High School Scouting Reports for College Football's Top 25 Stars

Carl Stine@@CFBAllDayCorrespondent IAugust 18, 2013

High School Scouting Reports for College Football's Top 25 Stars

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    Before today's current crop of college football stars hit campus, the interwebs were buzzing about them, filled with high school highlights, projections and scouting reports.

    Now, these guys are the top 25 players that will hit a college football field this fall.

    Before they get to the field, let's take a look at what each player has done in college and check out what scouts were saying before these guys made their commitments to a college football program.

25. Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

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    Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby remains one of the best defenders in the nation, in spite of his offseason issues and the fact that he will miss at least one game to begin the season due to trouble with the law.

    Roby missed one game last season, against UAB, and he yet still managed to snag two interceptions. He also finished the season with 19 passes defended and 17 passes broken up. He's quick and athletic and has the tools to be one of the best corners in the nation in 2013.

    However, he played wide receiver in high school.

    What the scouts said:

    "Roby may be one of the more underrated receivers out of Georgia this year. His very good blend of size, speed and secure hands are highly sought-after at the next level...Shows very good burst off the line and can quickly eat up the cushion and get up the seam vertically...A deep ball threat with his ability to expertly track the throw, accelerate to get under it and adjust his body fluidly. " - ESPN Recruiting Analyst

    "Athlete is the first word that comes to mind when thinking about Roby. He can run, he can catch, and he has a good amount of potential on the football...He does need to work on sharpening up his routes and he needs to work attacking the ball in the air instead of letting it come into his body." - Scout.com

24. Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA

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    In 2012, UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley exploded onto the Pac-12 scene with 3,745 passing yards and 29 touchdown passes.

    This season, he will be in the backfield and expected to make the UCLA offense hum without stud running back Johnathan Franklin. Given his ability to stretch out plays with his feet, Hundley will have another big year for the Bruins. Heading into college, scouts were impressed by his ability to make all the throws and concerned about his size.

    What the scouts said:

    "...Hundley is probably slightly shorter and lighter than his listed size. He really looks like a taller Charlie Ward with an athletic basketball lower body...He sometimes has a tendency to lock onto receivers in the flat, which is very dangerous...has smooth change of direction and can make tacklers miss in the open field. He possesses a strong arm, which allows him to make almost any throw in the playbook." - Barry Every, Football Recruiting Analyst, Rivals.com

    "Hundley is a dual-threat QB out of the Wolves’ spread offense with size, strength and a well-defined frame. He can make defenders miss in the open field, or run them over. He can make all the throws from the pocket or on the run." Craig Morgan, Maxpreps.com

23. Duke Johnson, Miami

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    This could be the year that Miami returns to national prominence. Al Golden has his recruits taking over the team, the ACC Coastal division is up for grabs, and the team returns plenty of starters, particularly to the offensive skill positions.

    Running back Duke Johnson is one of them.

    Johnson was a monster as a freshman last season, accumulating 947 yards and 10 touchdowns on 139 carries. As the starter in 2013 and the main ball-carrier for Miami, he is going to be one of the best backs in the nation.

    What the scouts said:

    "Johnson runs bigger than his listed 5'9 and 188 pounds. He is blessed with great acceleration, balance and vision. He uses his off hand as a weapon to fend off would-be tacklers as well as any running back in the nation. He can push a defender to the ground with his hand, turn, and accelerate all in one motion. Johnson also has terrific hands, lining up at times as a wide receiver and is a threat out of the backfield" - Scott Kennedy, Scout.com

22. Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida

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    Florida had a great year in 2012, in spite of the fact that all we remember is the loss to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl. The team finished the year with only two losses, in spite of an offense that can best be described as inept.

    It was the defense, and the play of guys such as Purifoy, that gave the Gators the boost needed to finish the regular season in the top five of the BCS rankings.

    Purifoy finished the 2012 season with a tackle for loss, three forced fumbles and five passes defended, as well as two blocks on special teams. His athletic ability makes him one of the best corners in the nation, and he will put that talent on display in a Florida secondary that could use a boost. 

    What the scouts said:

    "...Purifoy is a rangy, high-cut athlete with great feet and speed for his size. Looks taller on film than listed measurables. Could get recruited at a number of different positions including corner, safety or running back...Needs to sink his hips a bit more but shows sharp footwork and lateral agility. Has the feet to mirror. With polish, experience and fulltime college coaching, he should be able to transition smoothly out of his pedal; looks fluid in limited reps. While his overall movement skills are good for his high-cut frame, he does show some rigidness at times and his speed is a bit straight-lined...May take some time to hone his skills once he settles in on one position but this is a very talented and athletic prospect." - ESPN Analyst

21. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia

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    Aaron Murray, quarterback of the Georgia Bulldogs, is one of the most underrated passers in the nation. Sure, he gets attention when there is discussion of the best players in the SEC, but on a national scale, he gets pushed to the back of the pack of elite quarterbacks.

    Murray's ability to run the ball in high school was one of the attractions about him, and he has gotten away from that in college. Murray threw for 3,893 yards in 2012 while piling up 36 passing touchdowns and only 10 interceptions.

    The Georgia staff is hoping to see more of Murray's mobile side in 2013 according to David Ching of ESPN, and if he is able to successfully improve his rushing numbers, he will force himself into the conversation as a top three quarterback in the nation.

    What the scouts said:

    "One of the most complete QBs of his class, Murray simply wins. Lacks the size of a true pocket passer but understands positioning within the pocket and has uncanny awareness. Has excellent feet and can slide to open throwing lanes, thus negating the height issue. Makes great decisions and cuts zones to pieces. Has very good arm strength and unbelievable touch. Is most dangerous, though, when he gets on the edge. Peerless leader" - Burke Hayes, Scout.com

    "Murray soon could wind up in the conversation when scouts talk about college football's best quarterbacks...He resembles Kyle Parker (class of 2008), but with better size and a bigger arm--a scary notion. Stephen Garcia (class of 2007) is another good comparison, and Murray in our opinion is better. He has a strong arm and the ability to drive the ball downfield. Has the best, quickest release of any passer in his class, bar none. He puts excellent velocity on his deep out routes and can fit throws into tight spots. Has a quick snap release...Murray must harness his tools and become more polished. But his tools, size, mentality and aptitude to handle whatever is thrown at him give him exceptional upside--and will make him a very hot commodity." - ESPN Analyst

20. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama

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    Say what you will about A.J. McCarron, but he's been the quarterback of the Alabama team that has won each of the past two national titles. His numbers, while not astounding, are excellent considering the style of offense he operates.

    In two years as the leader of the Tide offense, McCarron has thrown 46 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. That's nearly six to one.

    With the offense he has around him again in 2012, McCarron is poised to put up the best numbers he has yet and has a great chance at winning the Heisman Trophy.

    What the scouts said:

    "McCarron is very difficult to evaluate because he flashes excellent ability at times, and other times appears to be a few years away. He is a tall, lanky pocket passer who, if anything, will be a late bloomer-- which is a good thing...generally is a dropback passer who needs to be protected and on time to excel. Has the arm to make all the necessary throws (including downfield and outside the numbers) when his feet are set and he's balanced...Needs to stand in the pocket and keep his eyes downfield before moving around. Must improve his patience in the pocket, perhaps more than anything else. Has inconsistent footwork and can be offbeat, which affects his accuracy and zip. Too often delivers off his back foot, causing his deep ball to sail." - ESPN Analyst

19. Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor

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    Lache Seastrunk committed to the Ducks and even spent some time with the program before transferring to Baylor.

    Since he made that move, things have been great for the speedy tailback. 

    He averaged 7.7 yards per carry last season and found a niche in a Baylor offense that is already scary good. 

    He's found a place where he can shine, be in the spotlight, and maybe even compete for a Heisman Trophy. Expect Seastrunk to live up to his high school scouting report this season and use his ability to shift direction on a dime to put up monster numbers for Art Briles.

    What the scouts said:

    "...Possesses unbelievable change of direction and explosion and is durable enough to take the punishment of 20-25 carries a game...Seastrunk has the tendency to drop easy passes, yet make tough catches...One of the quickest and fastest backs in the entire country. He can change directions on a dime, or just flat out outrun everybody to the house...Has a chance to be the next Reggie Bush in college if he improves his pass receiving and proves durable enough touching the ball at least 20 times a game in his senior season" - Barry Every, Rivals.com

    "Fast, explosive, electric, either way you slice it, Seastrunk is arguably one of this class' biggest game-breakers at the running back position. He lacks ideal size but is very well-built, defined and his tight, quick twitched body allows him to run and play much bigger." - ESPN Analyst

    "Speed and moves and acceleration are what make Lache a truly special player. He does a great job of finding the opening then bursting through the seam and finishing the play. His ability to accelerate so that the defensive player's angle of pursuit is off is truly one of his strengths. In full stride he is hitting three yards a stride and chews up the yardage." - Scout.com Analyst

18. Bryn Renner, QB, North Carolina

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    Renner needs more hype. The guy has one of the prettiest deep balls in the game, and has consistently put it on display at North Carolina.

    In 2012, he threw for 3,356 yards, 28 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. He averages over eight yards per passing attempt for his career.

    Explosive running back Gio Bernard is gone, so Renner will be the focal point of the offense. With the physical tools he possesses, his football knowledge will be enough to help him lead the North Carolina offense to more big things in 2013.

