National Signing Day 2011: Where Are the Top 50 Prospects Headed?

Michael PintoSenior Writer IJanuary 25, 2011

National Signing Day 2011: Where Are the Top 50 Prospects Headed?

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    With National Signing Day just over a week away and nothing other than visits and decisions for the nation's top prospects, we are releasing our final recruiting rankings. 

    But simply ranking the top 50 prospects is not enough at this point. We have got the breakdown on where everyone is heading or where they are looking at if they have yet to commit. 

    Check out where the top 50 prospects will be playing their college football. 

50. Jaxon Shipley, WR, Texas

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    Commitment: Texas

    The younger brother of former Longhorn Jordan Shipley, Jaxon will be following in his brother's footsteps and might prove to be even better at Texas in a couple years' time. The steam has started to pick up for Shipley as he's now considered a borderline top five receiver.

    He has been getting a lot of praise based on his exceptional hands and body control. He runs polished, professional routes and is ready to play immediately. All he really needs to do is bulk up and get stronger so college defenders will not out-muscle him. 

    Shipley was Texas' first commitment of the 2011 class, joining the Longhorns last February. 

49. Christian LeMay, QB, Georgia

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    Commitment: Georgia

    LeMay was one of the top quarterback prospects in the country, rated top-three at his position by both Rivals and Scout as a junior, but was suspended for his senior year and left school early to prepare for college. 

    He's a natural winner, the type of quarterback who stays calm under pressure and makes plays when it really counts. There are not many quarterbacks with as much athleticism and throwing ability on the run.

    LeMay committed to Georgia in April and while he wavered on his commitment over the summer, he is firmly solidified with the Dawgs right now. 

48. Kiaro Holts, OT, North Carolina

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    Commitment: North Carolina 

    Holts is the type of player that could develop into an elite talent on the college level and a coveted prospect when it comes time for the NFL draft.

    At 6'5" and 270 pounds, he is one of the strongest and most athletic tackles in the nation and could develop into a force for years to come. 

    Holts became North Carolina's first major commitment when he announced in favor of the Tar Heels back in June of 2010. 

47. Desmond Jackson, DT, Texas

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    Commitment: Texas

    He does a great job of penetrating the offensive line and consistently finds his way into the backfield to blow up run plays or force quarterbacks out of the pocket if he can't sack them himself.

    A high effort, great motor player, Jackson is relentless in pursuit and never gives up on a play. At 6'1" and 280 pounds, he'll chase ball-carriers 10 or 20 yards down the field without skipping a beat.

    Jackson was part of Texas' huge in-state prospect haul last February. 

46. Doran Grant, CB, Ohio State

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    Commitment: Ohio State

    Grant was rated as the best cornerback prospect in the country for months, but his stock has dropped a bit recently due to technique issues and general struggles down the stretch, particularly at the 2011 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. 

    He's lightning-fast, tests off the charts athletically, tackles with a lot of power, and has a great nose for the ball. He will find a way to be successful. 

    Grant committed to Ohio State over Michigan State at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January. 

45. Jermauria Rasco, DE

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    Commitment: Uncommitted

    Rasco has improved tremendously every year and that's something to take note of when looking at a prospect. He is an elite defensive end with a very high ceiling and he is only getting better as he ages.

    He's got great instincts and discipline, but his technique and movements are still on the raw side. If he can learn to add some weapons to his arsenal and get off the ball quicker, he could end up being the best defensive end in the class.

    Rasco has played his cards close to his chest throughout his recruitment, but the inclination here is that he stays in-state and heads to LSU.

44. Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA

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    Commitment: UCLA

    Hundley is a very physical quarterback with the best footwork of any elite QB prospect. He loves to run the bootleg, and at 6'4'', 220 lbs, when he gets going he is difficult to bring down.

    He's got great instincts, can read a defense in a heartbeat, and can make all the throws you want to see from a college quarterback. 

    Hundley chose the Bruins over Washington in a tight race over the summer. 

43. Kris Frost, ATH, Auburn

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    Commitment: Auburn

    Frost is a difficult prospect to gauge because of his size, 6'3" and 210 lbs. He has played primarily as a linebacker in high school, but has shown solid coverage skills and could be a good candidate to switch over to wide receiver at the next level. 

