March 19, 2011

Breaking down the LSR: 31-40

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.31-40 on the list:

40. Hassan Ridgeway - (Defensive end/Mansfield)

If you were to take stock of all of Ridgeway's skill sets on a 1-10 scale, he might not rank as a 10 in any single category, but he's above-average in all areas, which is why he ranks as a solid four-star prospect. At 6-3, 235 pounds, Ridgeway isn't a tweener, but he also doesn't possess ideal size, which means that he'll almost surely be a weak-side defensive end prospect at the next level. Ridgeway is a plus-pass rusher off the edge because he possesses a quick burst off the edge and he has the speed to chase down plays. He's also a very good player at the point of attack, as he plays with good pad level, uses his hands very well and has a knack for making plays. In fact, his ability to chase run plays down the line of scrimmage as a back-side pursuer is probably the aspect of his game that stands out the most right now because it reflects the relentlessness he often plays with. As he makes the move to the next level, he's going to need to increase his overall strength and it might take a couple of years of development before he's ready to make a big impact, but Ridgeway is a really good player that plays with a high motor and can do a little bit of everything.

Player he reminds me of: Eddie Jones (Texas - 2006)

Current offers: TCU, Texas A&M and Texas (committed)

Current LSR Rating: 5.8

Previous ranking: 45

Highest ranking: 40 (current)

Debut ranking: 45 (1/13/11)

39. Alex De La Torre - (Linebacker/Denton Ryan)

In a year when so many of the state's top linebackers are total projects, De La Torre stands out as one of the more complete players at his position in the class. At 6-0, 225 pounds, De La Torre is a true middle linebacker prospect that has the natural instincts at the position that are an absolute must. De La Torre does a really good job of getting off of blocks and filling inside gaps, while also possessing the kind of athleticism to make plays up and down the line of scrimmage. Although he's not an elite athlete, he's probably underrated in that capacity because when he gets his shoulders squared and he's running downhill, he can close on the ball in a hurry. An area that he needs improvement is his strength. As he continues to develop in that department, he'll emerge as a better finisher upon contact. He's probably a few years away from competing for front-line playing time, but he's been a standout player for the last few seasons at one of the state's top programs and he's a good athlete that hasn't reached his ceiling, which means that the best football for a good football player likely hasn't been played yet.

Player he reminds me of: Aaron Harris (Texas - 2002)

Current offers: Texas (committed)

Current LSR Rating: 5.8

Previous ranking: 51

Highest ranking: 22 (8/26/10)

Debut ranking: 43 (3/30/10)

38. Jalen Overstreet - (Athlete/Tatum)

Let's start with the bloodlines. Overstreet's father (Anthony) was a running back at Baylor, his uncle (David) was one of the state's top prep runner in history at Big Sandy, while his cousin (Stephen Hodge) was a recent standout at TCU. At 6-2, 205 pounds, Overstreet is an athlete that is still developing, but he projects as a possible big-time college safety because of his combination of size, athleticism, smarts and playmaking ability. For most of his prep career, Overstreet has focused his attention on the offensive side of the ball at quarterback there could be some schools that are attracted by his offensive playmaking skills because he's a smart player with a nice arm that can make plays with his feet. The bottom line with this kid is that with his combination of size/athleticism, it's a matter of getting him in the right spot and letting him take off from there. The raw tools are there for a pretty good player.

Player he reminds me of: Eric Foreman (TCU- 2003)

Current offers: Texas Tech

Current LSR Rating: 5.8

Previous ranking: 33

Highest ranking: 33 (1/12/11)

Debut ranking: 33 (1/13/11)

37. Kiante Griffin - (Wide receiver/Lewisville Hebron)

There were few players in the Metroplex that were as exciting as Griffin during his sophomore season in 2009 when he averaged almost 25 yards per catch and scored ten touchdowns for an area power, but a serious decline in numbers last year has created some questions about Griffin's true ranking as a prospect. At his best, Griffin is a sure-handed, physical receiver that brings a strong 6-0, 200-pound frame to the field. Although he's not a guy that is going to make a lot of guys miss, Griffin runs strong routes and when he hits his extra gear, he can cover a lot of ground quickly. More than anything, I'm a fan of his ball skills and strength as a receiver over the middle of the field. If he can restore the magic of his sophomore season on the field in 2011, he'll have a chance to move back up in the rankings.

Player he reminds me of:Antoine Hicks (TCU - 2008)

Current offers: None

Current LSR Rating: 5.8

Previous ranking: 46

Highest ranking: 21 (8/26/10)

Debut ranking: 26 (3/30/10)

36. Trey Keenan - (Offensive line/Argyle)

No position in football outside of quarterback has as much value as the left tackle position and because the great ones are so hard to find, any time you find a guy that possesses the required skill set to be an elite player, he's going to be worth his weight in gold. At 6-5, 265 pounds, Keenan has the goods. The development of his frame needs work, but this is a hard-playing, hard-charging kid that has tremendous feet and there are few players in the state at his position that excel as well he does at the second and third levels of the defense as a blocker. Although his level of competition is a question mark, there's no disputing that he dominates at that level like he should and he's a plus player in both phases of the game. Another thing that I like about his is his versatility. He could end up being a guy that can play all five positions if you asked him. He might need two or three years to develop physically, but he has the talent to be a high quality multi-year starter for a major program.

