Five-Star 2008 Signees
Julio Jones
Julio Jones
Asst. Regional Manager
Posted Aug 28, 2008

The 2008 five-star signees have arrived on campus, finished fall camp and ready for the their college careers to kick-off this weekend. The elite playmakers have not disappointed, with many earning starting roles. Let's take an in-depth look with the team site publishers and staff.

No. 1 Alabama:
Julio Jones, No. 1 WR
Mark Barron, No. 1 WLB
Tyler Love, No. 6 OT

Cary Clark,
"Three five-star recruits made up the No.1 class reeled in by Alabama and coach Nick Saban last spring. Each of them -- Julio Jones, Mark Barron, and Tyler Love-- has seen his young career go a bit differently so far in Tuscaloosa," Clark stated.

Julio Jones
"The top name in the class was Foley wide receiver Jones, who through a strong work ethic and continued improvement, has earned a starting job for 'Bama when the Tide takes on Clemson Saturday night."

"Julio did an outstanding job coming in here in camp. He worked hard in the summer. He was in good shape," said Saban. "He's been able to sustain his performance. He's consistently made plays in practice as well as both scrimmages, and I think probably after the first scrimmage it was pretty evident that he was going to have some role as one of the three receivers that we use quite a bit."

Mark Barron
"The 6-4, 215-pound Jones is also listed as one of the Tide's two-deep on kick-off returns, and as the backup to Javier Arenas on punt returns," Clark added.

"Barron was expected to contend for the starting strong safety job, and he pushed junior Justin Woodall all camp for the position," Clark explained. "For now, Woodall has held him off, but coach Saban said Barron likely will figure into some of the Tide's nickel and dime coverage packages. It's also very likely that he will show up on punt and kickoff coverage teams Saturday."

"Many Tide fans hoped Love would come in and take the right tackle job from first-time starter Drew Davis, a junior. However, the Alabama staff decided Love's skill set was better suited for left tackle, where his is currently listed co-second team with fellow freshman Barrett Jones. The pair back up All-Amerian Andre Smith, himself a former five-star. Love will push hard for the left tackle slot next year, since Smith is expected to declare for the NFL draft after the season."

Kyle Rudolph
No. 2 Notre Dame
Kyle Rudolph, No. 1 TE
Dayne Crist, No. 3 QB
Ethan Johnson, No. 4 DE
Michael Floyd, No. 5 WR

Steve Wiltfong, Staff, IrishEyes
"Notre Dame signed four five-star recruits in the class of 2008, and three of them are expected to make an instant impact this fall," Wiltfong said.

"On Aug. 25th, Irish head coach Charlie Weis released the season’s initial depth chart. With sophomore Mike Ragone out for the season at tight end, Kyle Rudolph was named the starter. Defensive end Ethan Johnson and receiver Michael Floyd cracked the two deep at their respective positions."

"Quarterback Dayne Crist heads into the season as the No. 3 quarterback, and likely won’t see any action. He is still the heir apparent to Jimmy Clausen."

"The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Johnson’s pass-rushing ability is what impressed the Irish coaching staff the most, and he is fully healthy from an ACL injury that cost him much of his final prep season."

“I wouldn’t say he has been a pleasant surprise, but he has definitely put himself in the mix in a very short amount of time,” Weis said. “You look at him, and he is 275, and he looks like he weighs 250. So you can see just looking on the hoof, his growth potential body-wise is big. But right now, he has very good quickness and very good instincts and he has pass rush-ability."

Michael Floyd
"Anytime you have a defensive lineman who has pass rush-ability, they usually can find a way to get on the field before it is all said and done," Weiss stated.

"Weis has complimented the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Floyd all fall camp, as he has moved in front of a few veteran receivers on the depth chart," Wiltfong explained.

“You know, look at him physically, he doesn't, once again, I don't know but when you see him out there in practice, he doesn't look like a freshman,” Weis said. “He looks like an upperclassman that's been around a long time. You look at him and say 'that's what I'm talking about.'"

No. 3 Miami
Marcus Forston, No. 1 DT
Arthur Brown, No. 1 SLB
Brandon Harris, No. 5 CB
Aldarius Johnson. No. 7 WR

Mike Bakas,
"Another early entry, Forston had a strong spring for the Hurricanes," Bakas explained. "His rare combination of size, strength, and quickness put him in position to be in the mix right away. Injuries to two of Miami's defensive tackles have helped Forston and the other freshmen climb the depth chart even faster this season. A lot of people around the program believe Forston will be in the starting lineup by mid-season."

Arthur Brown
"Brown started school in January, so he was able to go through all of spring practice. His physical presence is known. He flashed the ability to make a lot of game-changing type of plays and then used the summer and continue learning the position and the defense.

"Physically, he's as good as you'll find at this age and how much he plays and how quickly he gets onto the field in his first season will depend largely on how well he continues picking up the defensive system."

