March 22, 2011

Breaking down the LSR: 21-30

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.21-30 on the list:

30. Troy Green - (Athlete/Brenham)

Truth be told, I don't know that anyone truly knows just how good Green is because just about everyone believes that his best long-term position is at linebacker, but it's not currently a position that he's had a chance to focus on during his prep career. Still, those that know Green best swear that he's a natural on the defensive side of the ball and that whatever he looks like as an offensive player, just know that he's better on defense. That's what those in Brenham swear by. What we know is that at 6-1, 195 pounds, he has the athleticism and frame to grow into one hell of a nice little outside linebacker. Green is a very good, if not quite elite athlete, but there's no question that when he's been healthy, he's shown flashes of big-time playmaking ability as a player. As a running back (Green's featured position), Green is a handful for opposing defenses because of his size/athleticism combination. He's shown good vision, balance and instincts, although he might not quite have the pure burst and home run speed that would keep him at the position and maximize his optimal value. The feeling is that once his body fills out and he spends some time committed to the other side of the ball, he'll emerge as a sideline-to-sideline player with serious playmaking skills at the position.

Player he reminds me of: Dexter Pratt (LSU - 2009)

Current offers: Baylor, TCU and Texas A&M (committed)

Current LSR Rating: 5.8

Previous ranking: 40

Highest ranking: 10 (3/30/10)

Debut ranking: 10 (3/30/10)

29. Corey Thompson - (Athlete/Fort Bend Elkins)

When you look at the safety position, there's a lot about the 6-2, 193-pound Thompson to like. The size is an obvious plus, but Thompson's athleticism and ability to cover a lot of ground makes him one of the state's top safety prospects. While you wouldn't automatically call Thompson a violent player on the field, he's a willing tackler that isn't afraid to mix it up and he closes on the ball like a hawk at times. The biggest compliment I can give him deals with his range, as he seems to cover as much or more ground on the field right now than any safety prospect I've seen in Texas. The only question mark you might have with Thompson deals with his ability to cover man-to-man at the next level because he hasn't done a lot of it at the high school level, but, he's a kid that has posted a 4.2 short-shuttle time, a 36-inch vertical and he's tested extremely well in combine events in the last year, so we're talking about a top-shelf athlete with all of the athletic ability required to be a major impact at the collegiate level. Plus, the kid oozes intangibles.

Player he reminds me of: Ahmad Dixon (Baylor - 2010)

Current offers: Arkansas and Texas A&M

Current LSR Rating: 5.8

Previous ranking: 31

Highest ranking: 13 (3/30/10)

Debut ranking: 13 (3/30/10)

28. Tremund Moore - (Wide receiver/Brenham)

The best way to describe Moore is that at 6-0, 155-pound Moore is to call him lightening in a bottle. On a team full of explosive offensive players, especially at the wide receiver position, Moore might have been the most impressive of the bunch. As a vertical threat, Moore can flat out stretch the field and scare the daylights out of opposing defenses, which must be aware of his whereabouts at all times. He's also an exciting playmaker after the catch that can be a handful in the open field. Obviously, Moore is still in the developmental phase physically and he needs to add some strength to his frame to survive at the next level, but the kid is a legit playmaker, who probably would have put up ridiculous stats as a junior had he not shared the field with a team full of a very good athletes/players. He's a little bit of a sleeper and there's no question that his profile lags behind some others, but there's no questioning this kid's raw talent.

Player he reminds me of: Brandon Collins (Texas- 2007)

Current offers: Not sure

Current LSR Rating: 5.8

Previous ranking: 27

Highest ranking: 27 (1/12/11)

Debut ranking: 27 (1/13/11)

27. Edward Pope - (Safety/Carthage)

I have a ton of thoughts on Pope, the first of which is there probably isn't a better playmaking safety in the state than the 6-3, 175-pound Pope. Even after tearing an ACL last year, he returned as an impact player down the stretch for one of East Texas' top programs. If you're looking for a guy on the back end of your defense to rough up teams in run defense and scare the hell out of receivers, then Pope is your guy. From a physicality standpoint, he has the goods in a way that a guy like former big-time prospect Craig Loston had them. When he's headed downhill, he can create turnovers and that has a tremendous value. He's also a guy that has pretty good pass skills, but I don't know that he's a guy that you wanted matched up much with elite receivers because their quickness is going to give him some issues. He actually plays much bigger than his listed weight and it wouldn't completely surprise to see him eventually spin down to linebacker once he fills out his frame because his style of play is well-suited for it. Bottom line - when Pope is 100%, he's a game changer.

Player he reminds me of:Craig Loston (LSU - 2009)

Current offers: Baylor, Houston, Kansas, LSU, Missouri, Texas A&M and TCU (committed)

Current LSR Rating: 5.8

Previous ranking: 22

Highest ranking: 11 (3/30/10)

Debut ranking: 11 (3/30/10)

26. Hiva Lutui - (Offensive line/Euless Trinity)

In a year when there are more projectable, toolsy line prospects, there's something about the 6-3, 284-pound Lutui that you can't help but like and it's what separates him from a lot of his peers. With Lutui, there's not any flash, just a ton of get-after-it, butt-kicking power and nastiness that ends up leaving a ton of opponents on the ground. Although he's not as tall as you'd prefer an elite-level line prospect to be, he possesses outstanding quickness, plays with terrific pad level and most important, he might have the best lower-body/leg strength of any line prospect in the state. When gets under a player, his lower body just uproots whatever it wants. He's also athletic enough that he can be used on sweeps, screens and such without issue. Also, I also believe his ceiling as an athlete that hasn't been reached. Yes, he's 6-3, but I think he can play any of the three inside positions. He might be flying under the radar, but this kid is the real deal.

