Commentary

Personnel points: Claiborne impresses

Morris Claiborne and Harrison Smith headline players who impressed Mel

Originally Published: September 20, 2011
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider

Each week, Mel Kiper gives updates on the another group of prospects that have caught his eye, some well-known, others well under the radar.

Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU Tigers

During his high school career, Claiborne managed to earn a letter in football, basketball, baseball and track. When the Shreveport, La., native arrived in Baton Rouge, the coaching staff tried Claiborne at wide receiver but soon moved him to the secondary. After an uneventful freshman year, he began to come into his own in the summer of 2010.

Playing opposite Patrick Peterson that season, Claiborne proceeded to lead the team with five interceptions. In LSU's win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs last Thursday, Claiborne displayed all the attributes necessary to become a very good starter in the pros. He possesses good size (6-foot, 185 pounds) and very good overall athletic ability. He's smooth transitioning from his back pedal to the turn and go.

I like his instincts and ball skills, and he possesses top recovery speed. In what is a very talented group of junior cornerbacks, Claiborne now ranks second on my board and is closing quickly on the top spot. He's also proven to be a decent kickoff returner this season (23.0 yard average).


Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame Fighting Irish


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Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst