2011 College Football Recruiting: The Top 25 Recruits
Recruiting for the 2011 college football season has been under way for a few months and every coach wants to make sure that they get the best recruits available.
Before we look at the Top 25 recruits, here are the Top 10 programs for 2011 based on recruiting, according to ESPNU:
3. Florida State
6. Ohio State
So, let us now take a look at the recruits, shall we?
25. Braxton Miller (QB)
Checking in at No. 25 on the recruiting list, according to ESPNU's Top 150, is Braxton Miller.
Miller, a 6'2" 190 lbs quarterback, has verbally committed to the Ohio State University to play for Jim Tressel's Buckeyes. Miller also considered Florida, Notre Dame, Alabama, Georgia, or USC before deciding to take his talents to Columbus.
Miller is considered a four-star recruit and is from Huber Heights, Ohio, and attends Wayne High School. He is also listed as the second-ranked QB in the country. According to ESPNU's 150, Miller is a true dual-threat that is advanced as a passer in comparison to most.
He shows good velocity on his deeper throws and can fit the ball into a lot of tight spots. He is in the shotgun most of the time and needs more reps from under center to develop as a drop-back passer reading on the move.
He is very dangerous outside of the pocket because of his athleticism, but he can also stand tall in the passing game. He hits his target and shows good balance and set up to be consistently accurate.
Overall, he will be one of the hotter commodities in this class of QB's as a passer, not just as a dual-threat. He has a chance to be an elite guy due to already being a very good player with upside.
As usual, Jim Tressel knows what his Ohio State team needs to be successful, and this player should be no different for the Buckeyes as the team comes in with the sixth-ranked recruiting class in the nation for 2011 with four ESPNU 150 commits, with Miller being one of them.
24. Matthew Hegarty (OT)
Matthew Hegarty is an offensive tackle who has already verbally committed to play at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. Hegarty decided to play for Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish after considering USC, Oklahoma, Texas, Cal, and LSU.
The 6'5", 265 lbs, Hegarty is rated as a four-star recruit and ranks as the fourth-best offensive tackle in the country. He will be making a far travel from home since he is from Aztec, New Mexico and attends Aztec High School.
According to ESPNU's 150, Hegarty has the height recruiting insiders like to see for the offensive tackle position at the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level of competition.
The insiders like Hegarty's upper body, hand, arm and shoulder strength, which allows him to control defensive linemen. He displays a measured first step, which allows him to get his hands on defenders and walk them off the line of scrimmage.
He shows good ability in pass protection, although his run game production is further advanced. He demonstrates the athleticism bend and slide his feet, however, his ability to get to the deep set point will need to improve.
He has the tools to become a long term starter at the next level of play, but a little time may be necessary to add muscle and/or pounds to his frame.
Hegarty could be a valuable asset for Brian Kelly's team, as he is still trying to rebuild the program to make it prominent again, as it is one of the most traditionally rich football programs in the country. Things do sound promising though, as Notre Dame is the 11th ranked team recruiting class for 2011.
23. Quan Bray (Athlete)
The 23rd-ranked recruit for 2011 is Quan Bray. Bray has not yet decided where he will play college football but at the moment is considering Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Auburn, or Georgia Tech. Bray currently plays quarterback for Troup County Comprehensive High School and is from LaGrange, Georgia. However, according to ESPNU's 150, it is not yet determined what position he will play in college, although, he is currently listed as the second-best QB in the country and is a four-star recruit.
The 5'11" 180 lbs Bray is an electrifying athlete that can run extremely fast and possesses outstanding quickness and change-of-direction skills. His running ability is what makes him a dangerous threat but also can actually make plays in the passing game. He is a scary playmaker in terms of the physical tools and all indications is that he will be a running back or a wide receiver in college. He is built like a receiver, but has open field run instincts and elusiveness. He has a huge upside as a return man both punt and kick-off and has the ability to change field position in a hurry. Overall, he appears to have good football instincts and is a very confident player. He has very few physical flaws as a prospect and the insiders see expect him to be a factor as a freshman once he transitions to whatever position he plays in college due to him needing a short learning curve for him to adapt. Georgia Tech could be a good option for Bray as Paul Johnson's Yellow Jackets love to use the triple-option that he brought to the program after his time at the Naval Academy and Bray could be an exceptional player in Johnson's offense.
