Recruiting has come a long way in the many years I have been following it. When I first got into it there was Joe Terranova who worked out of his house in Michigan. He had no way of seeing all the prospects and mostly his was guess work, but he did the best he could with what he had to work with. I ordered his book every year and eagerly awaited it’s arrival.
Since then, there has been many other services trying to pick the best national recruits. Some were good, and some not so good.
Today, it’s better than it’s ever been with many services out there that rate the recruits every season. The ones I normally use are ESPN, 24/7 and Rivals.
I recently wrote about the Quarterbacks from the 2012 recruiting class and it did not look good. Then, I did the Offensive Tackle class for the 2012 class.
This is the top 25 ESPN recruits for 2012 with the 24/7 and Rivals rankings in parenthesis.
1. Mario Edwards (6-4, 295) Denton, Tx DE: (Ranked #2 247, #3 on Rivals). Signed with Florida State and started 3 seasons for them. Good player, but did not completely live up to billing. Has
declared for the NFL Draft. Supposedly ran a 4.6 40 yard dash at that size, but never displayed that in college.
2. Jonathon Gray (5-10, 205) Aledo, Tx RB: (Ranked #6 247, #5 Rivals). Mack Brown happened to Jonathon Gray. He signed with Texas and poor Offensive Line and Quarterbacking cost Gray quite a bit of production. Still, he has rushed for 2,117 yards in 3 seasons despite a severe injury in 2013. Gray still has one more season to fulfill his potential, but the Offensive Line may take years to improve.
3. Dorial Green-Beckham (6-6, 220) Springfield, Mo WR: (Ranked #1 247, #1 Rivals). Signed with home state Missouri and was an instant star. He caught 87 passes in his first 2 seasons and was really coming on as a sophomore. Green-Beckham was booted from the team before his junior season for many criminal infractions and wound up transferring to Oklahoma. He had to sit out 2014 and as expected he declared for the NFL Draft after this season was over. Supposedly, he promised Oklahoma coaches he would stay 2 years. Character issues galore, but maybe he has grown up. Outstanding talent was 100 meter state champ in high school.
4. Noah Spence (6-4, 245) Harrisburg, Pa. DE: (Ranked #5 247, #9 Rivals) Spence signed with Ohio State and played as a true freshman but did not start. Had a very good sophomore season, but was suspended before the Buckeye’s Orange Bowl game against Clemson and for the first 2 games of 2014. Spence is still on roster but did not play in 2014.
5. Keith Marshall (5-11, 190) Raleigh, NC RB: (Ranked #13 247, #48 Rivals) Signed with Georgia, but so did Todd Gurley. Marshall ran for 759 yards as a true freshman. During his
sophomore season, Marshall had 246 yards rushing before being injured. He came back in 2014, but was injured again and carried the ball for only 24 yards. Marshall could have time to recover his career but the Georgia Bulldogs now have Nick Chubb at Running Back. The future looks bleak for Keith Marshall but I hope he bounces back.
6. Landon Collins (6-0, 210) Geismar, La. S (#7 247, #17 Rivals) Left the Bayou state for Alabama and has been a standout for the Crimson Tide. He played as a reserve in 2012 as a true freshman. Then, he started his sophomore season and excelled. Had 2 Interceptions and took 1 back for a Touchdown. In 2014, Collins led the team in tackles and had 3 more Interceptions. Definitely a great player and has already declared for the NFL.
7. D.J. Humphries (6-6, 275) Charlotte, NC OT (#3 247, #2 Rivals) Signed with Florida and started 3 games as a true freshman. Started 7 games in 2013 before injuring his knee. Came back for 2014 and started 10 games while missing 2 to injury. Has declared for the NFL Draft but could have used another year of seasoning in college.
8. Davonte Neal (5-10, 175) Scottsdale, AZ ATH (#54 247, #107 Rivals) Went to Notre Dame, but played very little as a freshman and transferred to Arizona. He had to sit out 2013, but caught 27 passes in 2014 for the Arizona Wildcats. Neal was dangerous on punt returns taking 1 back for a Touchdown and averaged over 11 yards on returns. Great speed and could be a scary player for the Wildcats if he sticks around.
9. Andrus Peat (6-7, 300) Tempe, AZ OT (#30 247, #32 Rivals) Signed with Stanford and played in every game as a true freshman. Was on some All American teams as a sophomore and 1st team All American as a junior. Has declared for the NFL Draft and should be one of the top Offensive Tackles picked. ESPN knocked his #9 ranking out of the park.
10. Eddie Goldman (6-4, 310) Washington DC DT (#10 247, #7 Rivals) Signed with Florida State and played sparingly as a freshman. Increased playing time as a sophomore on the national championship team and started as a junior in 2014. Goldman had 35 total tackles and 8 tackles for losses. He also had 4 Quarterback sacks and forced a fumble. Goldman also has declared for the NFL and good tackles are hard to come by.
11. Eddie Williams (6-4, 210) Panama City, Fl ATH (#17 247, #24 Rivals) Signed with Alabama, but was booted from team. Wasted talent.