    What the scouts said:

    "To say that Renner throws a nice deep ball would be an understatement. He shows great accuracy and touch on the deep pass. He can thread the needle when he has to. Deceptively athletic, he can get out of the pocket and hurt defenses with his legs. He is a coach’s son and it shows. He is a very cerebral player. Stands tall in the pocket and is an outstanding leader." -  Bob Lichtenfels, Scout.com

    "This guy is going to become a hot commodity before long and boy does he display the "it" factor in his style of play. Renner is an athletic, gunslinging quarterback with excellent size, athleticism and a competitive streak that sticks out like a sore thumb. He displays a big, live arm and the ball pops off his hand. Has ideal size. Has a quick set, gets rid of the ball as quick as any QB in this class and gets good velocity on passes. Has a good feel for the pocket, and makes a lot of quick, heady decisions. Throws with good zip on deep-out routes, but also shows good touch. Throws on the move extremely well and with power. Can drive the ball vertically. Has sort of a side-arm delivery, and a little wind-up. Will lose the strike zone at times when he shouldn't. When hot, can fit the ball in a lot of tight spaces. Shows good touch, and leads receivers in stride on short routes and timing routes. Will take chances. Runs when a play breaks down and has surprising speed, especially when in the open field. Is a good leader and tough competitor. Will keep his eyes downfield when buying time for a second passing chance and knows when to tuck it and run. Has quick footwork. Buys extra time, scrambles around and is always looking to keep the play alive and work some magic. Is a tough runner with good vision and awareness when outside the pocket. The thing you worry about with Renner is him taking chances because he is so confident and makes a lot of plays. His arm and mind can get him into trouble because of the faith he has in his physical abilities. Is always in the shotgun and would like to see him work through progressions from under center. Overall, Renner we believe is the real deal and is the athletic, competitive guy coaches are looking for in a QB. He is tough, gritty and a playmaker. Excellent prospect." - ESPN Analyst

17. De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon

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    "The Black Mamba" is going to have a monster 2013. 

    Thomas averaged 7.6 yards per carry and 9.9 yards per reception in 2012 and is the best home run threat in college football heading into 2013.

    He's dangerous either out of the backfield as a receiver or when handed the ball. He has consistently demonstrated the ability to make people miss throughout his career. 

    At times he appears small and goes down too often on first contact. However, his speed is such that he often gains huge yardage without being touched.

    What the scouts said:

    "...Thomas has wide shoulders with a very lean, muscular frame. His build is similar to Florida State running back Chris Thompson, but Thomas is a tad taller...Thomas has excellent hands out of the backfield, and could actually be a slot receiver if he chose to. His speed gives him a chance to score any time he touches the football. He is a versatile athlete that could return punts and kicks or play either side of the ball. "- Barry Every, Rivals.com

    "Thomas is one of the fastest and most dynamic backs and overall athletes in the state of California in 2011. His great speed, feet and athleticism coupled with his smaller size may have several programs recruiting him as a defensive back. Corner may be his best position in the future but he's currently a potential game-breaker on offense. Flashes great burst out of his cuts, initial quickness and suddenness through the hole. Can slice and slide through the small creases and is extremely quick and slippery to wrap up. Has great change-of-direction skill, feet and hips." - ESPN Analyst

    "The only player I've ever said that could legitimately be 5-Stars at four different positions, RB, S, CB, WR." - Scott Kennedy, Scout.com

16. Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame

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    Tuitt was a key part of Notre Dame's defense in 2012, a defense that was one of the best in college football.

    He will again be a key piece of the puzzle for Brian Kelly's team in 2013, and he has the skills to establish himself as one of the top defensive ends in the nation.

    He finished last season with 11 sacks, a great number, and he will match or improve that number in 2013.

    The Irish defense is going to be stout once again. Contrary to popular belief, it was the play of Tuitt and the rest of the defensive line that led the Irish to such a successful 2013, rather than the play of linebacker Manti Te'o.

    What the scouts said:

    "...Physically, he looks more like a third-year college player than a current high school prospect...Tuitt needs to work on pad level at the point of attack because he is tall and a huge target for offensive linemen to get their hands on...can really run as he is very light on his feet. He is also a very versatile prospect that could project as defensive tackle or offensive tackle at the next level. Tuitt has excellent overall body structure and very little bad body weight...Look for him to start out as a defensive end but eventually grow into a monster-sized defensive tackle similar to Marcus Stroud or Richard Seymour." - Barry Every, Football Recruiting Analyst, Rivals.com

    "Tuitt is a big athlete with great range and speed off the edge. He is raw in technique and needs to add strength to play better against the run, but he has a very high ceiling. His size, athleticism, and versatility make him a top recruit in 2011. He makes a lot of plays now off raw ability, but once he is coached up, watch out." - South Recruiting Manager Chad Simmons, Scout.com

15. Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

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    Clemson's wide receivers have been an incredible group the last two seasons. In 2012, DeAndre Hopkins was dominant. In 2011, Sammy Watkins burst onto the scene and posted over 1,200 yards receiving.

    2012 was not so kind to Watkins. Hopkins stole some of his thunder, and Watkins' numbers were reduced in receptions, yardage and touchdowns.

    But the past is the past, and Watkins still has the talent that boosted him to such an excellent season in 2011.

    With Heisman candidate Tajh Boyd throwing him the ball, expect Watkins' 2013 season to look more like 2011 than 2012.

    What the scouts said:

    "...Watkins is a lean, sleak wide receiver with good height and exceptional foot quickness. He is fast, quick and very heady. Has terrific awareness as a route runner and football player. His feet move so rapidly that he looks faster than he actually is, but he has more than good enough speed to threaten deep at the next level...He is also a tremendous leaper. He always looks like he is having fun playing the game and he is a very natural football player. He must continue to add bulk and strength to his upper body in order to consistently separate versus bigger, more physical corners at this stage." - ESPN Analyst

    "Watkins makes the game look easy, he is one of the top WR prospects in the country featuring size, speed, and tremendous hands. He has an extra gear to turn to when he needs it. Watkins ability to get downfield or take a short pass the distance is what separates him from the pack as a prospect." -Geoff Vogt, Florida Recruiting Analyst, Scout.com

14. Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

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    For proof of Taylor Lewan's ability to block with the best of them, look no further than last season's Outback Bowl.

    Lewan was matched up across from Jadeveon Clowney for most of the game, and in spite of Clowney's highlight-reel play on a blown assignment, Lewan got the better of this matchup.

    He's a strong guy who is more athletic than you might think at first blush. Michigan needs a strong rushing game in 2013 in order for the offense to be effective, and Lewan paving the way on the left side of the line is the perfect place to begin.

    What the scouts said:

    "Lewan did not play much OT until his senior year but has progressed rapidly and has turned into one of the country's most coveted OTs. Has long arms, great athleticism, great feet and will finish blocks. Can pull and get to the second level. Still thin at 270 pounds but at 6-6, can easily add weight to his frame." - Scout.com Analyst

    "Lewan is a prospect whose stock has become hotter then the desert heat that he practices in. He is an interesting kid who was evaluated as a defensive tackle and that was not a good fit for him. He transferred high schools after his junior season and the move seems to be agreeing with him. He is playing offensive tackle and this looks like a good fit and a promising position for him. He is a tall and lean kid with a good build, but he is lean for an offensive tackle and will need to work to add more bulk to his frame. He is a kid who plays hard and is very productive. He makes good initial contact and will flash the ability to generate power from his hips and when he does that he can drive a defender off the ball. He is a tall kid though that needs to watch his pad level and focus to stay low. He is very good with his hands as both a run and pass blocker. He gets good hand placement and can be tough to beat once he gets locked on. He stays with blocks until the whistle. Needs to work on his positioning, but his tenacious style help%u2019s him stick with his man. He moves well and does a good job of getting up to the second level. As a pass blocker he will punch and lock out. Displays good feet and can mirror a rusher. Will hop at times and open quickly, but displays the tools to be a college left tackle. Lewan has some parts of his game to keep developing and needs to add bulk, but this is a good offensive tackle prospect that also possesses nice upside." - ESPN Analyst

13. T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama

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    What makes Alabama's offense so special is guys like T.J. Yeldon. 

    The offense is littered with stars, from Yeldon to wide receiver Amari Cooper and quarterback A.J. McCarron, and each one of them does his part to make this offense scary good.

    Yeldon will be the main focus of the rushing game in 2013, and his combination of speed and strength make him a great candidate to reach the Heisman Trophy ceremony in December.

    He's going to put up really good numbers in this offense in 2013, and will break the 1,300 yards mark rushing.

    What the scouts said:

    "A big back with deceptive speed, Yeldon is also a good receiver out of the backfield. He runs with excellent power and will jump over an ankle biting defender. Strong enough that defenders don't want to take him on high. Runs a little upright, but he lowers his pads when it matters" - Scott Kennedy, Scout.com

    "Potentially one of the more athletic running backs in this class, Yeldon can move the chains in a number of ways and is very flexible in skill-set...Flashes very good speed and acceleration. An instinctive runner and overall football player. A decisive and sharp cutter who can get thin through the smaller creases and accelerate through the first level of the defense. Very quick in and out of his cuts with great initial burst. Shows the vision, balance and suddenness finding and exploiting the in-line crease and can change speeds to elude in and out of traffic." - ESPN Analyst

12. Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame

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    Notre Dame's defensive line was anchored in the middle by Louis Nix last season, and Nix produced at an elite level. His biggest contribution was consistently engaging blockers and preventing them from springing into the second level of the defense.

    This freed up his linebackers and safeties to make big plays close to the line of scrimmage.

    His strength and ability to penetrate into the backfield with regularity led to 7.5 tackles for loss last season, a solid number for an interior lineman.

    This defense is returning plenty of talent, and Nix will have the opportunity to anchor another top-five rushing defense in 2013.

