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Tag:Lawrence Thomas
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 7, 2011 2:24 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2011 3:00 pm
 

Big Ten Recruiting Breakdown

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Signing Day is over and now that there’s been a little time to reflect, we’re ranking the Big Ten recruiting classes (all 12 of them) and breaking them down at the same time.

1. Ohio State

Overview: Bringing in the top class in the Big Ten is nothing new for the Buckeyes. This group is filled with impact players, especially on defense. Linebackers Ryan Shazier and Curtis Grant and corner Doran Grant should be terrorizing opposing offenses for years to come.
Hidden gem: Offensive guard Michael Bennett is someone who could develop into an all-league type of lineman. 
Pencil in for the fall: Quarterback Braxton Miller has enrolled early in order to compete for the starting job and could be the guy that fills in for Terrelle Pryor given his skill set.

2. Nebraska

Overview: The transition class to the Big Ten should have no problem coming in and helping the Cornhuskers win a bunch of games over the next few years. It will be interesting to see if star quarterback Bubba Starling chooses to actually enroll in Lincoln and not play professional baseball but for now, he’s part of this talented class. 
Hidden gem: Athlete Jamal Turner can play all over the field but he could be best utilized as a game-breaking receiver. 
Pencil in for the fall: Running back Aaron Green is one of the best backs in the country and should provide a nice complement to Rex Burkhead in Nebraska’s rushing attack.

3. Illinois

Overview: Head coach Ron Zook is known as a terrific recruiter and once again he delivered with a very solid class after rumors swirled early that it would be his last season in Champaign. There’s a good number of players who can compete for playing time right away and the Illini did well in grabbing several out of state players. 
Hidden gem: Dondi Kirby is a great athlete who was wanted by several powerhouse programs. He has the tools to become a great safety in college. 
Pencil in for the fall: With the departure of Mikel LeShoure to the NFL, running back Donovonn Young could come in right away and get some playing time.

4. Michigan State

Overview: This class is headlined by Lawrence Thomas but there are several other very good players coming in. Wide receiver Juwan Caesar should be a favorite target of whoever is under center and Darien Harris has the tools to play special teams right away while eventually taking over at linebacker. 
Hidden gem: Offensive tackle Donavon Clark has the frame to develop into a top flight lineman and is already very good in blocking for the run game. 
Pencil in for the fall: Linebacker Lawrence Thomas is one of the best defensive players to head to East Lansing out of high school. He could play at defensive end and be a nice speed rusher or at linebacker.

5. Iowa

Overview: The news of several Iowa players being sent to the hospital and the negative reaction to how Kirk Ferentz handled the situation didn’t seem to have any effect on this class. There were not a ton of highly rated guys but the ones they did get will fit in very nicely. 
Hidden gem: Quarterback Jake Rudock is likely not going to start right away but he could develop into the signal caller of the future.
Pencil in for the fall: Given the attrition at running back, Rodney Coe should vie for early playing time as the next in the line of impressive freshmen running backs.

6. Michigan

Overview: This class was hurt all year long by the rumors that Rich Rodriguez would be fired. Once the coach eventually was fired, several key commits went out the door as well, such as running back Dee Hart to Alabama. Nevertheless, new head coach Brady Hoke did a great job of keeping most of the class in the fold and even picking up a few kids. 
Hidden gem: Corner Delonte Hollowell isn’t as highly regarded as fellow defensive back Blake Countess but he could still turn out to be a very good player in a secondary that needs all the help it can get. 
Pencil in for the fall: The loss of Dee Hart and the lack of a big time tailback could mean Justice Hayes gets to line up next to Denard Robinson early in his career.

7. Wisconsin

Overview: Another solid but not spectacular class for Wisconsin. Not getting quarterback Jacoby Brissett was a big loss but there are other pieces to build around. The coaching staff did do a good job of putting up a wall around the state and keeping the best players home. 
Hidden gem: Jake Keefer is a very athletic player who should slide in at outside linebacker for the Badgers. He can put his hand on the ground if needed but should be a terror standing up and making plays. 
Pencil in for the fall: A.J. Jordan is probably the most talented player in the class and should be able to provide a boost in the passing because he has terrific hands.

8. Penn State

Overview: Not expected to be a big class, the Nittany Lions still should have done better in terms of quality. They fill needs at offensive line with some great players but there just are not the athletes on defense that Joe Paterno needed to bring in. 
Hidden gem: Bill Belton isn’t the biggest guy on the field but he can play a few different positions on offense and can be a threat just about anywhere. 
Pencil in for the fall: Don’t be surprised if Angelo Mangiro is a quality backup who gets playing time early next season along the interior line. A few injuries could easily lead to a few starts down the road.

9. Northwestern

Overview: Like Penn State, not a large class but there’s some good underlying talent for the Wildcats. Linemen make up the bulk of the class but there are some talented skill position players mixed in as well. 
Hidden gem: Quarterback Zach Oliver might have been a bit overlooked on the recruiting trail but he has all the tools to develop into a very good Big Ten signal caller based on his highlight reel. 
Pencil in for the fall: Wide out Christian Jones would be a starter at a lot of programs and it wouldn’t be surprising if he makes an immediate impact in the Northwestern passing game once he steps on campus.

10. Minnesota

Overview: All things considered, new head coach Jerry Kill did a pretty good job making the recruiting transition from the MAC to the Big Ten. He kept most of the class intact and managed to fill several needs for the Gophers. They may not be four-stars but they’re solid nevertheless.
Hidden gem: Joe Bjorklund not only has a fitting name for a Big Ten offensive lineman but he could turn out to be a good one. A little on the skinny side for an interior lineman, Bjorklund has a very solid frame to add weight, which should only help his physical run-blocking style. 
Pencil in for the fall: Tommy Olson is rated by many as the top lineman from the state of Minnesota so he should be somewhere on the two deep pretty quickly.

11. Purdue

Overview: A very small class but one that should find a few contributors for the Boilermakers over the next few years. 
Hidden gem: Tight end Robert Kugler is the son of Steelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler and you figure that acumen that comes from being the son of a coach will translate well in college, especially with the younger Kugler’s physical skills. 
Pencil in for the fall: Linebacker Armstead Williams is one of the best defensive recruits to head to Purdue and it would surprise no one to see him playing significant time on defense by the end of the year.

12. Indiana

Overview: Not exactly a huge surprise to see the Hoosiers on this list given their past recruiting history and the added burden of a staff change. Although they’re last in 2011, don’t be surprised if they make a climb on the rankings once Kevin Wilson has a full year to bring in recruits. 
Hidden gem: Linebacker Kyle Kennedy does a good job reading a developing play and wrapping up when making a tackle. He’s also pretty good at shedding a block and seems like a very solid player going forward. 
Pencil in for the fall: Athlete Shane Wynn is a playmaker and should be able to contribute at multiple positions on offense.

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