Exclusive Rankings: Breitbart Sports' Top 25 High School Football Recruits
In an effort to continue to provide the best free recruiting coverage on the internet, Breitbart Sports is proud to release its top 25 prospects for the Class of 2013.
After hours of film review, we have made our decisions about where each player belongs.
Some of our choices may be controversial, such as ranking Carl Lawson higher than Robert Nkemdiche, who is the consensus number one recruit. However, all decisions were made based on film review and an evaluation of how each player will perform at the next level.
Below is a rundown of the players who will be the difference makers for their schools of choice for years to come, our evaluation, and where they are likely to land.
1. DE Carl Lawson 6’2”, 253lbs, COMMITTED TO AUBURN (Rivals- #2, ESPN- #2, 247Sports- #27, Scout- #77)- Lawson plays at a different speed, and he abuses anyone in front of him. Every chance he has had, even in summer camps, he has used it dominate. This is a kid that had 27 sacks and 44 tackles for loss. He has better film coming out of high school than Jadeveon Clowney. What he lacks in prototypical size, he make up for with speed and ferocity. Lawson will be a better version of Dwight Freeney. Mark it down.
Recruiting Outlook: Lawson’s recruitment will likely go down to the wire. He committed to Auburn early and the Tigers have been able to hold onto him so far; however, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Clemson are fighting hard for his services. In the end, I think he sticks with Auburn, although my confidence level for that projection is not as high as others.
2. DE Robert Nkemdiche 6’5”, 260lbs., UNCOMMITTED (Rivals- #1, ESPN #1, 247Sports- #1, Scout- #1)- While Lawson is simply too good of a football player to keep Nkemdiche #1, the physical tools of this prospect are simply too much to ignore. He has the potential to be an elite college football player, and NFL teams will have their eyes on him early and often.
Recruiting Outlook: Nkemdiche committed to Clemson early, but that news surprised his family who pushed for, and eventually got, him to switch. Ole Miss, where his brother plays, is the strong frontrunner for his services, with LSU still trying to stay in contention.
3. DT Montravious Adams 6’3”, 290lbs, UNCOMMITTED (Rivals-#17, ESPN- #13, 247Sports- #2, Scout-#11)- With the perfect frame, and great footwork, Adams is a disruptive force on the defensive line. He can defend the run or rush the passer with ease, and, like the two before him, I’d look for Adams to be a starter as a freshman. He’s that good.
Recruiting Outlook: Adams could go a number of different directions, and none of them would surprise me. He has taken an official visit to Florida, will visit Clemson this weekend, and has Alabama, Georgia, and possibly Auburn on the horizon. Early on, I saw this as a two team race between Auburn and Clemson. Now, it’s a real free for all. However, Adams has taken his time with his recruitment, and, in the end, I think he will realize he is far better suited for a 4-3 defense, which leaves Florida, Clemson, and Auburn (if he visits) as the foremost contenders for his signature.
4. LB Reuben Foster 6’2”, 242lbs, UNCOMMITTED (Rivals- #6, ESPN- #16, 247Sports- #10, Scout #2)- From a pure talent perspective, Foster tops the list, and, as a result, he’s the toughest of the bunch to rank. The senior from Auburn HS is a Ray Lewis clone -- big, fast, and physical. However, Foster has had problems with fluctuating weight, inconsistent play (a bad game against Carver on national TV hurt his stock), and in pass coverage. Despite those knocks, we saw just a glimpse of Foster’s potential at the Under Armour Game, where he won the MVP Award. If Foster takes a mature and disciplined approach to the game at the next level, the sky is the limit, and he is the one we will be talking about.
Recruiting Outlook: Foster has had the most public and rocky recruitment of any prospect in this cycle. He committed to Alabama during his junior season, then had a long public flirtation with Auburn before ultimately committing to the Tigers. Then, when the Tigers fired his recruiting coach, Trooper Taylor, foster de-committed and has been “confused” since then. Auburn is certainly firmly back in the picture there and they feel confident, however, Georgia likes their chances as well. Strangely, Foster is visiting Washington this weekend. LSU could also be a factor, but my guess is that he signs with Auburn.