12. Malcom Brown (6-2, 285) Brenham, Tx DT (#9 247, #26 Rivals) Played at Texas. Played well as a true freshman and then turned it up a few notches for his sophomore and junior seasons. Had 6.5 sacks as a junior, 13 tackles for loss and 70 total tackles. Has announced for NFL and should be a 1st round pick especially if he tests well at the combine.
13. Stefon Diggs (6-0, 185) Olney, Md WR (#8 247, #8 Rivals) Signed with Maryland. Very solid player for the Terrapins catching 150 passes over the last 3 seasons both in the ACC and the Big 10. Diggs has also declared for the Draft. Recruiting services got this one right.
14. Jameis Winston (6-4, 195) Hueytown, Al QB (#15, #10 Rivals) Florida State, obviously, and redshirted as a freshman. Won the national championship with his Seminole teammates as a redshirt freshman and the Heisman Trophy. Winston’s production dropped somewhat as a sophomore and the Seminoles lost to Oregon in the playoffs. He has declared for the NFL as well and might be the first pick in the Draft.
15. Travis Blanks (6-1, 185) Tallahassee, Fl DB (#89 247, #60 Rivals) Very good player as a true freshman and sophomore for the Clemson Tigers. His season was ended early in 2013 by a serious knee injury and he had to sit out 2014 as well. Good player with some bad luck.
16. Shaq Thompson (6-2, 210) Sacramento, Ca DB (#4 247, #4 Rivals) Thompson signed with Washington and was incredible for the Huskies last season. Played Linebacker, but also played some Running Back in several games and rushed for 174 yards against Colorado. At Linebacker, he had 3 fumble returns for Touchdowns and 1 Interception returned for a Touchdown. Every time he touched the ball on defense he scored. Could be one of the top Linebackers picked in this next NFL Draft.
17. Josh Harvey- Clemons (6-4, 210) Valdosta, Ga OLB (#20 247, #31 Rivals) Signed with Georgia and played some at Safety as a true freshman. He was a starter as a sophomore in between suspensions and was one of the top tacklers on the team. He was suspended again for 2014 and then he transferred to Louisville. He should start for the Cardinals in 2015 and has 2 years of eligibility left. Knowing today’s youth, he may declare for the NFL after 2015 which would be a mistake unless he can clean up his act. NFL may take a chance on a super player like Jameis Winston or Dorial Green-Beckham, but maybe not on some others.
18. Tracy Howard (5-11, 175) Miramar, Fl. CB (#22 247, #13 Rivals) Signed with the Miami Hurricanes. Howard started one game as a true freshman and then had a really good sophomore season including 4 Interceptions with one of those going for a Touchdown. He did not have a good junior season and backed up Artie Burns at Cornerback. He is coming back for his senior season and will need to earn a starting spot if he has any future.
19. Isaac Seumalo (6-3, 280) Corvalis, Or. OG (#26 247, #52 Rivals) Seumalo went to Oregon State. He missed 2014 because of a serious foot injury. The Beavers return all 5 starters from last season so even if Seumalo recovers he may not start next season.
20. Cyrus Jones (5-11, 185) Baltimore, Md. ATH (#43 247, #79 Rivals) Signed with Alabama. Played special teams as a true freshman. Started at Cornerback in 2014 and is a good player for the Crimson Tide. He is a good return man particularly punts.
21. Ricardo Louis (6-2, 200) Miami Beach, Fl WR (# 248 247, #183 Rivals) Signed with Auburn. Quite a bit of difference between the ESPN rankings and the other 2 services. Louis caught the game saving pass for Auburn against Georgia in ‘Prayer at Jordan Hare’. He has 52 career receptions for Auburn, but they have been a predominately running team. Great athlete and should still have a shot at the NFL.
22. Chris Black (5-11, 170) Jacksonville, Fl WR (#45 247, #58 Rivals) Signed with Alabama. He redshirted as a freshman and played sparingly as a redshirt freshman. Black was stuck behind some talented Wide Receivers at Bama. He caught 15 passes in 2014 and still has 2 years of eligibility remaining.
23. Chris Casher (6-5, 235) Mobile, Al DE (#29 247, #36 Rivals) Florida State Seminole.
Supposedly, Casher has some really good speed and athletic ability but has not demonstrated very much of that on the college level as of yet. Finished his sophomore season with 28 tackles and a Quarterback sack which is something of a disappointment. Casher needs to have a big season in 2015.
24. Aric Armstead (6-7, 280) Elk Grove, Ca OT (#14 247, #61 Rivals) Signed with Oregon. Played Defensive End for the Ducks. Armstead had a strong freshman season, and dropped off a bit as a sophomore. His play improved this season as the Ducks played for a national championship. Of course, Armstead has declared for the NFL Draft. Armstead is huge and I will always believe he would be better converting to Offensive Tackle.
25. Noor Davis (6-4, 220) Leesburg, Fl LB (#55 247, #77 Rivals) Signed with Stanford and redshirted as a freshman. Backed up an excellent Linebacker the past 2 seasons. Davis should be ready to take over at Linebacker for the Cardinal in 2015.