The season has not even begun for many high school football players across the country. College programs are barely out of two-a-day practices. But from the SEC to the Pac 12, commitment lists for the class for the class of 2012 are filling up at a accelerated rate. Many of the top programs in the country are already putting the finishing touches on 2012 and looking forward to the class of 2013.
Robert Nkemdiche may be the best player in the country, regardless of class.
As college coaches start to turn their attention to the next crop, so has 247Sports. Prior to the release of the Future247, we take a look at the eight players in the junior class that have already separated themselves as five-star prospects in the class of 2013.
(listed in alphabetical order)
Vitals: Inside linebacker, LaGrange (Ga.) Troup County, 6-1/230
Why he is a five-star: Since his freshman season, Foster has been considered one of the top linebackers in the state of Georgia regardless of class. One of the hardest hitting players in the country, Foster has an amazing nose for the football and accelerates through contact. Instinctually, Foster is one of the top linebackers we’ve seen in several years.
Recruitment: An early commitment to Alabama, Foster is off the market but that won’t slow down opposing coaches. In particular expect Georgia to give chase throughout the next year and a half as likely the one school that could give Alabama any reason for concern.
Derrick Henry has rushed for over 5,000 yards in his first two seasons.
Vitals: Running Back/Athlete, Yulee (Fla.) High School, 6-3/232
Why he is a five-star: Simply put, Derrick Henry is one of the best athletes in the country right now regardless of class. At 6-3, 232 pounds, he was laser-timed at 4.45 seconds in the 40, jumped a 38 inch vertical and had a 4.27 shuttle at Nike’s The Opening. Oh yeah, and Henry has also rushed for over 5,000 yards in his first two seasons of varsity football. On the next level, Henry could project at running back, tight end, defensive end or linebacker.
Recruitment: Henry ended his recruitment early with a July commitment to Georgia but he will have plenty to think about between that commitment and signing day. Despite the inevitable interest and communication from other national programs, Henry is currently very solid in his commitment to the Bulldogs and has already built strong relationships with some fellow commitments.
Vitals: Outside linebacker, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle, 6-2/215
Why he’s a five-star: Hailing from one of the most storied high school programs in the country, Hutchings is a high-effort, high-intensity linebacker that flies around the football field. A hard-hitter at the point of attack who also excels on offense on the high school level, Hutchings shows great instincts and is a perfect fit for the weakside linebacker role.
Recruitment: Hutchings already holds offers from most of the Pac-10 as well as several national programs. He insists that he is currently open but the in-state programs look to have the early leg up. He grew up a big fan of the USC program but California is also very much in the picture as is UCLA. Hutchings’ fellow linebacker at De La Salle, Michael Barton is currently a Cal commit in the 2012 class.
Jalin Marshall led his team to a 10-1 record as a sophomore quarterback.
Vitals: Athlete/Quarterback, Middletown (Ohio) High School, 6-0/190
Why he’s a five-star: Though he plays quarterback in high school, we feel Marshall projects best to wide receiver or defensive back on the next level and his 1,400-plus yards rushing from under center is a good indication of why. One of the most exciting players in the class of 2013 with the ball in his hands, Marshall is incredibly creative and has the versatility to hurt opponents in numerous ways.
Recruitment: Currently, Marshall lists Notre Dame and Ohio State as his top two programs but has offers from around the country and his list is growing. Ohio State has always been a favorite for Marshall but the Irish have found themselves firmly in the mix in his recruitment.
Vitals: Strongside defensive end, Loganville (Ga.) Grayson, 6-4/265
Jaylon Smith rushed for over 200 yards in his first game of 2011.
Why he’s a five-star: There are many that believe that Robert Nkemdiche may be the best prospect in the country this year, regardless of class. Some of those sentiments rest within the 247sports staff. Nkemdiche is a physical specimen. He weighs 265-plus with hardly any fat on him, has the ability to play off the edge, or move inside and play defensive tackle. He even lines up at running back in his high school’s run-heavy offense. Nkemdiche has all the makings of one of the top prospects we’ve seen in a long time.
Recruitment: Though he is not close to making a decision, Alabama is the clear favorite early in the process. Ole Miss made a play for his signature by signing his older brother, Denzel Nkemdiche as a late addition to its 2011 class and Georgia will give chase along with much of the rest of the country.
Vitals: Outside linebacker, Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers, 6-3/215
Why he’s a five-star: On the hoof, Smith has the kind of frame you want a young outside linebacker to have, he has length and plenty of room for added weight. Smith is also a terrific athlete that sheds blocks with ease, plays with great leverage and is a great striker. Though he likely projects at outside linebacker or possibly even defensive end, Smith also plays running back in high school. In his first game of 2011, Smith rushed for 222 yards three touchdowns.
Recruitment: Smith currently holds offers from the likes of Indiana, Tennessee, Purdue, Mississippi State and Ohio State. Although Smith won’t publicly admit it, it’s hard to believe that Ohio State doesn’t have the edge in his recruitment. Smith’s brother, Rod is a redshirt freshman running back for the Buckeyes.
Vitals: Offensive tackle, Lake City (Fla.) Columbia, 6-6/265
Why he’s a five-star: Unlike most offensive linemen on the high school level, Tunsil is a well-put-together prospect with very little bad weight, long arms and an ideal frame, Already Tunsil has dominated players much older than him both in pads on Friday nights and in camp settings as well. Tunsil is a prototypical left tackle prospect that has all the tools to be a dominating pass protector.
Recruitment: Tunsil named Florida State as his leader following a recent visit to Tallahassee, noting among other factors his draw to the tough coaching style of Rick Trickett. However, Tunsil has a coast-to-coast offer list from the likes of USC, Notre Dame and many more.
Vitals: Running back, Beaverton (Oreg.) Aloha, 6-0/207
Why he’s a five-star: Tyner is a north-south runner with terrific size and physicality. He can run through defenders or he can run past him. In fact, Tyner’s exploits on the track rival his football ability as he sports a 10.43 100 meter best, a state record. On the football field, Tyner rushed for over 1,800 yards and helped lead his Aloha program to a state championship.
Recruitment: With offers coming in from all over, Tyner will go through the process but likely ends up in state at either Oregon or Oregon State. The Ducks have a leg up due to their renowned track program and the likelihood of Tyner playing both sports on the next level.