College Football Prospects: Where Top High Schoolers in the West Will Commit

Luke KemperContributor IIINovember 16, 2011

College Football Prospects: Where Top High Schoolers in the West Will Commit

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    With national signing day getting closer and closer, there is a lot of excitement brewing. Many of the top recruits in the west have yet to commit or have recently decommitted.

    From running back to safety, no top prospect from the West is left off this list if they have not given a recent verbal commitment! Fans do not like being left in the dark, so here is the inside scoop!

Darius Powe, WR

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    Darius Powe stands at 6’2” and 185 lbs. and is one of the best receivers in the West this year. 

    He recently released his top-five consisting of UCLA, Oregon State, Michigan, Utah and Arizona State.

    I think that the way that UCLA has recently been playing and the fact that it is close to home is the perfect storm to have Powe end up committing there. 

    Prediction: UCLA

Seth Jacobs, OLB

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    Seth Jacobs is a hard hitting outside linebacker from Arroyo Grande High School. Running a 4.5 40 time, he uses his combination of speed as well as his great physical abilities to make plays all over the field. 

    Jacobs recently narrowed down his list to the final three of Arkansas, Arizona State and Oregon.

    I have always suspected that he would go to Arkansas since they were his first official visit, and he also visited them multiple times this summer. 

    Prediction: Arkansas

Derrick Woods, WR

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    Derrick Woods is a versatile athlete who could play either safety or wide receiver at the next level, but has made it known that he would prefer to play receiver. 

    His top four schools are Alabama, Oklahoma, USC and UCLA. I think that it will come down to Alabama and Oklahoma though. In the end I believe that Woods will realize that Oklahoma does not have nearly the amount of depth that Alabama has at receiver and will go there to get solid playing time since Ryan Broyles is draft-bound. 

    Prediction: Oklahoma

DeForest Buckner, DE

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    DeForest Buckner stands at a mammoth 6’7” 230lbs. and is a fierce and quick defensive end.

    While he has not officially cut his list down, we can assume that his top four include Cal, Oregon, UCLA and Washington since that is where he is planning his official visits. He has talked highly about Oregon and Cal, but from there it is a real toss-up.

    He is playing his recruitment close to the vest and has not given us anything to really know for sure, so it really is a guess where he will land from those two.

    Prediction: Oregon

Brandon Beaver, CB

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    Brandon Beaver is a big, physical corner standing at 6’1” and 195lbs. He's the type of player that would make any secondary coach very happy to land. 

    Beaver’s top candidates consist of Arizona State, Cal, Nebraska, UCLA, Utah and Washington, and USC has recently thrown their hat in the ring (even though he does not yet have an offer from them).

    It has been said that his teammate, Alphonso Marsh, and him will be a package deal, and the few schools that they have in common are Arizona State, Utah and Washington. They both visited Washington together and had a blast and have been rumored silent commits to the program since they visited Seattle for the Huskies' spring game. 

    Prediction: Washington

Marcus Rios, CB

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    Marcus Rios is a cornerback from Elk Grove, CA who decommitted earlier this year from Boise State to look around. 

    His new list includes Arizona State, Colorado, Nebraska, Oregon, UCLA and Utah. Rios’ only official visit has been to UCLA, and he has seemed really high on them since. 

    Prediction: UCLA

Joey O'Connor, OG

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    Until the recent scandal, Joey O’Connor was Penn State’s top commit. He takes out defenders in the first and second level on nearly every play, showing complete dominance over everyone. 

    Since he has opened things up, he has received interest from a lot of top programs, including Notre Dame, Tennessee, Miami and Michigan, among others. 

    I think that since this has developed so recently, no one could predict perfectly where he is going to end up, but I think that the in-state school is going to push extremely hard for him and has a decent shot. 

    Prediction: Colorado

Keivarae Russell, RB

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    Keivarae Russell can remind people of Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens; he is quick, versatile and has great hands. 

    Lots of rumors have been flying around that Russell was a silent commit to Oregon, which he quickly shot down. While he may not be a silent commit, Oregon did replace Boise State in his top-five, which also includes Notre Dame, USC, Washington and Cal. 

    It has long been suspected that he will end up staying home to play football, and I am on that side too.

    Prediction: Washington

Kevon Seymour, CB

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    One of the top corners in the West this year, Kevon Seymour has the physical bump-and-run coverage that coaches drool over. 

    Seymour does not have an established top set of schools, but he does have an official visit planned to Oregon and took his first one to Washington. Even with those two official visits, he has made it well known that USC is his top school by far. 

    Prediction: USC

Reggie Daniels, S

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    With the exception of Shaquille Thompson, Reggie Daniels is the best safety in the West this year. 

    Daniels’ top-five consists of Arizona State, Arkansas, Boise State, Oregon and Washington. Look for the in-state school to make a big push for him, but I believe that it is really a battle between Oregon and Washington.

    In the end, I give the edge to Washington, however, since Daniels’ teammate, Kendyl Taylor, is already committed to the Huskies and has been doing his fair share of recruiting on Daniels in addition to what the coaches are already doing. 

    Prediction: Washington

Ishmael Adams, CB

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    Except for size, Ishmael Adams is the perfect corner prospect. He has great coverage awareness, smooth hips and great backpedaling quickness. 

    It has been known that it is a battle between Cal and Oregon for Adams. He did mention a while ago that Oregon has a slight edge over them, and if that is true, then I assume that he will end up there. 

    Prediction: Oregon

D.J. Foster, RB

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    At 6’0” and 185lbs., D.J. Foster has amazing cutback ability. He is a great every-down back who can take hits and bounce off. 

    Included in Foster’s top-five are Arizona State, Auburn, Oregon and USC. It has been rumored for a while that he is bound for Arizona State, but if Dennis Erickson ends up getting fired, do not be surprised to see him commit to Oregon. 

    Prediction: Oregon

Jordan Payton, WR

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    Playing at one of the best high school football programs in the country, Jordan Payton has shown his dominance. 

    After decommitting from USC, Payton has visited top programs like Notre Dame, Michigan and Penn State. It seems that he is not giving USC another shot to land him, and the only school in California that has a legitimate shot at keeping him from leaving is Cal. 

    Prediction: Michigan

Davonte' Neal, ATH

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    Rated as the No. 4 athlete by ESPN, a top receiver by Rivals and a Top 10 corner by Scout, it seems like Davonte' Neal could play effectively at either position at the next level. 

    Neal has been playing his recruitment close to the vest, but there have been some strange rumors flying around. While he loves Arizona State, there is a family situation happening, and he will not end up there.

    In a surprise twist, his favorite school is Washington, which will probably come as a shock for everyone. 

    Prediction: Washington

Aziz Shittu, DT

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    Aziz Shittu is a born run-stopper. He clogs holes and still managed to earn 6.5 sacks last year. 

    Shittu is surrounded by mystery. He decommitted from Stanford and has been a question mark to everyone since. He visited Texas A&M and had a great time, but has not really declared anyone else.

    He supposedly will be taking visits to Cal and Washington, but it is very open-ended. 

    Prediction: Cal

Zach Banner, OT

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    Zach Banner has one of the highest ceilings of anyone in the West this year. Standing at a massive 6’9” 305 lbs., he is a force at the offensive tackle position. 

    With offers from nearly every program in the country, Banner narrowed it down to the five schools that will or have received official visits: Michigan, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, USC and Washington. 

    He will not be announcing during the US Army All-American game like previously planned. Instead, he will be announcing at his high school (Lakes High School in Lakewood, WA), which is usually a very good sign for the hometown school. 

    Prediction: Washington

Joshua Garnett, OG

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    In my personal opinion, Josh Garnett is the most developed lineman coming out of this class from anywhere in the country this year. He always seems to pancake guys off the line and then drive more people into the turf at the second and third levels. 

    Garnett is keeping his recruitment rather quiet, but has made it known that he will not be taking any officials to any close schools (i.e., institutions in Washington, Oregon and California) and will take his officials so that he can see the country. 

    In reality, it has been known in the recruiting circles that it is a battle between Stanford and Washington. It is a bad sign for Washington that he has already been accepted to Stanford, but I believe that the hometown Huskies will somehow convince him to stay put. 

    Prediction: Washington 

Ellis McCarthy, DT

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    The most dominant defensive lineman in the west for this class, Ellis McCarthy is an animal. He gets to the quarterback often and makes his hits hurt. 

    His top-five consists of Florida, Cal, Oregon, USC and Washington. 

    He is favoring Oregon after his official there, but I still do not see them pulling him out of California. 

    Prediction: USC

Kyle Murphy, OT

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    Kyle Murphy has long arms and a great frame to be the next great linemen wherever he goes. 

    His top-four consists of Cal, Oregon, Stanford and USC. He is keeping pretty quiet about his recruitment as of late, but he really enjoyed his official to Oregon. 

    Prediction: Stanford

Shaquille Thompson, S

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    ShaquilleThompson is the top safety in the country for a reason; he does everything amazingly for his position. 

    Thompson was committed to Cal for a week over the summer and then decommitted. He has taken officials to Washington, Oregon and Notre Dame, and his top-three are Oregon, Washington and Cal. 

    It has been rumored that he is still a lock for Cal, but recently he claimed Oregon and Washington tied for first. 

    Prediction: Cal

Andrus Peat, OT

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    Son of former NFL great Todd Peat, Andrus Peat got every single physical attribute from him. 

    Peat has not declared any targets, but has visited Stanford and has an official planned to Nebraska.

    I give Nebraska the edge because his brother signed there last February. 

    Prediction: Nebraska

Arik Armstead, DE

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    Scouts' No. 1 player in the country, Arik Armstead recently decommitted from the Trojans. They have him as an offensive tackle even though he will be playing defensive end, so I would not put him that high. 

    The schools that he is visiting for sure or has already visited are Notre Dame, Oregon, Alabama and Auburn. The schools trying to earn his fifth and final visit are Texas, USC, Cal, UCLA, Oklahoma and Washington. 

    Recruiting is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that Armstead probably felt that he ended to early. He earned a couple more offers and is probably enjoying the process like he should have done in the first place.

    When it is all said and done, however, I think he will join his brother at USC. 

    Prediction: USC