Getting a grasp this early on the 2010 class isn't an easy task. Unlike some of it's predecessors there is no Dre Kirpatrick (2009), Julio Jones (2008) or Andre Smith (2006) who were all bona fide five-star candidates heading into their junior year. Instead what you have is a class that heading into the start of their junior seasons was left with a lot of question marks.
But midway through the 2008 high school football season new targets have emerged and after countless hours of film study, in addition to attending numerous football games and practices, the BOL staff is ready to present the early bird's version of the 2010 BOL Baker's Dozen.
It should be noted that doing a list this early is always difficult with the likely possibility of new prospects emerging throughout this season and during the summer camps where unknowns are often found. Look for the ranking to change in the future.
The Player: After not showing much last year as a sophomore Richardson has wasted little time as a junior proving he belongs among the elite in-state prospects for the 2010 class. To say he has been unstoppable so far this year might sound but brazen but it's also true. Averaging over 150 yards receiving a contest, Richardson also returns punts and kickoffs and usually returns them for touchdowns. His high school offense consists of mostly fly patterns and bubble screens but that is all that is needed. Physically he has the size, speed and vertical to beat any corner. Add in the fact he has enough wiggle to take that bubble screen 80 yards at any given moment and it's easy to say the sky's the limit.
The Skinny: Richardson picked up his first offer on Thursday from Alabama and that expects to be the first of many more to come for the elite athlete. Both in-state schools are likely to make a push with Richardson growing up a Tiger fan. LSU is another showing interest and it would be surprising if his offer list didn't reach double digits.
The Player: Once again Mobile is paving the way for the state's best recruits. Williams joins D.J. Fluker (2009) and Julio Jones (2008) as other elite prospects from the bay city. Williams first emerged at the Hoover 7 on 7 in the summer of his sophomore year. He quickly followed up with a strong showing in pads while showcasing a head hunter's mentality to go with an impressive physique. His junior campaign has been much of the same with Williams anchoring the Blount secondary and showing strong run support.
The Skinny: Williams picked up early offers from in-state rivals Alabama and Auburn. To date those are his only two offers but that will change quickly throughout the year. Alabama seems to have made a good early impression with the Mobile native camping at Alabama this past summer, but don't expect Auburn to go away easily. Look for national powers like Florida and LSU to also show interest.
The Player: Milliner is a legend in the Montgomery area after starting as a sophomore and continuing to improve through his junior season. He's one of those guys who is an athlete playing in the secondary which is what college coaches are looking for from future defensive backs. He's likely going to project as a corner with the speed and quickness to play the position. The biggest question will be his hips which are rarely tested on the high school level. His size and physical attributes make him unique and he's the "star stopper" in the secondary college coaches covet. Also a return specialist and spot duty player on offense, Milliner can take it the distance any time he touches the ball.
The Skinny: This summer he camped at Alabama and apparently played well enough that the Tide staff has kept a close eye on him this year. Auburn isn't far from home and the two in-state schools are showing the most interest at this point. It will be interesting to see how he performs this summer at camps and the reaction he gets from colleges because he has all the tools.
The Player: There aren't many better early offer lists than that of Sanders who opened his mailbox to find Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Stanford written offers in early October. Those were his first four but they certainly won't be his last and his offer list is expected to reach well into the twenties when all is said and done. College coaches love the hard nose, bring your lunch pail attitude that Sanders possesses. He's also a weight room warrior and good athlete. A cerebral player, Sanders is tough to stop because he's quick off the ball, plays sideline to sideline and just as importantly understands the game.
The Skinny: Sanders, as anyone who reads the internet can tell you, grew up a Florida fan and the Gators are certainly in the mix. Alabama was in with an offer early and currently he lists the two SEC powers as co-leaders for his signature. Some academic schools could get a look along with Auburn and LSU but it appears the Tide and Gators will battle it out for his services.
The Player: Howard is perhaps the most intriguing player on this list with his junior year being held in check for the most part because of a high ankle sprain and two senior backs who he rotates with. His numbers might not be overwhelming at this point but his skills are. In fact, Howard has a chance to be the best running back the state has produced since All-American Carnell Williams. With excellent upper body strength it's hard to bring Howard down if you tackle him high, but if you try to hit him low he has great footwork and can elude you. In the open field he has an extra gear and nobody is going to run him down from behind.
The Skinny: Much like Richardson, Howard has also flown under the radar up to this point but that shouldn't be the case much longer. Alabama has shown a lot of interest and he visited Tuscaloosa for the Kentucky game. Auburn has also been mentioned and Clemson is another school that has asked for tape. He needs a healthy second half of the year and the colleges will follow.
The Player: Colleges coaches are always looking for lightning in a bottle, the athlete who can change the course of the game with one touch. Patton is that kind of player. On the smallish side but blessed with good speed, quickness and elusiveness he's one of those guys that can take a short pass and make big things happen or simply outrun a defensive back for the long ball. Like most athletes of his caliber Patton is also a return specialist and it's not surprising to know he's hard to tackle in the open field. He will end up a slot receiver on the next level but he also has the characteristics of a possible cornerback.
