February 27, 2011

Breaking down the LSR: 61-70

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.61-70 on the list:

70. Dennis Smith - (Running back/Wimberley)

My first impression of Smith is that I've seen a thousand guys like him over the years at smaller classifications, meaning that he's one hell of a high school player, but I wonder about his physical tools projecting at the next level. At 6-1, 212 pounds, Smith doesn't have big-time explosiveness or speed, but he's one of the better backs in the state between the tackles and inside the box. Smith possesses good vision, balance and strength as a runner, but he's not a guy that's going to run away from top-level defenses at the next level. The fact that he was off to a very strong start in the first half of his junior season before a broken ankle ended his season only clouds the picture of exactly who he is as a college prospect. In a way he reminds me of a former A&M running back Jorvorski Lane, but without the extra luggage around the mid-section and the raw power that came with it. He might be a 4.7 guy, but he's a 4.7 guy that plays the game with a lot of want-to.

Player he reminds me of: Jorvorski Lane (Texas A&M - 2005)

Current offers: Texas A&M (committed)

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 61

Highest ranking: 56 (8/26/10)

Debut ranking: 96 (3/30/10)

69. Trevor Stevens - (Tight end/Friendswood)

Quality tight ends prospects have become increasingly difficult to locate in recent years, but Stevens is a guy that has a chance to be a quality college player. At 6-3, 230 pounds, Stevens is an above-average pass-catcher with pretty good ball skills. Stevens is an intelligent kid that plays with a lot of toughness and once he develops in a college weight program for a couple of years he'll have a chance to be a good blocker at the next level. Overall, he seems like a solid bet as a pretty good college player, but his lack of plus-athleticism and speed limits his ceiling as a player.

Player he reminds me of: Ian Harris (Texas - 2007)

Current offers: None

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 56

Highest ranking: 81 (3/30/10)

Debut ranking: 81 (3/30/10)

68. Nicky Baratti - (Athlete/Klein Oak)

If you're looking for a jack-of-all-trades kind of guy that brings a solid size/speed package to the table and can potentially play on either side of the ball at the next level, Baratti might be your guy. At 6-1, 195 pounds, Baratti is a pretty damn solid little high school quarterback that almost looks like a mini-Taylor Martinez at the position, although he doesn't quite have that extra gear that the Nebraska quarterback possesses. That being said, he's got good speed/athleticism and he can break guys down in space when the ball is in his hands. At the end of the day, I'm not so sure that he's a guy whose true ceiling as a player exists on the other side of the ball at linebacker. If he stays on offense, he could end up being a very nice all-purpose threat in the mold of a Ryan Swope, but if a school can convince him to take a look at the other side of the ball, I think he might have a little more upside. Bottom line? He's an extremely bright, versatile kid with strong measurables and he probably doesn't have a lot of downside. At worst, he'll be a pretty damn solid college football player somewhere on the field.

Player he reminds me of: Ryan Swope (Texas A&M - 2009)

Current offers: Arizona St., Baylor, Houston, Notre Dame, Texas Tech and West Virginia

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 49

Highest ranking: 49 (1/12/11)

Debut ranking: 53 (8/27/10)

67. Jarell Crenshaw - (Defensive back/Pearland Dawson)

In a year where the defensive back talent inside the Lone Star State might not be as strong as we've seen in previous recruiting classes, Crenshaw is a solid safety prospect in the Houston area that doesn't bring a "wow" set of physical tools to the table, but does play a pretty strong brand of football from the safety position. The 5-11, 175-pound Crenshaw is an aggressive player in run defense and he seems to be a guy that will mix it up despite his size limitations, but I do have some questions about his ability to cover and I'd love to see him at a few camps this spring so that I can get a better overall feel for his skill-set in the present. He's flashed some talent in the last couple of years at various camps/combines, which helped him land and early high ranking, but this might be a tad too high of a spot for him upon further inspection. Still, he looks like a solid three-star type of prospect.

Player he reminds me of:Quentin Hayes(Oklahoma - 2010)

Current offers: None

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 71

Highest ranking: 31 (3/30/10)

Debut ranking: 31 (3/30/10)

66. Joey Hunt - (Defensive tackle/El Campo)

The kid is a flat out bull in a china closet. At 6-3, 281 pounds, there's nothing flashy about his game. He's about power and knocking people around on the field. If he possessed the plus-athleticism of some of his fellow defensive tackle peers, we'd be talking about an all-world guy, but those athletic limitations are exactly why I rate him as a high-three star guy at this point in the process. One of the things that I do like about him is the idea that he can play on either side of the ball and his best position might actually be as an interior line prospect on offense. Over the course of the next few seasons, he looks like a guy that play in the 300-pound range and he's either going to be a good nose-tackle or a good offensive guard after a couple of seasons of development.