5. CB Jalen Ramsey, 6’0”, 190lbs, COMMITTED TO USC (Rivals- #15, ESPN- #14, 247Sports- #34, Scout- #20)- Ramsey is a part of an elite cornerback class, and he has risen up through the rankings to be regarded as one of the best. I think he is at the top of the class. I really like Ramsey’s length and coverage skills. He reminds me a lot of Dee Milliner, the standout for Alabama this year, and he has the potential to be nearly as good.
Recruiting Outlook: Ramsey committed to USC back in the summer, but he has never seemed to be truly satisfied with that commitment. However, there has yet to be another team that has emerged as the leader for his signature. Florida, Florida State, and Vanderbilt are the Trojans’ stiffest competition.
6. RB Derrick Henry, 6’3”, 243lbs., SIGNED WITH ALABAMA (Rivals- #70, ESPN- #9, 247Sports- #22, Scout- #19)- This is a perfect match for Alabama. Henry is a great fit for what Alabama wants to do on offense, and has surprising speed and footwork for his size. He will have to run lower in college, but he is a record setting running back who simply knows how to move the football.
Recruiting Outlook: Henry has signed with Alabama.
7. DT Kenny Bigelow, 6’3”, 295lbs., COMMITTED TO USC (Rivals- #12, ESPN #21, 247Sports- #16, Scout- #15) Bigelow reminds me of Nick Fairley. Similar frames and athletic ability, but also similar struggles with taking plays off. Despite playing at a low level of competition, Bigelow has proven in camps, all star games, and during his season that he can be dominant when he wants to be. Whether he will put it all together in college to become an elite player remains to be seen.
Recruiting Outlook: Bigelow is solid to USC
8. DE Jonathan Allen, 6’3”, 255lbs., COMMITTED TO ALABAMA (Rivals- #13, ESPN- #28, 247Sports- #9, Scout- #34)- The main question surrounding Allen is whether he will play defensive end or linebacker in Nick Saban’s defense. He has a high motor and outstanding lower body strength, and he plays with great instincts and control. He will need to add upper body strength if he is going to play on Alabama’s line.
Recruiting Outlook: Allen is solid to Alabama
9. RB Derrick Green, 6’0”, 220lbs., UNCOMMITTED (Rivals- #14, ESPN- #38, 247Sports- #141, Scout- #6)- Green is a player I really like, in part, because of his commitment to hard work. He was 260+ lbs. early in his high school career, but he has dramatically altered his physique to become one of the more physically impressive and “college ready” players in this class. While his highlights lack the “wow” factor, this kid is a bruiser who has good enough speed to be an elite player at the next level. In the right offense, he could be a Heisman candidate down the road.
Recruiting Outlook: Green’s early favorites were Michigan and Auburn, but the woes of the Tigers this past season caused them to lose a step with him. Tennessee, Florida State, and Auburn will continue to be factors in Green’s recruitment, but Michigan appears to be firmly in the lead with distance from home likely the main thing keeping Green from pledging to the Wolverines.
10. DE Chris Jones, 6’6”, 255lbs., COMMITTED TO MISSISSIPPI STATE (Rivals- NR, ESPN- #46, 247Sports- #15, Scout- #24)- Jones is the fastest rising player in high school ranks. With tremendous size and athleticism, Jones was nearly unblockable in the Alabama-Mississippi All Star Classic and in the Under Armour All-Star week. He has a great frame and a terrific motor, but needs to refine his game significantly. Has all the tools to keep pace with some of the more talked about defenders in this class.
Recruiting Outlook: Jones seems solid to Mississippi State, however, following such outstanding all-star performances, additional teams are bound to have renewed interest.
11. QB Max Browne, 6’5”, 215lbs., SIGNED WITH USC (Rivals- #4, ESPN- #20, 247Sports- #3, Scout- #8)- He’s got great height, intangibles, and accuracy. I’m not sure he’s got a “big arm” and he his mechanics have him coming over the top more than your typical quarterback, but he can make the throws he needs to. While he can move around in the pocket, he’s not going to be mistaken for a mobile quarterback any time soon. Look for him to compete for a starting job next year and have a productive career at USC.