The Skinny: Patton grew up an Auburn fan and the Tigers with the spread offense would seem to be a good fit. However, Alabama was first on the board with an extended offer and he is listing those two schools as co-leaders for his signature with Clemson also recently joining the mix with an offer. The battle for his signature will likely come from within the state.
The Player: Long, rangy linebackers who can run are always in demand and Moseley is receiving interest for that role on the next level. Like many young linebackers he will need to get bigger and stronger but he has a solid frame that should allow him to carry more weight without losing speed. Currently he is more of a finesse player preferring to run around a block instead of through it but he has the speed to do that on the high school level. Likely to play on the outside, Moseley is a good athlete who needs to be more physical but he's shown early promise since becoming a starter as a sophomore.
The Skinny: Auburn is on the verge of an offer with Alabama showing interest. Early on Moseley talked up Auburn because of their need at linebacker but the Tide should be a player as well if they show a strong interest. LSU and the Mississippi schools are interested.
The Player: While his teammate Jamontay Pilson gets most of the attention, many around the Greenville program believe that Carter will end up the better prospect. A likely three year starter, Carter has benefited from playing with Pilson who early in his career drew the bulk of double teams but that is no longer the case with Carter emerging as a top college prospect in his own right. Still learning to play hard from snap to whistle Carter has a raw natural strength that allows him to never be moved off the line which causes a major uproar in the middle. He has the frame to add weight which would allow him to move over to the offensive line if speed is an issue.
The Skinny: Pilson at Auburn and the Tigers' early offer give them an inside edge but Alabama had him in camp where he returned with a good review but no Tide offer. He's likely to stay in-state.
The Player: With a brother who is a former five-star recruit, the temptation to make comparisons might be there but they quickly stop when you watch Wilson play. For one the younger Love brother displays something his other sibling never did - a mean streak. Wilson on the defensive line has a simple game plan - when the ball is snapped he will move you out of his way and then get to the ball. Strength is not an issue and neither is effort. With a frame to carry more weight Love could easily project at defensive tackle or offensive guard on the collegiate level but in the right system he could be a run stopping defensive end. Physically he is close to college ready and he has improved from the start of his junior season to the midway point.
The Skinny: Wilson has well known family connections to Alabama and the Tide staff is keeping a close watch on him. If Nick Saban offers Alabama will be tough to beat. Georgia, Auburn and Florida also could factor in.
The Player: Chitty is another interesting prospect who could rise higher in the rankings or drop depending on his film, which there isn't any of at this point. But what is clear after watching him at underclassmen camps this summer is that he's a terrific athlete. At sophomore camps in Birmingham, Chitty was easily one of the top athletes there. On the quarterback front he looks raw but has a big arm but if things don't work out under center for him he could move to another position and that is what makes him so intriguing. There are a lot of options with him because of that ability to project at numerous positions.
The Skinny: Chitty committed to Auburn after an unofficial visit to the Plains. He was recruited as a quarterback. Alabama extended a verbal offer after he camped in Tuscaloosa without following up with a written offer but the Tide staff will likely stay in touch. Duke and Nebraska also extended early offers.
The Player: Henderson high school has had more than its share of hard-nosed defensive recruits over the years and White is the next in line. But the word about White has been coming out since he turned into a defensive star as a sophomore, taking over the leadership role. White, while not ideally sized, has a tendency for flying around the ball and always being in the right spot. A big hitter, he gets to the ball carrier in a hurry and loves to lay the lumber. Also very compact and strong he doesn't mind sticking his face
mask in a runner's chest. He could project at safety as well, at least in a run support role. Strong player.
The Skinny: In the right system he could be a star but in the wrong system his road could be much tougher. Fortunately for White he picked up an early Auburn offer and he's likely headed to the plain where the Tigers have used several prospects like him with great success over the last decade.
The Player: As the clich� says the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree and that seems to be the case with Humphrey who's dad Bobby was an All American at Alabama and NFL player. The younger Humphrey though is a taller and rangier athlete and a wide receiver to boot. So far this year, Humphrey has been a staple for the Bucs offense and he's recorded several big games. Despite still having to fill out he shows no fear going across the middle and the ability to simply go up and over a defensive back for the catch. He has the frame to carry more weight and his best football is ahead of him.
Where: With Hoover only 45 minutes from Tuscaloosa, Alabama is always in good shape with a Buccaneer prospect. Coupled with the family connection and Alabama could prove tough to beat if Nick Saban and staff offer. Auburn, Tennessee and LSU have shown interest.
The Player: James was a big part of a Williamson defense last fall that pushed the Mobile athlete factory to an appearance in the Class 5A semifinals. James may grow into a defensive lineman before all is said and done with a build very similar to teammate and Auburn commit Terrance Coleman. At linebacker, James is limited athletically, but between the tackles, he is a run-plugging beast. He's powerful and intelligent understanding his strengths and using them to his advantage. Right now, James remains at middle linebacker for Williamson and has had a very strong start to his junior season.
The Skinny: James already has early offers from Auburn and Clemson with more sure to follow. Williamson has been kind to Auburn in recruiting in recent years so the Tigers may have an early leg-up on the competition. Alabama has also shown interest along with several other Southern powers.