"Harris was the only one of the four who didn't enroll early. He started practicing in August, and within two weeks he became the team's nickel back. His coverage skills, ball skills, and overall ability helped him climb the depth chart pretty quickly. He's still competing for a starting cornerback job, something DeMarcus Van Dyke was able to obtain as a true freshman last season. Harris will definitely be a key member in Miami's secondary this season."

"Johnson started in the spring and was quickly involved in the offense. His overall physical makeup is very impressive, and he's had the tough task of holding off competition from a few talented freshmen who started practicing in August. The Hurricanes don't have a whole lot of proven experience at receiver going into the season, and Johnson looks like he's already running second team heading into the season."

Terrelle Pryor
No. 4. Ohio State
Terrelle Pryor, No. 1 QB
Michael Brewster, No. 1 Center
Mike Adams, No. 1 OT
Etienne Sabino, No. 2 MLB
DeVier Posey, No. 4 WR
J.B. Shugarts, No. 7 OT

Adam Jardy,
"From the day Terrell Pryor finally put pen to paper and signed to play for Ohio State, fans have been clamoring to see what sort of role he would play for the Buckeyes this season," Jardy stated. "After reporting to school in mid-June, the quarterback has impressed his teammates with his willingness to learn – although senior cornerback Malcolm Jenkins said he needed to knock him down a peg upon his arrival – and his raw athleticism.

"Now splitting reps equally as the No. 2 quarterback, Pryor will play in the season opener against Youngstown State and as soon as the first half as long as the situation allows.

"The popular consensus is that he will be used as a change-of-pace quarterback who can produce in short-yardage and goal line situations in place of starter Todd Boeckman. All the tools are there for Pryor to become an elite athlete. Now he just has to get used to the speed of the college game."

Michael Brewster
"After spearheading OSU’s recruiting efforts for the class of 2008, Brewster graduated early from high school and enrolled for winter classes in Columbus. However, a shoulder injury slowed his progress and kept him on the sidelines for much of spring football."

That has not stopped Brewster’s progress, however. After entering fall camp as the No. 3 center, he appears to be on an even level as the backup at his position and should factor into the two-deep this season. Center is a tough position to learn quickly at OSU, but he will see playing time as a true freshman and has drawn comparisons to former Buckeye Nick Mangold."

"Like Brewster, Adams enrolled early but was forced to watch much of spring practice with a shoulder injury that required surgery. His prognosis for the season was uncertain, but his rapid recovery has been just short of miraculous. Adams returned to drills full-go about two weeks before the season was set to begin, and he had already impressed coaches with his athleticism and natural ability."

"A big athlete (6-8, 322 pounds), Adams is working at left tackle with an eye on taking over the position from senior Alex Boone next season. Despite having missed so much time, head coach Jim Tressel said Adams will likely see playing time early – a credit to his overall ability."

"A serious talent who showed a knack for making plays during spring football, Sabino finds himself in a less-than-optimal situation as the season begins. Ahead of him on the depth chart are the likes of James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman, both of whom passed on the NFL to return for their senior seasons. Add in a crowded depth chart, and opportunities appear limited for Sabino."

DeVier Posey
"That does not mean he will not play or have an impact, however. Sabino will likely factor on special teams and could fight to get into the two-deep before the season is over. Tressel said he will find ways to get Sabino on the field, and by all accounts he has impressed throughout fall camp."

"This wide receiver prospect {Posey) will likely have the biggest overall impact among any of the freshmen on Ohio State’s roster. A big, fast target who established himself as an elite wide receiver in high school now has his sights on climbing a deep depth chart at wide receiver – and he is succeeding."

"Fellow wideouts have said that Posey looks like a player who transferred in from another college, not one who was snagging passes as a high schooler one year ago. The Buckeyes are deep at wide receiver, but Posey should see the field in five-wideout sets and will seriously challenge for extended playing time as the season goes on. He and Pryor have built a rapport as well and should be a duo that lights up scoreboards for the next few years."

"Of the three freshmen linemen who joined the Buckeyes this season, Shugarts possibly has the most upside. He enrolled for winter courses with Brewster and quickly established himself as a smart, tough lineman who can hold his own against players four years his senior."

"The only one of the three freshmen linemen to play in OSU’s spring game, Shugarts held his own against the likes of Cameron Heyward and Lawrence Wilson. His right tackle spot is the only position where the Buckeyes are working in a new starter, and Shugarts’ performance could put him in line to be the first freshman to earn a start this season on a senior-laden squad."

No. 5 Georgia
A.J. Green, No. 2 WR
DeAngelo Tyson, No. 3 DT
Richard Samuel, No. 4 RB
See Part ll released Monday.

No. 6 Michigan
Boubacar Cissoko, No. 3 CB

Boubacar Cissoko
Coach Rich Rodriguez (PC 8/27): “Boubacar has had an outstanding camp. He is going to play as a true freshman. He is on some special teams; he is a backup at corner. He is a very, very competitive guy."

