April 11, 2007

Top prospects emerge at each position

It's no secret that linebacker and offensive line both appear to be positions of strength in the Class of 2008 recruiting cycle as multiple prospects at both positions have the chance to be special on the collegiate level.

Without a doubt, the size/speed ratio of many of the linebackers stands out. Players like Wichita (Kan.) East's Arthur Brown and Crawfordville (Fla.) Wakulla's Nigel Bradham and Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway's Shayne Hale all have good size and can run.

Behind those three there is good depth at the position. Massillon (Ohio) Washington's Devoe Torrence and Homestead (Fla.)'s Marcus Robinson, along with several others are high-quality linebacker prospects.

That's in contrast to 2007, when it was Chris Galippo (USC), Chris Donald (Tennessee) and then everyone else.

On the offensive line, what stands out is the abundance of elite tackle prospects. The Class of 2007 featured talented guards like James Wilson (Florida) and Tray Allen (Texas), but there are five tackle prospects at the top of the offensive line board in this year's class. Michael Brewster of Orlando (Fla.) Edgewater, Nebraska commit Baker Steinkuhler of Lincoln (Neb.) Southwest, Kyle Long of Charlottesville (Va.) St. Anne's-Belfield (the son of former NFL great Howie Long), Oklahoma commit Stephen Good of Paris (Texas) and Mountain Brook (Ala.) standout Tyler Love all are tackle prospects.

There is even more depth at tackle behind those five with prospects like USC commit Matt Kalil of Anaheim (Calif.) Servite, Klein (Texas) Collins' J.B. Shugarts, Jefferson Hills (Pa.) Jefferson's Lucas Nix and Seffner (Fla.) Armwood's Matt Patchan.

Louisville (Ga.) Jefferson County standout A.J. Harmon is one of the top prospects at offensive guard.

Below is a look at five of the top prospects at each position for the Class of 2008 with the No. 1 prospect featured followed by the rest of top five in alphabetical order.

