The Scout Team: Best getting better
Robert Nkemdiche
Robert Nkemdiche
Posted May 21, 2012

The Scout Team takes a look at some of the top players from the 2013 class and tells what they can do to be even better at the next level.

The national recruiting analysts will answer questions about the 2013 recruiting class season in a feature called "The Scout Team." Each week, we'll look at a different topic. The national analysts include Scott Kennedy (Director of Scouting), Chad Simmons (South), Allen Trieu (Midwest), Greg Powers (Midlands), Bob Lichtenfels (East), Greg Biggins (West) and Brandon Huffman (West).

  1. How can the best players in the 2013 class be even better? They're already at the top of their class, but how can they get to the very top of the game?
Scott Kennedy 60x80
Scott Kennedy
Scott Kennedy (Director of Scouting):

Linebacker Reuben Foster (6-1/245) who most recently played at Troup County High School in LaGrange, Ga., is as good of a linebacker as I've ever scouted. He has NFL size as a junior in high school with plus quickness. He has outstanding instincts and is as comfortable attacking the line of scrimmage as he is in lateral pursuit.

If there is a concern with Foster, it's that he could outgrow the position. Even that concern is lessened by the knowledge that he could also be an All-American defensive end. With his size and agility, Foster wouldn't look out of place working with a group of college players in front of pro scouts, which he'll have the opportunity to do in the very near future.

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He's committed to Alabama, and the Crimson Tide has helped redefine the height/weight parameters at various positions beginning with Rolando McClain and Donta Hightower. Both players played at Alabama with size that matched up favorably with other teams' defensive ends, but both of those linebackers were 6-4. Foster is built closer to Micah Johnson, who signed with Kentucky as the No. 1 inside linebacker in the Class of 2006. Johnson had previously been listed as a defensive tackle and struggled to maintain his quickness while putting on weight in college.

Foster is farther ahead and a better athlete than Johnson at the same stage of his career. He's everything one could possibly look for in a linebacker prospect.

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Chad Simmons
Chad Simmons (South):

Robert Nkemdiche is the top overall prospect in America and there are not many flaws in his game at all. He is one of those rare high school football players that do not come along very often. He is built like a college junior, not a high school junior, but still has one more year on the high school level.

Nkemdiche does so many things well as a defensive lineman. He is such an athlete with a lot of raw talent, but he can still improve on his technique. He can play a little high at times like most high school linemen, but he needs to work on getting lower consistently and work on more moves coming off the ball.


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It is going to be hard for him not to be successful when he gets to college, but improving in these areas can make him that much better.

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Bob Lichtenfels
Bob Lichtenfels
Bob Lichtenfels (East): Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep defensive end Alquadin Muhammad is a prospect that I think is the closest to being a five-star from the East Region, who could earn it this season. Muhammad gets the "Tweener" tag on him a lot. Is he an outside linebacker or a defensive end? We like him at end, with his frame and ability off the edge. Once he fills out, he could be dangerous.

Muhammad has freakish athletic ability. He can drop and cover as well as any linebacker. Last season's Don Bosco team was loaded, but gone are Darius Hamilton, Leonte Carroo, Elijah Shumate, Yuri Wright and Jabrill Peppers. Muhammad will not sneak up on anyone this year and teams will have to gameplan around him. Will Muhammad step up to the challenge and earn that fifth star?

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Greg Powers
Greg Powers (Midlands): At 6-foot-5, 215 pounds Ricky Seals-Jones is rated as the top player in the Midlands because he is big, fast and super athletic. He is a hard-knocks football player who plays all over the field and on both sides of the ball for Sealy (Texas) High. He is also considered as one of the top basketball recruits in his area and spends a considerable amount of time on the hardwood.

Once he graduates from high school, he should be able to take his game on the gridiron to the next level just by becoming a year-round player. It's scary to think how good he will become once he is able to concentrate on one position in one sport. "RS-J" has already committed to Texas, where he was recruited to play wide receiver.

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Greg Biggins, National Recruting Analyst
Greg Biggins
Greg Biggins (West): Su'a Cravens, from Murrieta (Calif.), is one of the nation's most versatile prospects with the ability to play five different positions at the college level. He's an elite linebacker/running back for Vista Murrieta High School but will play safety in college. There was never a question about Cravens' talent level. The only question was, could he make the transition to safety and did he have the athleticism to excel at his new position at the next level?

Cravens definitely opened a lot of eyes in the 7-on-7 passing tournament circuit, showing he's more than capable of not just playing the safety position but excelling at it. He has been the best player at three major tournaments and as he gets more familiar with the position and improves his overall cover skills, there is no doubt he should be a very special player in college.

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Brandon Huffman
Brandon Huffman (West):

There are very few things that Max Browne can’t do. He’s got great downfield arm strength, excellent accuracy and touch on his throws, a great pocket presence and all of the intangibles that go with an elite quarterback -- or in Browne’s case, the top quarterback in his class. I’ve seen a lot of Browne the past three years -- camps, 7-on-7 tournaments and also live and in person in Friday game action about six times the past two years. He’s a gamer, at his best when the lights shine brightest.

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Early on, the one thing he needed to work on most, was something that most young quarterbacks struggle with, and that was locking on to one receiver and not checking down enough. And it was easy to understand why when he was a sophomore -- he had five-star receiver Kasen Williams as his main target, and Browne would do whatever he could to get the ball to Williams. But when Williams graduated and Browne started as a junior, he improved on that, locking on to his receivers less and less and checking down more.

As a senior, with a complete comfort level in the pocket, I fully expect Browne’s head to be on a swivel, looking for all of his receivers, and distributing it equally. That was the one thing his predecessor, Jake Heaps, did really well, while at Skyline High School, and as Browne gets even better at going through his reads and progressions, he will continue to establish his spot as the top passer in the country.

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