March 13, 2011

Breaking down the LSR: 41-50

The latest Lone Star Recruiting for the Class of 2012 is out, but we're still at a point in the evaluation process when an education of sorts still needs to take place throughout the list - from No.1 through No.100. Therefore, for the next two weeks we'll go through the entire top 100 list and do exactly that - introduce the players to you. Today we'll take a look at the players that make up No.41-50 on the list, which includes commitments from Texas and Texas A&M.

50. Jaevon Richardson - (Wide receiver/Baytown Lee)

Richardson has been on the radar as a possible big-time recruit since his freshman season at Baytown Lee and his emergence as a sophomore ensured his status as a high-profile 2012 prospect. At around 6-0, 170 pounds, there's nothing that physically separates him from his peers, but the kid flashes some really dynamic ability as a receiver. I don't know that he'll ever win any 40-yard dash contests, but Richardson is extremely quick and allusive… in fact, he might be the slipperiest guy after the catch in the state. He's also a receiver with plus-ball skills that catches the ball well away from his body and seems to have a very good idea for how to use the middle of the field to get open. The fact that he plays for Lee means that he's had a ton of reps in his career and will be ahead of most players at his position on the learning curve once he arrives in college. He looks like a guy that can play the slot at the next level and contribute in a big way as a return man on special teams. Also, I would discount his ability play to play on defense at the next level at all.

Player he reminds me of: Eric Ward (Texas Tech - 2009)

Current offers: Baylor and Texas A&M (committed)

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 43

Highest ranking: 21 (3/30/10)

Debut ranking: 21 (3/30/10)

49. Aviante Collins - (Offensive Tackle/Sugar land Willowridge)

One of the best-kept secrets in the state for my money is Collins. Although he's listed in the database at 6-6, 309 pounds, I'd say he's probably a few inches shy of that mark, which only means that he might be better suited for guard at the next level than tackle, but that's about the only knock on the kid on the field. For a big kid with some mass on his body, Collins is a good athlete with good enough fee that he could likely play tackle on the right side of some schools. His strength as a player right now comes as a power player that plays through the whistle and can flat out blow people off the ball when he keeps good pad level. So, we're talking about an athletic mauler that that is definitely raw, but possesses a nice ceiling as a player. If he watches the weight and puts the time

Player he reminds me of: Ciron Black (LSU - 2005)

Current offers: None

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 50

Highest ranking: 49 (current)

Debut ranking: 47 (3/30/10)

48. Boone Feldt - (Offensive guard/Hays Consolidated)

Although he's slightly undersized, the 6-3, 275-pound Feldt brings a lot of ability and versatility to the table. The fact that he ranks as the state's top center prospect at this stage of the recruiting process certainly gives him some additional value. Feldt has very good feet, plays with a ton of tenacity and has been very well-coached at the high school level because he does a really good job of playing with good pad level/balance. His ability to play well on the move and in space will make him a very good screen player at the next level. The biggest question outside of his size probably relates to his ceiling as a player, but he's a strong player that will be able to carry 300 pounds on his frame well without giving up much in the way of quickness.

Player he reminds me of: Jason Hannon (Oklahoma- 2007)

Current offers: None

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 32

Highest ranking: 32 (1/12/11)

Debut ranking: 32 (1/13/11)

47. Victor Ironkansi - (Defensive end/Pflugerville Hendrickson)

Irokansi is an interesting prospect to say the least because on paper there's no reason why he shouldn't rank among the best prospects in the entire state. A legit 6-3/6-4, 215+pounds, Irokansi is a plus-athlete that brings top-shelf pass rushing upside at his very best, but at his worst he's a still developing player that sometimes disappears from games, isn't strong at the point of attack and probably still has a ways to go before he's ready to be an every down player at the next level. Still, we're talking about a kid with sub 4.6 speed and a 33-inch vertical. As an athlete, there's a lot to work with. The thing you cannot teach is an elite-level burst, great closing speed and incredible upside. You either have that or you don't, and this is a kid that has some of all three to work with.

Player he reminds me of:Chris Brown(Texas - 2005)

Current offers: None

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 36

Highest ranking: 24 (8/26/10)

Debut ranking: 29 (3/30/10)

46. Eric Davis - (Defensive end/John Tyler)

When you watch Davis run around the field in that blue and white No.80 jersey, it's hard not to think of former Longhorn and TJT grad Tim Crowder. Still, you have to be careful with those comparisons because Davis is his own player and has his own set of strengths that make him a different kind of defensive end prospect. At 6-3, 225 pounds, Davis isn't an elite-level athlete, but he is a plus-athlete and he brings a really good burst off the edge, along with good closing speed and over athleticism. Better than that, he's a really good player that has proven to be a playmaker up and down the line of scrimmage. More than anything, Davis needs some time in the weight room because he's still a work in progress at stopping the run at the point of attack, but the kid is a big, athletic end that brings a great combination of player/prospect to the table. There's no reason that this kid shouldn't be a multi-year starter as a strong-side defensive end after a few years of seasoning. The only real question is whether he'll lose any of his athleticism/quickness as he bulks up.

