Tag:Colt Lyerla
Posted on: August 23, 2011 6:10 pm
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Ranking the decade's top recruiting classes

Posted by Bryan Fischer

When I saw my colleague Jeff Borzello rank the decade's top basketball recruiting classes, I thought it was such a good idea I decided to steal follow his lead and do the same on the football side.

Little did I know what a tough job it was, first sorting through each class and then deciding where to rank each one. It's much easier on the basketball side from a sheer numbers standpoint too, an issue when you're talking about several thousand more players on the football field versus on the court. It's a fun experiment and a good chance to see just how far recruits from each year panned out however.

There's no set formula for determining where each class ranks, it's too hard to compare one class with a great college player like Tim Tebow with one that has several players who developed into great players later in their careers. So, after looking up and down plenty of recruiting lists, are the decade's top recruiting classes by year. Feel free to disagree and complain in the comments.

1. 2003

Top Players: Reggie Bush, Ernie Sims, Greg Olsen, LaMar Woodley, Chris Leak, Steve Smith, Vernon Davis, Dennis Dixon, Michael Griffin, Sedrick Ellis, JaMarcus Russell, LaRon Landy and Sam Baker among others.

The class of 2003 laid the foundation for four national titles at two different schools (LSU and USC). The headliner looking back is Bush who, though his many records have an * next to them, was among the most electrifying players on the field. Leak and Caldwell led Florida to a national title and Dixon was on his way with Oregon until injuring his knee. LSU also grabbed first-round picks JaMarcus Russell, Dwayne Bowe, Craig Davis and LaRon Landry.

2. 2008

Top Players: Terrelle Pryor, DaQuan Bowers, Blaine Gabbert, Julio Jones, Patrick Peterson, Tyron Smith, Marcus Fortson, A.J. Green, Mark Ingram, Terrence Cody, Michael Floyd, Andrew Luck, Jeff Fuller and Corey Liuget among others.

A loaded class at quarterback and wide receiver, 2008 was one of the deepest classes in recent memory and several players are only now wrapping up their college careers. Pryor was the top player coming out of high school and though some people question how he went out, he was nevertheless 31-4 as a starter. It's hard to argue against one of the top NFL prospects in a long time with Luck and Ingram has a Heisman Trophy and national title to his name. With a  strong push from some seniors this season, this class could move into the top spot.

3. 2006

Top players: Percy Harvin, Andre Smith, Beanie Wells, Brandon Spikes, Gerald McCoy, Tim Tebow, Matthew Stafford, C.J. Spiller, DeMarco Murray, Jake Locker and Knowshon Moreno among others.

This class is littered with first-round draft picks and big-time college stars. Stafford the top pick in the draft and Harvin helped Tebow win two national championships before both left with plenty of records at Florida. This also was one of the more balanced classes with plenty of talent at multiple positions.

4. 2007

Top players: Eric Berry, Noel Devine, Ryan Mallet, Carlos Dunlap, Marvin Austin, Joe Haden, Dez Bryant, Tyrod Taylor, Rolando McClain, Lee Ziemba, Brian Price, Aaron Hernandez, Steven Garcia, Brian Bulaga and Joe McKnight among others.

Call this the class of misfits for their share of off-the-field issues but there's no denying this was a group of talented players. The top two guys, Jimmy Clausen and McKnight, failed to live up to expectations placed on them but still put together solid careers in college. Price, Austin, Dunlap and others are part of a great defensive line and Berry was one of the top safeties in the last several years.

5. 2009

Top players: Rueben Randle, Russell Shepard, Garrett Gilbert, Matt Barkley, Trent Richardson, Christine Michael, Cliff Harris, Devon Kennard, Vontaze Burfict, Shane Skov, Aaron Murrary, Dre Kirkpatrick, Manti Teo and Alshon Jeffrey among others.

This is still a class that's a work in progress but you can recognize several of these names on all-conference and all-America lists. There's some great running backs in Richardson and Michael among others and Murray and Barkley have been good, young signal-callers. Some elite linebackers in 2009 as well in Teo, Burfict and even Skov at Stanford.

