March 3, 2011

Breaking down the LSR: 51-60

The latest Lone Star Recruiting for the Class of 2012 is out, but we're still at a point in the evaluation process when an education of sorts still needs to take place throughout the list - from No.1 through No.100. Therefore, for the next two weeks we'll go through the entire top 100 list and do exactly that - introduce the players to you. Today we'll take a look at the players that make up No.51-60 on the list:

60. Jonathan Williams - (Running back/Allen)

If there weren't already a couple of superstar running backs in the state of Texas, there would be a lot more discussion about the 5-11, 205-pound Williams, who was a 2,000-yard rusher for one of the state's top 5A powers and ranks as perhaps the best big running back in Texas. Of course, you have to be careful about the big back stuff because it would typically indicate that a player lacks explosiveness and that's not Williams at all. While he can certainly run between the tackles, break tackles and accumulate a ton of yards after contact, this is a kid that possesses a really sneaky burst that allows him to run away from all defenders once he gets a crease. He's not a guy that has great 40 speed, but when he's in pads and in a game, he runs faster than just about everyone when he needs to. I also love the fact that there's not a lot of wasted motion with Williams, as he gets North/South as quickly as anyone in the state. As if all of that wasn't enough, he's more than capable in the screen game. If there's anything to dislike, he'll expose himself to contact a little openly, but that's correctable. Bottom line is that this is a very talented running back that has the chops to play for any program in the country.

Player he reminds me of: Darrell Scott (Colorado - 2008)

Current offers: Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri and Virginia

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 54

Highest ranking: 54 (1/12/11)

Debut ranking: 54 (1/13/11)

59. Camrhon Hughes - (Offensive Tackles/Killeen Harker Heights)

One of the biggest reasons why nobody should ever overreact to early rankings in recruiting is that a guy like Hughes will fly under the radar for a while before emerging as a factor in both the public and college coaches' attention spans. Make no mistake about it, at 6-6, 269 pounds, Hughes is absolutely an elite tackle prospect of the highest order. Two things really jump out more than anything else when you're talking about Hughes. First, the kid has an absolute perfect frame to play tackle at the next level. There's still some physical development and strength that needs to/will be added to his frame, but in a few years he'll have a chance to play either tackle spot. That brings us to his second standout feature - his tremendous combination of athleticism and footwork. This is a kid that can flat out move and all you have to do is watch his junior highlights and see the first play when he kicks out on a screen in the flat and he gets out in time to take out a hard-charging safety… seriously… wow. He's a high-effort kid that can be a Sunday player in time if he reaches his ceiling. His downside he might be a two-year investment before the returns start to come in. A little bit of patience, some good coaching and a weight room - watch the hell out.

Player he reminds me of: Jonathon Scott (Texas - 2001)

Current offers: Baylor, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Texas (committed)

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 53

Highest ranking: 53 (1/12/11)

Debut ranking: 53 (1/13/11)

58. Bryson Echols - (Cornerback/Texas)

If Echols walks in off the street and you see him for the first time, he's not going to blow you away. At 5-10, 175-pounds, Echols isn't a guy that jumps off the film from a physical perspective, yet when you put this kid in a football uniform and put him on an island at cornerback, he performs at a level that has him in the discussion for the top player in the state at his position. Echols is effortless in his back-pedal and he once he gets into the hip of a receiver, he just sticks on him like a mosquito. Despite his relatively normal physical stats, Echols is a tough, instinctive player, who has very good ball skills (five interceptions as a junior) and he'll get in there and fight bigger player in the air. He's a high four-star player wrapped up in three-star physical numbers, but make no mistake about it - the kid is a ball player. He's got some Earl Thomas in him.

Player he reminds me of: Earl Thomas (Texas - 2007)

Current offers: Arizona, Kansas, North Texas and Texas (committed)

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 48

Highest ranking: 48 (1/12/11)

Debut ranking: 48 (1/13/11)

57. Trent Momon - (Wide receiver/Hempstead)

Momon is a very intriguing player because he's got a lot of physical tools to work with, whether it's on offense or defense. At 6-5, 190 pounds, Momon took some really positive strides forward as a player and every once in a while he'd flash some big-time potential, especially at wide receiver that really excites you. Although he's played on the varsity level since his freshman season, he's a guy that needs some time develop because he's not as technically advanced as some of his peers, but in time he has a chance to be a big, athletic target at receiver that can develop into a potential big-play weapon.

Player he reminds me of:Montre Webber(Texas - 2006)

Current offers: Houston and Texas A&M (committed)

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: NR

Highest ranking: 57 (current)

Debut ranking: 57 (2/13/11)

56. Gerald Gafford - (Athlete/Richardson Berkner)

This kid is one of the top gems in this state that people just aren't talking about, although to be fair, it's not like Gafford posted the kind of big numbers you'd expect from a big-time prospect. Still, this is a kid that plays quarterback, running back, wide receiver and returns kicks for his team and when he's been given opportunities, he's flashed some upside as a quality college all-purpose back/special teams return man. In fact, he might be a guy that should get a look at defensive back at the next level because he's got quick feet, solid size and his versatility on offense indicates he can probably handle the transition just fine. He's a better prospect than player at this point, but projection is the name of the game and this is a kid that could have a huge senior breakout season and emerge as a hot name.

Player he reminds me of: Jeremy Kerley (TCU - 2007)

Current offers: None

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 55

Highest ranking: 40 (3/30/10)

Debut ranking: 40 (3/30/10)

55. Michael Richardson - (Linebacker/DeSoto)

At 6-2, 228 pounds, Richardson is a little bit of a tweener at defensive end, but he's a plus-athlete that can rush the passer and can make plays up and down the line of scrimmage. His best position might be as an outside linebacker, but he's played so much with his hand on the ground for DeSoto that it's hard to tell how much aptitude he might have for a possible spin-back. If he's not a linebacker, then he's going to be a 4-3 weak-side linebacker and he has a chance to become a quality starting-level player. Although he's a plus-athlete, he's probably a 7.5 or an 8 across the board and I'm not sure if he has one piece of the puzzle that I would describe as elite. Like so many other young guys, he's likely going to need a redshirt season and some time to develop because he needs to learn how to use his hands and a few additional pass rush moves, but if you're only asking him to help out as a situational pass rusher early on, he could help out sooner than I'm projecting. He's just a ways away from being a full-time player at the collegiate level.

Player he reminds me of: Robert Killebrew (Texas - 2003)

Current offers: Baylor, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Texas Tech and Texas A&M (committed)

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 59

Highest ranking: 23 (8/26/10)

Debut ranking: NR (3/30/10)

54. Shakiel Randolph - (Defensive back/Waco Midway)

As far as downhill safeties are concerned, Randolph might be the best in the state. At 6-4, 190 pounds, the kid is a long, lean, but mean field roamer who is extremely active and makes a lot of plays. His biggest issue moving forward is that he's a much better player moving forward than he is moving backwards and while he has some cover ability, he's not the kind of quick-twitch, fluid hips guy you're looking for in the secondary. He certainly could be a good college safety, but his highest ceiling is almost certainly as a college linebacker and once he throws some weight on his frame, he's got a chance to be the best linebacker in the class because he locates and gets to the ball really, really well. Hell, I could potentially see him as a guy you can use as a pass rusher off the edge, but he's a long way from there. I really hope this kid is patient and understands that his body hasn't even started to truly develop like it will in a college weight program. He's a unique guy.

Player he reminds me of: Lee Jackson (Texas -1998)

Current offers: Baylor and Oklahoma State

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 42

Highest ranking: 25 (8/26/10)

Debut ranking: 34 (3/30/10)

53. Germain Ifedi - (Offensive lineman/Houston Westside)

There's a lot about Ifedi that needs work, but let's start with the standout positives. At 6-5, 300+ pounds, he's a legitimate big interior lineman that has some athletic ability. I don't know that he's a guy that's going to be pulling out in front on screen plays, but he's not a guy that's going to be an immobile player only capable of leaning on guys. His biggest issues at this point is that for all of his sheer mass, he still needs a lot of development in weight room and he needs to be careful that as he passes the 300-pound threshold that he doesn't put on so much weight that he's constantly battling that fight for his entire career. In the right system and guidance, this kid has a chance to be an elite-level college guard. Also, while the physical goods are there, he's not a dominant player at the high school level on a play-to-play basis and he's got some work to do in the consistency department. He's r-a-w. But, he's also 6-5, 300+ and possesses athletic ability.

Player he reminds me of: Roy Watts (Texas - 2006)

Current offers: Baylor, Colorado, Mississippi State, Missouri and Memphis

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: NR

Highest ranking: 53 (current)

Debut ranking: 63 (3/30/10)

52. Rashodrick Linwood - (Athlete/Linden-Kildare)

When coaches all over East Texas tell you that a kid might be the best pound-for-pound player in their area, you take notice. Linwood is a jack-of-all trades kind of guy that just makes a boatload of plays, whether it's as a runner, receiver, defender or as a return guy. As a player coming out of the backfield, Linwood extremely quick and has the ability to make guys fall down in tight quarters. Also, don't discount the idea that he could play corner at the next level because he's shown flashes on that side of the ball as well in his prep career. Outside of his 5-9, 175-pound size, the only true downside to Linwood is that he doesn't have truly upper-echelon speed, which is something you want to see from with his measurements. Still, this is a multi-faceted player who can do a little bit of everything for you and he's comes in a tough as nails east Texas package.

Player he reminds me of: Nick Sanders (TCU - 2005)

Current offers: None

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 66

Highest ranking: 37 (8/26/10)

Debut ranking: 38 (3/30/10)

51. LaDarius Anthony - (Running back/Kilgore)

People have asked me how Anthony could debut in the top 10 and fall into the three-star status in less a year and the answer is simple - I simply overvalued him in the initial rankings and that's not a huge surprise because offensive skill players always get too much love in the early rankings. The deal with Anthony is that he's a very good running back with a nice set of skills to work with. What he doesn't possess is elite-level quickness or speed that would make him a truly elite collegiate prospect, but those guys are pretty rare. What I really like about him is that there's not a lot of wasted steps with him. He's a classic North/South one-cut runner that has some pop out of his cuts that has made him a big-play performer for Kilgore. There's not a ton of flash here, but there is a ton of productivity and you know exactly what you're going to get out of him - a tough-nosed Kilgore kid that's not going to back down from anyone and will work as hard as he needs to. Anthony isn't top 10 good, but he's still damn good.

Player he reminds me of:Anthony Johnson (Texas - 2000)

Current offers: SMU, TCU and Baylor (committed)

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 57

Highest ranking: 6 (3/30/10)

Debut ranking: 6 (3/30/10)

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