"Football is important to him. I hope it is to all of them. You can just see that he comes to practice to compete on every play, and I think that is why he has gotten better. I am really excited for him. I think he is going to have a great future and it is going to start this weekend.”

No. 7 LSU
Patrick Peterson, No. 1 CB

Sonny Shipp,

Patrick Peterson
"If the name Patrick Peterson doesn't ring a bell then don't feel bad because there are plenty who are in the same boat," Shipp said.

"Peterson, formerly known as Patrick Johnson, the 5-star cornerback out of Florida, should make a big splash for the LSU Tigers as a true freshman. He emerged from fall camp as the second team corner behind Jai Eugene."

"Peterson should live up to the hype that goes with the No. 1 cornerback in the country for the 2008 class. In his brief time with the Tigers he showed that he has excellent feet and great change-of-direction skills to go with his 6-1, 205-pound frame."

"Some feel that it is only a matter of time before Peterson cracks the starting lineup for the Tigers, and the eyes of the LSU nation will be on No. 7 all year long."

No. 8 Florida State
Nigel Bradham, No. 1 MLB
E.J. Manuel, No. 2 QB
Corey Surrency (JuCo) WR

McKinley Rolle,

Nigel Bradham
"Manuel has performed well during camp," Rolle said. "He's learning the offense, but he has a presence on the field already. He's big, has a great arm, poise, can run (4.6-40), and he's a leader. Right now he's behind the older quarterbacks and will probably redshirt, but I would not be suprised to him enter contention for the starting nod starting next spring. He's as good as advertised."

"Nigel is one of the strongest players on the team. He had a 480lb bench press. Bradham had the benefit of graduating high school early, so he's comfortable with his teammates and surroundings. He's still learning Coach Andrews complex defense, but right now he's second on the depth chart. I expect him to get some reps this year, especially with the early suspensions. He's got a bright, bright future."

Corey Surrency
"Surrency, "Smurf" WOW. This guy is going to suprise the country when they see him play. He's the top newcomer for the 2008 class. Surrency has made a big play in just about every practice during the pre-season. He's physical as heck, and he attacks the ball in the air. He's made multiple catches over two defenders as well during camp. He has a great frame (6-4, 6-5), and he uses every inch to seal off defenders. He's got amazing body control as well for his size. He might be better than advertised."

No. 9 USC
Tyron Smith, No. 1 OT
Blake Ayles, No. 2 TE
Matt Kalil, No. 3 OT
D.J. Shoemate, No. 8 WR

Kevin Carden,
"The 6-6, 270-pound offensive tackle, Tyron Smith, was one of the most physically impressive high school kids in the 2008 recruiting class," Carden stated. "Smith, with his long arms and lean frame, looks more like a power forward than an offensive lineman."

Blake Ayles
"The freshman left tackle sprained his right ankle early in fall camp, which forced him to miss a good deal of time but when he was healthy, he really flashed the potential that made him such a highly touted recruit. Smith is currently second on the depth chart at left tackle behind junior Charles Brown."

"Freshman tight end Blake Ayles, from Orange Lutheran High School, has lived up to all the hype this fall at USC. Ayles is a 6-5, 255-pound tight end who has emerged as the Trojans most impressive freshman on the offensive side of the ball. He has made an immediate impact in the passing game with his good hands and ability to make something happen after the catch."

"The freshman has been arguably the most impressive tight end on the roster and will see regular playing time in ’08. "

"Wide receiver D.J. Shoemate played several positions at Servite High School but will play flanker at USC. Shoemate, who stood out at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl because of his work ethic and leadership skills, as well as his athleticism, has been very productive for the Trojans in fall camp."

"The 6-0, 220-pound receiver is a real tough kid who loves to go across the middle and isn’t afraid to mix it up with the upperclassmen. Shoemate is currently behind Vidal Hazelton, Ronald Johnson and Travon Patterson on the depth chart at flanker, but has also got some work returning kicks and punts and could see some playing time on special teams."

No. 10 UCLA
Rahim Moore, No. 2 Safety
Kevin Craft, JuCo QB

Brandon Huffman, BRO,

Kevin Craft
"Both are slated to start the season opener against Tennessee," Huffman said. "Craft is starting because of the injuries to Ben Olson and Pat Cowan, but he won the job this fall over Chris Forcier. He's struggled at times, but since being named the starter, has looked significantly better."

"Moore has basically been running with the ones since Day One of practice. And pretty much locked up the starting job since then. He's had some "freshman moments" but he's also shown why he was the top safety in the West last year and an instant impact guy."

Look for Part ll (and possibly Part lll) to release in the coming days. The team site publishers and staff have covered their teams extensively for fall camp, and the knowledge of their five-star signees is second to none. A very special thanks to all for bringing their expertise to the network.

Reach Andrew Bone at

Related Stories
Pryor Preparing To Make Debut
 -by  Aug 27, 2008
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 -by  Aug 30, 2008
Pryor Is A Passer
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