    He is a turnover machine who has a knack for big plays and big hits, so do not be surprised if he makes the switch back to linebacker if things don't work out on the offensive side of the ball.

    Frost announced his commitment to Auburn at the 2011 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January. 

42. Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma

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    Commitment: Oklahoma

    Phillips is one of three prized defensive tackles committed to Oklahoma, but he was arguably the top defensive tackle at the 2011 Under Armour All-American Bowl in January. 

    Of the three Sooners DTs, Philips is by far the most athletic, and moves about as well as any big man in the class. He's been described as a matchup nightmare and his play at the All-American game backed up that claim. 

    The second-to-last Oklahoma commitment to date, Phillips committed to the Sooners in June of 2010. 

41. Kasen Williams, WR, Washington

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    Commitment: Washington  

    Williams is a big, strong receiver who runs very good routes and creates great separation downfield by overpowering and out-maneuvering defenders.

    He's also so strong at the line of scrimmage that its nearly impossible to jam him; when it is attempted he usually makes the defender pay big-time.

    Williams committed to Washington back in August, staying in-state and choosing to become a legacy at the school his father played for in the 1970s. 

40. Brent Calloway, ATH, Auburn

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    Commitment: Auburn

    Calloway is a player that won't wow you in drills or in the weight room, but the game film speaks for itself. Some guys are just gamers. He is one of those guys.

    He played defensive end and running back in high school, but he's better suited as a linebacker in college. It looks like he'll get his first crack at running back, though, and it's difficult to peg exactly how this one will turn out. 

    Calloway was a longtime commitment to Alabama, but surprisingly decommitted before the 2011 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and later in the action committed to rival Auburn. 

39. Dee Hart, RB, Alabama

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    Commitment: Alabama

    Hart's an electric playmaker who's faster on the field than his 4.5-second 40-time would suggest.

    Hart has great balance, vision, change-of-direction ability, and at 5'9" and 190 lbs, a surprising ability to break tackles. He may be undersized, but he's a compact and strong rusher who can really dish out punishment.

    Originally committed to Michigan, Hart opened things up again late in 2010, made a soft commitment to Alabama and then made it official at the 2011 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

38. Aaron Green, RB, Nebraska

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    Commitment: Nebraska 

    Aaron Green is the complete package when it comes to running backs. He runs with purpose, can make the first man miss, gets downfield in a hurry, and breaks tackles with surprising speed.

    He is undersized at 5'11", 185 lbs, so he needs to bulk up or he just will not stay in one piece at the next level, but that's about all there is not to like about this kid.

    Green committed to Nebraska in October of 2010, choosing the Huskers over Texas and Florida State. 

37. Kiehl Frazier, QB, Auburn

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    Commitment: Auburn

    Kiehl Frazier is a dangerous dual-threat quarterback who could run a spread, an option, a pro-style, or pretty much any offense you could dream up.

    He throws the deep ball with excellent power and accuracy and he can really do some damage when he gets loose in open space.

    Frazier chose Auburn over in-state Arkansas in May, highlighting the early portion of the Tigers' quickly rising recruiting class. 

36. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington

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    Commitment: Washington

    Seferian-Jenkins presents a near-ideal target to throw to at 6'7" and 245 pounds. Because of his size, strength and athleticism, he is almost always open and rarely has to beat out his defender for the ball.

    His route-running is polished and he does a great job of getting off the line of scrimmage fast, generally embarrassing anyone who tries to jam him.

    Seferian-Jenkins committed to Washington over Texas back in August of 2010. 

35. Herschel Sims, RB, Oklahoma State

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    Commitment: Oklahoma State

    He is the definition of a home run hitter and is one of the most exciting players to watch in the country. It seems like he only plays better the bigger the stage is and gains momentum throughout a game rather than wearing down like some backs.

    Sims is on the small side at a generous listing of 5'9" and 190 lbs, but when you are drawing comparisons to LaDainian Tomlinson that is not something to be too worried about.

    Sims has been wavering big-time on his commitment as of late, though, and he is likely the next 5-star recruit to go the route of decommitment. TCU has been in the mix for a while, but it looks like Arkansas is in the picture as well now. 

