The 2014 Football recruiting class was possibly the best of all time, but how good was the 2013 class?
This was ESPN’s top 25 for the 2013 signing class.
1. Robert Nkemdiche – Loganville, Georgia; Ole Miss DE: Ole Miss had a banner year in 2013 and Nkemdiche led the class as the top recruit in the nation. Nkemdiche was a 3 year starter for the Ole Miss Rebels, but really never quite lived up to expectations. Still, with his unlimited potential, he was supposedly going to be the top pick in this next draft until an incident before the bowl game brought up character issues. He will still go in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
2. Carl Lawson – Alpharetta, Georgia; Auburn DE: The Auburn Defensive End is awesome when he can stay healthy. But, unfortunately, he can never stay healthy. Lawson has more time to redeem
himself and if he can stay on the field in 2016 he could be a high draft choice, too. Lawson is only 6-2, 260, but he is super athletic and he still has a shot to be really good. He is the same size, basically, as Dante Fowler Jr from Florida of last season that was the 3rd player picked in last year’s draft.
3. Vernon Hargreaves III – Tampa, Florida; Florida CB: The Florida Gators have been awful offensively for the past few years, but their defense has been among the best. Hargreaves was a large part of that and he started for 3 seasons before declaring for the NFL Draft. Hargreaves is definitely one of the top Cornerbacks in the country and he should be an early 1st round pick this year.
4. Mackensie Alexander – Immokalee, Florida; Clemson CB: In my opinion, Alexander was the best college Cornerback in the country this past year. He redshirted as a freshman and then started 2 seasons for the Tigers before declaring for the draft. He should be another 1st round pick in this recruiting class. The Clemson defense took a hit in the national championship game when Alexander went down with an injury.
5. Laremy Tunsil – Lake City, Florida; Ole Miss OT: When Tunsil wasn’t injured or suspended he was a starter for Ole Miss. He is considered the top Offensive Tackle for this year’s draft by most experts. Tunsil is very athletic for his size and will soon be a fairly rich man.
6. Matthew Thomas – Miami, Florida; Florida State LB: Thomas has had more than his share of problems at Florida State. He was injured in the 2013 season and missed it. Then, he was ineligible for part of the 2014 season. In 2015, Thomas was ruled ineligible for the season because of an unspecified NCAA rules infraction. He should be back for the Spring of 2016 and he has 2 years to save his career.
7. Jaylon Smith – Wayne, Indiana; Notre Dame LB: Smith was one of the top players in the entire country over the past 3 seasons and he was probably the very best Linebacker in college football. He is big, fast, athletic and he has great Linebacker instincts. He was injured in the Fiesta Bowl against
Ohio State, but he should be still one of the top picks in this year’s draft.
8. Kelvin Taylor – Belle Glade, Florida; Florida RB: The son of former Gator great Fred Taylor, Kelvin ran for 500 yards in each of his first two seasons. During his junior year, with a better coaching situation, Taylor ran for 1,035 yards and 13 Touchdowns. After the season, Kelvin Taylor declared for the NFL Draft. Taylor is probably most famous for getting yelled at by his new football coach Jim McElwain after Taylor was penalized for committing a completely unnecessary foul.
9. Derrick Henry – Yule, Florida; Alabama RB: After Henry broke the decades old high school rushing record held by the Sugarland Express, Kenneth Hall, he went on to stardom at Alabama. His first two seasons were shared with TJ Yeldon, but in 2015 Henry was the sole ball carrier for the Crimson Tide. Alabama won the national title in 2015, obviously, and Derrick Henry won the Heisman. Naturally, Henry declared for the NFL Draft.
10. Eddie Vanderdoes – Auburn, California; UCLA DT: Vanderdoes originally signed with Notre Dame, but got out of his scholarship because of family health concerns. He played considerably as a true freshman and then was somewhat dominating as a sophomore last season. This year, Vanderdoes went down in game one and was lost for the season. The injury took nothing from the earlier successes and talent of Eddie Vanderdoes.
11. Eli Apple – Voorheis, New Jersey; Ohio State CB: The Buckeyes had an outstanding recruiting class and a lot of those guys were responsible for the national championship season of 2014. Apple redshirted as a freshman in 2013, but then he started all season in 2014. After starting all season again in 2015, Apple declared for the NFL Draft. The biggest advantage that Apple has going for him is that he is 6-1 and can play Cornerback. This is a very deep draft for Corners, but some think that
Apple will go in the 1st round.
