The Top 25 College Football Recruits for 2011
The action part of college football might not be starting for a long time, but there truly is no offseason for college football recruiting.
In fact, tracking the top 25 prospects for 2011 is arriving pretty late to the party, considering how some programs are doing it these days.
At any rate, the 2011 recruiting season is in full swing, with or without your knowledge. Click through, clue yourself in on the developments so far, and meet the Seantrel Hendersons, Lache Seastrunks, and Matt Elams of tomorrow.
Braxton Miller, QB
Currently the nation's top QB prospect per Scout, Ohio native Braxton Miller is rumored to be an early lock for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
That's good news for Tressel and company, who will need the next dynamic quarterback quickly if Terrelle Pryor enters the draft a year early.
The Buckeyes didn't restock the QB position at all with this past class, so they'll be throwing everything they have at Miller.
That could mean suitors like Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Michigan, and West Virginia get left out in the cold.
La'El Collins, OT (LSU)
At almost every position, you bump into a kid who has either committed or is about to commit to LSU.
The Tigers hung a big moose on the wall when they landed La'El Collins. The 6'5" tackle is possibly the best offensive line recruit of the Miles era and a sure bet for a five-star in spite of his early commitment.
He's maybe an inch or two short for an elite tackle's size, but if he slid to interior guard, it wouldn't be the end of the world. That said, he could probably make up for the shortfall by improving his footwork.
At any rate, get ready for another top five class from LSU when it's all said and done.
Tim Jernigan, DT
Probably the top defensive lineman (or at least the top DT) in the 2011 class, Tim Jernigan is currently compiling offers from every conference.
Michigan jumped on him as early as they could, but as expected, the Lake City, Florida native will be hard to pluck out of his home state.
The Gators, Seminoles, Bulls, and Hurricanes will probably battle hardest for his services unless he favors leaving for colder climes. Tennessee has also tossed him an early offer.
He's cousins with a few members of the Florida State track team. He'll be one of the more entertaining recruitments to watch if he chooses to make it dramatic.
DeAnthony Thomas, RB
The next installment in the versatile, speedy, all-around athlete, Thomas is a player in the mold of Lache Seastrunk and Reggie Bush.
He's already narrowed down his list to four west-coast schools: Arizona State, UCLA, USC, and Washington.
He's camped at USC and is a Trojan lean to some insiders, and the depth chart could be clearing up even more after this year.
I'd say he's USC's to lose; barring some serious sanctions and a load of bad press, he's just the kind of kid Lane Kiffin has an easy time befriending.
George Farmer, WR
Farmer is the resident burner of the class, posting a 4.3 40 to go with his elite size (6'2") and above-average build (197). Reminds me of Darius White, if a shade lighter and a touch faster.
He's a California kid weighing interest from the Pac-10 schools against the usual spate of elite contenders—Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma.
He's another kid who could tip his hand by camping at certain schools over others in the summer.
If he's really interested in leaving the West Coast, the buzz from the Gators, Longhorns, and Sooners should really pick up in July. If it doesn't, he's the Pac-10's to fight over.
Jermauria Rasco, DE (LSU)
Rasco headlines one of the strongest in-state talent crops Louisiana has seen in years.
A Shreveport native, Rasco will be next to impossible to keep away from the Tigers, who are already compiling an outstanding 2011 class comprised of in-state kids.
After a breakout junior season, he'll be in contention for top weakside end for his defense against the run.
He's already a huge LSU lean despite a multitude of offers. LSU's recruiting coordinator, Frank Wilson, is a local boy who should have no trouble convincing him to stay home.
Christian Westerman, OT
The mammoth prospect out of Arizona is drawing interest all over the country, from Michigan to Cal, Oregon to Ohio State, Nebraska, Texas, Notre Dame, and everywhere in between.
The early leader was USC when Pete Carroll was in town. Since then, Westerman has camped in Austin, Texas and kept his leaders to himself. His recruitment should get a lot bigger before it gets any smaller.
Karlos Williams, S/WR
Karlos Williams, a safety/wide receiver prospect drawing interest from a variety of SEC schools, could narrow his list from the 16 offers he holds now to something shorter depending on what side of the ball he wants to play on.
For the time being, the Davenport, FL native doesn't appear to have a leader. Rivals likes him as a wide receiver, Scout a safety, ESPN an athlete. Georgia, Florida State, Tennessee, and Alabama are some early names in the mix.