6. 2005

Top players: Derrick Williams, Eugene Monroe, Mark Sanchez, Rey Maualuga, Jonathan Stewart, Darren McFadden, DeSean Jackson, Brian Cushing, Jamal Charles, Malcolm Kelly, Michael Oher, Doug Worthington, Ndamukong Suh, Colt McCoy and Mario Maningham among others.

Look up and down the top 100 recruiting lists and there were a lot of busts but this year still produced a lot of talent that had success. USC grabbed Sanchez, Cushing and Maualuga among others and they led the Trojans to the best four year winning percentage out this group of recruits (just six losses). Texas also found the winningest Division I quarterback in McCoy and Nebraska got one of the most dominant defensive linemen in years in Suh.

7. 2002

Top players: Vince Young, Haloti Ngata, Marcus Vick, Winston Justice, Tamba Hali, Tony Ugoh, Leonard Washington, Reggie McNeal, Eric Winston, Aaron Ross, Maurice Clarrett, A.J. Hawk and Troy Smith among others.

Not a deep group but a collection of college stars that proved they could beat top teams by themselves. Young is the big name after leading Texas to BCS Championship and upsetting USC in a magical run to the title. Clarrett, Hawk and Smith won a title early on and helped the Buckeyes to years of dominance in the regular season later on.

8. 2011

Top players: Jadeveon Clowney, Curtis Grant, Cyrus Kouandjio, Karlos Williams, Charone Peake, Malcolm Brown, James Wilder, Tony Steward, Stephon Tuitt, Colt Lyerla, Aaron Lynch, Nick O'Leary, Jeff Driskel, Savon Huggins, Ray Drew, Brett Hundley and Jaxon Shipley among others.

The players from the 2011 group haven't taken a snap in college yet but read the fall camp reports and you can see why they're higher than other classes. It wasn't a great year for quarterbacks but there were a ton of defensive linemen that will have an impact early, topped by one of the most dominant players in the country (and athletic freak) in Clowney. Lyerla and O'Leary will play early at tight end and Shipley should have fans in Austin thinking he's a mirror image of his older brother.

9. 2004

Top players: Adrian Peterson, Ted Ginn, Calvin Johnson, Early Doucet, Keith Rivers, Chad Henne, Fred Davis, Marshawn Lynch, Zach Miller, Dwayne Jarrett, Glen Dorsey and Michael Bumpus among others.

Peterson burst onto the scene as a freshman and established himself as a top tier running back. Johnson is one of the most athletic wide receivers in the game (some would call him a freak of nature) and he developed in a run-based college offense no less. Doucet and Dorsey had fun in the SEC and Henne was a successful quarterback at Michigan.

10. 2010

Top players: Ronald Powell, Seantrel Henderson, Kennan Allen, Robert Woods, DaRick Rodgers, Marcus Lattimore, Jackson Jeffcoat, Michael Dyer, Jake Heaps, Tony Jefferson, Sharrif Floyd and Jake Matthews among others.