Player he reminds me of: Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M - 2010)

Current offers: Arizona, Arkansas, Baylor, Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State, Michigan , Purdue, Tennessee and Texas Tech

Current LSR Rating: 5.8

Previous ranking: 35

Highest ranking: 35 (1/12/11)

Debut ranking: 35 (1/13/11)

35. Mike Matthews - (Center/Fort Bend Elkins)

Is it me or do football-playing members of the Matthews clan seem to be popping up everywhere? It's like they are taking over the world and the next member of the family might be the best pure center prospect in the state. A bit undersized currently, there's a feeling that Matthews might not be done growing, but even if he doesn't grow another inch, he's a tremendous inside player that should be able to add the kind of mass needed to succeed at the next level. Even with a somewhat undersized frame, Matthews is a power player in the running game and he's ability to create movement off the ball separates him from his peers. In addition to being a very smart player, Matthews has a natural feel for the intricacies of the position.

Player he reminds me of: Ben Wilkerson (LSU- 2001)

Current offers: Arizona, LSU, Texas Tech and Texas A&M (committed)

Current LSR Rating: 5.8

Previous ranking: 21

Highest ranking: 21 (1/12/11)

Debut ranking: 37 (3/30/10)

34. Alex Norman - (Defensive tackle/Dallas Bishop Dunne)

At 6-4, 275 pounds, Norman plays the defensive tackle position like a cobra, as his ability to uncoil/strike out of his stance off the ball makes him an incredibly difficult player to control off the snap without a double-team. As far as quickness off the ball is concerned, Norman rates as high as anyone in the state. He also possesses the raw athleticism to make plays up and down the line of scrimmage, with his playmaking skills at the position ranking very strong nationally as well. Strength is still an issue and Norman will likely need some time to add some upper-body strength, but he seems comfortable playing as a three-technique or straight over the center, with his versatility registering as yet another positive. On top of physical skills, Norman is an extremely bright kid who possesses the kind of make-up you're looking for in a prospect. There have been a lot of private school players from the Metroplex that have fit Norman's physical profile over the years, but he's as good of a player as he is a prospect and that's uncommon. He was a relative unknown prior to his commitment to the Longhorns, but you're not going to find many interior line prospects on the defensive side of the ball that are better.

Player he reminds me of: Thomas Derricks (Northwestern -2000)

Current offers: Texas (committed)

Current LSR Rating: 5.8

Previous ranking: NR

Highest ranking: 34 (current)

Debut ranking: 34 (2/13/11)

33. Trevor Knight - (Quarterback/San Antonio Reagan)

Knight is an interesting guy because the physical tools appear to in place and there are times when he'll make the kind of highlight play that makes you think he's a big-time prospect, but his overall results as a quarterback on the field have been limited to date. After throwing for nine touchdowns and nine interceptions as a sophomore, Knight's improvement was marginal (11 touchdowns/eight interceptions) and his accuracy (49.6%) actually declined. Still, at 6-2, 190 pounds, Knight possesses an exciting skill set that makes you believe that he's simply going to be a late bloomer. At his best, he's a plus-athlete that brings playmaking skills as a runner to the field, while also possessing the ability to make the throws you need to make. Knight excels when he can adlib on the move, but he's going to need to learn how to better function inside the pocket at the next level and that might take some time. Overall, he's another guy that possesses all of the tools and just needs to put it all together. In the right system and with the right coaching staff, he has the ceiling to be a quality starter.

Player he reminds me of: Kirby Freeman(Miami - 2004)

Current offers: Baylor, Clemson, LSU, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas Tech and Texas A&M (committed)

Current LSR Rating: 5.8

Previous ranking: 29

Highest ranking: 19 (8/26/10)

Debut ranking: 19 (8/27/10)

32. Simon Goines - (Offensive tackle/Keller Central)

There's nothing flashy about Goines play on the field. At 6-7, 270 pounds, Goines is a strong tackle prospect that stands out because of his size and nastiness on the field. As a player in the running game, Goines loves to throw his body around and he's not looking to make any friends on the field and he doesn't seem to care if he makes any enemies. There are times when his technique gets a little sloppy, but he plays hard and he plays through the whistle, which is the kind of thing that you either have or don't have. It's my favorite part about Goines. With all of that size, he's only a solid athlete with good feet, which means that he might be able to play tackle down the road, but it almost certainly will be on the right side. As Goines continues to develop, he'll need to make sure that he doesn't add bad weight, but he's got such a tremendous frame and an appetite for physicality that he looks like the kind of player that could develop into a star in three or four years.

Player he reminds me of: Trent Williams (Oklahoma - 2008)

Current offers: Baylor, Houston, Kansas State, Missouri and North Texas

Current LSR Rating: 5.8

Previous ranking: 24

Highest ranking: 24 (1/12/11)

Debut ranking: 24 (1/13/11)

31. Kenneth Marshall - (Defensive back/South Houston)

In a day and age when everyone is looking for defensive backs with size, Marshall brings a legit 6-0, 190-pound frame to the table from the jump and a variety of skills that make him one of the top defensive backs in the state. Marshall is fairly fluid in his backpedal, and he does a good job in coverage, but he's probably most impressive in defending the run, which might mean that safety is his best long-term position and that's not a bad thing at all. He also brings excellent ball skills to the table and if the ball is in his neighborhood, there's a good chance that he'll come away with it. Again, it's his physicality that really stands out the most because of his willingness to strike anyone with the ball. If there's a question mark with Marshall, it's that he's a better player moving forward than backwards and there are some concerns about his ability to handle receivers in man coverage.

Player he reminds me of:Ben Wells (Texas - 2007)

Current offers: Houston, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M

Current LSR Rating: 5.8

Previous ranking: 25

Highest ranking: 25 (1/12/11)

Debut ranking: 60 (3/30/10)

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