34. Nick O'Leary, TE, Florida State

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    Commitment: Florida State

    O'Leary might be the best tight end in the 2011 class. He is a receiver and lineman mixed into one body.

    He has the all-around skills to be an immediate force on the football field. O'Leary is an elite blocker, has a great set of hands, moves downfield well and runs crisp routes.

    Another big get for the Seminoles, O'Leary is the most recent commitment to Florida State. 

33. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State

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    Commitment: Ohio State

    Miller is an ideal dual-threat quarterback who possesses great quickness, elusive ability and a powerful arm that really puts a lot of pressure on defenses. He runs a 4.47-second 40-yard dash and can change direction on a dime.

    There are very few prospects capable of dominating a defense the way he does. Miller doesn't force plays, but rather lets his opponent choose how they're going to play him and then takes advantage of whatever they offer.

    The Ohio native committed to the Buckeyes in June and with Terrelle Pryor suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season, Miller might find the field sooner than he originally thought. 

32. Jay Rome, TE, Georgia

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    Commitment: Georgia 

    An extremely athletic tight end with NFL potential, Rome has all the intangibles to be very successful wherever he ends up playing.

    He has tremendous blocking skills and can line up at receiver or tight end. If Rome can improve his strength, he has the potential to be one of the biggest impact freshman in the country in 2011.

    He announced a long-anticipated commitment to Georgia in January. 

31. Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame

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    Commitment: Note Dame

    Tuitt is one of the newest commitments for the Fighting Irish and will join Aaron Lynch and Ishaq Williams to form a scary group of linemen. He's also one of the fastest risers in the nation and has gone from a top-15 prospect at his position to arguably top-five. 

    He's on the raw side and needs to spend some time polishing his technique, but there's no denying his playmaking ability and propensity for getting into the backfield. 

    Tuitt was on and off in his commitment to the Irish, but pledged his solid verbal commitment in January. 

30. Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

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    Commitment: Clemson

    Sammy Watkins is one of the best prospects from the state of Florida and a game-breaker at the receiver position.

    He's the complete package in terms of size and speed and a dangerous weapon in the return game as well; he's a threat to take it the distance on any play and has that sixth gear you look for in elite prospects.

    Watkins committed to Clemson over Miami in November, joining one of the most talented offensive classes in the country alongside 5-star running back Mike Bellamy and 5-star receiver Charone Peake.

29. Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU

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    Commitment: LSU

    Landry is one of those prospects that fits into the "needs to bulk up" category more than the "will always be undersized" category. No matter how much weight he's able to put on, he'll always be a sub-six foot receiver, though, and scouts tend to undervalue you immediately when you fit into that category.

    He makes up for that with solid route-running and great movement in closed spaces, but that doesn't even begin to describe how much of a playmaker he is.

    Landry committed to LSU in January of 2010. 

28. Ray Drew, DE

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    Commitment: Uncommitted

    Drew isn't the type of player you need to worry about causing problems off the field. He is a hard worker, a vocal player and a natural leader.

    He will step in from day one and grind it out at 100 percent from the the minute the whistle is blown until the end of the day.

    Drew will announce his commitment on January 28th and claims to have already made his choice between LSU, Miami, Auburn and Georgia. 

27. Ishaq Williams, DE, Notre Dame

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    Commitment: Notre Dame

    Ishaq Williams is an athletic freak with the potential to be a superb outside linebacker or strong safety on top of his skill along the defensive line. 

    He's long and rangy, runs a deceptively fast 4.7-second 40-yard dash and is one of the most intense players you'll ever come across.

    Williams was part of a mid-January flood of big-time commitments for Notre Dame along with Aaron Lynch and Stephon Tuitt. 

26. Trey Metoyer, WR, Oklahoma

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    Commitment: Oklahoma

    Metoyer doesn't have the breakaway speed of a George Farmer, but he still runs a 4.5-second 40 and has enough quickness to break loose for a big play if you let him get into space.

    At 6'2" and 185 lbs, he needs to put some weight on his frame, but he's already a very strong athlete who uses his strength to avoid getting jammed at the line and to ward off defenders downfield and create separation.

    Metoyer committed to Oklahoma back in March of 2010, joining 5-star running back Brandon Williams as one of the headliners of the Sooners' 2011 class. 

25. Anthony Chickillo, DE, Miami

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    Commitment: Miami

    Chickillo missed most of the 2009 season with a broken collarbone and fell under the radar after that, but his numbers though six games were really impressive, including averaging two sacks a game. He picked up where he left off as a senior and flew up recruiting boards.

    He has been described as a film junkie and reports a 4.2 grade-point average. That's the type of maturity and level of commitment that coaches love to see. 

    Chickillo remains Miami's only blue-chip commitment, joining the Hurricanes back in September of 2010. 

24. Aaron Lynch, DE, Notre Dame

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    Commitment: Notre Dame

    Lynch has the talent to play on either side of the ball. He plays both tight end and defensive end at the high school level and could potentially succeed at either in college. 

    At 6'5" and 255 lbs, he's got ideal size for defensive end and has great burst off the line of scrimmage. With his level of athleticism and versatility, Lynch is a very intriguing prospect. 

    Lynch was a longtime commitment to Notre Dame before decommitting in November in favor of Florida State. He had a change of heart in January, though, and re-committed to the Irish. 

23. Tim Jernigan, DT

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    Commitment: Uncommitted

    At 6'2", 275 lbs, Jernigan is an athletic big man who moves extremely well for his size and can get into the backfield in a hurry.

    He has all the tools to become an elite college defensive lineman. He's strong, stays low to the ground, drives with his legs, and has a relentless motor.

    One of the top uncommitted prospects in the country, Jernigan will wait until National Signing Day to announce his decision but it looks like the teams to beat are LSU, Georgia and Alabama. 

22. Christian Westerman, OT, Auburn

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    Commitment: Auburn

    At 6'5", 285 pounds, Westerman is projected to be a star at either guard or right tackle at the next level. 

    He's a very strong blocker and moves his feet as well as anyone in the country, overpowering defenders with quick hits and a very low stance. But the way he's able to move suggests he would be successful as a pulling guard. 

    Westerman was one of the first recruits from Texas' class, but decommitted in favor of Auburn in January after watching a wobbly season in Austin.

21. Jeff Driskel, QB, Florida

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    Commitment: Florida

    The No. 1 quarterback of the 2011 recruiting class, Driskel is the complete package at the position. 

    He's described as a pure pocket passer, but has the athleticism and speed to make plays happen with his legs when he needs to. He's got a very strong arm and is an accurate passer who can make all the throws a college quarterback needs to make.

    The second recruit of Florida's 2011 class, Driskel committed to the Gators in April of last year. 

20. Steve Edmond, LB, Texas

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    Edmond dominates all over the field and at his size, 6'3", 225 lbs, he can play inside or outside linebacker and potentially could bulk up a bit to play end. There are very few prospects as physically ready as Edmond, and probably no one in the nation who can tackle with as much consistency.

    A guy who tackles as well as Edmond has middle linebacker written all over him.

    Another player from Texas' huge February haul, Edmond committed to the Longhorns almost a year ago. 

19. Viliami Moala, DT, Cal

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    Commitment: Cal

    The 6'4" and 340-lb defensive tackle is by far the biggest of the elite prospects at his position. Moala can play as a run-stuffing, penetrating defensive tackle or clog up the middle with a constant double-team as a nose tackle. 

    Even at his size, Moala is very quick off the ball and can make plays in the backfield and on the edges. That's really the key to his game; he is not just a space eater taking on blockers.

    Moala committed to Cal over USC at the 2011 U.S. Army All-American Game in January. 

18. George Farmer, WR, USC

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    Commitment: USC

    He has the speed to get past pretty much anyone and the size to ward off stronger defenders without much effort.

    Farmer has an ideal combination of skills and natural ability, but needs to fine-tune his game some. Once he hits his stride he could become the next superstar receiver. 

    He committed to USC in December, though there was never any doubt he would head anywhere else.

17. Stephone Anthony, LB

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    Commitment: Uncommitted

    Stephone Anthony is a natural pass-rusher with a knack for causing turnovers. There are not many players who can make the ball come loose more often than this kid.

    When he gets his hands on someone, there's a chance he will make something happen any given play.

    Anthony plans on waiting until National Signing Day to commit and it looks like this North Carolina native is a Florida Gator all the way. 

16. Brandon Williams, RB

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    Commitment: Oklahoma 

    Williams is a great all-around running back who contributes not only in the running game, but also as a legitimate weapon in the passing game. He doesn't have elite size or speed but makes up with it with a gamer's mentality and playing style.

    The biggest question about his game is his ability to break tackles, as right now he often goes down on first contact.

    Originally committed to Baylor, Williams was one of the first major decommitments from the 2011 class. He committed to Oklahoma in April of 2010. 

15. Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

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    Commitment: Alabama

    Clinton-Dix is an elite prospect who really has an ideal skill set for a safety. There is almost nothing about his game not to like, except for some minor footwork issues.

    He is the type of player that craves contact, and really could succeed as either a strong safety or free safety. Based on his size, 6'2" and 190 lbs, if he can define his man-to-man coverage skills a bit, he could develop into a once in a lifetime-type cover corner.

    Clinton-Dix committed to Alabama in April of 2010 and while he is been shaky in his commitment at times there's little doubt at this point he'll be with the Crimson Tide. 

14. Savon Huggins, RB

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    Commitment: Uncommitted

    There's no one from the 2011 class who can juke quite like Savon Huggins. He has such a broad array of moves that you really never know what he's going to do on any given play.

    When you watch him play, you immediately think Barry Sanders. He has the vision, the balance, the change-of-direction ability and simply the unwillingness to go down.

    One of the top uncommitted recruits in the country, Huggins is announcing his decision on January 28th, and will choose between Notre Dame, Rutgers, Auburn and North Carolina.

13. Mike Bellamy, RB, Clemson

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    Commitment: Clemson

    Bellamy is considered to be one of the top prospects of the 2011 class. He's a top-five running back on pretty much every list that matters and is one of the fastest prospects in the state of Florida, clocking in at 4.3 seconds on his 40 time.

    He's a playmaker who will light up scoreboards and burn defenders regularly. Bellamy is incredibly elusive and has tremendous balance and body control.

    Bellamy committed to Clemson in June of 2010 and with 4-star running back Marlin Lane ditching the Tigers for Tennessee, he should be in line for a lot of work as a true freshman. 

12. Trey DePriest, LB, Alabama

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    Commitment: Alabama

    DePriest has the natural build of a linebacker and a natural ability to read snap counts, get out of his stance quickly, and beat his man off the ball.

    He has a great motor and is excellent in pursuit; not many prospects can cover the field from sideline to sideline the way he can.

    There were rumblings that DePriest and Ohio State commitment Braxton Miller would be a package deal for the Buckeyes, but DePriest committed to Alabama instead. 

11. James Wilder, RB, Florida State

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    Commitment: Florida State

    Wilder is not technically a running back—he is more of an athlete with a skill-set best suited for the defensive side of the field—but arguably the best two-way player from the state of Florida insists on playing running back in college. 

    That is where he will get his first shot and if it works out, he could be the big back coach Jimbo Fisher has been looking for. Wilder has off-the-charts strength and athleticism and can wear down a defense like a man amongst boys. 

    Wilder committed to Florida State over Florida and Georgia in August. 

10. Isaiah Crowell, RB

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    Commitment: Uncommitted

    He has great breakaway speed, is very elusive, has top-of-the-line instincts, makes lightning-fast cuts, doesn't hesitate, and can break tackles with the best of them.

    Crowell has played with a talented stable of rushers his entire high school career behind a very good offensive line. He has never carried the load himself and there are serious questions about his ability to ever be able to.

    Crowell will likely wait until National Signing Day to announce his decision, though it has been down to Alabama and Georgia for months. 

9. Tony Steward, LB

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    Commitment: Uncommitted

    At 6'2" and 225 lbs, Steward is one of the most physically imposing prospects in the country, though his stock has dropped a bit as of late.

    The kid is built like a body builder, with hardly an ounce of fat. He is incredibly strong and is one of the most athletic prospects in the country at any position, let alone linebacker.

