College Football Recruiting: An Early Look at the Top 25 Prospects for 2018

Sanjay Kirpalani@@SanjayKirpalaniNational Recruiting AnalystFebruary 2, 2017

College Football Recruiting: An Early Look at the Top 25 Prospects for 2018

0 of 25

    Five-star QB and current Clemson commit Trevor Lawrence leads the way for the class of 2018.
    Five-star QB and current Clemson commit Trevor Lawrence leads the way for the class of 2018.Credit: Scout

    With the book finally closed on the 2017 cycle, colleges around the country are already turning the page to identifying the elite talents in the class of 2018.

    There are a number of 2018 recruits who are known commodities to head coaches such as Alabama's Nick Saban and Ohio State's Urban Meyer.

    Five-star quarterback and current Clemson pledge Trevor Lawrence highlights this group.

    Which other players should fans around the country be watching over the next few months leading into the season?

    Let's take an early look at the top 25 prospects for the 2018 class, according to Scout.com.

25. 4-Star DE Malcolm Lamar

1 of 25

    Credit: Scout

    High School/Hometown: Armwood High School; Seffner, Florida 

    Position Rating: No. 5 defensive end

    Notable Offers: Florida, Georgia, Miami, Oklahoma and Tennessee

     

    Although he's approaching 20 offers, there's one team that is already standing out for 4-star defensive end Malcolm Lamar.

    According to Scout's Jacquie Franciulli, Lamar was elated to receive an offer from in-state power Florida.

    "It's like a dream come true," Lamar told Franciulli. "I've been waiting for this all my life, ever since I started playing football." 

    Lamar recorded 24 tackles and seven sacks as a junior, according to MaxPreps.

24. 4-Star CB A.J. Lytton

2 of 25

    High School/Hometown: Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School; Upper Marlboro, Maryland 

    Position Rating: No. 3 corner

    Notable Offers: Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Maryland and Penn State

     

    Florida State is in prime position to land 4-star corner A.J. Lytton.

    He told Ryan Bartow of 247Sports that he could commit to the Seminoles when he makes it to Tallahassee.

    "That's my dream school, and I just like the way they play," Lytton told Bartow. "I like the way they fly around on defense." 

    According to MaxPreps, Lytton has recorded 100 tackles and seven interceptions over the first three years of his prep career.

23. 4-Star RB Lorenzo Lingard

3 of 25

    High School/Hometown: University High School; Orange City, Florida

    Position Rating: No. 4 running back

    Notable Offers: Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Miami and Ohio State

     

    Texas is the latest school to offer 4-star running back Lorenzo Lingard

    Lingard rushed for 656 yards and eight touchdowns as a freshman, according to 247Sports

    The Longhorns join 27 other programs who have already tendered the Sunshine State standout. 

    As Bill Kurelic of 247Sports noted, Lingard named Big Ten power Ohio State his leader in November.

22. 4-Star WR Jalen Preston

4 of 25

    High School/Hometown: Manvel High School; Manvel, Texas

    Position Rating: No. 2 receiver

    Notable Offers: LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M

     

    Louisville and Oregon are the two latest programs to offer 4-star receiver Jalen Preston.

    According to MaxPreps, Preston recorded 33 receptions for 664 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior.

    As Brian Perroni of 247Sports noted, Preston singled out LSU, Oklahoma and Texas A&M as three schools coming after him the hardest. 

    Preston rates as the No. 3 player overall from the state of Texas in the 2018 cycle.

21. 4-Star LB Bo Calvert

5 of 25

    High School/Hometown: Oaks Christian High School; Westlake Village, California

    Position Rating: No. 3 outside linebacker

    Notable Offers: Committed to USC

     

    Back in April 2016, USC landed a major commitment from 4-star linebacker Bo Calvert.

    As Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports detailed, Calvert is a freakish athlete who could play safety or outside linebacker at the college level. 

    He has recorded 119 tackles and 12.5 sacks over the last two seasons, according to MaxPreps.

    Calvert rates as the No. 4 player overall from the state of California.

20. 4-Star DT Taron Vincent

6 of 25

    Credit: Scout

    High School/Hometown: IMG Academy; Bradenton, Florida

    Position Rating: No. 1 defensive tackle

    Notable Offers: Alabama, Florida State, Michigan, Ohio State and UCLA

     

    Back in August, 4-star defensive tackle Taron Vincent singled out Florida State, Ohio State and UCLA as the three schools he had built the strongest relationships with in the early stages of his process. 

