocket. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is an undersized passer who has become a master at making subtle movements to find a clear path to deliver the football.

    He would be a fantastic quarterback for Murray to study.

19. Keisean Lucier-South, DE

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Hailing from California, Keisean Lucier-South is a quick 5-star defensive end who can also work standing up as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

    What Lucier-South does best at 6'5" and 225 pounds is shoot hard upfield to attack the quarterback. He's not much of a run-stuffer at this point, and that is because he lacks the strength to set the edge and anchor.

    Improving his strength must be the No. 1 thing Lucier-South focuses on when it comes to improving as a player.

18. Terry Godwin, WR/ATH

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    Terry Godwin is listed as an athlete, but he'll likely play receiver at Georgia. Godwin, who is 6'0" and 168 pounds, has the speed and smooth movement skills to give secondaries fits.

    He has the lateral quickness to wiggle around press-man coverage at the line, but that won't always cut it. Sometimes Godwin is going to have to big-boy release into his routes versus the jams of cornerbacks who can match his quickness.

    That means adding bulk and strength is what the 5-star prospect must improve upon.

17. Daron Payne, DT

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    At 6'2" and 330 pounds, Daron Payne is not the kind of defensive tackle a guard wants to see when breaking the huddle.

    Payne has heavy and powerful hands when punching, plus he possesses impressive strength. At this point, however, he appears to be more of a hole-clogger than a gap-penetrator. If Payne wants to get some sacks in college, improving his ability to get skinny and slip gaps will be imperative. 

16. Torrance Gibson, QB/ATH

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Torrance Gibson is another 5-star recruit who is listed as an athlete. Quarterback is where he is expected to play on the college level, as he is a dual-threat passer with explosive athleticism.

    At 6'4" and 200 pounds, the Florida native delivers passes with his left arm with solid velocity. However, his accuracy is not where it needs to be. The theory here is that it is a result of Gibson's footwork and mechanics being raw.

    Should he improve his mechanics, Gibson's accuracy will also get better.

15. Chuma Edoga, OT

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    At 6'4" and 276 pounds, Chuma Edoga is an uber-athletic 5-star offensive tackle who has a bright future. He moves like a receiver at times in pass protection, plus he can perform an array of blocks in the running game.

    Edoga's weakness at this point is his point-of-attack strength. He lacks some power in his punch, which causes him to stall as a run-blocker. The USC commit needs to get stronger before he's truly ready to contribute in Troy.

14. Byron Cowart, DE

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    It'll be interesting to see how the career of 5-star defensive lineman Byron Cowart unfolds. At 6'4" and 250 pounds, the Florida native dominates on the edges, but he could grow into a defensive tackle.

    On the other hand, Cowart has enough athleticism to be just fine as a 3-4 outside linebacker. His strength and his short-area quickness are impressive.

    Like many defensive linemen at the high school level, Cowart needs to upgrade his hand usage.

13. Rasheem Green, DT

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    Credit: 247Sports

    At 6'5" and 275 pounds, Rasheem Green is a 5-star defensive lineman from California with rare athleticism. He could hold his own out on the edges in college, but he's going to continue growing into a defensive tackle.

    Green has the explosiveness and agility to wiggle around blockers, but he must learn to play with more strength and leverage. Right now, powerful blockers can get into his body and stymie him with a strong anchor.

12. Daylon Mack, DT

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Committed to Texas A&M, Daylon Mack is a 5-star defensive tackle who is physically ready to play in the SEC. Mack has great power at the point of attack, plus he can anchor with authority.

    The 6'1", 330-pounder also comes out of his stance with above-average quickness. Mack's hands must become more active, however, as he oftentimes tries to simply use his strength to overpower blockers.

    Becoming more active with his hands will help him win more battles inside the trenches.

11. Malik Jefferson, LB

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    Credit: 247Sports

    There's not much 5-star linebacker Malik Jefferson can't do. At 6'2.5" and 215 pounds, he is a special athlete with terrific instincts and vision.

    Jefferson can play every specific linebacker role in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense as well as help out as a pass-rusher. His technique when buzzing back into coverage is something he could stand to improve upon, which will aid the Texan's development into becoming a complete linebacker. 