22. Xzavier Dickson (DE)
Xzavier Dickson checks in at #22 and is a defensive end from Griffin, Georgia and attends Griffin High School. The 6'4" 242 lbs Dickson is still undecided on where to play college football but is considering Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, or Georgia Tech. The four-star recruit also ranks as the fifth-best defensive end in the country.
Dickson has good size and, while he does not have have ideal height, he appears to have a thick sturdy frame. He has good straight-line speed and impressive ball skills for a defensive lineman. He is good versus the run. He has the speed to be a factor from the backside, but more importantly he shows good football smarts to play it right. He displays the ability to get to keep good pad level and generate power from his thick lower body. He is a solid wrap-up tackler and plays with a good motor. It seems right now that he is best defending the run. The insiders think he needs to develop his pass rush arsenal, not attack the whole man, and could look to benefit from having a plan as at times he can run himself past the quarterback. Dickson has the ability to be a tough run defender and with some development also a productive pass rusher.
21. Quandre Diggs (CB)
The 21st-recruit in the country is Quandre Diggs has verbally committed to play at The University of Texas in Austin after considering Texas A&M, Oklahoma, LSU, Alabama, or Tennessee. The 5'10" 190 lbs cornerback is from Angleton, Texas and attends Angleton High School. Longhorns coach Mack Brown looks like he has a special player in Diggs as Diggs is a four-star recruit and is listed as the best cornerback in the country.
While Diggs is a cornerback by trade, he currently plays running back and quarterback. He possesses a special blend of speed, quickness, smooth hips and ideal change-of direction skills. The insiders feel Diggs will likely end up as a cornerback and return specialist in college and all his physical traits would lead anyone to believe he could end up being one of the better ones to come out of this class. He possesses just marginal height, but a strong, sturdy build and he plays very physical. His open field run skills as a run oriented QB are excellent. He possesses excellent stop and start ability and a low center of gravity. The physical traits along with his pesky attitude are why he excites coaches on defense. He is a very versatile player that has good awareness. His risks are calculated and he makes a lot of plays on the ball. He covers a ton of ground and rapidly reaches top speed. His ball skills are very good and he certainly can make things happen with interceptions. He has the tools to be a field position changer as a kick and punt returner. Overall, Diggs will have to transition to defense full time and continue to develop once he gets to college, but the learning curve will be minimal. He is a playmaker in all three phases of the game (offensively, defensively and special teams) and is competitive. Diggs should be a force for Mack Brown as Texas is listed as the best recruiting class in the nation for 2011.
20. Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix (S)
We have reached the top 20 recruits now and checking in at #20 is Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix. Clinton-Dix is a 6'2" 194 lbs safety that has verbally committed to playing for The University of Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa after considering Florida, Florida State, USC, Ohio State, or Notre Dame. Clinton-Dix is a four-star recruit and is listed is the second-best safety in the country. He currently attends Dr. Phillips High School and is from Orlando, Florida.
According to ESPNU's 150, Clinton-Dix is one of the better all-around safeties in this class. He displays quick, decisive diagnosing skills in zone coverage. He soundly reads the quarterback, sees underneath routes and anticipates the pass. He is a very instinctive safety. He is a big time hitter who can separate the ball from the receiver with his timing and velocity on contact. He knows how to strip and create turnovers. He is a very effective blitzer with great chase speed closing from the backside. While Clinton-Dix is a good ball-hawk, he needs to work on wrapping his man up instead of just inflicting a big shoulder hit. His coverage technique and footwork could use polish as well. He may end up growing into an outside linebacker (OLB) or hybrid safety/Bandit type of defender. While he does need some developing, Clinton-Dix' scheme versatility is very valuable in today's defenses. He should be a valuable commodity for Nick Saban's team and Alabama always has high expectations and is always a program that recruits well and 2011 is no different as Alabama is listed as the second-best recruiting class in the nation for 2011.
19. Jeoffrey Pagan (DE)
Four-star recruit Jeoffrey Pagan is #19 in this list of Top 25 recruits. Pagan is a 6'3" 260 lbs defensive end out of Asheville, North Carolina and attends Asheville High School. He is still undecided about where to play college football but is considering Alabama, LSU, Clemson, Georgia, or Tennessee. He is listed as the fourth-best defensive end in the country.