    What the scouts said:

    "...He will physically remind fans of Ron Bratt of the Patriots...He needs to be more consistent with his pad level because he can get controlled by smaller offensive linemen. Nix needs to improve upon his arsenal of pass-rushing moves, since he really only bull-rushes. He also needs to be on top of his conditioning and keep his weight where it currently is...He has surprisingly good agility and athleticism for a big man. Knows how to extend his arms and control the opponent by steering where he wants." - Barry Every, Football Recruiting Analyst, Rivals.com

    "...For a player around the 300-pound mark, he carries his weight well. He reminds us of 2009 tackle prospect Chris Davenport. Like the Louisiana native, Nix does some things as a big man that makes you go wow, but also lacks some consistency...When he shoots his hands and is violent with them, he can rag-doll a blocker and quickly shed. He can be good with his hands, but slow to bring them. You will see him try and bring them over to swat and separate, but is inconsistent at bringing them coming off the ball. That combined with his penchant to play high can deter from his overall natural ability...Displays the football smarts to get his hands up when he can not get to the quarterback. Nix is a good big man. Needs to work to be more consistent in areas, but has fine raw tools and the foundation as a player to be force as a college interior lineman." - ESPN Analyst

11. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson

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    Clemson is going to win the ACC this season.

    Tajh Boyd and his laser arm are going to make sure of that.

    Boyd could have left after last season, a season that saw him throw for nearly 4,000 yards while tossing 36 touchdowns and rushing for 10 more. But he chose to stay, and with Sammy Watkins on the edge again, Boyd is going to be able to lead the Clemson offense to a huge season.

    His accuracy is better than early in his career, as he improved from 59.7 percent in 2011 to 67.2 percent in 2012. His yards per attempt also improved from 7.67 to 9.12.

    He has been accused at times of looking less like a quarterback and more like an athlete, but after the season he just had, it is easy to see why he is on just about every short list of Heisman contenders for 2013.

    What the scouts said:

    "Boyd is a leader and a winner. He is one of those guys that makes everyone around him better. He shows a lot of poise in the pocket and is more of a pocket guy than he is a dual threat QB. He has a strong arm and decent touch on his deep balls. Boyd needs to work on his decision making as we see him try and force the action from time to time. He has continued to get better each year and he shows tremendous upside." - Bob Lichtenfels, Scout.com

    "When you first put on the tape it is easy to think Boyd is an athlete playing quarterback and not the other way around until you see several series and realize he is a heady, productive passer with a live arm and the legs to be a serious dual-threat in the spread offense. He has very good mechanics overall. He gets back and sets up quickly and carries the ball high in the pocket. He has a quick release and drives off his back foot to get good power and velocity on his throws. He also shows very good touch on seam routes and crossing routes and shows the consistent ability to lead his receivers. He has a good strong arm and he shows that he can make all the throws. He has very good accuracy in the short-to-intermediate passing game...Even though he can really run and make plays with his legs, you can tell he takes pride in the passing game and proving he is a worthy throwing prospect." - ESPN Analyst

10. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

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    Johnny Manziel got to operate last season with Luke Joeckel protecting his left side and Jake Matthews his right.

    Joeckel has moved on to the NFL, and Matthews could have gone in the first round as well last year if he chose to leave.

    But he didn't, and he will make try to replace Joeckel on the left side of the line in 2013.

    He's not going to obliterate defenders the way Joeckel could, but he's very sound technically with good footwork and the ability to recover well from a defender's initial onslaught.

    If he shows this season that he is capable of handling duties on the left side of the line, Matthews will shoot up draft boards and could go in the top five in the 2014 draft.

    What the scouts said:

    "...Matthews has long arms and a very good powerbase...needs to improve his pass blocking, because he played quarterback as a freshman before moving to center as a sophomore. He will need to add some upper body weight and strength...He is very athletic and has the size and athleticism to play all five offensive line positions. Matthews also excels as a drive blocker using good pad level, flexible knees and hips to explode out of his stance." - Barry Every, Football Recruting Analyst, Rivals.com

    "Matthews is an offensive line prospect with a pretty darn good lineage. He lacks ideal size for the tackle position, but possesses good enough size. On paper you would like to see him add more bulk, but he looks on film to be a pretty thickly built kid. He seems to work predominately out of a "two"-point stance at the high school level. The strength of his game at this point is his pass blocking. He does a good job of playing with knee bend and gets set quickly. He does a good job of being able to kick back and stay square and keep the inside lane protected...Displays good tenacity as a blocker. He has good feet and can get out and reach defenders. He does a solid job of working up to second level and this may be the part of his game that needs the most tightening up. Flashes the ability to climb to second level and get a piece of moving targets, but needs to work on the angles he takes." - ESPN Analyst

9. C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama

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    Alabama's defense was the best in college football last season.

    It was also the best in 2011 and in the top five in 2010.

    C.J. Mosley has been a part of each of those defenses. For his career, he has five interceptions and has returned three of them for a touchdown.

    Last season, he accumulated 107 tackles, including eight tackles for loss, and displayed his versatility by forcing and recovering a fumble, defending passes and scoring a touchdown on defense.