    Vincent is the son of former NFL defensive back and current NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent. 

    "It's a great experience to learn from him and to have him be able to guide me along the way," Taron told Bleacher Report. "He's been there every step, and he lived it during his career, so he usually has all the answers to my questions, and that's a cool thing. It's a blessing."

    As a junior, Vincent recorded 92 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss and five sacks, according to MaxPreps.

19. 4-Star RB T.J. Pledger

7 of 25

    High School/Hometown: IMG Academy; Bradenton, Florida

    Position Rating: No. 3 running back 

    Notable Offers: Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ohio State and USC

     

    One of the more high-profile transfers in the offseason has been the move of 4-star running back T.J. Pledger to Florida prep powerhouse IMG Academy.

    Over the first three years of his career at Chaminade High School in West Hills, California, Pledger rushed for 4,034 yards and 69 touchdowns, according to MaxPreps.

    As a receiver, he's added another 781 yards and three receiving scores. 

    Texas is among the latest programs to offer Pledger.

18. 4-Star DE Max Wright

8 of 25

    High School/Hometown: Taylor High School; Katy, Texas

    Position Rating: No. 4 defensive end

    Notable Offers: Alabama, Ohio State, Stanford, Texas and Texas A&M

     

    Arkansas, Ole Miss and USC are the latest programs to offer 4-star defensive end Max Wright.

    According to MaxPreps, Wright recorded 70 tackles, including 18 tackles for loss and nine sacks, as a junior.

    The most recent program to host him on campus was Texas A&M in January. 

    Wright is the No. 2 overall rising senior from the state of Texas.

17. 4-Star DE Adam Anderson

9 of 25

    Credit: Scout

    High School/Hometown: Rome High School; Rome, Georgia

    Position Rating: No. 3 defensive end

    Notable Offers: Committed to Georgia 

     

    As Scout's Chad Simmons detailed, Georgia was able to get in early and land an impact player in 4-star defensive end Adam Anderson.

    He chose to stay close to home and shun early offers from powers such as Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and Ohio State. 

    According to MaxPreps, Anderson recorded five sacks and an interception as a junior.

    He is the No. 3 overall prospect from the state of Georgia in the 2018 cycle.

16. 4-Star RB Ricky Slade Jr.

10 of 25

    High School/Hometown: C.D. Hylton High School; Woodbridge, Virginia

    Position Rating: No. 2 running back

    Notable Offers: Florida, North Carolina, Penn State, Tennessee and Virginia Tech

     

    Maryland, NC State, North Carolina, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia Tech are among the programs that have been able to get 4-star running back Ricky Slade Jr. on campus over the last two years.

    Slade, who has compiled more than 25 offers heading into the spring, has been a productive back who flashed on the radar of college coaches as a freshman.

    According to MaxPreps, Slade rushed for 1,509 yards and 16 touchdowns while adding another 338 yards receiving and four additional scores through the air last season.

    Slade is the No. 2 overall prospect from the state of Virginia for the 2018 cycle.

15. 4-Star S Jaiden Woodbey

11 of 25

    High School/Hometown: St. John Bosco High School; Bellflower, California

    Position Rating: No. 1 safety

    Notable Offers: Alabama, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma and USC

     

    As Scout's Shotgun Spratling detailed, 4-star safety Jaiden Woodbey recently released a top four that included Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma and USC.

    Of that group, the Buckeyes were the program last able to get him on campus.

    As a sophomore at Upland High School (California), Woodbey recorded 55 tackles and had five interceptions, according to MaxPreps.

    He rates as the nation's top safety prospect and the No. 3 overall player from the state of California.

14. 4-Star OL Cade Mays

12 of 25

    Credit: Scout

    High School/Hometown: Knoxville Catholic High School; Knoxville, Tennessee

    Position Rating: No. 2 offensive tackle 

    Notable Offers: Committed to Tennessee

     

    Tennessee head coach Butch Jones and his staff were able to lock up the Volunteer State's top overall prospect in the 2018 cycle early.

    In fact, 4-star offensive lineman Cade Mays committed to the Vols all the way back in July 2015.

    Mays selected Tennessee over offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and Texas A&M, among others. 

    Additionally, Mays has already committed to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

13. 4-Star LB Teradja Mitchell

13 of 25

    High School/Hometown: Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School; Virginia Beach, Virginia

    Position Rating: No. 2 outside linebacker

    Notable Offers: Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, LSU and Ohio State

     

    Florida State has had tremendous success pulling in elite recruits from the state of Virginia in recent years.

    The Seminoles, along with Clemson and Ohio State, are among the programs that have a strong bond with 4-star linebacker Teradja Mitchell.

    Mitchell recorded 64 tackles with two interceptions as a junior, according to MaxPreps.

    He noted that he doesn't have a timeline for a commitment, but he does have some firm criteria in what he is looking for that will help him make his decision. 

    "The main thing for me is playing for a staff that can help develop me and get me to the NFL, because that is where I want to go," Mitchell told Bleacher Report. "I also look at schools that have great business programs. That's what I want to major in, and I'd like to create a plan for life after football. So that's big with me as well. I'd also like my parents to be comfortable with the school I choose."

12. 4-Star ATH B.J. Foster

14 of 25

    High School/Hometown: Angleton High School; Angleton, Texas

    Position Rating: No. 1 athlete

    Notable Offers: Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Texas and Texas A&M

     

    With more than 20 offers already on the table, 4-star athlete B.J. Foster has singled out his top five programs.

    LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, TCU and Texas are the five schools he is focusing on at the moment.

    Foster was one of a handful of underclassmen invited to The Opening last summer—which cements his standing as one of the premier prospects in the 2018 cycle. 

    He has the early billing of being the top overall prospect in the 2018 class from the state of Texas.

11. 5-Star LB Palaie Gaoteote

15 of 25

    High School/Hometown: Bishop Gorman High School; Las Vegas

    Position Rating: No. 1 outside linebacker 

    Notable Offers: Alabama, Florida, Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC

     

    Over the last two seasons, 5-star linebacker Palaie Gaoteote has been one of the primary enforcers on a loaded squad at Bishop Gorman High School.

    He's racked up 160 tackles, including 25 tackles for loss, five sacks and an interception over that period, according to MaxPreps.

    As Bill Kurelic of 247Sports noted, both Ohio State and USC were able to get him on campus during the fall for game visits.

    Gaoteote, the top overall prospect from the state of Nevada in the 2018 cycle, has already committed to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

10. 5-Star OL Brey Walker

16 of 25

    High School/Hometown: Southmoore High School; Moore, Oklahoma

    Position Rating: No. 1 offensive tackle 

    Notable Offers: Committed to Oklahoma

     

    Similar to Mays, Oklahoma identified a gem early in its backyard in 5-star offensive lineman Brey Walker

    Walker, the top offensive tackle prospect and the top overall player from the state of Oklahoma, committed to the Sooners back in November 2015. 

    Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Michigan and Nebraska are among the other programs that have already offered Walker.

    He has also been named to Scout's underclassman All-American team.

9. 5-Star CB Tyreke Johnson

17 of 25

    High School/Hometown: Trinity Christian Academy; Jacksonville, Florida

    Position Rating: No. 2 corner

    Notable Offers: Alabama, Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Virginia Tech

     

    Oregon is the latest program to jump in the race for 5-star corner Tyreke Johnson.

    According to MaxPreps, Johnson recorded 32 tackles, one interception and nine passes defensed as a junior.

    The 6'2", 185-pounder is a versatile defensive back who could play corner or safety at the next level. 

    Johnson is another player who has already committed to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. 

8. 5-Star OL Jamaree Salyer

18 of 25

    Credit: Scout

    High School/Hometown: Pace Academy; Atlanta

    Position Rating: No. 1 offensive guard

    Notable Offers: Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU and Ohio State

     

    At 6'3 ½", 327 pounds, 5-star offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer is already physically mature enough to compete on the college level. 

    Salyer was one of a select group of underclassmen who competed at The Opening last year.

    LSU was the latest school to offer Salyer, while Clemson was the latest program to get him on campus.

    Salyer is one of the nation's premier offensive linemen in the 2018 cycle and the No. 2 overall prospect from the state of Georgia.

7. 5-Star DE Xavier Thomas

19 of 25

    High School/Hometown: IMG Academy, Bradenton, Florida

    Position Rating: No. 2 defensive end

    Notable Offers: Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Ohio State and South Carolina

     

    Five-star defensive end Xavier Thomas is one of the more freakish athletes in the 2018 cycle. He reportedly ran a 4.42 time in the 40-yard dash while measuring in at 260 pounds.

    While he has nearly 30 offers to his credit, he named Clemson and South Carolina as his top two programs in late December

    Thomas, originally from Florence, South Carolina, recorded 70 tackles, including 13 tackles for loss with nine sacks at Wilson High School last season, according to MaxPreps.

    Thomas is another player who has transferred to IMG Academy for his senior season. 

6. 5-Star WR Jalen Hall

20 of 25

    High School/Hometown: Hawkins High School; Los Angeles

    Position Rating: No. 1 receiver

    Notable Offers: Alabama, Auburn, Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC

     

    Hawkins High School in Los Angeles has notable 2017 standouts such as 5-star receiver Joseph Lewis and 4-star athlete Greg Johnson.

    College coaches will continue to be a fixture in the hallways at Hawkins to recruit 5-star receiver Jalen Hall.

    Over the first three years of his prep career, Hall has recorded 162 catches for 3,355 yards and 29 touchdowns, according to MaxPreps

    Hall has already committed to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

5. 5-Star RB Zamir White

21 of 25

    High School/Hometown: Scotland County High School; Laurinburg, North Carolina

    Position Rating: No. 1 running back

    Notable Offers: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia and North Carolina

     

    Five-star running back Zamir White is the top overall prospect in North Carolina and the Mid-Atlantic region.

    Over the last three years, the 6'1", 210-pounder has rushed for 5,083 yards and 85 touchdowns, according to MaxPreps

    Georgia was the last program to get White on campus, which occurred last week at the Bulldogs' first junior day.

    White has already pledged to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

4. 5-Star QB Matt Corral

22 of 25

    High School/Hometown: Oaks Christian High School; Westlake Village, California

    Position Rating: No. 2 quarterback

    Notable Offers: Committed to USC

     

    Five-star quarterback Matt Corral is the top overall prospect from the state of California in the 2018 class.

    It was nearly a year ago at this point when the 6'2", 185-pound signal-caller announced his commitment to USC.

    He selected the Trojans over offers from Arizona State, Michigan, Texas A&M and UCLA. 

    Corral threw for 3,025 yards with 22 touchdowns and three interceptions while adding another 346 yards and seven scores on the ground as a junior, according to MaxPreps.

    Over the last three seasons, Corral has thrown for 7,683 yards with 74 touchdowns and 15 interceptions while completing nearly 65 percent of his passes.

3. 5-Star CB Patrick Surtain Jr.

23 of 25

    High School/Hometown: American Heritage High School; Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Position Rating: No. 1 corner 

    Notable Offers: Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, LSU and Ohio State

     

    Patrick Surtain was a decorated corner who went on to have an 11-year career playing for the Dolphins and the Chiefs.

    Now, he's the head coach of one of the top prep programs in the state of Florida at American Heritage High School.

    As an added bonus, his son—5-star corner Patrick Surtain Jr.—is one of the nation's elite talents in the 2018 cycle. 

    According to MaxPreps, the younger Surtain recorded 20 tackles and two interceptions as a junior. He was also one of the select few underclassmen invited to The Opening last summer. 

    Clemson is the last school to get him on campus.

2. 5-Star DE Micah Parsons

24 of 25

    High School/Hometown: Central Dauphin High School; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

    Position Rating: No. 1 defensive end 

    Notable Offers: Committed to Penn State

     

    Penn State's 2018 recruiting class received an enormous boost last February when 5-star defensive end Micah Parsons announced his commitment to the Nittany Lions.

    However, it appears he may have left the door slightly open. According to Andrew Lind of Eleven Warriors, Parsons visited Ohio State's junior day last weekend. 

    Parsons selected Penn State over offers from Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Ohio State and USC, among others.

    The 6'3", 236-pounder recorded 69 tackles and 13.5 sacks as a sophomore, according to MaxPreps.

1. 5-Star QB Trevor Lawrence

25 of 25

    High School/Hometown: Cartersville High School; Cartersville, Georgia

    Position Rating: No. 1 quarterback 

    Notable Offers: Committed to Clemson

     

    Before Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney prepared his program for a second straight appearance in the College Football Playoff National Championship, he received an early Christmas present when 5-star quarterback Trevor Lawrence committed to the Tigers on Dec. 15.

    Lawrence is the top overall prospect in the 2018 cycle and one of the best overall passing prospects over the last 10 years.

    As Barton Simmons of 247Sports detailed, the 6'6", 201-pounder has compiled a 40-1 record as a starter for Cartersville High School, with two state titles. He's also passed for more than 10,000 yards with 118 touchdown passes compared to just 20 interceptions.

    Lawrence selected Clemson over offers from Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia and Tennessee, among others.

     

    Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of Scout.com.