By MaxPreps Stephen Spiewak
With a full year remaining before these players will sign, MaxPreps identifies recruits from the class of 2012 who have already established themselves as elite players with extremely bright futures.
1. Dorial Green-Beckham
School: Hillcrest (Springfield, Mo.)
Position: Wide receiver
Early Offers: Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Notre Dame, Florida, et al
Analysis: We first wrote about Green-Beckham after his freshman season, when he was named to our Fresh Faces Top 100 for the Class of 2012 and likened to a young Randy Moss. Since then, he's only gotten bigger, stronger, faster, and downright scarier. He's on pace to shatter receiving records in Missouri, and is college-ready right now.
2. Zach Banner
School: Lakes (Lakewood, Wash.)
Position: Offensive tackle
Early Offers: Washington, Oregon, Alabama, USC, et al
Analysis: Banner could be the top offensive lineman in a class that features the likes of D.J. Humphries, Vadal Alexander, John Theus, and Arik Armstead (who may play on the defensive side of the ball for USC.) He's still somewhat raw, but his ceiling is sky-high. He has a great build, long arms, and is very agile for his size, as he's also a star basketball player. One college coach called him the best recruit in the state as a junior.
3. Mario Edwards
School: Ryan (Denton, Texas)
Position: Defensive end
Early offers: Florida State, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, et al
Analysis: Arguably the best defensive player in the state of Texas as a junior, Edwards was the total package at defensive end last season. He displayed supreme athleticism and quickness on the outside pass rush but was also strong enough to shed blocks and make tackles. He could end up being recruited as highly as 2009 top recruit Jackson Jeffcoat.
4. Johnathan Gray
School: Aledo (Texas)
Position: Running back
Early offers: Texas Tech, TCU, Texas A&M
Analysis: Gray earned an early reputation as a freshman by flashing outstanding speed in limited varsity reps. He simply exploded after that, winning the MaxPreps National Sophomore of the Year and Junior of the Year in 2009 and 2010 respectively. Gray has terrific burst to the outside, but also runs well between tackles. He has displayed an ability to catch the ball out of the backfield as well.
5. Rushel Shell
School: Hopewell (Aliquippa, Pa.)
Position: Running back
Early offers: Pitt, Ohio State, West Virginia, Florida, et al
Analysis: Shell was the MaxPreps National Freshman of the Year in 2008 after he burst onto the scene in Pennsylvania's well-respected WPIAL, rushing for 1,516 yards and 14 scores as a ninth-grader. A patient back with superb vision, Shell has rushed for more than 2,000 yards in each of the last two seasons.
6. Eddie Goldman
School: Friendship Collegiate Academy (Washington, D.C.)
Position: Defensive tackle
Early offers: Maryland, Alabama, Florida, et al
Analysis: Per capita, Washington D.C. produces some of the most talent in the country. In 2012, the nation's capital boasts Goldman, an absolute bully on the defensive line. With his 6-4, 300-pound frame, Goldman is powerful yet agile. On film, he simply overpowers offensive linemen, and as he continues to refine his technique, he'll be extremely difficult to stop.
7. Arik Armstead
School: Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove, Calif.)
Position: Offensive tackle/defensive end
Early offers: Committed to USC
Analysis: Armstead is big, strong, and athletic. The brother of current Trojan Armond Armstead, Arik is a two-way star for Pleasant Grove, dominating on both sides of the line. While he wants to play defensive end at USC, Armstead's value may be higher at offensive tackle.
8. Shaq Thompson
School: Grant (Sacramento, Calif.)
Early offers: California, USC, UCLA, et al
Analysis: Thompson is a physical player who lined up at running back and safety for Grant, one of the country's top teams for much of last season. He can play all over the field at the next level, but is probably going to be utilized in the secondary.
9. Kwon Alexander
School: Oxford (Ala.)
Early offers: Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, et al
Analysis: Alexander is a missile on the field, stretching sideline-to-sideline and delivering punishing tackles. He has outstanding closing speed and the quickness to drop back into coverage. With 147 tackles and 17 sacks as a junior, Alexander was one of the most productive juniors in the country.
10. Noah Spence
School: Bishop McDevitt (Harrisburg, Pa.)
Position: Defensive end
Early offers: Pittsburgh, Penn State, USC, et al
Analysis: With 41 career sacks, the three-year starter has proven that he's the next major recruit to emerge from Bishop McDevitt, which has also produced Rickey Watters, LeSean McCoy and most recently, Jameel Poteat. Spence explodes off the ball and is a sure tackler. He has plenty of room to add weight to his 6-4, 240-pound frame.