    He's the key in the middle of Alabama's defense in 2013. He will have to lead the unit with big plays and solid decisions if the Tide are going to complete a three-peat as national champs.

    What the scouts said:

    "Mosley is one of the best football players in the South. He excels running sideline-to-sideline and is good in pass coverage. He looks to become the future for Alabama in the middle of the defense." - Andrew Bone, Scout.com

    "Mosley is an explosive linebacker with coveted size and speed...Moves very well between the tackles with good short-area quickness and change-of-direction skill. Mirrors backs well and displays great downhill burst when he squares up to meet ball carriers in the hole. Explosive blitzer who is near impossible to block for smaller running backs in pass pro. Flashes great vertical attacking skills on the outside with his ability to get to the edge quickly, keep blockers off his body with his strong hand technique and bend flat down the line. Has great acceleration for his size and covers a lot of ground quickly...Mosley projects best as a strong side or middle 'backer in a heavy pressure system. Does need some polish and work on his diagnosing skills but you can't coach his toughness, explosiveness and ability to run and hit between the white lines." - ESPN Analyst

8. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State

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    Ohio State was undefeated last season because of Braxton Miller.

    When the team needed a play, he made it. When a perfect pass was needed, he completed it. When the circumstances called for a tremendous highlight-reel run that left defenders strewn in its wake, Miller was there to make that play.

    No, he didn't play defense, and football is a team sport, but without Miller, the Buckeyes don't beat Wisconsin, Michigan, Cal or Penn State. 

    His accuracy is underrated, and while at times he seems to struggle with scrambling before the play develops, he has the athletic ability and speed to bail himself out in such situations.

    2013 will be Miller’s second year in Urban Meyer’s system, and his numbers are going to be better this season.

    What the scouts said:

    "A true dual-threat quarterback, Miller could beat a team without rushing for a yard and is athletic enough to run a wishbone." - Scott Kennedy, Scout.com

    "This guy has really got some tools and is highly productive as a runner and passer. Miller and Teddy Bridgewater are very similar, only Miller is more fundamentally sound and consistent with his feet and delivery...He has a big arm and can make every single throw. This offense provides him opportunities to stretch the field both outside of the numbers and between the hashes. Shows good velocity on his deeper throws. Can fit the ball into a lot of tight spots. He does a very nice job surveying the field and goes through his progressions. This offense forces him to make a variety of throws. Shows ability to change velocities and throw catchable balls underneath. He also shows good accuracy and touch in the short-to-intermediate passing game. Release mechanics are compact, but can be about 3/4...Possesses good lateral movement and shows the ability to slip pressure and create second-chance opportunities. He has very good speed for the position. He is elusive and quick for his size and displays some start and stop ability..."  - ESPN Analyst

7. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

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    Georgia needed a rushing game last season, and Gurley responded in a big way. 

    The freshman from Tarboro, North Carolina quickly established himself as one of the best running backs in the SEC. He racked up 1,385 yards on the ground in 2012 while splitting carries with fellow freshman Keith Marshall.

    He has the strength to run through would-be tacklers and the speed to create separation in the open field.

    Opponents not only have to deal with Georgia's potent passing attack in 2013, they'll have to try and slow Gurley as well.

    What the scouts said:

    "Gurley is a physically good looking athlete that could be a nice fit as a safety, nickel linebacker given his athletic, sturdy build, but the majority of his experience comes as a running back and he is a very gifted, although not always flashy runner with a blend of size, power, quickness and graceful elusiveness. Is tall and could develop into a 215 pounder fairly quickly in a college weight program. Has excellent overall athleticism and versatility. Is a slashing back with very good quickness and agility. Possesses some homerun threat capabilities because of his straight-line speed...Shows impressive initial burst and explodes through the line of scrimmage when he finds the right crease. Does not always attack the line of scrimmage with his shoulders square because he is often off-set, but he shows the feet and ability to avoid penetration in the backfield...Gurley is a quality back and versatile athlete." - ESPN Analyst

    "...He is not a burner or a back that punishes defenders each run, but he can run inside or get to the edge. He does a good job of running with patience, seeing the holes before they open up, and just letting things develop before he moves forward." - Chad Simmons, Scout.com

6. Teddy Brigewater, QB, Louisville

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    These days, it seems everyone is high on Teddy Bridgewater, and with good reason.

    Bridgewater has all the tools needed to be one of the best quarterbacks currently playing at the FBS level. He makes the smart throw, can toss the ball all over the field, and has a knack for extending the play when necessary.

    He threw for over 3,700 yards last season, showing tremendous improvement over his 2011 campaign, and has now added another year of experience to his resume.

    Playing in the AAC, the opportunities to play well against marquee opponents are slim to none, but Bridgewater's ability to produce monster numbers could lead to an invitation to New York in December.

    What the scouts said:

    "...Bridgewater can stand safely in the pocket for extended periods of time and read defenses without fear of being hit in most games. Bridgewater has better than average arm strength, very good accuracy, and excellent mobility. He's very good at throwing on the run in either direction, uncannily so rolling left" - Scott Kennedy, Scout.com

    "...What makes Bridgewater unique is that conventional wisdom would tell you that fundamentally and mechanically Bridgewater should be erratic and inconsistent with his accuracy and overall production, but actually he is far from it. The kid flat out makes plays and is surprisingly accurate given his footwork and inconsistent release mechanics. He possesses a very good arm, maybe not elite in terms of consistent velocity, but he can make all the necessary throws when his feet are set. The ball pops out of his hand and he throws with confidence and authority to all levels of the field...Throws well on the move when scrambling and on designed roll-outs and is a legitimate run/pass threat. He is extremely fluid and smooth in his overall movements and change-of-direction...Overall, you have to love Bridgewater's gritty competitiveness and he absolutely loves to play the game. He has terrific measurables and so many traits you want in a dual-threat QB. There is a lot to mold here as far as upside as a passer." - ESPN Analyst

    "...Physical comparisons to former Miami Northwestern star Jacory Harris can be thrown out the window. Bridgewater has wide shoulders, long arms and a frame that will allow him to easily carry more than 200 pounds...I would also like to see him do a better job of setting his feet and keeping his elbow shoulder level while throwing the ball...Bridgewater has excellent arm strength, but can also put touch on the ball when needed. He has great pocket presence and the ability to make yards with his feet. He is most dangerous buying time in the pocket while the coverage breaks down." - Barry Every, Football Recruiting Analyst, Rivals.com

5. Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State

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    Arizona State is making a habit of recruiting dominant defensive stars in the middle of its defense. 

    Linebacker Vontaze Burfict is now playing in the NFL, but tackle Will Sutton remained to play another season, a development that should terrify opponents.

    Sutton's ability to get into the backfield quickly is impressive for a tackle, and his size and strength allow him to stand up well and make plays in the rushing game.

    The Sun Devils are going to be a dark horse to win the Pac-12 in 2013. If Sutton plays up to his potential, it is going to be very difficult to get anything going in the middle of the field against them.

    What the scouts said:

    "Sutton is bigger than you would think...Does a good job of protecting his legs. Will flash the ability to come off the ball, shoot his hands, derive power from the hips, and stand a blocker up and hold his ground. Displays good natural strength, but needs to be more consistent in bringing his hands and staying low. An area where his size may be an obstacle is with his reach and his ability to separate and shed from bigger blockers. Does a good job of being able to slant across a blockers face and rip and get penetration. Looks comfortable when asked to do a line twist and will stay square and come off the penetrators butt. Will telegraph though when he is getting ready to run a twist. He is an active kid who will work to get free and get to the ball...Needs to work on counters as he can get stuck if he can not get to the blockers shoulder." - ESPN Analyst

4. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

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    Oregon is poised to have another offensive explosion, courtesy of quarterback Marcus Mariota.

    For some reason, the kid doesn't receive the recognition he deserves. He led the Ducks to a BCS bowl victory in 2012, accumulated 37 total touchdowns and threw only six interceptions.

    His numbers are lower than some, partially due to Oregon's tremendous success. He left at least six games last season immediately after halftime, or just prior. If he had stayed in for the entire game as many other quarterbacks have done, Mariota would have put up much bigger numbers last season.

    His dual-threat ability may be second only to that of Johnny Manziel's and in his second year with the program, he is going to make a big jump in production.

    What the scouts said:

    "Mariota is a tall and lanky quarterback prospect that is part pocket passer and part runner as he is really athletic. He is very slender and lacks bulk and strength, but shows good arm strength and playmaking ability when the original play breaks down and he can utilized on designed runs where he is very effective. Has the look of a wide receiver and moves like one too. Shows the ability to make most necessary throws and has a high, over-the-top release. Has natural velocity on his passes and the height to survey the entire field. Shows sound footwork dropping back and getting set quickly...Accuracy can waver and he lacks a great overall arm in terms of power and ball speed. Has a high release, but really "cups" the ball with his wrist in his delivery. Mariota could be a guy that develops later down the road and needs to be in the spread offense where he can use his athleticism. Could possibly be a guy that moves to wide receiver at the next level." - ESPN Analyst

3. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

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    Jadeveon Clowney has received more accolades based off of two games than anyone in recent memory. Against Clemson in 2012, he racked up 4.5 sacks and then blew up Michigan running back Vincent Smith in the Outback Bowl.

    These two things have propelled Clowney to the top of every player ranking in college football, and with good reason.

    Clowney is relentless in his pass-rushing efforts. He just appears stronger and faster than the majority of players who try to block him.

    While certainly over-hyped, he is the best defensive end in college football and will again have a monster year for South Carolina from his defensive end position.

