"If I had to name one prospect that was ready to play college football today, it would be Lattimore," says Chad Simmons, Scout.com's South regional analyst. "He can run inside or outside, he can catch the ball well out of the backfield, and he gets better as the game goes on. He can truly carry a team and he is a true competitor. His vision, cut back ability, and durability are just three things that make him elite.
"The best overall athlete in the South at this time has to be Lamarcus Joyner. He is exciting, he is physical, he is extremely fast, and he is just a walking highlight film. He is good enough as a return man alone to be recognized as one of the best in this region. He is small, but he could play safety, he is being highly recruited as a corner, and some like him as a slot receiver. No matter who he signs with or which side of the ball he lines up on, he will touch the ball on special teams. Joyner is an elite athlete and the top overall athlete at this position."
While Lattimore and Joyner are certainly able to hold their own at the top, Simmons believes two other positions really are the strongest in the region.
"The depth is good across the board, but offensive line and safety may be the best at the top," adds Simmons. "Damien Robinson, Robert Crisp, JaWuan James, James Stone, Brent Benedict, and Brandon Linder all are in the top 100 on Scout.com and all are elite linemen. At safety, Matt Elam and Alec Ogletree are five-star prospects while Jonathan Dowling and Jarrick Williams are extremely high four-star safeties. Those two positions have some very talented prospects at the top of the list."
Nationally, the wide receiver position is also deep and there is no exception in the South.
"Trovon Reed heads the list, but guys like Christian Green, Jaylen Watkins, Markeith Ambles, Tai-ler Jones, and Chris Dunkley are right there in that elite group as well. It goes much deeper than that too. Even guys down the list some like James Louis, Ricardo Miller, and Martavis Bryant who were just short of the top 100 this time around could all be in there later this year. The depth at this position is very good."
"A beast at middle linebacker, Luc punishes the offensive players that he meets up with. He is very flexibile at 6-1/240 and he has a nose for the football. He is built like college seniors at just 17 years old.
"That is one position that is not too top heavy, but the defensive line is strong inside and out. On the inside Garrison Smith is on top followed closely by Brandon Willis. Both could play defensive end in some schemes, but they appear to be best on the inside at the three technique. On the edge, Corey Lemonier, Gabe King, and Craig Sanders come in one, two, three. All are very good athletically, all have the size it takes to get after it on the edge, and all rush the QB well."
Overall, Simmons believes that it is indeed a very good year in his region.
"Talent is on both sides of the ball and a number of guys that are not getting a lot of recognition now will get further evaluated this spring and summer. From skilled athletes to linemen, the South has the talent in 2010 and it is once again a hotbed for college recruiters."
Rankings Week Schedule: Monday: Scout National 100 Tuesday: Scout300 Today: South and West regional rankings Thursday: North and Midland regional rankings Friday: Positional Rankings and Q&A
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