SQ Top-10 Athlete Recruits For 2015
The 2014 college football season may be over, but that doesn't mean the action is done. Right after the national title game sits a Christmas-like holiday to some fans: National Signing Day. On Feb. 4, high school seniors who have not already enrolled early at college programs will announce who they will be spending the next four years of their careers with and sign the dotted line to go play football on Saturdays. But before that happens, stick with SQ as we'll rank the top players at each position before that day.
10. Shawn Burgess-Becker (Pompano Beach, FL)
Status: Early Enrolled at Alabama
A four-star prospect rated by 247Sports, Burgess-Becker is a two-way athlete able to play on both sides of the ball. During his high school career he played both wide receiver and safety and is capable of playing both at the college level. He's a rangy safety that can cover a lot of ground in a short span. He's got solid size at 6'1" and 185 lbs, but will probably bulk up to around 200 lbs when he fills out. Burgess-Becker's size actually bodes well for defending the run, something that fits Nick Saban's defense very well. He doesn't have blazing speed, but he has great quickness and his first step acceleration is among the best in this class. Ultimately I see him sticking on the defensive side of the ball.
9. Stanley Norman (Gardena, CA)
Status: Committed to Arizona State
Norman, another four-star recruit, really had his pick of the litter out of any of the PAC-12 schools, but chose Arizona State instead. Like Burgess-Becker, he splits his time between defensive back and wide receiver and could play both spots for the Sun Devils. He's not a very big guy, standing in at 6'0" and 180 lbs, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in other areas like balance and core strength. Norman's not a speedster but he can go stride-for-stride with any receiver he lines up against. On the offensive side of the ball, he's quick off the line and gets into his routes nicely.
8. Marcus Lewis (Washington, D.C.)
Just looking at Lewis, he's got the exact physical measurements any coach would love his defensive back to have. At 6'1", 187 lbs, Lewis has the combination of size, speed and length that scouts and coaches drool over. Right now he projects to be a corner or safety at the next level, but I wouldn't shut the door on the possibility of him converting to receiver in college. He loves to flash his speed - he has a 4.38 40 time according to 247Sports - and that can be a huge asset to his game. Lewis has the potential to be a lockdown corner in college and is great at attacking the ball at its highest point.
7. Ray-Ray McCloud III (Tampa, FL)
Status: Committed to Clemson
McCloud III is perhaps one of the most versatile athletes on this list as he could play quite a few different positions during his collegiate career. Mainly playing as a running back in high school, he could also fit into the slot receiver spot on offense or play corner on defense. Some coaches seem to think that he could be really something special as a defensive back if he would play there full-time. As a slot guy, he could definitely create mismatches in space and use his athleticism to be a great playmaker. He's not very big and stands at just 5'9", but that hasn't stopped other players from turning out great. McCloud III, if he sticks with his original commitment, should be a very nice fit for Clemson's offense.
6. Torrance Gibson (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Status: Committed to Ohio State
Urban Meyer has always been a coach to recruit the best athletes for his teams, and Gibson is no exception to that. An extraordinary athlete, Gibson was recruited as a dual-threat QB in high school, but some feel he doesn't have the pocket presence to compete at the next level. However, if he's put in the right system he could become a very good passer. Just look at Meyer's QBs now: Braxton Miller, JT Barrett and Cardale Jones, all guys with great athletic ability. He has great footwork that looks advanced for players at the same stage of development that he is, and is a tremendous leader on the field. Whatever position he winds up playing for the Buckeyes, Urban Meyer will be sure to get every drop of talent out of him.
5. Brian Cole (Saginaw, MI)
Status: Committed to Michigan
Like many of the guys on this list, Cole is a guy that can be looked at as a defensive back or a receiver at the next level. His size however, makes him more likely to be a safety in college. He's 6'2" and weighs around 190 lbs, and he'll only get bigger as he gets into the weight room in Ann Arbor. Cole really shows his physicality when he comes up to defend the run. But, he also has great speed that allows him to get to anywhere on the field. The ability that he has shown as an offensive player throughout his high school years will only help him become even better in his transition to defense. As a receiver he was able to go up against any defender and snatch the ball at its highest point and that will only help as a safety or corner in college.
4. Jerome Baker (Cleveland, OH)
Status: Committed to Ohio State
Baker is one of the more interesting guys on this list. He's got the ability to be a good college running back, but there's potential for him to be even better at linebacker. As a linebacker he's very physical at the point of attack. His speed as a running back translates well into the pass rush game and will be able to get to the quarterback before he can get rid of the ball. Baker picks his way through traffic and can get to the ball carrier quicker than most other guys on the field. His versatility on offense as a pass catcher will also show up on defense as he'll be able to snag quite a few interceptions.
3. Donte Jackson (New Orleans, LA)
Status: Committed to LSU
There's no denying the speed that Jackson possesses. Whether he lines up on offense or defense he's a blur on the field. When he has the ball on his hands on offense as running back, he has the potential to be a home run threat. Equally on defense, he has great ball skills and can be a ball hawk in coverage. With that speed he's able to make up for mistakes on defense by being able to catch up to anyone on the field. Right now, most schools project him to be a corner at the next level, but he has just as great ability to be a top running back. He could really earn some early playing time in special teams as a returner using that blazing speed he has.
2. Kerryon Johnson (Madison, AL)
Status: Committed to Auburn
Running back or safety? That's the question Auburn will have to figure out when it gets its hands on Kerryon Johnson. Johnson's breakaway speed and excellent vision have many thinking he can be an elite level running back in college. But he's not a one dimensional back either as he has proven to be a threat as a receiver as well. Sticking him in the slot or using him in the backfield as runner, Gus Malzahn will have a great time trying to figure out how to best utilize his offensive talents. He has potential to be a good defensive back as well as he can close ground quickly and can bait quarterbacks into throws, an asset Will Muschamp would love to have on his defense.
1. Terry Godwin (Hogansville, GA)
Status: Committed to Georgia
Looking for a guy to be an impact player right out of the gate? Well, Terry Godwin is your guy. As a receiver Godwin is one of the best recruits in the nation. He adjusts remarkably to poorly thrown balls and has good hands to make any catch look easy. When he has the ball in his hands, Godwin is a dynamic player that has the top-end speed to outrace any defender. His athleticism is best on display when he goes up in the air to catch the ball over a defender. Heading to Athens, Godwin will most certainly be implemented into the Bulldogs' offense right away. I would count on him to stick to receiver although I wouldn't count out a move to defensive back out just yet.