Player he reminds me of: Kasey Studdard (Texas - 2002)

Current offers: Not sure

Current LSR Rating: 5.8

Previous ranking: 52

Highest ranking: 26 (current)

Debut ranking: 48 (3/30/10)

25. Corey Coleman - (Athlete/Richardson Pearce)

Speed and playmaking ability. That's exactly what the 5-11, 180-pound Coleman brings to the table and it really doesn't matter where you play him because he's the kind of athlete that can do a little bit of everything. As an offensive player, he can create big plays out of the backfield or lined up split out. An excellent route runner that has shown a lot of versatility as a receiver, Coleman ranks as perhaps the top true vertical threat in the state this season and his speed is the kind of speed that keeps defensive backs forever thinking about the deep stuff. The same raw physical tools make him an obvious defensive back prospect as well and a guy that can probably play any position in the secondary.

Player he reminds me of: Ron Brooks (LSU- 2007)

Current offers: Baylor, Oklahoma State, Virginia and West Virginia

Current LSR Rating: 5.8

Previous ranking: 29

Highest ranking: 25 (3/30/10)

Debut ranking: 25 (3/30/10)

24. Kendall Sanders - (Athlete/Athens)

Pound for pound, you're not going to find many players in the state better than Sanders, who dominated on both sides of the ball last season in East Texas. As a defensive player, you can absolutely make the case that Sanders is the best corner prospect in the entire state. At 6-1, 175 pounds, Sanders is effortless in his backpedal and coverage abilities, but his ball skills and physical style of play make him potentially a special player on that side of the ball. Whether he's running sideline to sideline to make a hit or making a leaping, off-balance interception, he's a guy that can do it all. Sanders is also a talented threat on the offensive end, where his combination of size and skill make him a big-time offensive threat. Still, he's damn near the perfect defensive back prospect and that's where I think he projects the best, but the kid can be a Sunday guy on either side of the ball.

Player he reminds me of: Dez Bryant (Oklahoma State -2007)

Current offers: Arkansas, Baylor, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, TCU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State (committed)

Current LSR Rating: 5.8

Previous ranking: 28

Highest ranking: 24 (current)

Debut ranking: 28 (1/13/11)

23. John Michael McGee - (Offensive tackle/Texas High)

JMM has been a guy that has been a known commodity for several years now because of his work at both the Texas and Oklahoma summer camps, but his play on the field with pads on is superior to anything that he does in shorts and a t-shirt. A 6-4, 255 pounds, the only knock on the kid is that he doesn't have the perfect frame for a tackle (ie… you'd like him to be two inches taller), but from an ability standpoint, there's not much on a football field that he can't do on the line. He's an outstanding run blocker, despite his current lack of mass because he plays with great pad level and leverage, while adding a nasty little mean streak in there as well. He also has terrific feet, which allow him to excel in a variety of ways. In the running game, it allows him to get to have success at second and third levels, but in the passing game he has the natural quickness to handle edge rushers. He'll need a few years to develop physically, but he's a guy that can probably play any of the five spots on the line and once he his ceiling as an athlete, he has a chance to be an elite-level starter.

Player he reminds me of: Trey Hopkins(Texas - 2010)

Current offers: Arkansas, Baylor, Kansas, Missouri, Michigan, Oklahoma, Stanford, TCU, Texas Tech and Vanderbilt

Current LSR Rating: 5.8

Previous ranking: 23

Highest ranking: 14 (8/26/10)

Debut ranking: 52 (3/30/10)

22. Jeremiah Tshimanga - (Linebacker/Richland Hills)

At 6-3, 225 pounds, Tshimanga might be the rawest of all the top linebackers in the state, but he might also possess the most upside because the young man hasn't even started to scratch the surface of how good he can be in a sport that he's still learning. A terrific athlete with sideline to sideline ability, Tshimanga gets by mostly on his physical ability at this point, but that's more than enough for him to be a playmaking factor at the high school level where his sheer combination of mass/athleticism allows him to make up for the technical aspect of his game that is lacking. He's going to need some time to develop a little, but he projects as a possible impact college player with the kind of physical tools that the NFL might one day covet. In an era where tweener linebackers rule the day, Tshimanga is no such thing.

Player he reminds me of: Garnet Smith (Texas - 2002)

Current offers: Arkansas, Arizona, Baylor, Michigan, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech

Current LSR Rating: 5.8

Previous ranking: 26

Highest ranking: 22 (current)

Debut ranking: 45 (8/27/10)

21. Peter Jinkens - (Linebacker/Dallas Skyline)

As far as pure athleticism and playmaking ability, there's probably not a better linebacker in the state than the 6-1, 210-pound Jinkens. To give you an idea of how explosive Jinkens is on the field, he's almost too good of a threat at running back to not have the field because his combination of skill and size make him a true game-breaking threat at the position. Hence, the 10.0+ yards per carry last season at running back, which is pretty big-time stuff when you consider that Skyline sees its share of tough competition as one of Class 5A's power programs. As a linebacker, those same offensive skills allow him to cover more ground at a faster pace than any linebacker prospect in the state. What he lacks right now on defense is strength and once he adds more muscle to his frame, he's going to finish as a defender in a much stronger way. The thing that you love to see and he shows is an absolute willingness to throw his body around in traffic. Jinkens is a little bit of a project, but he has star upside.

Player he reminds me of:DeMarco Cobbs (Texas - 2010)

Current offers: Baylor, Florida, Iowa, Kansas State, Michigan, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Texas (committed)

Current LSR Rating: 5.9

Previous ranking: 19

Highest ranking: 11 (8/26/10)

Debut ranking: 30 (3/30/10)

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