Scout Goes Deep With Preseason Rankings
Nick O'Leary - Year of the TE
Nick O'Leary - Year of the TE
Director of Scouting
Posted Aug 16, 2010


Los Angeles, Calif. - The August release for the Scout.com recruiting rankings for the Class of 2011 mark a close in the year long scouting circle for the current class of upcoming seniors.

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For the large majority of college football prospects, the scouting process begins as soon as they hit the field their junior seasons. Sure there are prospects ahead of the curve that hit the recruiting radar during their sophomore seasons or earlier, but for most of the 2,500 prospective student athletes that will sign college scholarships  it's the junior season that really begins the scouting process.

With their senior season merely days away, the Class of 2011 has been through a football season, the winter combine circuit, spring 7v7s and passing leagues, summer college camps, summer skill camps and more. And Scout.com was there along for the ride with its team of scouts from coast to coast.

The preseason release of rankings represents nearly 1600 prospective student athletes that have been ranked according to projected college position. By far the most of any media company in the country for the fourth consecutive year. No one matches Scout's manpower in the field and no one comes close to matching Scout in depth of rankings as we head for over 2000 ranked players again this year.

Each recruiting class seems to have a signature position, and for the Class of 2011 that position appears to be the tight end. 

Initially, we were hesitant to front load the top of the rankings with tight ends considering that it seems to be a position on the way out. I asked our team of scouts to name a true five-star type of tight end in all of college football last year. Was there are tight end in the country that looked like a top fifty player?

The only two tight ends taken the first two rounds of the NFL Draft didn't even play in 2009. Oklahoma's Jermaine Gresham (21st overall to Bengals) and Arizona's Rob Gronkowski (42nd overall to Patriots) both missed all of last year to injury.

However with the class of 2011, the college ranks look to be getting an influx of talent at the tight end position not seen for years. Jay Rome of Valdosta, Ga., Nick O'Leary of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Austin Seferian-Jenkins of Gig Harbor, Wash., and Ben Koyack of Oil Slick, Pa. are all rated five-star prospects on Scout. Those four players represent the largest contingent of five-star prep tight ends ever in one class on Scout, and there are several other players that have a pedigree that rival those listed above them.

By contrast, the wide receiver position has good depth but lacks marquee talent at the top. With the Class of 2008 as the recent high mark for receivers (Julio Jones, A.J. Green, Michael Floyd, and DeAndre Brown among others), Trey Metoyer of Whitehouse, Texas found the top spot by default as we nitpicked the nation's best receivers and found Metoyer to have the best combination of physical talent as well as desire in the country to this point.

If not for the tight ends, the story of the Class of 2011 may be the running backs. Malcolm Brown of Cibolo, Texas and Isaiah Crowell of Columbus, Ga. could duel for the top spot all season. Athlete extraordinaire DeAnthony Thomas of Los Angeles, Calif. is currently listed ahead of Brown and Green, but has been moved to corner at Scout because that would likely be his best position on the college level. But should he end up at running back at USC, he'd likely be considered the top running back in the country as well.

Currently Scout has seven prospects rated as 5-Stars, equal to the amount of running backs in Scout's Top 50 for the Class of 2010, but the Class of 2011 more closely resembles the star studded Class of 2006 that included players like Chris Wells (Ohio State), C.J. Spiller (Clemson), LeSean McCoy (Pittsburgh), and Knowshon Moreno (Georgia) among others.


Jadeveon Clowney
Miller Safrit, Scout.com
While the sizzle may be on offense, it's still a defensive end that holds on to Scout's coveted number one position overall. Jadeveon Clowney of Rock Hill, S.C. has a stranglehold on the top spot heading in to his senior year. Here's hoping Clowney's career is absent the drama surrounding many of Scout's former top prospects including Seantrel Henderson '10 (asked out of LOI), Bryce Brown '09 (transfer), and Terrelle Pryor '08 (delayed signing six weeks after signing day).

Some of the biggest movers over the last year include quarterbacks Jeff Driskel (Florida) of Oviedo, Fla. and Kiehl Frazier (Auburn) of Springdale, Ark. Both players are not only terrific passers, but both are good enough athletes that they could play other positions. That athleticism will serve them well in their respective offenses on the next level.

It is not an especially deep year at quarterback with 15 quarterbacks rated 4-Stars or better tying the Class of 2008 as the lowest amount ever at Scout, but the players at the top including Driskel, Frazier, Braxton Miller, Christian LeMay, and Teddy Bridgewater make for a talented group in the Top 5 capable of beating teams in multiple ways and fitting the new spread offenses well.

While the prospects across the country are completing what amounts to their first full scouting cycle, they are by no means finished being evaluated by Scout. Players develop at different rates and the next six months before signing day allow for currently ranked players to solidify their positions and late bloomers to jump on the national scene with strong senior seasons.

Scout.com will be there to bring you the most in depth look at recruiting in the country.

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