February 19, 2011

Breaking down the LSR: 81-90

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 take a look at the players that take up the No.81-90 slots in the order:

90. Johnathon Johnson - (Athlete/Friendswood)

If you like your receivers big, then Johnson is not your guy. If you like your backs to be big, then Johnson is not your guy. However, if you're one of these offenses that simply want players that came make plays, regardless of shape or size, then you might want to take a look at the multi-talented Johnson. At a listed 5-9, 175 pounds, Johnson has all of the limitations you'd expect from a kid that probably hasn't met a weight room that he'd call a friend, but yet this is a kid that has a combination of quickness/shiftiness that makes him an all-purpose threat with the ball in his hands. My only question for Johnson is whether he has the speed to justify his top 100 status. I love the idea of him as a return man on special teams that can evolve into a specialty package player on offense, but he sometimes the oomph I'd like to see from him.

Player he reminds me of: Ronnell Sims (SMU - 2011)

Current offers: Texas Tech

Current LSR Rating: 5.6

Previous ranking: 44

Highest ranking: 44 (1/13/11)

Debut ranking: 44 (1/13/11)

89. Jeremiah Briscoe - (Quarterback/Houston Stratford)

It's now or never this spring/fall as it relates to emerging as a top-shelf quarterback prospect that major colleges will be excited about. Although he often drew Connor Wood comparisons when he first popped up on the scene, he hasn't quiet emerged as that type of prospect/player. That being said, he had a solid junior season and there's no question that he has some obvious physical tools to work with. At just a shade under 6-3, 191 pounds, Briscoe has can stand back in the pocket and spin the ball around the field. What he's not going to do a lot of is improvisation with his feet. He's not a bad athlete, but he is also not a plus-athlete, which means that he will carry some limitations with him to the next level. Still, this is a kid that could develop into a starting quarterback for someone down the road.

Player he reminds me of: Nathan Dick (Arkansas - 2007)

Current offers: Baylor

Current LSR Rating: 5.6

Previous ranking: 55

Highest ranking: 41 (3/30/10)

Debut ranking: 41 (3/30/10)

88. Tyrone Taylor - (Defensive end/Galena Park)

If you want to start talking about players that might be slightly undervalued in the current rankings, a case can certainly be made for the 6-3, 210-pound Taylor. Although he's a classic tweener-type, there's no question that he can flat out play some football and a lot of what he does on the field right now is just him going out there and making plays. There doesn't seem to be a lot of refinement to his game, which certainly excited you when you consider his ceiling as a player. There's a lot of "bull in a china closet" with the kid, but he's a good athlete that develop into an edge-player in pass-rush situations. You absolutely have to love the fact that Taylor plays with a high motor doesn't stay blocked. The knock on Taylor is that he is a tweener without an elite physical tool. If he had an elite first-step or flat-out raw quickness, you might come up with a Von Miller-type upside on his projection, but I don't see that kind of "wow" athleticism. That's not to say he's not a good athlete because he most certainly is, but if you're going to be an undersized end/pass rusher, you better be really, really quick. If not, and the rest of the skill set is someone limited, then that player is going to be marginalized. I'm kind of on the fence with where I think Taylor sits on that curve. He's probably somewhere in the middle, which is why I have him in the bottom 50 and not the top 50.

Player he reminds me of: Dravannti Johnson (Texas - 2008)

Current offers: Texas A&M (committed)

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: NR

Highest ranking: 88 (current)

Debut ranking: 88 (2/13/11)

87. Kyle Fuller - (Offensive lineman/Wylie)

Speaking of players that I have ranked too low, the list might begin and end with the fast-rising Fuller. At 6-5, 265 pounds, Fuller is one of the state's top athletes among the offensive line position. Although his pass protection is a work in progress, Fuller has extremely quick feet and he moves extremely well for a big man In fact, you'll be hard-pressed to find a player with his size that does a better job of successfully finishing blocks at the second- or even third-levels if the defense. That skill allows him to thrive as a lead blocker in space in the screen game as well. His strength is still developing, but he's a physical player at the point of attack and has a willingness to throw himself around, even if the mass isn't completely there yet. He's a few years away, but this is a kid that could easily develop into an upper-level starting tackle.

Player he reminds me of:Cedric Ogbuehi (Texas A&M - 2010)

Current offers: Arizona, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Texas Tech and Wake Forest

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: NR

Highest ranking: 87 (current)

Debut ranking: 87 (2/13/11)

86. Will Hines - (Defensive End/Waco High)

The book on Hines reads like this: solid athlete with solid size(5-11, 180) and he does a lot of solid things on the field, but I'm not sure that in the games that I ever watched Hines play, he ever jumped out as a big-time, can't-miss player. One of the things you definitely like is that he has some solid ball skills. On the other hand, for a kid that is listed in the database at 6-1, 190 pounds, there are times when he doesn't look like he has much interest in tackling. There's just a lack of urgency in his game that I think he has to improve. For instance, you just can't be a guy that wide receivers can block and he's that kind of guy right now. The physical tools are there, as are flashes of potential, but there's a lot of development that still needs to take place.

