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Tag:Shaun Ward
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 19, 2011 4:42 pm
 

Class comparison: Texas vs. Texas A&M

Posted by Bryan Fischer

We're still digesting the class of 2011 and what better way to look at it than through the lens of two rivals. Texas and Texas A&M have been going at each other on the recruiting trail for decades and the regular season each team had in 2010 certainly added a bit of intrigue to each class. Despite the down year for the Longhorns, Mack Brown still managed to bring a lot of talent to Austin for next season.

Texas vs. Texas A&M
Quarterback

Johnny Manziel vs. David Ash. Both schools didn’t pick up a five-star quarterback but both of these QB's could be a factor in the Big 12 before too long. Ash is an accurate, pro-style quarterback who can also buy some time with his legs if needed. That said, Manziel is a little bit more electric and has a higher upside if the Aggie offense can be tailored to his strengths.

Running Back
 

Malcolm Brown vs. Will Randolph. No surprise here as Brown was one of the top running backs in the nation. He should see early playing time and it would shock no one if he became the big time running back that Texas has lacked for several years. Randolph is a nice prospect and should benefit from a redshirt year.

Wide Receiver
 

Miles Onyegbule and Jaxon Shipley vs. Chance Nelson and Mike Evans. Texas grabs a pair of wide outs who could contribute early in new offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin’s offense. Shipley is a very good route runner with nice speed and is very similar to his older brother, Jordan, who also donned the Orange and White. Evans is a bit of a project but he’s got tremendous upside with his size.

Offensive Line
 

Josh Cochran, Taylor Doyle, Sedrick Flowers, Garrett Greenlea and Marcus Hutchins vs. Joseph Cheek, Ben Compton, Nathan Gutekunst, and Shayvion Hatten. A very good class in the trenches could have been even better had Texas been able to hang on to Christian Westerman’s commitment. Greenlea and Flowers in particular were two of the top linemen in the country and should be able to compete to be on the two-deep as freshmen. The Aggies have had several freshmen offensive linemen play regularly from the past two classes but they might not have one in this one.

Defensive Line
 

Cedric Reed, Desmond Jackson and Quincy Russell vs. Brandon Alexander and LeMarc Strahan. A&M beat out Texas for the signature of Alexander but at the end of the day, the Longhorns bring in a more talented group. Neither adds a tremendous amount of depth but there’s several contributors among the names mentioned.

Linebacker

 

Donnie Baggs, Steven Jenkins, Tyrell Taylor, Darzil Washington and Shaun Ward vs. Steve Edmond, Chet Moss and Kendall Thompson. At first glance, this matchup clearly favors Texas but digging a little deeper, the Aggies brought in quantity and quality. Edmond and Moss are two of the best linebackers in Texas but the Aggies fill their need for linebackers with a few that can compete right away. Grabbing Ward out of Florida was particularly impressive.

Secondary

Quandre Diggs, Sheroid Evans, Leroy Scott, Josh Turner and Mykkele Thompson vs. Devonta Burns, Deshazor Everett, Johntel Franklin, Howard Matthews and Floyd Raven. If this were about drama, the Aggies would win in a landslide after signing Raven. Talent-wise though, Diggs and Evans should be able to contribute early in nickel packages and the rest of the group can develop into solid players. Considering the revolving door at defensive backs coach, Mack Brown did a great job grabbing this secondary class, just slightly edging A&M.

Special Teams
 

Texas didn’t sign any kickers though much of their freshman class could see time on special teams. Mike Sherman grabbed the top kicker in the country in Taylor Bertolet and Drew Kaser is a strong-legged kid out of Ohio.

Overall
 

It’s no surprise to see Texas win the recruiting matchup against their rival as the Longhorns have always had a class in the top 10 in the country the past decade or so. Given the results of the season however, grabbing the crown in February doesn’t necessarily translate into winning the big game on Thanksgiving. While A&M didn’t bring in the most talented class, they did address needs and there are several players who will have to play right away. All in all, just another year deep in the heart of Texas.