12. Su’a Cravens – Murrieta, California; USC S: Cravens has been one of the Trojans most consistent players on defense the past 3 years. His first season, he was a Safety. During his sophomore season, he moved to Outside Linebacker and he played there again in 2015. At Outside Linebacker, Cravens led the team in tackles and then he also declared for the NFL. Cravens is 6-1, 225, but he has excellent speed and athletic ability which should get him a little notice with NFL clubs.
13. Montravius Adams – Vienna, Georgia; Auburn DT: A major contributor to the Auburn defense the past 3 seasons and Adams announced he was returning for his senior season. Auburn hasn’t been great on defense, but Adams is pretty solid and he’s about 6-4, 300.
14. Jalen Ramsey – Brentwood, Tennessee; Florida State CB: When the NFL Draft comes around, Ramsey will more than likely be the top Cornerback picked. Ramsey was a major contributor at Cornerback on the 2013 national championship team. The following season, he was moved to Safety and he was not quite as good. He was moved back to CB as a junior. His size and other intangibles will make him probably a top 10 pick in this next draft.
15. Christian Hackenberg – Fort Union, Virginia; Penn State QB: As a true freshman under head coach Bill O’Brien, Hackenberg was a star. He struggled the past 2 years under head coach James Franklin. In spite of that, Hackenberg declared for the NFL after the season ended. He still threw for over 8,400 yards in just three seasons. He is 6-4, 230 and should be taken in the 2nd round or later.
16. Reuben Foster – Auburn, Alabama; Alabama LB: Foster is one of the bigger hitters in the
nation. As mostly a backup for his first two seasons, Foster really came on strong this past season for the Crimson Tide and helped lead them to a national title. He returned for his senior season and he probably leads the team in tackles in 2016 since Reggie Ragland.
17. Darrius James – Killeen, Texas; Texas C: For whatever reason, Darrius James just not fit in at Texas. This past year, James transferred to Auburn and sat out the year. He still has a shot at redeeming himself with eligibility remaining.
18. Kendall Fuller – Olney, Maryland; Virginia Tech CB: Fuller was one of my All Americans in 2014, but he was injured in 2015 and missed the season. In spite of that, he also announced for the NFL and he has a shot at getting picked pretty early. Fuller is yet another top Corner in this class and has the size, speed and the talent to be popular with NFL teams if he is fully healed.
19. Laquan Treadwell – Crete, Illinois; Ole Miss WR: The best player on Ole Miss for the past 3 seasons in my opinion. He has been a team leader and he has an outstanding work ethic which was proven after his severe injury against Auburn in 2014. Treadwell does not have great speed, but he does have good size, body control and hands.
20. Max Browne – Sammamish, Washington; USC QB: Browne has it all as far as talent is concerned but he has not played much. However, starting Trojan Quarterback Cody Kessler is now gone and Max Browne should be the new starter. After redshirting in 2013, Browne has only
attempted 19 career passes. But, he’s still 6-5, 220 with a cannon for an arm.
21. Kenny Bigelow – Elkton, Maryland; USC DT: After redshirting as a freshman, he had to fight through injuries as a freshman in 2014. Bigelow was behind 2 seniors in 2015 and he got limited playing time. He still managed 3 Quarterback sacks and 3 tackles for loss. Bigelow should start at Nose Tackle in 2016.
22. Greg Bryant – Delray Beach, Florida; Notre Dame RB: Bryant played very little as a freshman, and then he was the team’s second leading rusher as a sophomore. Then, he was suspended and he left Notre Dame. Supposedly, Bryant will play for the University of Alabama at Birmingham when they start their football program back up.
23. Max Redfield – Mission Viejo, California; Notre Dame S: Redfield was one of the top tacklers for the Fighting Irish the past two seasons. He did get sent home from the Fiesta Bowl this past season for rules violations, but he should be back for his senior season.
24. Antonio Conner – Batesville, Mississippi; Ole Miss S: As one of the top tacklers for the Rebels as a freshman and a sophomore the defense took a hit last season when Conner was injured. This may have been a lucky break for Ole Miss since Conner is coming back for his final season. Conner is a big time player.
25. Robert Foster – Monaca, Pennsylvania; Alabama WR: Foster hasn’t quite lived up to billing, but he is still around and active. He redshirted and then caught 6 passes as a freshman before hauling in 10 as a sophomore this past year. He’s still in a position to better his standing if he keeps working.
When examining the top 25, it turns out this was a very talented class with a lot more talent in the rest of the top 100 with Joey Bosa coming in at number 56.