Also a work in progress, were not a ton of impact players outside of Lattimore, Dyer, Heaps and Woods. The two players at the top, Powell and Henderson, have loads of talent but will need battle others to stay on the field. There's time for this group to rise up the list but for now, they're at the bottom.
Category: NCAAF
Tags: A.J. Green, A.J. Hawk, Aaron Hernandez, Aaron Lynch, Aaron Murrary, Aaron Ross, Adrian Peterson, Alshon Jeffrey, Andre Smith, Andrew Luck, Beanie Wells, Blaine Gabbert, Brandon Spikes, Brett Hundley, Brian Bulaga, Brian Cushing, Brian Price, C.J. Spiller, Calvin Johnson, Carlos Dunlap, Chad Henne, Charone Peake, Chris Leak, Christine Michael, Cliff Harris, Colt Lyerla, Colt McCoy, Corey Liuget, Craig Davis, Curtis Grant, Cyrus Kouandjio, DaQuan Bowers, DaRick Rodgers, Darren McFadden, DeMarco Murray, Dennis Dixon, Derrick Williams, DeSean Jackson, Devon Kennard, Dez Bryant, Doug Worthington, Dre Kirkpatrick, Dwayne Bowe, Dwayne Jarrett, Early Doucet, Eric Berry, Eric Winston, Ernie Sims, Eugene Monroe, Florida, Fred Davis, Garrett Gilbert, Gerald McCoy, Glen Dorsey, Greg Olsen, Haloti Ngata, Heisman Trophy, Jackson Jeffcoat, Jadeveon Clowney, Jake Heaps, Jake Locker, Jake Matthews, Jamal Charles, JaMarcus Russell, James Wilder, Jaxon Shipley, Jeff Driskel, Jeff Fuller, Jimmy Clausen, Joe Haden, Joe McKnight, Jonathan Stewart, Julio Jones, Karlos Williams, Keith Rivers, Kennan Allen, Knowshon Moreno, LaMar Woodley, LaRon Landy, Lee Ziemba, Leonard Washington, LSU, Malcolm Brown, Malcolm Kelly, Manti Teo, Marcus Fortson, Marcus Lattimore, Marcus Vick, Mario Maningham, Mark Ingram, Mark Sanchez, Marshawn Lynch, Marvin Austin, Matt Barkley, Matthew Stafford, Maurice Clarrett, Michael Bumpus, Michael Dyer, Michael Floyd, Michael Griffin, Michael Oher, Michigan, Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska, Nick O'Leary, Noel Devine, Ohio State, Patrick Peterson, Percy Harvin, Ray Drew, Reggie Bush, Reggie McNeal, Rey Maualuga, Robert Woods, Rolando McClain, Ronald Powell, Rueben Randle, Russell Shepard, Ryan Mallet, Sam Baker, Savon Huggins, Seantrel Henderson, SEC, Sedrick Ellis, Shane Skov, Sharrif Floyd, Stanford, Stephon Tuitt, Steve Smith, Steven Garcia, Tamba Hali, Ted Ginn, Terrelle Pryor, Terrence Cody, Texas, Tim Tebow, Tony Jefferson, Tony Steward, Tony Ugoh, Trent Richardson, Troy Smith, Tyrod Taylor, Tyron Smith, USC, Vernon Davis, Vince Young, Vontaze Burfict, Winston Justice, Zach Miller
 
Posted on: May 9, 2011 11:09 am
Edited on: May 9, 2011 11:16 am
 

Post-Spring Top 25: Impact Recruits

Posted by Bryan Fischer

CBSSports.com senior writer Dennis Dodd rolls out an updated Post-Spring Top 25 today and while he names an MVP for each team, we figure every team is going to need an incoming freshman to step up if they want to keep their spot in the top 25 throughout the season. Here's each team's impact freshman out of their class of 2011:

1. Oklahoma: Dodd notes that the class of 2010 has turned out very well for the Sooners but they'll need a few guys from the class of 2011 to help fill out the depth chart. Running back Brandon Williams is a talented running back out of the state of Texas who is expected to play right away with DeMarco Murrary gone and the offense needing another player in their "diamond" formation with three running backs. 

2. Alabama: Alabama's defense is expected to be one of the best Nick Saban has ever had but that doesn't mean a freshman can't be a contributor on special teams and with spot play on defense. Linebacker Trey DePriest enrolled early and seemed to make an impression on the coaching staff. Junior college transfer Aaron Douglas, a freshman All-American at Tennessee, could also end up being a starting tackle too.

3. LSU: Anthony Johnson was one of the top defensive tackles coming out of high school and he looked like he would be the next great LSU man in the middle after a very good spring for an early enrollee. He has the size and quickness to play right away and could make an impact as a pass rusher on third down as he gets acclimated to the speed of college football.

 

4. Oregon: The Ducks don't have to replace much on offense but they are looking for a few pass catching threats to step up for quarterback Darron Thomas. Another early enrollee and one of the highest rated recruits Oregon has brought in, Colt Lyerla could be one of the answers at tight end, receiver and running back. In short, he's a great athlete and Chip Kelly will find a way to get the ball in his hands.

5. Stanford: The Cardinal are pretty set on offense with Andrew Luck back and running the show but there are a few spots on defense where some freshmen could come in. The new staff must find two new linebackers for this upcoming season and it wouldn't be surprising if James Vaughters ends up making a push for one of them.

6. Oklahoma State: Already expected to have an explosive offense this year to possibly propel them to a BCS game, the Cowboys have high hopes for incoming running back Herschel Sims. Defenses will have to make sure they are ready for the passing game first and Sims might be able to take advantage of some daylight.

7. Texas A&M: Defensive leader Von Miller is off to the NFL (if there is an NFL next year) and while it will be hard for any freshman to replace that kind of production in College Station, look for linebacker Shaun Ward to at least be in the mix to play once he gets on campus.

8. Florida State: The Seminoles are going to have high expectations for the first time in awhile and there are high expectations being placed on incoming tight end Nick O'Leary. While most people talk about him as being the grandson of golfer Jack Nicklaus, the talented O'Leary is also quite a pass catcher who should play right away.


9. Ohio State: There could be two impact players for the Buckeyes depending on how things shake out in fall camp. Quarterback Braxton Miller is certainly in the race to be the starter with Terrelle Pryor suspended for five games and showed flashes during the spring. Linebacker Curtis Grant was one of the top players coming out of high school and should be able to fill in right away on defense.

10. Nebraska: The Huskers have their sights on a Big Ten title in their first year in the league and if they're going to take some pressure off quarterback Taylor Martinez, running back Aaron Green could be a big part of the offense.

11. Michigan State: Mark Dantonio fought off some big time programs for in-state linebacker Lawrence Thomas and one of the reasons why is Thomas is expected to come in right away and play well for the Spartans.

12. Wisconsin: The Badgers typically don't play many freshmen but tight end Austin Traylor could help break in a new quarterback as both a blocker and receiver.

 

13. Arkansas: Brey Cook knew the Razorbacks would need to replace both tackles and he enrolled early and ended up at the top of the depth chart coming out of spring ball. Anytime you can get a young freshmen start at tackle, you know you have a good one on your hands.

14. Boise State: Most of the freshmen for Boise State are expected to redshirt and develop but kicker Jake van Ginkel could end up the starter with a good fall camp because he has quite a leg.

 

15. Auburn: Where to start? The Tigers lose a lot of players to either graduation or the draft and several from this class are expected to compete for playing time. Don't be surprised if Kris Frost is a starter at linebacker and able to leave his mark on the Plains early on.

16. TCU: Gary Patterson expereinced a Rose Bowl bounce on the recruiting trail and landed a very good athlete in LaDarius Brown, who will be able to contribute right away on offense and special teams.


17. Virginia Tech: The Hokies need to replace a lot of their secondary and the incoming class is loaded with defensive backs as a result. Ronny Vandyke might be the one to step up based on his size and speed and help out right away.

18. South Carolina: This happens to be the easiest choice on the list since Jadeveon Clowney was the number player in the class of 2011. He should provide an instant pass rush threat to a team that didn't generate much from the front four last year.

19. Notre Dame: Irish fans came out of the spring singing the praises of Aaron Lynch and the early enrollee defensive end certainly put on a show to give them a reason for it.

 

20. Mississippi State: Defensive tackle P.J. Jones was one of the top guys in the incoming class and Bulldog fans hope he can be a factor early on under a new defensive coordinator. 

 

21. Arizona State: There's very few spots avaliable for the incoming Sun Devils with so much of the starting lineup set with upperclassmen but Mo Latu should be able to provide some depth along the offensive line. 

 

22. Utah: The Utes brought in a very good class and you could tell they sold the opportunity to be the first to play in the Pac-12 their entire careers at Utah. Running back Harvey Langi is a load with the football and junior college safety Keith McGill is a big body who can come in play right away.

23. Georgia: The "Dream Team" recruiting class will come into Athens with high expectations but top running back Isaiah Crowell should boost a rushing attack that was in the bottom three in the SEC last year.