Posted on: February 4, 2011 3:21 pm
 

Big 12 Recruiting Breakdown

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Ranking the Big 12 recruiting classes and breaking them down at the same time.

1. Texas

Overview: Mack Brown earned the title of Mr. February once again, turning a losing season and six new coaches into another top 10 class. Once again, the top talent in Texas is headed to Austin in a class that fills a lot of needs on both sides of the ball. 
Hidden gem: Wide receiver Jaxon Shipley may have a familiar last name but he has the skills to easily pickup where his brother left off.
Pencil in for the fall: Running back Malcolm Brown, one of the best running backs to commit to the Longhorns out of high school in years. 
Just missed on: Offensive tackle Christian Westerman to Auburn.

2. Oklahoma

Overview: The Sooners have a ton of talent returning for 2011 and a likely top three team in the country but that didn’t stop them from bringing a talented recruiting class. It wasn’t a big class but the talent in it should hit the field sooner rather than later (pun very much intended). 
Hidden gem: Cornerback Bennett Okotcha, a former Notre Dame commit, has continued to get better and could be a steal after a redshirt year. 
Pencil in for the fall: Wide receiver Trey Metoyer, who should be the next freshman wide receiver to put up numbers in the Oklahoma offense. 
Just missed on: Athlete Brandon Carter to TCU.

3. Texas Tech

Overview: Tommy Tuberville has certainly made his mark on the recruiting trail for the Red Raiders this year. Pulling prospects from Florida, Wisconsin, Alabama and Pennsylvania show that Tech is no longer just grabbing the players passed over by Texas and Oklahoma. In fact, this may be the most talented class to ever head to Lubbock. 
Hidden gem: Defensive end/linebacker Branden Jackson, who could be a terrific hybrid player with his speed and athleticism. 
Pencil in for the fall: Running back Kenny Williams has the size and power to add to the Tech ground game from day one. 
Just missed on: Cornerback Marcus Roberson to Florida.

4. Oklahoma State

Overview: Credit to Mike Gundy for signing an impressive class, especially on offense, despite experiencing a lot of staff turnover. The Cowboys filled needs and brought in some great skill position talent in 2011. 
Hidden gem: Athlete Desmond Roland is very versatile and could play all over for Oklahoma State. 
Pencil in for the fall: Running back Herschel Sims should slot into the running back rotation from the get go. 
Just missed on: Possibly Jon Jenkins, a former commit at defensive tackle who still hasn’t made his choice.

5. Texas A&M

Overview: The Aggies might not have taken advantage of Texas’ down year quite as much as they might have liked but they did put together a very solid class. Grabbing a few linebackers filled a big need. 
Hidden gem: Kicker Taylor Bertolet, one of the best kickers in the country and even kicked the game-winning field goal in the Under Armour All-America game. 
Pencil in for the fall: Outside linebacker Shaun Ward should come in and compete for playing time right away.

6. Kansas State

Overview: Junior college heavy to no one’s surprise, the Wildcats grabbed talented players from different parts of the country. 
Hidden gem: Former top recruits Arthur and Bryce Brown are part of this class as transfers and are still very talented despite most glossing over them because they transferred awhile back. 
Pencil in for the fall: Defensive end Ian Seau may have a familiar name (he’s Junior Seau’s nephew) but he will have no problem getting Wildcat fans to think of Ian whenever they hear of Seau.

7. Kansas

Overview: Turner Gill’s first full class as head coach doesn’t have a ton of impact players but it is a deep and versatile class.
Hidden gem: Wide receiver JaCorey Shepherd is a very explosive athlete who could end up being a steal. 
Pencil in for the fall: Running back Darrian Miller is an early enrollee so he will already be going through spring drills to learn the system. One of the best backs from the Midwest, he should step in right away at Kansas.

8. Baylor

Overview: Solid if not spectacular is the best way to describe Baylor’s class. There’s a ton of talent that should benefit from a redshirt year and good coaching from Art Briles
Hidden gem: Wide receiver Jonathan Lee has the size and speed to quickly become a factor in the passing game. 
Pencil in for the fall: Defensive tackle Trevor Valdez has a terrific motor and great quickness inside.