Player he reminds me of: Adrian White (Texas - 2010)

Current offers: Baylor and Oklahoma State

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: NR

Highest ranking: 86 (current)

Debut ranking: 86 (2/13/11)

85. Michael Wilson - (Offensive lineman/Aledo)

Wilson is an interesting guy for me because I've had different feelings about him each time I've seen him. There was moment during his junior season when I watched him in person and wondered if he was really a top-flight division I prospect and there was another time when his upside as a player shined through a little more the second time around. At 6-6, 265 pounds, Wilson has a big ol' frame that hasn't even started to really fill out, so there's definitely a higher ceiling for him beyond high school. His biggest limitation is that he has solid footwork and quickness, but probably not the type of skill that will allow him to stay on the outside at tackle in college. Wilson is a good player right now, but much of his story won't be told until we find out what kind of commitment he's going to make in the weight room. There are times when I've watched him and can't quite figure out why he doesn't dominate his level of competition a little more. I'd love to see a little more edge.

Player he reminds me of: Luke Poehlmann (Texas - 2008)

Current offers: Kansas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 79

Highest ranking: 62 (3/30/10)

Debut ranking: 62 (3/30/10)

84. Quan West - (Willis/Athlete)

There are a lot of top-flight wide receivers available in the state of Texas this year, which might explain why West is flying so low under the radar, but when I watch his film, it's hard to ignore the fact that this is a 6-5, 200-pound athlete with plus-ball skills and receiving ability. Whether he's used on the outside or across the middle of the field, West has a thirst for the football when it's in the air and he's going to go get it. The only thing missing from his game that you'd love to see is that extra gear that would allow him to separate a little more in the open field, but that doesn't mean he can't generate the big play, it just means he's not above-average in the speed department. As much as I like him on offense, I'm not sure I don't love him a little as a defensive end prospect. He's a much more physical player that you'd guess at this stage of his development, but he competes hard and brings some explosive ability when he hits the quarterback. People are sleeping on this kid.

Player he reminds me of: Billy Chavis (Texas A&M - 2007)

Current offers: Tulsa

Current LSR Rating: 5.6

Previous ranking: 98

Highest ranking: 75 (8/26/10)

Debut ranking: 75 (8/27/10)

83. Greg Brantley - (Defensive end/Carthage)

There aren't many linemen in the state that flat out pass the eyeball test as much as the 6-7, 305-pound Brantley, who starred at left tackle last season for one Class 3A's top teams. Although it's not out of the realm of possibilities that he could play right tackle for some schools, his best bet down the road is as an interior guy because he probably doesn't have the feet to hold up against elite pass rushers, although he moves surprisingly well along the perimeter in pass protection for a kid moves that is another inch and 10 pounds away from officially being declared a man-mountain. I certainly don't want to completely discount the chance that he could develop into a tackle because he shows flashes of being able to play tackle, but I worry that he's not quite as flexible and doesn't quite have the knee-bend to support a full-time outside position. Perhaps the important thing is that he does have an idea about what he wants to do in pass protection, but I'm going to need to see him against elite defenders before I can completely sign off on that idea. His upper-body strength is still developing, but he does a good job of maintaining proper pad level/balance, and there are times when he gets to the second level to finish a block and you can see his upside on full display. Perhaps he's a few years away from, but if he can get in the right weight program, this is a kid that has a Sunday upside inside of him. I'm telling you, it's going to be about the want-to in the weight room for this kid because the raw tools are there.

Player he reminds me of: Trent Williams (Oklahoma - 2006)

Current offers: Houston

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 81

Highest ranking: 81 (1/12/11)

Debut ranking: 81 (1/13/11)

82. Alexander Lyons - (Linebacker/DeSoto)

Lyons is an interesting linebacker prospect for a lot of reasons, the least of which is not that he arrives in the form of a 6-0, 200-pound prospect. Without a special set of physical tools to work with, there's a lot about Lyons to like once you get past the fact that he's an undersized guy. There's no question that for an interior linebacker, Lyons moves well laterally and can absolutely cover a lot of ground very quickly once he gets his shoulders squared and can get a head of steam going. Once he arrives at the football, he has the ability to separate players from the football. However, there are times when his play recognition is a little slow, along with his ability to change direction. I'm also not completely sure how comfortable he is in pass coverage because if he's going to succeed at the next level with his size, he's going to need to be a versatile player that can cover the entire field. That road is still a work in progress, but he's a plus-athlete that has been a very good player for one of the Metroplex's top programs since his sophomore year.

Player he reminds me of: Justin Isadore (TCU - 2009)

Current offers: None

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 70

Highest ranking: 32 (3/30/10)

Debut ranking: 32 (3/30/10)

81. Tim Hines - (Offensive lineman/Bryan)

The first thing that jumped out about Hines for me on film is that he's a little bit of a brawler in pads. At 6-3, 305 pounds, Hines doesn't have the quickest feet and isn't an elite athlete, but will flat out knock someone on their ass on the football field, which is kind of what you're looking for in an offensive lineman. Much better suited to play guard than tackle, Hines is a plus-player in the running game, although like a lot of big kids with long arms, the upper body strength is still developing. Although he doesn't always get a great jump off the ball, he does a good job of keeping good pad level and when he gets his hands on opposing defenders, he usually beats his opponent. Although he's not a guy I would describe as a plus-athlete at the offensive line position, he moves fairly well for a big guy and there are times when he does an effective job on counters and other runs that call for him to move in space and get to the second level. His ability to control his conditioning will be a make or break part of his development.

Player he reminds me of:Aundre McGaskey (Texas - 2007)

Current offers: None

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: NR

Highest ranking: 91 (current)

Debut ranking: 91 (2/13/11)

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