Pagan is kind of a work in progress. He has good overall size that he brings to the table. He is an active and physical player and displays a good get-off, but needs to crowd the ball better at times and also be more consistent. Anyone would like the physicality and power he displays, but he does frustrate people a bit in the sense he does not use his hands. He likes contact and likes to lead with the shoulder and can do some damage, but needs to use his hands. He also needs to work on protecting his legs. He is a good tackler and as a pass rusher he will flash the ability to use his weapons and turn his hips. He has a good motor and will play to the whistle. When he leads with the shoulder he can get some surge, but can also get caught up with blockers and leave himself in a position to not be able to get off blocks and make the play. Pagan is a disruptive player with good natural ability, but he needs to develop that one lapse in his game. If he can learn to use his hands, he could be a real good and productive college defender.
18. Jay Rome (TE)
Valdosta, Georgia native Jay Rome is #18 on this list. Rome is a 6'5" 230 lbs tight end and attends Valdosta High School. He is undecided on where he wants to play college football but is considering playing for either Georgia, Alabama, Clemson, Tennessee or Florida State. He is a four-star recruit and is listed as the second-best tight end in the country.
According to ESPNU's 150, Rome has the size you look for in a tight end with the ability to be active in the passing game and the foundation to develop into a productive blocker. He displays soft hands and seems to effortlessly pull down the ball from the air. He runs good routes and can find the soft spot in zone coverage. He has good straight-line speed for his size and can stretch the field vertically. He is good after the catch. He can play from an in-line position and fit well in a more pro-style offense. He needs to keep developing his game as a blocker, but displays the tools to be able to be a productive in-line blocker. He also needs to work to get his hips under him and close the gap between him and defenders to help him maintain blocks and also make his life easier. He is a fine tight end prospect that offers scheme versatility, size, and ability.
17. Steve Miller (DE)
The Ohio State University Buckeyes strike again with another top 25 recruit/commit as Steve Miller verbally committed to Ohio State to play for Jim Tressel. Miller also considered Florida, Michigan, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, and Nebraska before deciding to sign with the Buckeyes. Miller is a 6'3" 226 lbs defensive end from Canton, Ohio and attends McKinley High School. He is a four-star recruit and is listed as the third-best defensive end in the country.
According to ESPNU's 150, Miller is a defender that displays the ability to force offenses to account for his whereabouts. He looks to have a good reach and displays the ability to use it well. He will shoot his hands coming out of his stance and create and maintain separation. He has a great frame with good listed bulk, but on film looks to be a kid with a lean build and has plenty of room to pack on more good size. While he can be tough to run at especially if you try and base block him he can also be disruptive from the backside. He needs to work on squeezing down and staying square. He has a good motor and is a good tackler. He has the ability as a pass rusher and seems best at this point when he can take a wide rush. Miller displays the ability to be tough versus the run and pass and has nice continued upside physically and as a player.
16. Nick O'Leary (TE)
Listed as the best tight end in the country, Nick O'Leary comes in at #16 on this list of recruits for 2011. The 6'4" 230 lbs O'Leary is still undecided about where he wants to play college football but is considering Florida State, Miami (FL), Alabama, and LSU. The grandson of Hall of Fame golf legend Jack Nicklaus is a four-star recruit and is from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and attends Dwyer High School.
According to ESPNU's 150, O'Leary has good size and the frame to be able to add even more bulk in time. His main position is tight end, but he displays his overall athleticism by filling many roles on his high school team including handling the punting and holding duties. He has good hands and is able to extend his arms to catch away from his body. He is a physical kid with the tools to be a good in-line blocker. He does need to work on his stance and stay under control. He also needs to work on hand placement and creating leverage with it. He is a sound blocker who has the feet to mirror a defender and will use his hands to punch. Receiver is the position that O'Leary is currently strongest at. He has the size and toughness and needs the work to stay on the field in any situation and contribute as a blocker in the run and pass game. He might have some baggage and need to change his attitude as earlier this year he made an obscene gesture toward the fans after a game against Cleveland Glenville High School in Ohio and ended up being suspended two games and was the #12 recruit in the country at that point. But, everyone makes mistakes and I am sure he will be a valuable asset for whatever college he picks to go to.