Christian Lemay, QB
Lemay's talents aren't too far behind Miller's, and his offer sheet is just as long.
He's a mobile passing quarterback as opposed to a dual-threat quarterback, with a strong arm and good touch rather than a ground attack.
His final 10: Clemson, Oklahoma, Miami-FL, Mississippi State, Virginia Tech, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida State.
He's probably the Gators' to lose, considering their recruiting efforts and the favorable depth chart behind presumed starter John Brantley.
Teddy Bridgewater, WR/QB
Teddy Bridgewater is Scout's third-best quarterback, but he may never take a snap in the backfield as a QB in college: He's presumed to be making a switch to wide receiver wherever he enrolls.
Still, his skill set will make him a coveted athlete for teams that are looking to add another dimension to their attack. He could end up among the top five ATHs in the country if he continues to toe the line.
Steve Miller, DE (Ohio State)
The third-best prospect in the state of Ohio has already given his verbal to the Buckeyes for the 2011 season.
His commitment shores up Ohio State's chances at keeping the in-state talent in-state in a year where the athletes run deep at many positions.
He'll be a fringe five-star talent at strongside defensive end, but barring an outstanding senior year, will be denied that fifth star. Early commitments just aren't that sexy, but you know that's the way Jim Tressel likes it.
Demetrius Hart, RB
The Wolverines led for Hart's services going into last fall, but as soon as other schools started to show interest, it seemed like the diminutive prospect's interest started to cool.
Notre Dame, Georgia, and Florida State have extended offers, and Nick Saban appears to be playing Alabama into the mix for the Florida native.
And it's only a matter of time until the in-state Gators start pitching their version of the spread. Then Hart's recruitment will really heat up.
With his size, strength, and well-rounded talents, he could end up the top all-purpose back in the country for the services that delineate as such.
Trey DePriest, OLB
DePriest is the other candidate battling for top player in Ohio, and perhaps the Midwest.
An outside linebacker, and one of the top defensive recruits, DePriest has the attention of a variety of schools and plans on taking his recruitment to the road this summer.
He's drawn interest from Michigan and Michigan State, visited Cincinnati, and holds offers from Stanford and Oklahoma.
But if the Buckeyes lose another in-state stud linebacker to an out-of-state school, Jim Tressel will certainly be too upset to play Bridge online, or whatever else he does with his free time.
It'll be a tight battle that might come down to the Buckeyes and Michigan—DePriest has attended camp in Ann Arbor, and grew up a Michigan fan, but doesn't like the losing trajectory of the past few years.
With the favorable depth chart at linebacker OSU and Michigan will field going into the fall of 2011, he could end up wasting all those miles.
Lawrence Thomas, MLB
Thomas, a teammate of Spartan commit William Gholston at Detroit Renaissance, could follow Gholston to Michigan State, where he's rumored to be a heavy lean.
He's a five-star talent to Scout and the No. 1 middle linebacker, and should land near the top of every list once the rest of the recruiting sites dole out evaluations.
With his heavy hitting and uncommon vision, he'd be another huge landing for Mark Dantonio and company. The Spartans have signed increasingly better recruiting classes in consecutive years, and were able to hang onto Gholston despite late entreaties from Alabama.
Stephone Anthony, OLB
One of the more refined prospects out of North Carolina in some time, Stephone Anthony will battle Ohio's Trey DePriest for the honor of top OLB in the class.
At 6'3", 220 lbs., he has prototypical size and will be feeling the full court press from the Tar Heels, who are exploding onto the recruiting scene under Butch Davis.
He visited UNC and Clemson for their junior days and holds offers from all the ACC heavy hitters as well as UCLA.
With the way the Tar Heels have locked down the UNC area, I'll predict he'll be a Tar Heel, particularly if he keeps his focus within the ACC.
UNC should have an amazing season on defense next year, and that will only increase the attraction for busters like Anthony.
Sheroid Evans, S
Sheroid Evans is a safety/cornerback prospect out of Texas that is currently making the rounds of the Big XII schools.
He picked up an Oklahoma offer in late January, and is also drawing offers from LSU, which is trying to establish a pipeline into Texas, Ohio State, and Houston.
He's big for a cornerback (6'1") but rangy, reminding me of Alabama's DeMarcus Milliner. Any doubts about his speed will land him at safety in college.