    Steward will wait until National Signing Day to announce his commitment and right now it's a coin toss between Florida State and Clemson. 

8. Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU

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    Commitment: LSU

    Johnson is a big, physical, bull-rushing defensive tackle that prefers to plow straight through his opponent rather than try to get around him.

    He is definitely on the raw side and does not have a wide array of moves, which is why he relies so much on his strength. The tools are there for a devastating anchor for LSU's line in a couple years, but he needs to polish off his skills first.

    One of the Tigers' first commitments, Johnson pledged to LSU back in December of 2009. 

7. La'El Colins, OT, LSU

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    Commitment: LSU

    At 6'5", 285 pounds, Collins is 15-20 pounds away from being an off-the-charts prospect at left tackle. His strength, athleticism and blocking skill is about as good as anyone's in the class.

    From a physical standpoint, he's an imposing specimen who can knock back a defender a full yard with a single push.

    The first recruit of LSU's 2011 class, Collins committed way back in October of 2009. 

6. Karlos Williams, S, Florida State

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    Commitment: Florida State

    Karlos Williams is not your average safety. He is built like a linebacker and could, therefore, easily end up there. He also has a great pair of hands and enough speed that it makes you wonder if this 6'2", 210 lb. prospect could be a dominant receiver.

    Williams plays the game with passion and when he's roaming in the secondary, he is looking to put a licking on the ball-carrier every single play. 

    A longtime commitment to Florida State, Williams has maintained a status as a soft verbal, though there aren't many who think he's not bound for Tallahassee.

5. Curtis Grant, LB

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    Commitment: Uncommitted

    Grant plays like a professional, which is very impressive for someone his age.

    He can play both inside and outside, reads plays and reacts very fast, and can cover a whole bunch of ground as quickly as any linebacker prospect out there.

    One of the most coveted prospects in the nation, Grant will wait until National Signing Day to commit, but at this point it looks like a two-horse race between Ohio State and Florida. 

4. Malcolm Brown, RB, Texas

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    Commitment: Texas

    Brown is the premeire rusher of the class and a near-ideal prospect for the position. He is a powerful rusher that will put his shoulder down and punish defenders, wearing them down as the game goes on.

    He will not wow you with his speed, but as a downhill rusher he is about as impressive as they come. Brown explodes into defenders, has great vision, subtle but quick movements, and breaks tackles at an eye-popping rate.  

    The last recruit to date from Texas' 2011 recruiting class, Brown joined up with the Longhorns in August and has the chance to start as early as next season. 

3. De'Anthony Thomas, CB, USC

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    Commitment: USC

    Thomas has the potential to play any number of positions, from running back to cornerback, safety and even linebacker.

    Most experts agree he'd be a 5-star prospect regardless the tag put on him. If he was not listed at 5'9" and 160 lbs, Thomas would most likely be the top prospect in the country, but even at his size, he has the tools to be a star wherever he lines up. 

    One of the Trojans' first commitments, the Crenshaw native pledged for USC back in May of 2010. 

2. Cyrus Kouandjio, OT

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    Commitment: Uncommitted

    At 6'6", 322 lbs, Kouandjio is one of the most athletic big men in the country. 

    When it comes to natural ability as a blocker, Kouandjio has top-end balance and moves his feet as swiftly as any high school player I've ever seen. He does a great job staying low to the ground and using his tree trunk-like arms to manhandle defenders.

    Kouandjio will wait until National Signing Day to announce his commitment, but has narrowed his choices down to Alabama, USC, Iowa, Auburn and New Mexico. 

1. Jadeveon Clowney, DE

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    Commitment: Uncommitted

    At 6'5", 225 lbs, Clowney is the definition of a playmaker. He can cut through an offensive line and get into the backfield like a knife through butter and has off-the-charts natural pass-rushing instincts.

    No matter where the ball goes, or where Clowney lines up, he'll make something happen so often it's scary. There's game film of him chasing down ball-carries who've had a 20-30 yard head start on him. 

    There's a good reason he's considered to be one of the finest high school recruits in over a decade. 

    Clowney will wait until National Signing Day to announce his decision and it is going to come down to South Carolina and Alabama.