15. DeAnthony Thomas (Athlete)
DeAnthony Thomas is the #15-rated recruit for 2011 and has verbally committed to play for Lane Kiffin and the USC Trojans. Thomas decided to go to his hometown school in Los Angeles after considering playing at UCLA, Cal, Washington, Florida or Arizona. The 5'9" 160 lbs Thomas is a four-star recruit and attends Crenshaw High School in L.A. He is currently rated as the best defensive back in the country.
Several programs recruited Thomas as a defensive back but cornerback may be his best position in the future, according to ESPNU's 150. So, it is still unclear what position Thomas will play at USC. He will be one of the most dynamic defensive backs and overall athletes in the state of California in 2011. Known as the premier recruiting class in the nation, USC has fallen to the 13th-ranked recruiting class for 2011 after the program has been hit with NCAA sanctions and turmoil surrounding the program as the Trojans are not allowed to participate in a bowl game in the upcoming bowl season.
14. Karlos Williams (S)
Checking in at #14 on this list is Karlos Williams. The 6'2" 210 lbs safety is from Davenport, Florida and attends Ridge Community High School. The top-rated safety in the country decided that The Florida State University Seminoles in Tallahassee was his best choice after considering Miami (FL), Alabama, LSU, USC or Ohio State. Williams is also a four-star recruit.
According to ESPNU's 150, it would be hard for you to find than a better looking junior safety in America than Williams. He actually plays quarterback in zone read type of scheme and his overall athleticism and straight-line acceleration are impressive. He could grow into an outside linebacker in time or be that freakish size-to-speed type of safety who hits like a 'backer but can cover like a defensive back. Williams is an intimidating presence over the middle as he breaks hard on the underneath pass with good closing burst and pop on contact. However, he does not possess great transitioning skills in coverage and appears more proficient defending the ball in front of him than opening to turn and run in coverage. He is a bit straight-lined and could struggle on his matchup with quicker slot receivers in man-to-man coverage. Williams is a supreme blend of size, range and physicality with great ball skills who is ready to make the jump to the major college level.
13. George Farmer (WR)
The first five-star recruit on the list is George Farmer, checking in at #13. Farmer is 6'2" 205 lbs wide receiver from Gardena, California and attends Junipero Serra High School. He has verbally committed to play in Los Angeles for the USC Trojans after considering playing at Miami (FL), Florida, Oregon, Alabama or Cal. He is rated as the second-best wide receiver in the country.
According to ESPNU's 150, Farmer is not only a physically imposing presence on offense but also could make for a great safety prospect as well. He is built like the Dallas Cowboys' Dez Bryant and has very quick feet for a bigger player. He uses his frame, strength and quickness out of the break to create separation and provide a wide strike zone for his QB. He is a factor in all three phases of the passing game. He does a great job against tight coverage on the deep ball when stopping and going up to snag the ball thus creating defensive interference. Because of his build, range, ball skills and toughness, Farmer can be every bit as imposing on defense as he is on offense. He could play strong safety or free safety and displays terrific instincts for the ball as well as in run support. He is an outstanding prospect that is in the class of great wide receivers like Golden Tate, Arrelious Benn and Bryant, who was mentioned before.
12. Jeff Driskel (QB)
Jeff Driskel, a five-star recruit, is the 12th-rated recruit in the nation who has verbally committed to The University of Florida to play for the Gators. Driskel decided he would he play college football in Gainesville after considering playing for Auburn, LSU, Tennessee, Alabama and Virginia Tech. Driskel is a 6'4" 224 lbs quarterback from Oviedo, Florida and attends Paul J. Hagerty High School. He is listed as the best QB in the country.