Malcolm Brown, RB
Brown, a running back out of Cibolo, Texas, is getting pitched as the most complete back in the class—think Marcus Lattimore.
It's going to be hard to whisk him too far away from the Lone Star State, and his early favorites are all Big XII players like the Longhorns, Sooners, and Aggies, as well as Texas Tech and Baylor. For what it's worth, Stanford has tossed their hat into the ring, and TCU also thinks they have a shot.
He could end up as the top back in the class to one or more of the recruiting services, though he doesn't have the speed of Thomas.
Jadeveon Clowney, DE
Clowney, a South Carolina prospect, will battle Tim Jernigan for the distinction of top defensive lineman in the 2011.
He's drawing interest from the top schools in the country and has already named his favorites among a pool of Florida, South Carolina, LSU, Alabama, and Clemson. From those, South Carolina is the leader.
He's enormous (6'5") but thin (220). He reminds me of Florida's Ronald Powell and should be counted on for similar production. Still, there's time to put on some poundage before his senior year.
Rivals list his interest in South Carolina as "High" to the exclusion of all other schools. It sounds like he might make his recruitment uninteresting before his senior year, but there's always the possibility that he decommits after one or two officials.
Where he decides to camp in the coming months should give a better impression of how strong his favoritism for the home state is.
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT
Cyrus is the younger brother of Arie Kouandjio, who committed to Alabama in the most recent recruiting cycle.
A Maryland native, Kouandjio could reprise the role of Seantrel Henderson in next year's recruiting drama if he strings along the Big East like the former did with the Big Ten.
He looks like a lock for the top tackle spot in the country and lists almost every Big East school (UConn, et al.) among his top choices, as well as Iowa and Alabama.
Watch for whether his brother gets involved in his recruitment—that could tip the balance towards the Tide, or at least result in an official visit.
Ben Koyack, TE
Koyack, a Pennsylvania native, is a preemptive five-star talent. He's drawing praise for his pass-catching ability and athleticism, and has elite size and blue-chip speed for his position.
The Nittany Lions will be pursuing him hard after missing out on top-tier tight ends the past year and losing AJ Quarless with this year's graduation. Other suitors include Ohio State, Notre Dame, and a host of Big East schools.
James Wilder, DE
James Wilder, a Tampa, FL, native, is Scout's No. 2 DE.
A speed rusher who will play stand-up end, Wilder holds offers from Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, and South Florida. Scout thinks he can play outside linebacker or even running back in a versatile system.
It sounds like a lot of rookie coaches are after him, making his recruitment more fun to watch.
Viliami Moala, DT
Moala, a Sacramento native, is favoring Pac-10 play, considering his early offers from Washington, Cal, Oregon, and USC over other suitors.
The Trojans are an early favorite, and defensive line coach/recruiting Messiah Ed Orgeron will tear off the shirt of everyone in Humboldt County if he doesn't land the elite defensive tackle. Looks like it's only a matter of time.
Herschel Sims, RB,
The running back with the loaded name, Sims is already drawing interest from ESPN anthologists, holds five stars from Scout, and is on the ESPNU 150 Watch List.
The Abilene, TX, native is putting together a national recruiting effort spanning the Pac-10, Big XII, ACC, and SEC. It looks like he'll stay south of some line of latitude, but I expect a drawn out recruitment like Lache Seastrunk's.
Early favorites are the Tide, the Sooners, and the Longhorns, who have been absent an elite running back commitment for a number of years.
Kasen Williams, WR
Thankfully, the USC Trojans are so loaded with big, elite wideouts that they can't conceivably offer Williams a scholarship (well, they could, but hopefully he's too intelligent to accept it).
That leaves every other program in the country to battle for the lone five-star receiver, who boasts elite size and so-so-speed, and will enter school with the strength to break double teams.
The Issaquah, WA, native holds offers from every Pac-10 school and is also looking at Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, and the top schools in the SEC.
Leroy Scott, CB
The top cornerback in the class is another Texas kid who will have hard time looking anywhere past the Longhorns.
Leroy Scott is a five-star prospect with elite size, strength, and speed who already favors the Longhorns (info in header). LSU, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Georgia are the four other close suitors, but they're on the outside looking in.
Such is life when you have one of the most stable, entrenched, and charismatic recruiters in the country sittin' on a goldmine. It's good to be the Mack.