Player he reminds me of: Will Oliver (TCU - 2003)

Current offers: Houston, Rice, Stanford, Texas Tech, Tulsa and TCU (committed)

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 64

Highest ranking: 30 (8/26/10)

Debut ranking: 30 (8/27/10)

65. Dalton Santos - (Linebacker/Van)

You like to see a little violence out of your middle linebackers and if you watch Santos for a couple of minutes, it becomes pretty clear that he's a hard-charging, pain-inflicting striker. At 6-2, 245 pounds, Santos might not be a guy that can play a lot on third downs or against pass-heavy teams, but when it comes to defending the run, he can flat out play a mean brand of football between the hash marks. Outside the hash-marks, Santos runs fairly well and he's a pretty solid athlete for a kid with his size, but he's not a guy that I would describe as a plus-athlete I'm not sure that he'll be a sideline-to-sideline player at the next level. In a day and age when offensive football is all about the spread, Santos is an old school 4-3 middle linebacker prospect.

Player he reminds me of: Jared Norton (Texas - 2006)

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

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 82

Highest ranking: 65 (current)

Debut ranking: 82 (1/13/11)

64. Orlando Thomas - (Athlete/Copperas Cove)

Cove has a history have having athletic quarterbacks that often fly a little under the radar and although Thomas doesn't project as a Saturday starter under center, there's no mistaking that he's the kind of guy that could emerge as a playmaker on either side of the ball. At 5-11, 175 pounds, Thomas is a plus-athlete that qualified for regionals in the 110 meter hurdles and 800-meter relay, while long jumping 21+ feet as a sophomore. Although he's not a strong passer, Thomas was a playmaker for Cove in every way, as he used his quickness and athleticism to create plays out of the shotgun. Thomas reminds me a little of a young Derrick Strait in that he doesn't always look like he's running the fast, but yet he's always running away from people. He's a cat-quick kind of guy and once he opens up, he has a smooth, effortless stride as runner. With his quick feet, easy hips and long arms, it's easy to project him as a cornerback in college, but when you watch him score pass, catch and run for a touchdown in the same game, you'll come away thinking it'll be hard to rip him from the offensive side of the ball. Oh yeah, he also projects as a plus-return man on special teams. He'll need some time in the weight room, but this is a kid that has a chance to be a dynamic college player down the road.

Player he reminds me of: Adrian Phillips (Texas - 2010)

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

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: NR

Highest ranking: 64 (current)

Debut ranking: 64 (2/13/11)

63. Damien Neroes - (Linebackers/Garland)

If we're talking about total wild cards on the list, one of the biggest might be this high school defensive end, who is still making the transition to his eventual college position… linebacker. At a shade under 6-1, 220 pounds, Neroes is an athletic, physical striker that has the ability to cover a lot of ground. In addition to possessing really good skills as an edge pass rusher, Neroes does a good job of getting off of blocks and making plays up and down the line of scrimmage. Also, he's such a physical kid that invites contact that I could easily see him developing into a terrific lead blocker at fullback on offense. It's going to take some time with Neroes, but the kid has the goods to be an outstanding player.

Player he reminds me of: Ryan Roberson (Texas - 2008)

Current offers: None

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 85

Highest ranking: 63 (current)

Debut ranking: 85 (1/13/11)

62. Devonte Fields - (Defensive end/Arlington Martin)

I don't know Fields is quite 6-4 and I don't know if he is quite 220 pounds, but there is no mistaking the fact that Fields is one crazy athletic defensive end prospect. In his first full season of varsity football, Fields didn't show a lot of technique, but there's no question that he showed legitimate playmaking skills up and down the line of scrimmage. He's still a little slow off the ball and isn't always quick to recognize plays, but once he starts to find a comfort zone that stuff will come. At this point in his physical development, Fields looks more like a basketball player than a football player and he needs to work out in the weight room because he struggles in defending the run at the point of attack. Still, he's a real diamond in the rough and his ceiling as a player could be as an elite pass rusher at the next level

Player he reminds me of: Richetti Jones (Oklahoma State - 2007)

Current offers: Arizona, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Michigan, Missouri and Texas A&M

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 76

Highest ranking: 62 (current)

Debut ranking: 76 (1/13/11)

61. Dalyn Williams - (Wide receiver/Lake Dallas)

At this time last year, Williams looked like a possible top 25 prospect after a strong sophomore campaign for Lake Dallas, but the move to quarterback didn't quite as well as he probably would have hoped and there are now questions about just how dynamic of an athlete he truly is. When he's focused at receiver, he's displayed natural receiver skills and the ability to make plays after the catch, so it's possible that he was simply out of position as a junior. The biggest question for me is his long-term ceiling as an athlete. At 6-0, 190 pounds, Williams doesn't have elite-speed or quickness. Instead, he's a solid athlete that might be rated a little too highly in this spot, but I think he's a better player than his 2010 season might indicate. When he had a D1 quarterback throwing to him, he looked like the real deal. When he was asked to be an all-around creator, he struggled.

Player he reminds me of:Nate Jones (Texas - 2004)

Current offers: None

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 58

Highest ranking: 20 (3/30/10)

Debut ranking: 20 (3/30/10)

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