According to ESPNU's 150, Driskel possesses just about every physical trait you could want in a high school prospect. He can run, he displays a terrific arm, and he possesses great size on a muscular frame and his overall athleticism is off the charts. He is truly at his best when he is on the move and creating or keeping a play alive. The ball jumps out of his hands with great velocity and authority when his feet are set. What is most impressive about Driskel is his overall speed and athleticism for a player his size. He is elusive, strong and deceptively quick. The offense he plays in allows for him to roll out to either side and be a run/pass threat the majority of the time in the passing game. He is dangerous when improvising with his quick feet and buying a second chance. If there were a negative about Driskel, it would be that he takes some risks with the ball and locks onto targets for too long. He also needs to enhance his progressions and get away from one guy to the other quicker. Overall, though, Driskel is the total package when it comes to measurables and physical tools. He is also a great baseball player. How Driskel is used as a QB will be something to watch when he gets to Florida since former Texas defensive coordinator just became the new head coach at Florida after Urban Meyer stepped down. Currently the Gators are the fourth-best recruiting class in the nation but that could change if players decide to transfer due to Meyer's abscence.
11. Charone Peake (WR)
Listed as the best wide receiver in the country, five-star recruit Charone Peake comes in at #11 on the list. The 6'3" 191 lbs Peake has verbally committed to play for the Clemson Tigers in Clemson, SC after considering playing for Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, USC, and Notre Dame. Peake is from Roebuck, SC and attends Dorman High School.
According to ESPNU's 150, Peake is one of the few receivers in this class that could be categorized as being "special" when it comes to his ability and upside at the next level. He is tall, smooth, lean and runs extremely well. He is at his best versus man coverage where he can use his speed to run by defenders and is a precise route runner for such a young player. He does a decent job of dropping his hips for a tall guy and breaking off his routes quickly and coming back to the ball. He is a playmaker in the vertical passing game and has to be accounted for deep at all times. He has lined up in the "wildcat" and the offense he plays in does a great job of finding ways to get him the football. Overall, there will be very few players in this class with his combination of measurables, speed and knack for the position. He can still improve greatly as a route runner, but still has very strong tools and instincts. On a side note, Clemson comes in as the ninth-rated recruiting class in the nation for 2011.
10. Aaron Green (RB)
We have now entered the top 10 recruits and coming in at #10 is Aaron Green. Green is a running back from San Antonio, Texas and attends James Madison High School. The 5'11" 180 lbs Green is a five-star recruit and listed as the third-best running back in the country. He has verbally committed to play for Bo Pelini's Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln after considering playing for Florida State, Cal, Texas, LSU or USC.
According to ESPNU's 150, Green has some of the better feet, vision and natural running skills the insiders have seen in recent classes. He has more than adequate size but will need to add more compacted bulk to increase in-line running strength and durability at the next level. His ability to redirect and cutback on a dime is outstanding as well as his ability to run with his eyes and see the small creases open. He displays good hands out of the backfield and polished overall receiving skills. Top-end speed is good, not great; a bit of a short strider. The insiders' concern is his lack of downhill power and yards after contact production. He certainly can make defenders miss but his ability to lower the shoulder, absorb the big hit and run between the tackles as a fulltime back is a question mark. Green is an extremely talented, electric type runner with some of the better big-play ability in this class. Green will be able to see a different style of running backs when he comes to Nebraska because Nebraska will be out of the Big 12 Conference and into the Big Ten Conference by the time he gets to Lincoln since Nebraska decided to join the Big Ten starting in 2011. Nebraska is currently rated as the 10th-best recruiting class in the nation for 2011.
9. Tony Steward (ILB)
We are now really entering the cream of the crop and five-star Tony Steward checks in at #9 on this list. Steward is a 6'1" 225 lbs inside linebacker from St. Augustine, Florida and attends Pedro Menendez High School. Steward is still undecided about where he wants to play college football but is considering playing for Florida State, Clemson, Alabama, UCLA, or Auburn. He is rated as the best inside linebacker in the country.
According to ESPNU's 150, Steward has the size the insiders like to see for the outside linebacker position at the major level of competition. He possesses the upper body playing strength to defeat blockers, however, his speed allows him to beat blockers through gaps or avoid contact to make plays. He demonstrates the agility and balance working through traffic; does a great job changing direction or in long pursuit. The insiders like his run and pass blitz timing and is effective getting into the backfield to apply pressure on the ball. The insiders also see a dominant tackler with excellent closing quickness to the ball; can will and punish ball carriers when given the opportunity. He has quite a few game chancing plays caused by turnovers which lead to scores. He should be a candidate for early playing time but how fast he adjusts to the speed of major college football will be the determining factor.
