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February 4, 2009
Rivals.com recruiting analyst Barry Every breaks down five freshmen the 2009 class that were passed over by some of the bigger programs but should have an impact at the next level.
Five Super Sleepers
OLB Michael Clay, 5.6 rating, San Jose (Calif.) Bellarmine Prep (Oregon commit)
His great overall performance at the Palo Alto Nike Camp this summer earned him MVP honors at linebacker. Clay may lack ideal size for the position, but he has above-average speed and an affinity for contact along with a willingness to listen and learn. He also helped lead his team to the West Catholic League Championship and a 12-1 record with 107 tackles, 10 pass breakups and four sacks. Look for Clay to initially make an impact on special teams for the Ducks and then work his way into the two-deep chart this fall.
OT Denzelle Good, 5.6 rating, Gaffney (S.C.) High (NC State)
This mammoth offensive lineman helped lead his team to the second round of the playoffs before succumbing to eventual state runner-up Sumter (S.C.), 34-31. His stellar senior campaign earned him a selection to the 72nd annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, where he helped his team overcome a first-half deficit and claim victory over the Tar Heel State. He has the body to play right offensive tackle or either guard position at the next level. Good is very light on his feet for a big guy and should excel in pass protection for the Wolfpack. Most lineman redshirt as freshman, but Good has the size and smarts to compete right away.
ILB Joel Kight, 5.6 rating, Lithonia (Ga.) M.L. King (Ole Miss)
A two-way starter in high school, this undersized Tasmanian devil will remind many of current Georgia linebacker Rennie Curran. Kight finished the season with 114 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, three sacks and one interception. His ability to cover backs running routes earned him linebacker MVP honors at the Tuscaloosa Nike Camp. It has been my experience that most high school stars that start both ways only get better when they concentrate on one position. Kight may not be the biggest 'backer, but he has enough speed and toughness to either sidestep or bounce off potential blockers. He should be a terror on special teams as a freshman while earning time on the defensive side of the ball at Ole Miss.
WR Chris Omigie 5.6 rating, Arlington (Texas) Lamar (Kansas)
Omigie had a tremendous performance at the Texas State 7-on-7 Championship before going down with a ankle injury. He has average speed, but he uses his large frame to create space and he catches everything with his long outstretched arms. During the season he caught 55 passes (65 percent of his team's total) for 937 yards and nine touchdowns. He should be a real threat anytime the Jayhawks are in the red zone or in a third-and-long situation. I expect him also to become a very good run blocker because of his size and ability to use his hands, which should create an opportunity for early playing time.
OG John Sullen, 5.6 rating, Auburn (Ala.) High (Auburn)
This huge offensive lineman may lack good overall speed, but he makes up for it with sheer determination, toughness and football smarts. He will also excel in run blocking, using his size and frame to overpower smaller interior defensive lineman. Sullen had a very good performance at the Tuscaloosa Nike Camp and then helped lead his team to an undefeated regular season. His excellent work ethic did not go unnoticed as he earned a starting nod in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic. Look for him to get physically stronger and quicker once he arrives on campus. He has the smarts to quickly acclimate to college life and learn the new Auburn offensive playbook, so look for him to work his way into the two-deep chart as a freshman.
OTHERS CONSIDERED: WR Kris Lott, Plano (Texas) Plano; TE Austin Tate, Harrison (Ark.) Harrison; OT Jordan Mills, Napoleonville (La.) Assumption; DT Ty Phillips, East St. Louis (Ill.) East St. Louis; WR Wayne Times, Miami Northwestern.