    What the scouts said:

    "...Clowney's arms are so long that he can reach out and surprise ballcarriers. His build is similar to Florida freshman Ronald Powell...Has a tendency to play high and leave himself exposed to offensive linemen. This also leads to him tackling ballcarriers high at times. He is able to get away with this in high school, but that might not be the case at the next level...is explosive off the ball, many times getting by offensive linemen before they can get out of their stance. He has a quick counter-step move if they overset while pass protecting. He has the speed to catch plays from behind and the lateral quickness to move sideline to sideline, devouring ballcarriers. His size and speed combination is just too much for most high school offensive linemen to combat." - Barry Every, Football Recruiting Analyst, Rivals.com

    "...He looks to enjoy contact and will deliver some big hits. 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 can be very quick off the ball. He plays with a good motor and will pursue to the ball. 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 needs to watch his pad level as he can play tall. 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." - ESPN Analyst

    "Clowney makes plays that only special players make. He gets up field in a hurry and really explodes off the ball. He is still a little light, but he has added nice over the past year and should play at around 260 pounds on the next level. He has great range, long arms to get into passing lanes, and he does not have many weaknesses. He is just such an explosive player, that is what stands out the most and a lot of athleticism."  - Chad Simmons, Scout.com

2. Marqise Lee, WR, USC

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    If USC can resolve its quarterback questions, wide receiver Marqise Lee has the tools and ability to have a record-breaking year and compete for a Heisman Trophy. 

    Lee looks like a man among boys at times on the football field and regularly makes highlight plays appear easy. He averaged 14.6 yards per receptions last season, won the Biletnikoff as the nation's best receiver, and amassed over 1,700 yards receiving.

    He provides a large target for his quarterback and has jump-ball abilities that are second to none. 

    Repeating as a Biletnikoff winner is difficult, but Lee has the talent to do it.

    What the scouts said:

    "A big play threat on either side of the ball, Lee is a much more natural defensive back than receiver. He plays a lot close to the line of scrimmage and is an aggressive, yet sure tackler. He has good hands and is oustanding at breaking on the ball. He has a good frame to continue to add muscle weight, and his height and long arms coupled with his ball skills let him beat receivers to jump balls and high passes." - Scott Kennedy, Scout.com

    "...Lee has to be more consistent with snatching the ball out of the air away from his body. Adding more muscle mass will help break simple arm tackles and improve his run blocking while adding pop to his tackling. In the open field he needs to dance less and use his kick to gain positive yards...Very dangerous in space because of his smooth lateral movement and strong running stroke. He has enough athleticism and size to possibly project as a receiver, safety or huge corner. Lee also has shown home-run speed and could possibly score from any part of the field." - Barry Every, Football Recruiting Analyst, Rivals.com

    "...Has nice size with his good height and well-built frame; rangy and still has some room left to physically develop and could play at the 200-pound range in college. Very active around the ball in both run and pass support and has a knack for making the big play. Drives hard on the ball in front of him. Covers a lot of ground quickly with good underneath range and closing burst...Leaping and high-point skills are excellent. While a smooth athlete overall, he does not transition as quickly as expected out of his pedal and shows some wasted movement." - ESPN Analyst

1. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

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    However one feels about Johnny Manziel and his offseason antics, he was still the best player in college football in 2012 and holds onto the title until someone make a strong case for him to be unseated.

    Manziel is an athletic freak, with an improving ability to make accurate throws and a seemingly innate ability to scramble out of trouble whenever needed.

    The Texas A&M offense is stacked, with four running backs who could start at an FBS level, one of the top offensive linemen in the nation protecting Manziel, and a coach who specializes in putting up big numbers.

    If you think Manziel is going to struggle in 2013, you are going to be disappointed.

    What the scouts said:

    "This guy is a fantastic athlete so much so that depending on the school he could be offered as a secondary player or wide receiver as well as dual-threat quarterback. Manziel has just adequate height, but a strong frame with solid bulk at this stage. He is a quick-twitch athlete with terrific speed and quickness for a QB. He is the ideal spread offense prospect especially any scheme that is going to heavily rely on their QB for designed runs. As a passer he has a sand-lot feel to him. He is super-competitive and he flicks the ball to short and intermediate areas of the field. Shows adequate accuracy, but with most gunslingers he does not always have his feet set or balanced when delivering the ball. Most of his passing attempts are going to come when on the move either purposely or as the result of making something happen...He is very creative and instinctive as a runner and he is also tough. Will lower his shoulder and is capable of breaking tackles, getting into space and then taking it the distance. Depending on Manziel's development as a passer and who is pursuing him will ultimately decide what position he lands at." - ESPN Analyst

    "Great athlete playing quarterback, who also has an above average arm and can zip the short and intermediate routes. At times Manziel tries to do too much and will try to make something out of nothing, this causes turnovers at times. Does not have a great feel for the rush but when he sees it he can get out of it with ease. Deadly running the ball, he has above average speed and moves." - Scout.com Analyst