Over the past couple of months, Rivals.com has offered a new top 10 poll each week, a new category voted on by its analysts who have spent the year canvassing the country scouting the top prospects. This week, they discussed the prospects that made them cringe - but in a good way.
Rivals.com's recruiting analysts break down the top 10 best headhunters among the top prospects.
Thomas highlights School: Detroit Renaissance
Buzz: Thomas' combination of size and athleticism is what makes him one of the nation's top prospects. The 6-4, 240-pound linebacker also has a great nose for the football. As a junior he collected 104 total tackles, including 28 for loss and 15 sacks with many of them memorable, at least to his opponents. His devastating tackling style also forced six fumbles last season as he simply jars the football from its carrier with ease.
Sample highlights School: Sacramento (Calif.) Grant
Buzz: Sample is a mean hitter. He plays with lots of intensity and loves to come up and plaster people into the ground. Because he's long and lanky, Sample can really pop people when receivers and even runners don't expect it. He has a great first step to get him going downhill and then he loves to hit people really hard.
Walls highlights School: McDonough (Ga.) Eagle's Landing Christian
Buzz: Walls became an Internet sensation early in his senior year when a big hit against Tallahassee (Fla.) North Florida Christian found its way to YouTube. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound safety is an explosive player who makes his living around the ball and when given the opportunity to get a head of steam, he makes sure to punish the ballcarrier.
Jackson highlights School: Klein (Texas) Collins
Buzz: Though not the largest defensive back out there, the Nebraska commit is incredibly strong and powerful, and is built like a brick. In fact, Jackson is so thick he looks at times as wide as he is tall, a square of muscle that simply wants to hurt opponents. The future cornerback plays free safety for Klein Collins and makes receivers think twice about going over the middle. Even in camp settings, his bump-and-run technique was a lot more bump than run.
Moore highlights School: Griffin (Ga.)
Buzz: Moore is a talented safety who routinely moves down into the box closer to the line of scrimmage to support the run and often acts as an extra linebacker. With great size and solid strength, he is able to take on bigger opponents and deliver bone-crushing blows. When Moore backs off the line and plays against the pass, he is athletic enough to quickly move to a spot and try to break up the pass by trying to break wide receivers in half.
Sturdivant highlights School: Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville
Buzz: What makes Sturdivant such a feared tackler? First and foremost, is his size. At 6-2 and 249 pounds, the huge linebacker packs a lot of punch and knows how to use his size and strength to deliver a blow. Whether he is lined up at middle linebacker or defensive end, Sturdivant can be a headache, literally, for opposing ballcarriers.
Edmond highlights School: Daingerfield (Texas)
Buzz: The athletic linebacker is perhaps the hardest hitter in the state of Texas. He lands punishing blows to opponents each week and, in a game this year against Arp, he recorded one of the best hits that the Rivals.com AMP team has ever seen. Edmond has good size and he explodes into his hits using his strong lower body to gain maximum power upon impact.
Grant highlights School: Richmond (Va.) Hermitage
Buzz: Grant looks bigger than his listed size and the speed he generates when tracking down a runner or receiver from his middle linebacker position to the sideline allows him to simply blow up opponents upon contact. Grant is an intense linebacker who is a rare combination of a sure tackler who still delivers consistent and constant punishment with each hit.
Florence highlights School: Valley (Ala.)
Buzz: Florence looks tall, lean and even slender on the hoof, but make no mistake about it, he will pop you across the middle and come up to hit in run support. Timing is very important when it comes to blowing up receivers, as well as the willingness to give up your body, and Florence has this rare combination of traits that makes him one of the most feared hitters in the country.
Therezie highlights School: Miami (Fla.) Jackson
Buzz: Therezie is a punishing player from the safety spot who hits like a linebacker but can move around in the secondary and play the pass just as effectively. When he is able to get a running start, he will plug the hole against the run with his shoulder pads down and create painful collisions in the hole. If a ball is thrown across the middle and he is dropped back, the wide receiver will feel his arms shortening as he prepares for the brunt of a major hit.