9. Missouri

Overview: Not the typical class we’ve seen from Missouri over the past couple of years but nevertheless a solid class to build around. 
Hidden gem: Quarterback Corbin Berkstresser should be a dependable backup early in career before being tapped to put up some big numbers for the Tigers. 
Pencil in for the fall: Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson has been waiting for a few years to play for Mizzou and should step in right away in the middle of the defense.

10. Iowa State

Overview: A very surprising class given some of the talents the Cyclones brought in. Although they’re ranked at the bottom of the Big 12 classes, there’s still a talent upgrade headed to Ames. 
Hidden gem: Wide receiver Quenton Bundrage is a very speedy kid who could be very productive in just about any offense. 
Pencil in for the fall: Running back DeVondrick Nealy is a great get for Iowa State out of Florida.

Posted on: January 29, 2011 5:44 pm
 

Big 12 needs, commits and hopes

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Baylor

Biggest need: Defensive linemen. Baylor has struggled over the years to get a decent pass rush and the Bears lose their best defensive tackle in Phillip Taylor to the NFL Draft. Getting quality and quantity at this position will be key to continue the momentum from their first bowl season in over a decade.

Best verbal commit: Offensive lineman Spencer Drango.

Hope to get: Running back Jermichael Selders.

Iowa State

Biggest need: Receiver. Iowa State loses their two leading scorers in the passing game and saw Sedrick Johnson transfer. There’s playing time available right away but the Cyclones need someone to break out and not just fill out the depth chart.

Best verbal commit: Running back Devondrick Nealy.

Hope to get: Wide receiver Cedric Gilbert.

Kansas

Biggest need: Defensive line. The Jayhawks lose three of the four starters off of the line and will need to bring in some players to bolster a unit that was 105th in the country in sacks and 107th in rush defense.

Best verbal commit: Athlete Anthony Pierson.

Hope to get: Defensive tackle Terry Redden.

Kansas State 

Biggest need: Offensive line. All three interior linemen are gone from a unit that paved the way for running back Daniel Thomas. While head coach Bill Snyder will typically get some help from the junior college ranks, the Wildcats need some bodies to build around on the O-line.

Best verbal commit: Defensive end Meshak Williams.

Hope to get: Defensive tackle Kevin McReynolds.

Missouri

Biggest need: Defensive line. Missouri has been hit by graduation and impact player Aldon Smith leaving for the NFL. Finding players who can play right away will be key if they are to re-tool on defense.

Best verbal commit: Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.

Hope to get: Defensive tackle Christopher Cormier.

Oklahoma

Biggest need: Secondary. Two starters have graduated and their two replacements should both be upper classmen. The fact that they play in a pass-happy league also means it’s never a bad thing to have several defensive backs.

Best verbal commit: Running back Brandon Williams.

Hope to get: Class is pretty much set for 2011.

Oklahoma State

Biggest need: Linemen. Three starters depart from the defensive line and there will be four seniors on the offensive line. The Cowboys are looking for depth as much as they are players who can compete early.

Best verbal commit: Running back Herschel Sims.

Hope to get: Defensive end Brandon Alexander.

Texas

Biggest need: Secondary. Aaron Williams, as expected, left early for the NFL draft and the departures of several seniors leave this group thin. If they’re going to compete against some prolific offenses, Texas needs to grab a few players who can play immediately.

Best verbal commit: Running back Malcolm Brown.

Hope to get: Defensive end Brandon Alexander.

Texas A&M

Biggest need: Linebacker. The loss of Von Miller and Michael Hodges are huge for a defense that was starting to turn the corner under defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter. In the 3-4 scheme, the Aggies need depth as well as playmakers.

Best verbal commit: Quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Hope to get: Linebacker and soft verbal commit Shaun Ward.

Texas Tech

Biggest need: Receiver. All-everything receiver Lyle Leong is gone and the depth at the position looks thin after 2011.

Best verbal commit: Running back Kenny Williams.

Hope to get: Cornerback Marcus Roberson.

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