8. La'El Collins (OT)
Checking in at #8 in this Top 25 recruits list is five-star recruit La'El Collins. Collins is a 6'5" 281 lbs offensive tackle from Baton Rouge, Louisiana and attends Redemptorist High School. He has verbally committed to playing for LSU right in his backyard and hometown and will play for Les Miles' Tigers. He decided to stay at home after considering playing for Auburn, Florida State, Tennessee, Florida or Oklahoma State. He is currently rated as the third-best offensive tackle in the country.
According to ESPNU's 150, Collins is a crushing, dominant run blocker with the size, athleticism and balance the insiders like to see for the tackle position at the major level of competition. This guy has the tools to step in and be an immediate starter becoming a long term force at his position. Collins has the agility and foot quickness to gain leverage on offset linemen while getting to the second level players; shows great explosion and playing strength versus linebackers in space. His nimble feet, arm length and quick hands will serve him well in pass protection, although work must be done to polish his overall technique. His initial punch, location and extension are good, however, his technique versus speed rushers at the next level will need to improve. If Collins continues to progress and develop his skills by the time he gets to LSU, he could become an immediate starter. LSU is currently rated as the seventh-best recruiting class in the nation for 2011.
7. Malcolm Brown (RB)
The Texas Longhorns struck gold again with another big-time recruit in Malcolm Brown. Brown is a 6'0" 215 lbs running back from Cibolo, Texas and attends Byron M. Steele High School and is a five-star recruit. He verbally committed to playing for Texas after considering playing for Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Florida State or Georgia. He is also rated as the second-best running back in the country.
According to ESPNU's 150, Brown is a bruising downhill runner who can carry a team on his back as well as defenders. He is perhaps the best projected true tailback or I-Formation back in 2011. He hits the hole at full speed but can soundly see the play develop and follow his blocks. He rarely goes down on initial contact and he powers through arm-tackles at the high school level effortlessly. However, the level of competition at times looks average and at times is the beneficiary of opposing defenses who simply do not want to step up and tackle Brown. He does lack elite game-breaker speed and is not overly elusive in space but this is your running back if you are looking for an every-down, big-back that carries the ball 20-25 times a game.
6. Cyrus Kouandjio (OT)
The sixth-rated recruit in the country for 2011 is Cyrus Kouandjio. He is a 6'7" 325 lbs offensive tackle from Hyattsville, Maryland and attends DeMatha Catholic High School. He is a five-star recruit and is still undecided on where he wants to play college football but he is considering Alabama, Miami (FL), Iowa, USC, or New Mexico. He is currently rated as the second-best offensive tackle in the country.
According to ESPNU's 150, Kouandjio runs very well for a big man and his overall size is what the insiders like to see for the tackle position at the major level of competition. He demonstrates the skill to gain leverage on shaded down linemen and shows the foot speed and balance to block second level defenders. At this stage of his career, he shows the ability to make all the necessary run blocks at the next level. The insiders like his tough, dominant finishing attitude. He shows a bit of a mean streak and will punish defenders when the opportunity presents itself. The insiders feel Kouandjio has the size, athleticism, explosion and playing strength to step in and become an immediate starter at the major level of competition, if he continues to develop and improve throughout this year.
5. Isaiah Crowell (RB)
We have reached the top 5 and checking in at #5 is Isaiah Crowell. Crowell is a 5'11" 210 lbs running back from Columbus, Georgia and attends Carver High School. He is a five-star recruit and is currently rated as the best running back in the country. He is still undecided about where he wants to play college football but is considering Alabama, Georgia, Florida State, Auburn, or Tennessee.
According to ESPNU's 150, Crowell looks a tad smaller than his listed measurements but he is very-well built and compact. He displays excellent foot-quickness and suddenness through traffic and is very difficult to get a clean shot on. He is and ideal zone runner with great pick and slide ability. What puts Crowell in an elite class is his strength, power, ability to run between the tackles and earn tough yards after contact for a speed guy. He flashes good hands and receiving skills out of the backfield and in the screen game but will need to continue polishing up in that area as well in blitz pickup and as an overall blocker. The insiders would like to see a bit larger frame to build up but he is close to being maxed out physically and overall as a back. Crowell has excellent natural ability as a runner and should develop into a highly productive every-down back early in his career.