10. Kendall Sheffield, CB

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    As a pure athlete, not many recruits in the 2015 class are on par with 5-star cornerback Kendall Sheffield

    The 6'0", 181-pound Texas native has incredible speed and quickness, plus he moves freely and easily in coverage. Sheffield's weakness as a player is his strength and physicality. Bigger receivers can work through him in press coverage, plus he doesn't support the run with enough force right now. 

9. Derwin James, S

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    At 6'2" and 201 pounds, Derwin James is a 5-star safety with a well-rounded skill set. He can cover with great range and athleticism, plus he is more than willing to roll into the box versus the run.

    James has good quickness out of his breaks, but his long speed could be a tad bit better. It probably stems from the Florida State pledge being so smart and instinctive that he stays a step ahead of plays, which in turn allows him to not be forced to move at top speed.

    He should be a good one in Tallahassee.

8. Iman Marshall, CB

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    Iman Marshall is a big cornerback from California who is 6'1" and 190 pounds. Aside from having fantastic size, the 5-star prospect plays with outstanding awareness and instincts.

    Marshall is heady and crafty in coverage, but he must improve his tackling. He doesn't leak yards after giving up a reception, but peeling off the perimeter and properly stopping running backs is something he can work on. 

7. Mitch Hyatt, OT

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    Mitch Hyatt is a 5-star offensive tackle who is committed to Clemson. From Georgia, he is a future left tackle who is 6'5.5" and 271 pounds. 

    Hyatt has excellent technique and patience as a blocker, but he must add bulk and strength before he suits up for the Tigers. This will help him not get walked back into the pocket by defensive linemen and not stall as much at the point of attack as a run-blocker.

6. Josh Rosen, QB

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    Josh Rosen is a special quarterback prospect. He's the most complete and talented player at his position in the nation, and the UCLA commit should make an early impact in Westwood.

    At 6'4" and 205 pounds, Rosen looks a lot like Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan on the field. He has good mechanics, terrific arm strength, impressive vision and a ton of ball-placement skills.

    Rosen isn't a sitting duck in the pocket, as he has adequate mobility. Working on his speed and elusiveness as a runner will only help him be even better.

5. Martez Ivey, OT

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    From Florida, Martez Ivey has incredible athleticism for an offensive tackle. The 6'6", 270-pounder possesses impressive agility and quickness when dancing with pass-rushers.

    Ivey, however, lacks ideal strength at the point of attack. He also catches blocks too often in pass protection, which allows smart pass-rushers to convert their speed into power too easily.

    Strength is easily Ivey's main weakness right now.

4. CeCe Jefferson, DE

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    Credit: 247Sports

    When he's active and has space to maneuver, 5-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson is a nightmare for offensive linemen.

    However, big and strong blockers can give him problems at the point of attack. Jefferson must get better at shedding at the point of attack, which starts with improving his hand usage and strength.

    The 6'2", 250-pounder is a similar player to what Auburn defensive end Carl Lawson was in high school. 

3. Kevin Toliver II, CB

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    At 6'2" and 185 pounds, Kevin Toliver II has prototypical size and length for a cornerback. It also helps that the Florida native is an outstanding athlete who has great cover skills.

    Toliver can work effectively in press-man and off-man coverage, plus he's solid in zone. He's broken up 14 passes over the past two seasons, but he's only come down with three interceptions, says 247Sports

    Perhaps the 5-star LSU commit's ball skills can stand to be improved. 

2. Josh Sweat, DE

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    Credit: 247Sports

    A 5-star defensive end, Josh Sweat looks like how a defensive end is supposed to at 6'5" and 237 pounds. 

    He uses explosiveness and athleticism to make life tough for offensive tackles. The Virginia native shoots upfield immediately at the snap before showing off terrific short-area quickness to reach the ball.

    Sweat's strength is deceptive, but it needs to be improved. He currently lacks the ability to set the edge and challenge running plays aimed directly at him.

1. Trent Thompson, DT

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    Hailing from Georgia, Trent Thompson is an ideal 3-technique defensive tackle prospect. The 6'4", 292-pounder is explosive at the snap and also knows how to slip through gaps.

    Thompson has impressive power, plus he even redirects well when in pursuit. When he improves his ability to anchor at the point of attack when needed and adds more to his pass-rushing arsenal, he'll be scary.

     

    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.