 

24. West Virginia: New offensive coordinator/future head coach Dana Holgorsen should have an explosive offense led by Geno Smith and incoming running back Andrew Buie could be another speedy player to get the ball in his hands.

25. Florida: The Gators will transition to more of a pro-style offense under Charlie Weis so it's to be determined how everyone fits in but look out for tight end A.C. Leonard. He looks the part and could be a nice weapon for quarterback John Brantley. 

Posted on: February 15, 2011 4:01 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2011 4:15 pm
 

The Class of 2011 Mock Draft

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The recruiting class of 2011 is finally signed and sealed with Jadeveon Clowney's announcement on Valentine's Day. While college coaches have turned their attention to evaluating the class of 2012, their NFL counterparts are locked in war rooms evaluating tape on the draft eligible players coming out in 2011. Of course we wondered, if NFL teams had to select from current group of high school recruits, who would they draft? 

The following mock draft of the 1st round takes a look at where top high school recruits would go based on team needs and draft position. 

NFL Mock Draft with the Class of 2011
Round 1
1. Carolina Panthers
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Pointe HS, headed to South Carolina: The number one player for the class of 2011 also goes number one to the Panthers, who are looking for help on the defensive line. Easily the most NFL-ready of any prospect on this list coming out of high school, some NFL scouts that have seen his tape have said he could actually make the jump to the NFL out of high school. He probably wouldn't go this high however.
2. Denver Broncos
Anthony Johnson, DT, O. Perry Walker HS, headed to LSU: Draft analyst Chad Reuter says the Broncos are expected to play some three- and four-man fronts under new head coach John Fox. Drafting Johnson would give them a tackle that could fit in well in both schemes.
3. Buffalo Bills
De'Anthony Thomas, CB, Crenshaw HS, headed to Oregon: The Bills need help all over the defensive side of the ball and grabbing Thomas provides them with a terrific cover corner who isn't afraid to deliver a big hit. He would boost a unit that intercepted just 11 passes last season.
4. Cincinnati Bengals
Ray Drew, DE, Thomas County Central HS, headed to Georgia: The Bengals need a pass rusher and they can get a very flexible one in Drew. Already 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, he has the frame to bulk up and fit in well at the defensive end spot in either the 4-3 or the 3-4.
5. Arizona Cardinals
Curtis Grant, OLB, Hermitage HS, headed to Ohio State: Grant has great size for an outside linebacker and he could feature his pass-rush skills in an already aggressive Cardinals defense.
6. Cleveland Browns
George Farmer, WR, Junipero Serra HS, headed to USC: Already a polished product coming out of high school, Farmer would provide the deadly accurate Colt McCoy with a nice target on the outside.
7. San Francisco 49ers
Marcus Roberson, CB, St. Thomas Aquinas HS, headed to Florida: It was tough to pass on quarterback Jeff Driskel but the 49ers go for flexibility in Roberson, a speedy corner who could also develop into a safety.
8. Tennessee Titans
Jeff Driskel, QB, Hagerty HS, headed to Florida: Looking to move on from the Vince Young era, the Titans turn to easily the top quarterback in the class. Although he can run well, a strong arm and accurate passing calm any fears the front office might have.
9. Dallas Cowboys
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, DeMatha HS, headed to Alabama: A prototype left tackle, Kouandjio is the best offensive lineman in the class and a no-brainer pick for a team that needs offensive lineman.
10. Washington Redskins
Trey Metoyer, WR, Whitehouse HS, headed to Oklahoma: Mike Shanahan might not know who he has at quarterback but whoever it is will have a very good receiver in Metoyer.
11. Houston Texans
Viliami Moala, DT, Grant HS, headed to Cal: Although they also need a corner, the move to the 3-4 under Wade Phillips will force the Texans to grab the big-bodied Moala to lineup inside next to Mario Williams.
12. Minnesota Vikings
