NCF On The Trail: Cyrus Kouandjio

Video: Comparing Big Cam to Kouandjio

March, 6, 2014
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National recruiting analyst Craig Haubert explains the ways in which Alabama offensive tackle signee Cameron Robinson resembles projected NFL first-round pick Cyrus Kouandjio. Both were ranked No. 3 overall coming out of high school.
On the eve of national signing day, it's always fun to go back and examine where the top players in the SEC from this past season were ranked coming out of high school.

Of the 23 position players who made the 2013 ESPN.com All-SEC team, seven were three-star prospects, according to the ESPN Recruiting Nation rankings. The only five-star prospects were Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio and South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

[+] EnlargeJadeveon Clowney
Beth Hall/USA TODAY SportsJadeveon Clowney was one of only two five-star recruits on the 2013 ESPN.com All-SEC team.
Even more telling, only eight of the 23 players were ranked among the top 10 players at their respective positions.

Of note, Vanderbilt's record-setting Jordan Matthews was ranked as the No. 153 receiver, Mississippi State's Gabe Jackson was the No. 125 offensive tackle, Arkansas' Travis Swanson was the No. 91 offensive guard, Missouri's Michael Sam was the No. 75 defensive end and LSU's Lamin Barrow was the No. 82 outside linebacker.

Here's a closer look:

OFFENSE

  • QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M: Three stars, No. 39 QB, Class of 2011. Grade: 78.
  • RB Tre Mason, Auburn: Four stars, No. 21 RB, Class of 2011. Grade: 79.
  • RB T.J. Yeldon, Alabama: Four stars, No. 55 overall prospect, No. 4 RB, Class of 2012. Grade: 81.
  • WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M: Three stars, No. 52 WR, Class of 2011. Grade: 79.
  • WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt: Three stars, No. 153 WR, Class of 2010. Grade: 74.
  • AP Odell Beckham Jr., LSU: Three stars, No. 62 athlete, Class of 2011. Grade: 78.
  • TE Arthur Lynch, Georgia: No. 7 TE, Class of 2009. Grade: 79.
  • OL Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State: No. 125 OT, Class of 2009. Grade: 74.
  • OL Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama: Five stars, No. 3 overall prospect, No. 1 OT, Class of 2011. Grade: 87.
  • OL Jake Matthews, Texas A&M: Four stars, No. 90 overall prospect. No. 7 OT, Class of 2010. Grade: 81.
  • OL Greg Robinson, Auburn: Four stars, No. 10 OG, Class of 2011. Grade: 80.
  • C Travis Swanson, Arkansas: No. 91 OG, Class of 2009. Grade: 76.
DEFENSE

  • DL Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina: Five stars, No. 1 overall prospect, No. 1 DE, Class of 2011. Grade: 95.
  • DL Dee Ford, Auburn: No. 35 DE, Class of 2009. Grade: 79.
  • DL Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina: Four stars, No. 124 overall prospect, No. 11 DT, Class of 2010. Grade: 81.
  • DL Michael Sam, Missouri: No. 75 DE, Class of 2009. Grade: 76.
  • LB Ramik Wilson, Georgia: Four stars, No. 11 ILB, Class of 2011. Grade: 79.
  • LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama: Four stars, No. 99 overall prospect, No. 7 OLB, Class of 2010. Grade: 81.
  • LB Lamin Barrow, LSU: No. 82 OLB, Class of 2009. Grade: 76.
  • DB Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama: Four stars, No. 19 overall prospect, No. 2 S, Class of 2011. Grade: 84.
  • DB E.J. Gaines, Missouri: Three stars, No. 57 CB, Class of 2010. Grade: 76.
  • DB: Kenny Ladler, Vanderbilt: Three stars, No. 43 S, Class of 2010. Grade: 78.
  • DB: Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss: Three stars, No. 78 athlete, Class of 2011. Grade: 77.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Louisiana, Minnesota, California. The University of Alabama has been willing to go wherever it needs to find its offensive linemen of the future.

On Tuesday, Nick Saban and the UA coaching staff got a bit of good news from the West Coast where junior college offensive tackle Dominick Jackson (San Mateo, Calif./College of San Mateo) flipped his verbal commitment from the UCLA Bruins to the Crimson Tide. The 6-foot-6, 310-pound prospect has the potential to be an instant-impact player for the Tide, which will likely have to replace two starting offensive linemen in 2014.

The potential for turnover no doubt aided in Jackson's decision. The Northern California native doesn't have to be an NFL general manager to look at Cyrus Kouandjio and see a top-10 pick in next year's draft, regardless of his underclassmen status. ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. already has the Tide's athletic starting left tackle for UA as his fourth-best prospect overall. Barring a surprise decision, the anchor position on the line will be wide open for Jackson to come in and compete at either in the spring or fall of next year when he enrolls.


WEST MONROE, La. -- There’s a hallway inside West Monroe High School where more than a dozen pictures hang, pictures of former West Monroe football players who have gone on to play at LSU. The list includes current NFL stars Bradie James and Andrew Whitworth, as well as Barkevious Mingo, the No. 6 pick in April’s NFL draft.

But it’s not the number of portraits hanging on the wall that’s astonishing, it’s that every one of them is wearing an LSU jersey. The school has always been a pipeline to LSU. Even the town itself, which is nearly four hours away from Baton Rouge, is chock full of Tigers fans.


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Alabama instant impact recruits 

June, 25, 2013
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In this week’s top 10 list, we look at which 2014 recruits have the best chance to make an early impact for Alabama. It’s a combination of UA commitments and realistic targets for the Crimson Tide. They’re ranked in order of likelihood to make the biggest impact in 2014.


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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- A lot had changed since Jordan Sims (Homewood, Ala./Homewood) last visited the University of Alabama. The in-state offensive lineman has since received a scholarship offer, and the Crimson Tide hired Mario Cristobal to be the new offensive line coach.


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#ThrowbackThursday -- Jan. 31 

January, 31, 2013
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Cyrus Kouandjio
Cal Sport Media via AP ImagesCyrus Kouandjio, a top-5 recruit in the 2011 class, committed to Alabama just days after parting ways with Auburn.
Fans never like to hear a recruit decommitted from their favorite team. It’s even worse when that commitment doesn’t even last a week.

That was the case in 2011, when Cyrus Kouandjio, the No. 3 player in the ESPN 150, pledged to Auburn on national TV but never faxed in his paperwork. Three days later, he split from the Tigers and joined rival Alabama. Fast forward to the 2012 season and Kouandjio was a key cog on a terrific offensive line that bulldozed its way to the BCS title earlier this month. Looks like Kouandjio made the right choice, even if Tiger fans never forgive him.

As part of #ThrowbackThursday, we’re asking fans for the biggest decommitments in their team’s history.

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