Best by Position: QB | RB | WR/TE | OL | DL | LB | DB | Athlete

Terrelle Pryor
High School: Jeannette (Pa.)
Height: 6-6
Weight: 220
Pryor in action
Pryor is a great athlete who reminds many of Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young. He is cat-quick for a 6-foot-6, 220-pounder and frequently turns bad plays in the passing game into long runs. Pryor has good speed and while he's not as consistent with his throws as he will be, he certainly has moments of greatness in the passing game. He's also a winner, leading Jeanette to the state championship game as a junior.
Vote: Who is your pick for the nation's top QB?
Dayne Crist, 6-5, 221, Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame Crist in action
Blaine Gabbert, 6-5, 220, Ballwin (Mo.) Parkway West Gabbert in action
Landry Jones, 6-4, 205, Artesia (N.M.) Jones in action
E.J. Manuel, 6-6, 203, Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside Manuel in action
Running Back
Jermie Calhoun
High School: Van (Texas)
Height: 6-0
Weight: 210
Calhoun in action
In the tradition of Earl Campbell, Adrian Peterson and Billy Sims, Calhoun is the next great East Texas running back. He has the size, speed, vision and enough wiggle to get out of a crowd when he needs to. The Oklahoma commit rushed for 1,726 yards and 22 touchdowns as a junior. That followed a sophomore campaign in which he totaled 1,653 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Vote: Who is your pick for the nation's top RB?
Sam McGuffie, 6-0, 185, Cypress (Texas) Cy-Fair McGuffie in action
Richard Samuel, 6-0, 197, Cartersville (Ga.) Cass Samuel in action
Darrell Scott, 6-0, 215, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure Scott in action
Ryan Williams, 5-10, 192, Manassas (Va.) Stonewall Jackson Williams in action
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Julio Jones
High School: Foley (Ala.)
Height: 6-4
Weight: 215
Jones in action
The best prospect to come out of Foley High since Kenny Stabler, this 6-foot-4, 215-pounder has been timed as fast as 4.48-seconds in the 40-yard dash and had an outstanding 41-inch vertical leap during testing at the Southeastern Select 7-on-7 tournament last summer in Hoover, Ala. Jones isn't just a great athlete, though. He's a game-changing presence on the football field. He had 75 receptions for 1,306 yards and 16 touchdowns during his junior season.
Vote: Who is your pick for the nation's top WR/TE?
Jonathan Baldwin, 6-6, 225, Aliquippa (Pa.) Baldwin in action
Dan Buckner, 6-4, 211, Allen (Texas) Buckner in action
A.J. Green, 6-4, 184, Summerville (S.C.) Green in action
D.J. Shoemate, 6-0, 219, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite Shoemate in action
Offensive Linemen
Michael Brewster
High School: Orlando (Fla.) Edgewater
Height: 6-6
Weight: 305
Brewster in action
Brewster first worked himself onto the recruiting radar in June of 2006, when he was one of the top overall prospects at the Eugene, Ore., NIKE Camp. The 6-foot-6, 305-pounder moves well laterally and is athletic enough to handle most pass rushing defensive ends coming off the edge. The big Floridian also stands out in the classroom. He is planning to graduate from high school early and enroll at the school of his choice in January.
Vote: Who is your pick for the nation's top OL?
Stephen Good, 6-5, 290, Paris (Texas) Good in action
Kyle Long, 6-7, 280, Charlottesville (Va.) St. Anne's-Belfield Long in action
Tyler Love, 6-7, 285, Mountain Brook (Ala.) Love in action
Baker Steinkuhler, 6-6, 290, Lincoln (Neb.) Southeast Steinkuhler in action
Defensive Linemen
DeAngelo Tyson
High School: Statesboro (Ga.)
Height: 6-2
Weight: 276
Tyson in action
Tyson, a Georgia commit, is a force in the middle of any defense. Here's a scary thought: He is young for his grade, so he has even more upside as he matures physically. The 6-foot-2, 290-pounder has elite quickness and had 12 tackles for loss as a junior. It won't be a shock to see him get plenty of early playing time at UGA, which has a major need at defensive tackle for the Class of 2008.
Vote: Who is your pick for the nation's top DL?
Chancey Aghayere, 6-4, 241, Garland (Texas) Aghayere in action
Marcus Forston, 6-2, 286, Miami Northwestern
Templeton Hardy, 6-4, 285, Sardis (Miss.) North Panola Hardy in action
Wes Horton, 6-6, 230, Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame
Arthur Brown
High School: Wichita (Kan.) East
Height: 6-1
Weight: 225
Brown in action
Brown could be the best prospect to come out of the state of Kansas since Mike Rozier. The violent tackler had 132 total tackles and 12 for loss during his junior season. In a great year for linebackers, to be mentioned as the potential top one certainly speaks volumes about his ability. Coaches agree, too. Brown has garnered a slew of scholarship offers early in the process, including ones from the current top programs in college football.
Vote: Who is your pick for the nation's top LB?
Nigel Bradham, 6-2, 220, Crawfordville (Fla.) Wakulla Bradham in action
Shayne Hale, 6-4, 225, Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway Hale in action
Marcus Robinson, 6-3, 222, Homestead (Fla.) Robinson in action
Devoe Torrence, 6-2, 210, Massillon (Ohio) Washington Torrence in action
Defensive Back
T.J. Bryant
High School: Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln
Height: 6-1
Weight: 175
Bryant in action
Some close to the program at Lincoln High say that Bryant could be better than former Trojans and Florida State cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who was a first-round draft pick. He's fast and tough, but the two things that stand out most about Bryant are his confidence and his short memory, which is paramount for any player wishing to become an elite Division I-A cornerback. He also comes from a high school program that is no stranger to producing great talent.
Vote: Who is your pick for the nation's top DB?
Xavier Brewer, 5-11, 180, Jacksonville (Fla.) Bartram Trail Brewer in action
Boubacar Cissoko, 5-9, 170, Detroit Cass Tech Cissoko in action
Patrick Johnson, 6-0, 180, Pompano Beach (Fla.) Ely Johnson in action
Aaron Williams, 6-1, 175, Round Rock (Texas) McNeil Williams in action
Will Hill
High School: Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep
Height: 6-3
Weight: 200
Hill in action
Nicknamed "The Thrill" by many who have watched him play, Hill is an electrifying player with the ball in his hands (more than 1,300 yards of total offense as a junior) and has great size, toughness and speed for playing defense. While his best position long-term could be safety, he's likely to be used in a variety of ways at the college level, including in the return game (he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns last year) or even in certain situations on offense. Regardless of where you put him, it's clear that Hill is in an explosive player that multiple college programs would love to have.
Vote: Who is your pick for the nation's top Athlete?
Brandon Barnes, 6-0, 185, Bunn (N.C.) Barnes in action
Mark Barron, 6-2, 205, Mobile (Ala.) St. Paul's Barron in action
Justin Johnson, 6-1, 210, Gilmer (Texas) Johnson in action
Gerell Robinson, 6-4, 210, Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton

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