Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Top 2015 classes filled with defensive elite
By Craig Haubert
RecruitingNation released its first ever ESPN junior 300 on Tuesday, and a slew of already-committed prospects have put five programs out front early in the recruiting cycle. Here they are, in alphabetical order.
Deionte Thompson is one of three 2015 ESPN 300 members committed to Alabama.
Alabama Crimson Tide (Total 2015 commits: 3, ESPN 300 commits: 3) -- Nick Saban is working on potentially signing his third straight top class in 2014 and also has begun to lay the groundwork for a strong 2015 class, with three commitments in the 2015 ESPN 300. Of the early verbals, two are on defense: Mekhi Brown, a DE/OLB hybrid out of Columbus (Ga.) Carver who brings valued scheme versatility to Alabama’s base 3-4 defense, and West Orange (Texas) Stark safety Deionte Thompson, who brings a fast-closing element to which Alabama fans have grown accustomed.
Florida State Seminoles (2015 commits: 3, ESPN 300: 3) -- The Seminoles have fielded some stingy defenses the past two seasons, and coach Jimbo Fisher and new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt are trying to continue that trend with the 2015 class. FSU has three prospects in the ESPN 300, with safety Derwin James Jr. (Auburndale, Fla./Auburndale) leading the charge. James brings an impressive blend of size, range and athleticism to the back end and is joined up front by DE Marlon Gonzalez (Cape Coral, Fla./Island Coast), who can get after the QB. Speaking of QBs, the remaining member of the class is one, Jacksonville (Fla.) First Coast dual threat De'Andre Johnson
South Carolina Gamecocks (2015 commits: 3, ESPN 300: 3) -- The Ball Coach notched two straight 11-win seasons with the help of some strong defensive play, and the Gamecocks are working to remain tough on that side of the ball in the future. They have commitments from three ESPN 300 prospects, including two defensive ends who have big upside and athleticism in Arden Key (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King) and Shameik Blackshear (Bluffton, S.C./Bluffton).
2015 ESPN 300
College programs aren't the only ones scouting the Class of 2015. After hitting the camp circuits and watching hours and hours of tape, our scouts rank the 2015 prospects. ESPN Junior 300
Tennessee Volunteers (2015 commits: 5, ESPN 300: 4) -- Butch Jones is winning over Tennessee fans with a currently top-10 2014 recruiting class and is off to a good start in building the 2015 class. The Vols have five junior commitments, with four listed in the ESPN 300. They are beefing up the offensive front with guard Zach Stewart (Coalfield, Tenn./Coalfield) and tackle Jack Jones (Murfreesboro, Tenn./Oakland). High-motored defensive end Andrew Butcher (Alpharetta, Ga./Alpharetta) is also a great get on the defensive line out of Georgia.
Texas Longhorns (2015 commits: 7, ESPN 300: 7) -- Coach Mack Brown and the Longhorns are known for starting out fast on the recruiting trail, but they are on fire for 2015. Texas currently has seven prospects committed in the 2015 recruiting class, all of whom are in-state prospects in the ESPN 300. Offensive tackle Maea Teuhema (Keller, Texas/Keller) could develop into an early contributor up front. Sherman (Texas) High offensive guard Aaron Garza and DeSoto (Texas) High defensive tackle Bryce English should also help improve the future fronts in Austin.