Aaron Lynch, DE, Island Coast HS, headed to Notre Dame: Current end Ray Edwards will be a free agent so the Vikings turn to Lynch to replace him. Given his dominance at the Army All-American Bowl, he would be perfect to have on the opposite side of Jared Allen.
13. Detroit Lions
La'El Collins, OT, Redemptorist HS, headed to LSU: The Lions need some sort of youth along the line and they can grab a future starter in Collins, who did a good job handling Jadeveon Clowney at the Under Armour All-American game practices.
14. St. Louis Rams
Charone Peake, WR, Dorman HS, headed to Clemson: Sam Bradford needs some weapons at wide out and Peake would bring size and speed to the receiving corps.
15. Miami Dolphins
Malcolm Brown, RB, Cibolo Steele HS, headed to Texas: Needing a new running back, Brown should fit in well in an offense that needs a big back to handle the load.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars
Ishaq Williams, OLB/DE, Abraham Lincoln HS, headed to Notre Dame: The Jaguars need to draft someone who can pass rush and Williams can do that from either outside linebacker or defensive end.
17. New England Patriots (from Oakland)
Anthony Chickillo, DE, Alonso HS, headed to Miami: He would provide an instant boost to the Patriots' pass rush after a dominating Under Armour All-American game.
18. San Diego Chargers
Tony Steward, OLB, Pedro Menendez HS, headed to Clemson: He looks like he could be an NFL linebacker already and he should be able to fit in as either an outside linebacker or inside linebacker in San Diego's 3-4 scheme.
19. NY Giants
Christian Westerman, OL, Hamilton HS, headed to Auburn: The Giants have an aging offensive line and Westerman could step in and fill a number of positions at either tackle or guard.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Quandre Diggs, CB, Angleton HS, headed to Texas: The Bucs draft Ronde Barber's replacement in Diggs, who is the younger brother of Chargers corner Quentin Jammer.
21. Kansas City Chiefs
Colt Lyerla, OLB, Hillsboro HS, headed to Oregon: Looking to replace the versatile Mike Vrabel, the Chiefs select one of the most athletic players in the class of 2011.
22. Indianapolis Colts
Hasean Clinton-Dix, Dr. Phillips HS, headed to Alabama: Needing some insurance for when Bob Sanders is out, the Colts grab the versatile Clinton-Dix.
23. Philadelphia Eagles
Aundrey Walker, OG, Glenville HS, headed to USC: Needing help inside, the big body of Walker should help the Eagles ground game.
24. New Orleans Saints
James Wilder Jr., RB, Plant HS, headed to Florida State: With Pierre Thomas likely headed for free agency, the Saints opt to grab an every down back in Wilder, who could also play on the other side of the ball at linebacker.
25. Seattle Seahawks
Matthew Hegarty, OL, Aztec HS, headed to Notre Dame: Pete Carroll once again drafts an offensive lineman in the first round as he rebuilds the Seattle offense.
26. Baltimore Ravens
Jaxon Shipley, WR, Brownwood HS, headed to Texas: The older receiving corps of the Ravens get a needed speed upgrade in Shipley, who is also a very good route runner.
27. Atlanta Falcons
Brandon Shell, OT, Goose Creek HS, headed to South Carolina: The right side of the Falcons offensive line are free agents and Shell has the size to be a right or left tackle to help protect Matt Ryan.
28. New England Patriots
Isaiah Crowell, RB, Carver HS, headed to Georgia: Needing a running back to finally get the ground game going, the Pats turn to Crowell, who can also catch passes out of the backfield.
29. Chicago Bears
Antonio Richardson, Pearl-Cohn HS, headed to Tennessee: The Bears' offensive line was average to say the least last year and they address their needs with Richardson.
30. NY Jets
Lawrence Thomas, DE/OLB, Renaissance HS, headed to Michigan State: The Jets could use Thomas at either end or as a pass rushing linebacker.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers
Tyler Moore, OL, Countryside HS, headed to Nebraska: A versatile lineman, he could play at a number of spots along Pittsburgh's injury-riddled offensive line.
32. Green Bay Packers
Stephon Tuitt, DE, Monroe HS, headed to Notre Dame: Already young and loaded on defense, the Packers grab Tuitt to help bolster the depth up front.
Posted on: February 1, 2011 8:33 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2011 8:34 am
 