Recruiting Outlook: Browne has signed with USC.
12. S Leon McQuay III, 6’2”, 185lbs., SIGNED WITH USC (Rivals- #19, ESPN- #37, 247Sports- #35, Scout- #60)- With great size for a safety and the frame to add more weight, McQuay still maintains impressive speed and recovery ability. His footwork is mediocre, but he’s a natural ballhawk who is not afraid to mix it up. He plays for an elite high school program, and he should transition well to the next level.
Recruiting Outlook: McQuay has signed with USC
13. RB Thomas Tyner, 6’0”, 200lbs., COMMITTED TO OREGON (Rivals- #21, ESPN- #54, 247Sports- #40, Scout- #12)- Tyner is an elite player who has battled injuries throughout his career. He will be a great fit in Oregon’s offense as an explosive player with great hands out of the backfield. In addition to being among one of the most dynamic players in the country, Tyner has the size to break tackles and run up the middle. In that offense, he will go on the Heisman Watch early in his career if he can stay healthy. He averaged over 13ypc (yards per carry) and 330ypg (yards per game) this last season.
Recruiting Outlook: Tyner seems solid to Oregon.
14. OT Laremy Tunsil, 6’6”, 295lbs., UNCOMMITTED (Rivals- #11, ESPN- #5, 247Sports- #4, Scout- #7)- Certainly the best OL of the class, and he has all of the physical tools to be an early first round draft pick a few years down the road. Tunsil’s been well coached and understands how to use his large frame. His footwork is very good for a man his size. However, I’m a little concerned about his physicality, and, especially for someone looking to play in the SEC, he is going to need to work on his nasty streak.
Recruiting Outlook: Tunsil is in the middle of one of the most intense recruiting battles of the year with Georgia and Alabama fighting for the elite tackle while Florida State tries to keep him in-state. At this point, the Bulldogs appear to have a slight edge.
15. LB Mike Mitchell, 6’4”, 216lbs. COMMITTED TO OHIO STATE (Rivals- #30, ESPN- #128, 247Sports- #100, Scout- #28) - Mitchell has an incredible frame and tremendous athleticism for a player his size. After bursting onto the scene this summer with camp performances, Mitchell, who runs a sub 4.4 forty yard dash put together a very dominant senior campaign. The Buckeyes are getting a linebacker with a good head on his shoulders, the ability to drop back well, play sideline to sideline, and a natural pass rusher. He plays with aggression and could play inside or outside, however, I think he is best suited for outside.
Recruiting Outlook: Mitchell committed to Ohio State at the Army All-American Bowl and appears solid to the Buckeyes.
16. DT A’Shawn Richardson, 6’5”, 304lbs., COMMITTED TO TEXAS (Rivals- #23, ESPN- #105, 247Sports- #29, Scout- #5)- A massive defensive line prospect who has shown the ability to play inside or outside or even on offense, Richardson could add more weight to his frame. He is already strong, and has decent pass rush quickness and technique for a man of his size. If he continues to develop, NFL scouts will be salivating over this prospect.
Recruiting Outlook: Although Richardson is committed to the Longhorns, he is visiting USC and Alabama and both could play a factor in his recruitment. However, he still has yet to take his official to Texas, and it’s likely they keep him in the fold.
17. CB Eli Apple, 6’0”, 185lbs, COMMITTED TO OHIO STATE (Rivals- #28, ESPN- #11, 247Sports- #55, Scout- #111) - Apple stands out with speed, incredible footwork and athleticism, and toughness. Ohio State has produced some great defensive backs, and, in the elite crop of corners, they are getting one of the best in Apple.
Recruiting Outlook: Apple appears solid to Ohio State
18. CB Vernon Hargreaves III, 5’11”, 185lbs., COMMITTED TO FLORIDA (Rivals- #9, ESPN- #3, 247Sports- #6, Scout- #16)- Has excellent athleticism, and it’s unlikely that any college receiver will get behind him for long. His compact frame is also well built for jamming receivers, but his tackling and his length hinders his overall game. Still, he’s an impact player at the next level.