4. Christian Westerman (OT)
The fourth-ranked recruit and the number-rated offensive tackle for 2011 is Christian Westerman. The 6'5" 290 lbs Westerman is from Chandler, Arizona and attends Hamilton High School. The five-star recruit has verbally committed to play for the Texas Longhorns after considering USC, Oklahoma, Arizona, Florida, or Notre Dame.
According to ESPNU's 150, Westerman shows good flexibility in a three point stance and comes off the ball with very good initial quickness and explosion. The insiders like his effort to finish and look for a second block downfield. Although the insiders see the athleticism and nimble feet to excel as a pass blocker, some fine tuning will be necessary. He works to relocate and extend while showing he can adjust to alternate inside moves. He has the playing strength to win out each time when he clamps down on defenders. Westerman has the frame to put on additional weight and as this occurs, he should see early playing time which will allow him to polish his skills, leading to a very long and productive career at the major level of competition.
3. Ray Drew (DE)
Checking in as the third-rated recruit for 2011 is Ray Drew. Drew is a 6'5" 253 lbs defensive end from Thomasville, Georgia and attends Thomas County Central High School. He is a five-star recruit and currently is rated as the second-best defensive end in the country. He is still undecided on where he wants to play college football but is considering Georgia, Auburn, LSU, Clemson, or Notre Dame.
According to ESPNU's 150, Drew has great size and displays a nice wingspan. He will flash real good quickness at times, but can be a beat late at other times getting off on the ball. While he needs to fine tune his get-off, one thing is certain when he does get moving and that is he can cause serious problems. He moves much better than a person of his size should. He does a solid job of squeezing down and closing daylight and locates the ball well. He displays good raw strength, but one area of his game that needs to improve is in the use of his hands. He has a great reach but needs to utilize it more. He needs to keep developing his pass rush arsenal and working on being violent and consistently active with his weapons. He has the tools to be a great college football player and has some areas to still improve which is kind of scary.
2. Anthony Johnson (DT)
The LSU Tigers have landed the second-ranked recruit for 2011 in Anthony Johnson. The 6'3" 300 lbs defensive tackle is from New Orleans and attends O. Perry Walker High School. Johnson is also rated as the best defensive tackle in the country for 2011 and verbally committed to play for LSU after considering USC, Oklahoma, Miami (FL), Cal, or Alabama. He is a five-star recruit.
According to ESPNU's 150, Johnson is not a player you want ask to eat up blocks and clog up a gap, you want to turn him loose and be a disruptive presence. He has very good first step-quickness and is regularly the first guy moving. He displays the ability to stay low and get under blockers pads and quickly get by and get into the backfield. He is a good tackler and has a good motor. He has good speed for his size and can be a factor on the perimeter, but can seem a little shaky on the move at times. He can keep developing his pass rush arsenal, but is an active player that keeps working to get free and can be tough to handle. Johnson looks the part and can cause havoc.
1. Jadeveon Clowney (DE)
The moment you have been waiting for is finally here. We have reached the best overall recruit for the 2011 class and he is Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney is a 6'6" 240 lbs defensive end from Rock Hill, SC and attends South Pointe High School. He is a five-star recruit and is also rated as the best defensive end in the country. He is still undecided about where he wants to play college football but is considering playing for South Carolina, Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State, or LSU.
According to ESPNU's 150, Clowney possesses a nice wingspan and has a very physical nature to him and displays good strength. As a pass rusher, he is tough to contain as he uses his long limbs and hands to club and punch by blockers. He also possesses excellent straight-line game speed which allows him to be a factor on plays all over the field and has good overall athleticism. He is still young and growing as a player. He is physical when engaging blockers, but needs to use his hands and reach more to his advantage to create separation and shed against the run. He also needs to work on his tackling. It is clear that he deserves the attention that he is getting. He also displays versatility and is able to make plays on defense, offense, and special teams. He needs to keep working on some of the 'little things' that the position requires, but he is capable of creating big plays and being a difference maker.