Pac-12 Signing Day at a glance

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Here's what you'll need to keep an eye on during the Pac-12's first Signing Day with newcomers Utah and Colorado on board:

Players to Watch

De'anthony Thomas , ATH, Crenshaw (Los Angeles): Maybe no player in the country has had their recruitment take a more intriguing turn in the past few days than Thomas, a USC commitment who surprised nearly everyone but Chip Kelly and his staff by taking a last-minute visit to Oregon. Now rumors are swirling about the "Black Mamba's" ultimate destination, and whether it's the Trojans or Ducks, someone's going to end up with quite the prize in the 5'9" 175-pound blazer; he's No. 15 in the Maxpreps top 100 and has All-American potential at either tailback or cornerback.

Marqise Lee , ATH, Juniper Serro (Gardena, Calif.): Another top California athlete, another battle between the Trojans and Ducks (though Miami could reportedly also sneak in here). A livewire 6'1" and 185 pounds, and the Maxpreps No. 16 athlete, Lee could play either offense and defense but is expected to find his highest ceiling as a playmaking safety. Lee is believed to be a lean to USC and will announce at 3 EST.

Christian Heyward , DT, Point Loma (San Diego): Not all of the nation's top defensive lineman are in the Southeast. Maxpreps' No. 9 defensive tackle, Heyward recently named a top three of USC, Oregon and San Diego State, though some feel even UCLA could be part of the conversation. An accomplished pass rusher, Heyward could be at home as an end in a three down linemen set--part of the reason the dark horse Aztecs (who run a base 3-3-5) could have a legitimate shot, even if Heyward is favored to wind up in the Pac-12.

Team to Watch

Oregon: Despite boasting every recruit's favorite set of uniforms, the Ducks have never been a major player on the national recruiting scene ... until now. Led by Maxpreps 100 tight end Colt Lyerla and top-shelf talent hailing from locales as diverse as Miami (receiver Tacoi Sumler), Iowa (linebacker Christian French) and Arizona (offensive linemen Tyler Johnstone and Andre Yruretagoyena), the Ducks have already built their strongest class in years, potentially ever. If they can close the deal with the California-based talent listed above, the foundation could be built for a USC-like deathgrip on the conference over the next few years.

USC: Of course, maybe we shouldn't start worrying about the next USC when the original isn't going anywhere. Lane Kiffin has continued to prove his mettle as arguably the nation's most dogged recruiter, The Trojans have worked around NCAA restirctions to pull in 26 commitments already, including four members of the Maxpreps top 100, including Thomas, 6'2" receiver George Farmer, and the latest West Coast quarterback blue-chipper, Cody Kessler. If the Trojans can fend off the Ducks for the likes of Thomas and Lee, they'll claim the best class in the Pac-12.

Stanford: The Cardinal class has suffered somewhat with the departure of Jim Harbaugh, but David Shaw is still sitting on one of the best classes in the league behind national-grade recruits like Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) five-star Wayne Lyons (the No. 45 recruit overall and No. 4 safety) and Tucker (Ga.) linebacker James Vaughters. If Shaw can simply keep all the current Cardinal commits in the fold and signed on the dotted line, this is a group that will do nothing to slow the momentum generated by Harbaugh's tenure in Palo Alto.

The Below-the-Radar Storyline You'll Need to Follow

Many are expecting Utah to come into the Pac-12 and immediately begin throwing its weight around, but if the Utes do, it might not be because of a mind-blowing recruiting haul tomorrow. The Utes have always done a nice job of locating underrated local talent and have several gems in their current class, including in-state running back Harvey Langi (No. 53 in the Maxpreps top 100) and Moreno Valley (Calif.) defensive back Ryan Anderson. But quarterback Derrick Brown recently decommitted to Washington, one of five Pac-12 teams that land in the Maxpreps top 25 classes that aren't Utah. Landing Anderson --a threat to sign elsewhere -- and his teammate, highly-regarded receiver Junior Pomee, would be a huge help, though. In the end, how will the Utes measure up to their new conference mates?

More Signing Day coverage is here at CBS.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com