Recruiting Outlook: Hargreaves seems solid to Florida
19. WR Ricky Seals-Jones, 6’5”, 220lbs., COMMITTED TO Texas A&M (Rivals- #27, ESPN- #61, 247Sports- #20, Scout- #10)- The Texas A&M commit has tremendous physical tools from the receiver position and is part of an excellent group haul by the Aggies. He hasn’t played receiver much in high school, so he has some improvements he can make, but his incredible size, solid speed, length, body control, and overall athleticism will make him a very dangerous weapon in the SEC.
Recruiting Outlook: Seals-Jones seems solid to Texas A&M
20. ATH Su’a Cravens, 6’1”, 205lbs., SIGNED WITH USC (Rivals- #5, ESPN- #12, 247Sports- #11, Scout- #4)- Most likely projects at safety in college, but could probably line up at running back, wide receiver, or cornerback at the next level. He’s got all the physical tools you would look for in an elite safety, and is a smart player who doesn’t mind mixing it up.
Recruiting Outlook: Cravens has signed with USC
21. RB Greg Bryant, 5’11”, 197lbs., COMMITTED TO NOTRE DAME (Rivals- #16, ESPN- #22, 247Sports- #131, Scout- #70)- Bryant has a great build for a college back. He’s strong with a low-center of gravity with good agility and solid, but not breakaway speed. He possesses great vision, and he is an outstanding pass catcher out of the backfield, and is firmly in the conversation for best back in this strong class of runners.
Recruiting Outlook: Bryant could be set to Notre Dame, but he has flirted with other programs before.
22. CB Kendall Fuller, 5’11”, 189lbs., COMMITTED TO VIRGINIA TECH (Rivals- #8, ESPN #18, 247Sports- #19, Scout- #26)- What jumps off the page about Fuller is one of those things that’s hard to coach, instincts. He rarely makes a mistake in coverage, he consistently makes great plays on the ball. He’s not as fast or as agile as other corners, but he’s never too far off the receiver and he’s quite fluid in his motion. While not flashy, he’s one of the most “certain” to succeed at the next level.
Recruiting Outlook: Fuller appears solid to Virginia Tech
23. TE O.J. Howard, 6’6”, 220lbs., COMMITTED TO ALABAMA (Rivals- #6, ESPN- #45, 247Sports- #18, Scout- #14)- Perhaps the most difficult player in the class to project, Howard has all of the physical tools to break records as a tight end playing on Saturdays and then on Sundays. He has a great combination of size, speed, and agility. However, this camp sensation played at a very low level of competition and still did not dominate. It will also be interesting to see how Howard, who would be sensational in a spread offense, will fit in with the Alabama offense.
Recruiting Outlook: Howard appears solid to Alabama
24. DT Eddie Vanderdoes, 6’3”, 302lbs., UNCOMMITTED (Rivals- #32, ESPN #10, 247Sports- #12, Scout- #9)- Vanderdoes has great size, and, despite the look of more an inside-run-stopping tackle, he has enough quickness and athleticism to be an effective pass rusher. He’s not particularly fast or agile, but a good burst off the ball and nice use of his hands helps to compensate.
Recruiting Outlook: Once committed to USC, Vanderdoes, who is still considering the Trojans, will likely be have hats for Notre Dame, Alabama, and UCLA also on the table when he decides on National Signing Day.
25. LB Jaylon Smith, 6’3”, 212lbs., COMMITTED TO NOTRE DAME (Rivals- #3, ESPN- #7, 247Sports- #5, Scout- #3)- Has an outstanding frame for an OLB, and has the footwork of a safety. He excels in pass coverage and is very quick, however, he is not particularly physical. He will have to get stronger at the point of attack to be an elite linebacker at the next level.
Recruiting Outlook: Smith seems solid to Notre Dame.
The next ten: WR Laquon Treadwell (UNCOMMITTED), ATH Max Redfield (NOTRE DAME), CB Mackensie Alexander (UNCOMMITTED), S Tony Connor (UNCOMMITTED), QB Christian Hackenburg (PENN STATE), QB Jeremy Johnson (AUBURN), DE Frank Herron (LSU), DT Dee Liner (AUBURN), OG Grant Hill (ALABAMA), WR Derrick Griffin (TAMU).