Published February 17, 2011 - 11:18am
NEW: Discuss this topic in the Google+ community for SEC fans.
Today we’re going to look at the top rated OL in the 2007 issue of “The Forrest Davis Football Recruiting Annual”. We’ll look at the players that were chosen first, second and third team All-South. There were a total of fifteen players on the first three teams, and we’ll try and hit each one briefly.
At First Team All-South, the five offensive linemen were; James Wilson of St. Augustine, Florida, Lee Ziemba of Rogers, Arkansas, Ryan Pugh of Hoover, Alabama, Chris Little, from Jeffersonville, Georgia, and Trinton Sturdivant of Wadesboro, North Carolina.
Of this group, Lee Ziemba and Ryan Pugh were anchors on the offensive line of Auburn’s national championship team.
After a rocky start at Florida, and thoughts of transferring, James Wilson has come into his own as a lineman for the Gators.
Like Cyrus Kouandjio this year, Chris Little was the top rated OL recruit in the country, and the similarities don’t end there. He woke up on signing day and committed to Notre Dame, only to get cold feet and sign with Georgia hours later. His signing was one of the most celebrated of the Mark Richt era. That’s where the celebrations ended. Little was plagued with injuries while at Georgia, and transferred to Southern University after his sophomore season. He has since been declared academically ineligible at Southern.
Trinton Sturdivant was a Freshman All-American for Georgia, starting all 13 games as a true freshman. He had reconstructive surgery on his left knee before the 2008 season, causing him to miss the entire season, and reinjured it in the first game of 2009. His claim to fame up until now is his infamous “Gator Stomp” dance he did in front of the Florida bench, after Mark Richt had sent the entire Georgia team into the end zone to celebrate a touchdown against Florida.
At Second Team All-South, the five offensive linemen were; Antwane Greenlee of Columbus, Georgia, D’Montrell Wilson of Rayville, Louisiana, Kevin Bryant of Hallandale, Florida, Tanner Strickland of Nashville, Georgia, and Quintin Richardson of Columbia, South Carolina.
Antwane Greenlee signed with Florida State, and has been hampered by knee injuries. He was expected to compete for a starting position with FSU before an arthroscopic surgery just before the season last year. FSU signed 29 players on NSD, and it’s widely expected that Greenlee will either transfer or be given a medical redshirt to free up a scholarship.
The only thing that I could find on D’Montrell Wilson was that he signed with LSU. I could find nothing on him after his signing, which would indicate to me he was a total bust. If any LSU reader has more information on him, please feel free to leave a comment.
Kevin Bryant signed with North Carolina and was redshirted in 2007 because of a wrist injury. He reinjured the wrist halfway through the 2008 season. Bryant was released from the team in August 2009 after failing to report to the first six games of fall practice.
Tanner Strickland signed with Georgia. After a redshirt year, he was a reserve OL and special teams player in his redshirt freshman year. He missed the 2009 season with a shoulder injury, and played in all thirteen games for Georgia in 2010, starting in three of them.
Quinton Richardson signed with South Carolina. He played some for the Gamecocks in 2009, starting in five games. His status for the 2010 season was unclear because of shoulder injury. However, he was suspended from the team prior to the 2010 for undisclosed reasons, and transferred to Hampton.
At Third Team All-South, the five offensive linemen were; Michael Pouncey of Lakeland, Florida, Thomas Edenfield of Jacksonville, Florida, Nick Claytor of Gainesville, Georgia, Derek Sherrod of Caledonia, Mississippi, and Maurkice Pouncey of Lakeland, Florida.
Mike Pouncey has been a star player for the Gators since signing with Florida out of high school. He started on the offensive line as a true freshman, but played some defense, as well. He is considered one of the better OL available for the 2011 NFL draft. Mike’s twin brother Maurkice was also a star player for the Gators, entering the NFL draft after his junior season, and was the starting center for the AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers as a rookie. Some say his injury in the AFC Championship game, and loss for the Super Bowl, was a key to the Green Bay Packers Super Bowl victory.
Nick Claytor signed with Georgia Tech and has been a good player for them, though not great. We’ll see how good he is, as he has decided to enter the 2011 NFL draft as a junior.
Thomas Edenfield went the JUCO route, and then signed with Southern Miss as a junior. He is currently the starting right tackle for the Golden eagles.
Derek Sherrod has been a star ofr the Mississippi State Bulldogs after signing with them out of high school. He broke into the starting lineup as a true freshman and has been an anchor on the line ever since. Sherrod has gotten a lot of press and could be the top offensive tackle taken in the draft.
Of these top 15 OL recruits, only six of them became the star players that was predicted of them; Lee Ziemba, Ryan Pugh, Michael Pouncey, Maurkice Pouncey, Derek Sherrod and James Wilson.
Previous articles in this series: