Published March 8, 2011 - 7:24am
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With the 2011 class out of the way, it’s already time to take a look at the next crop of high school talent that will force many grown men to become enthralled with 17-year-old kids.
Most of the players we watch every Saturday in the fall come from our own backyards. And since most of the talent in the SEC is homegrown, we’re taking a look at the top 100 southeastern prospects in the 2012 class. We’ve already taken a look at the guys from Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Mississippi.
In this edition, take a look at some of the elite guys in Alabama and Louisiana, two states that are normally full of great high school football talent.
In a state where the college football rivalries run deeper than the roots at Toomer’s Corner, the in-state talent might run just a bit deeper. Year after year, Alabama is a state filled with elite football talent, and here’s a look at a few of the best prospects.
Kwon Alexander headlines a great group of prospects from Oxford, AL. He’s not going to be the biggest guy at linebacker, but he’s one of the best. Last year, he averaged over 16 tackles per game, and totaled nearly 150 total tackles. He’s quick, and he’s not going to miss a guy in the open field.
A recent Florida State commitment, Chris Casher is a jumbo athlete who could make an impact at a number of positions at the next level – too bad he’ll be doing it in the ACC.
Safety prospect Trae Elston is a teammate of Kwon Alexander in Oxford, AL. At this point, Clemson is the leader for Elston, but SEC powers Auburn and LSU aren’t far behind the Tigers.
Big Caleb Peterson is an offensive lineman from Auburn, AL. It’s likely going to be a tight battle between the two in-state rivals for his services.
Reggie Ragland has been committed to Alabama since last year, and Nick Saban doesn’t take commitments that early from guys he’s not sold on. He looks more like a defensive end than anything else, but the 6-4/250lb outside linebacker is ideal for Nick Saban’s 3-4 defensive unit.
High school quarterback Justin Thomas most likely won’t be lining up under center at Alabama, where he’s been committed since November. He’s only around 5-10, but he’ll be a real player for the Crimson Tide as a change-of-pace back or a slot receiver.
Jameis Winston has a real shot to end up as the best dual-threat quarterback in the 2012 class, and he might be the best prospect in Alabama altogether. His combination of great size, impressive speed, and a rocket for an arm gives him a chance to do unprecedented things on the football field, but he’s looking to make a difference on the diamond as well. He’s a standout in both sports, so he’ll most likely be a dual-sport kid at the next level.
It’s going to be tough to find a kid with the combination of size, speed, and athleticism that T.J. Yeldon has. Coming from way down south in Daphne, Alabama, he was an integral part of the Alabama 6A state championship team last year, running for over 1100 yards and scoring 18 touchdowns.
Normally, Louisiana is home to some of the most talented football prospects in the nation, but that isn’t exactly the case this year. Sure, there are some big names with great abilities within the state lines, but the talent doesn’t seem as deep as in previous years. Nonetheless, here’s a quick look at some of the headliners in the Pelican State.
Tennessee is the only SEC school to extend an offer to DT Gerron Borne so far, but the big guy from Reserve, LA is already receiving a lot of attention from all over the country.
With offers from all the SEC powerhouses, safety Landon Collins has his pick of where to play college football. The hard-hitting kid has already visited LSU at least four times, so it’s looking like he’ll land in Baton Rouge when it’s all said and done.
Torshiro Davis recently chose LSU over offers from schools like Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. With 15 sacks last season, he’s going to be a big addition to the linebacker group at LSU.
Derek Edinburgh isn’t really a great football prospect at this point, but that’s because he’s only been playing the sport for a couple of years. Edinburgh’s dream was always to play basketball at LSU and then progress to the NBA. But his 6-8/320lb frame makes him an ideal fit to play tackle on the offensive line. Once he gets some good experience and learns the game, look out for this guy.
While he looks more like a linebacker than a defensive end, LSU commitment Ronnie Feist can be a great compliment to bigger defensive linemen already on the Tiger’s roster. It’ll take a while for him to be an every-down type of player, but he can already use his speed to get to the backfield in a hurry.
Dillon Gordon’s first scholarship offer was the one he’d been waiting on. His childhood dream was to play for LSU, and that’s what the big, gifted tight end will be doing for the next few years.
Because he was a very early commitment to LSU, Trey Granier might not have the buzz around his recruitment that a kid of his caliber deserves. He comes from Thibodaux High School, a school that routinely produces great football talent, and has the look of a great linebacker.
James McFarland has good speed for such a big guy. Louisiana Tech and TCU have taken notice, but it shouldn’t be long before bigger schools come calling.
A commitment to Texas A&M, Darion Monroe is a guy with the speed and quickness to be dangerous in the open field.
At 5-7/165, Daniel Taylor isn’t going to be the biggest guy on the field, but good luck trying to catch him. Tennessee and Auburn have offered him a chance to play football, and there will be plenty more.
Auburn, Alabama, and LSU are usually around the top of the SEC standings, and the in-state talent signing with those schools is a big reason for that. Fans of those schools might want to get ready to see a lot of homemade talent on Saturdays down in the south.