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Article is insider so I can't post the text here but I'll attach the link
Todd McShay, Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl rank the top 25 underclassmen in the nation for the 2012 season.
Awesome - can someone post the entire list for us Outsiders?
Never Gets Old
1. Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina Gamecocks / Sophomore defensive end
2. Marqise Lee, USC Trojans / Sophomore wide receiver
3. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M Aggies / Redshirt freshman quarterback
4. Braxton Miller, Ohio State Buckeyes /Sophomore quarterback
5. Amari Cooper, Alabama Crimson Tide /True freshman wide receiver
Cooper is often compared to Julio Jones, for obvious reasons, and there are definitely similarities. Both are special talents who had outstanding production (see chart at right) and showed savvy beyond their years as route runners during their respective freshman seasons. Cooper is especially adept at setting up defenders and working back to his quarterback after the initial play breaks down (there were two great examples of this in the Texas A&M game).
Freshman stats for Jones, Cooper
Player Catches Yards TDs
Jones 58 924 4
Cooper 53 895 9
Cooper doesn't have Jones' exceptional size-speed measurables (Jones checked in at the 2011 NFL combine at 6-3, 220 pounds, then posted a 4.39 time in the 40-yard dash), but he has adequate-to-good size (6-1, 198) and his second gear is similar to what we saw on tape from Jones during his years at Alabama. Cooper doesn't explode off the line, but he builds speed as he goes and shows good burst out of his breaks as a route runner.
He has also shown better ball skills than Jones, displaying outstanding hand-eye coordination and focus, and does a very good job of tracking the ball vertically and using good body control when forced to adjust to an off-target throw.
6. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville Cardinals / Sophomore quarterback
7. T.J. Yeldon, Alabama Crimson Tide / True freshman running back
Yeldon is a very efficient runner for a freshman. He does a very good job of pressing the line of scrimmage and is always working to get up the field, even when forced to make quick lateral cuts to find a crease.
We can see why Yeldon has been compared to Adrian Peterson. He has a long way to go before he's even close to Peterson's level, and he's not as filled out or strong as Peterson was at Oklahoma. But Yeldon does have a similar upright running style, quickness, stop-and-start ability and competitiveness. He knows when to drop his pads and how to finish runs.
Yeldon has an excellent frame, and can continue to add bulk. He has very quick feet for his size, with impressive body control and lateral agility. He can stick his foot in the turf and accelerate up the field with good initial burst. He also is slippery for a bigger back and can squeeze through tight creases. He shows good instincts and vision as an open-field runner, as well, but while he has a solid second gear, he does not possess elite top-end speed.
Ball security will be a major point of emphasis for Yeldon heading into his sophomore season. He lost fumbles in back-to-back weeks versus LSU and Texas A&M.
8. Stefon Diggs, Maryland Terrapins / True freshman wide receiver
9. Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame Fighting Irish / Sophomore defensive lineman
10. Marcus Mariota, Oregon Ducks / Redshirt freshman quarterback
11. Todd Gurley, Georgia Bulldogs / True freshman running back
Gurley is a strong, powerful runner. He is tightly packed, runs low to the ground and runs hard. He has enough initial burst to turn the corner on outside runs (and his top-end speed is good for his size, not elite), but that's not his strength. He is at his best working downhill between the tackles. He doesn't show the same lateral agility as Alabama's Yeldon, and when backup Keith Marshall comes in the game, Marshall is noticeably quicker and faster (although Marshall is not as instinctive, efficient or powerful as Gurley).
Gurley possesses very good run instincts. He feels a crease developing in advance, and showed more patience as the season progressed. He'll press the line of scrimmage before making a subtle or sharp cut. Very few of his carries are for lost yardage, as a result.
12. Ryan Shazier, Ohio State Buckeyes / Sophomore linebacker
13. De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon Ducks / Sophomore wide receiver
14. Sammy Watkins, Clemson Tigers / Sophomore wide receiver
15. Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona Wildcats / Sophomore running back
16. Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama Crimson Tide
Sophomore offensive tackle
Kouandjio sets high, which makes him vulnerable to speed-to-power moves, but more times than not he recovers when he gives ground initially, and he is tough to beat in pass protection otherwise. He's got the length to take away the edge and the foot speed to stay in front of defenders when they try to shoot inside. While his base can narrow and he slides off blocks when it comes to the ground game, he generates above-average initial surge and can drive defenders off the line.
17. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon Ducks / Sophomore cornerback
18. Antonio Richardson, Tennessee Volunteers / Sophomore offensive tackle
19. Timmy Jernigan, Florida State Seminoles / Sophomore defensive tackle
20. Mike Evans, Texas A&M Aggies / Redshirt freshman wide receiver
21. Jeremy Hill, LSU Tigers / Redshirt freshman running back
22. Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska Cornhuskers / Sophomore running back
23. Anthony Johnson, LSU Tigers / Sophomore defensive tackle
24. Brandin Cooks, Oregon State Beavers / Sophomore wide receiver
25. Devonte Fields, TCU Horned Frogs /True freshman defensive end
"We're modern-day gladiators, and that mental toughness is really important to have in a good team." Nick Saban
Yeldon is higher than Gurley....As he should be
Nice to see Ameer Abdullah at #22
You get out of it what you put into it!
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