Player he reminds me of: Bruce Davis (UCLA - 2003)

Current offers: Oklahoma State and Texas A&M (committed)

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 34

Highest ranking: 34 (1/12/11)

Debut ranking: 35 (8/27/10)

45. Trent Jackson - (Running back/Cuero)

The Cuero program have a tradition of producing really good running backs, but no back in a Goblers uniform has produced as much buzz as Jackson since the days of Robert Straight two decades ago, but after a sensational start to his career (4,000+ yards and 60+ touchdowns through his sophomore year), Jackson's stock took a big hit as a junior when he tore the ACL is in right knee. Now he's a rehabbing back that most schools will want to evaluate as a senior before making a decision on whether to offer. At his best, Jackson brings a nice combination of overall skills to the table. He might not be the fastest back in the state, but he has enough speed to run away from teams, while also bringing true between the tackle skills as a runner. Jackson runs with nice balance and patience, and he's a tough guy to bring down. When healthy, he's similar to Johnathan Gray, but probably doesn't quite have the big-play oomph that Gray brings to the table.

Player he reminds me of: Bradley Stephens (Texas A&M - 2007)

Current offers: None

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: 37

Highest ranking: 14 (3/30/10)

Debut ranking: 14 (3/30/10)

44. Reginald Davis - (Wide receiver/Tenaha)

I'll be honest when I tell you that I'm not quite sure where Davis deserves to be ranked. On one hand, you've got a do-it-all player that is too much for just about anyone at the Class A level that he currently performs on can handle. When the ball is in his hands, he can run away and toy with almost everyone that he competes against and there's no question that he's a very talented guy with a lot of natural football skills. That being said, when I watch him on film I see a whole lot of very good, but not a lot of "wow", even if he is light years better than his competition. At 6-1, 185 pounds, he's a very good athlete and a very good prospect, I'm just not quite seeing him as a great one. Still, he's such a versatile guy that he could potentially play in all three phases and be a guy that can help your team.

Player he reminds me of: Lee Jackson (Texas -1998)

Current offers: Arkansas, Baylor, Missouri, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas A&M and Texas Tech

Current LSR Rating: 5.7

Previous ranking: NR

Highest ranking: 44 (current)

Debut ranking: 44 (2/13/11)

43. Paul Boyette Jr. - (Defensive tackle/Humble)

The more I watch of Boyette, the more I like him. As far as elite defensive tackle prospects go, he doesn't have the elite first-step of raw quickness/athleticism that we've seen from other top tackles in-state in recent years, but what he perhaps gives up in burst, he makes up with physical, at the point of attack play. At 6-3, 280 pounds, Boyette is versatile enough that he can play several different techniques, in part because he does a great job of using his hands and getting off of single- and double teams. There are times when he plays a little high and he gets caught watching the game at times, but he's a flat out handful for opposing linemen and he makes plays. Like a lot of big men, there are nights when he's more dialed in than others, but when he's really dialed in, he can disrupt an entire offense. He's a little rough around the edges, but his physical play separates him from a lot of his peers.

Player he reminds me of: Jamarkus McFarland (Oklahoma - 2009)

Current offers: Alabama, Baylor, Florida State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Texas (committed)

Current LSR Rating: 5.8

Previous ranking: 38

Highest ranking: 38 (1/12/11)

Debut ranking: 51 (3/30/10)

42. Justin Thomas - (Athletes/West Orange-Stark)

If we're talking about athletes that have to be in the conversation of best pound-for-pound players in the state, Thomas almost certainly has to be in the conversation. At 5-9, 165 pounds, whatever knock you want to make about his talent is strictly size related. It is what it is. If you focus on his strengths, it's clear we're talking about one of the state's most dynamic and explosive players. If a guy is going to be on the smallish side, he better have elite skills in the way of speed, quickness and athleticism. Check, check and double check. In an age where everyone is trying to speed up their film, Thomas has enough burst that he doesn't need to. We're talking about a kid that can flat out run and he'll undress someone in a phone booth when a chance in the open field presents itself. Offense, defense or special teams - he can contribute in a big way. He has to get stronger if he's going to play on defense, but he's just a football playing sonofagun.

Player he reminds me of: D.J. Monroe (Texas - 2008)

Current offers: Houston and Texas Tech

Current LSR Rating: 5.8

Previous ranking: 41

Highest ranking: 16 (8/26/10)

Debut ranking: 19 (3/30/10)

41. Halapoulivaati Vaitai - (Offensive tackle/Haltom)

This is another one of these that isn't exactly rocket science when you start looking at offensive linemen. At 6-6, 260 pounds, Big V might be a three years away from competing for a front-line position at the collegiate level, but with his combination of size, athleticism and footwork, he has a chance to be a top-flight starting tackle and those can be worth their gold. His ability to get out into space and effectively block at the second and third levels is really strong. Although he really needs to commit himself to the weight room in future years so that he can physically fill out his frame, he plays with a little bit of a mean streak and shows some flashes of being a really strong player down the road in the running game. Overall, he's another one of these Neale Tweedie type prospects. Yes, he has the possible frame and feet to play tackle, but we need to see him grow into that kind of player because it doesn't always happen.

Player he reminds me of:Neale Tweedie (Texas - 2002)

Current offers: Arizona, Arkansas, Houston, Kansas State, Missouri, TCU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Utah

Current LSR Rating: 5.8

Previous ranking: 41

Highest ranking: 16 (8/26/10)

Debut ranking: 19 (3/30/10)

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