Tuesday, 247Sports revealed Arik Armstead as the top rated player in America for the class of 2012. Along with Armstead, 20 other five-star prospects were released. Within that 21-prospect sample size, some characteristics have already emerged for this year’s class.
Detroit Cass Tech defensive back Terry Richardson has an MSU offer and landed at No. 31 on The247 for 2012
Arik Armstead leads the way in our initial ranking of the 2012 class.
1. This is the year of the offensive tackle, particularly on the West Coast.
2. Quarterbacks are back. After several consecutive mediocre quarterback classes, there are suddenly some franchise quarterbacks in the class of 2012 that can transform a program.
3. There is tremendous geographic balance in this class. With five-stars from Rochester, N.Y., Springfield, Mo., and Edgewood, Ky., among others, the big names this year are not just emerging from the big-name locales.
With the release of the full 247Sports Top247, those trends continue.
There is a stockpile of offensive linemen, even beyond the five-star group. Some of the closest prospects to five-star status include big bodies such as Wisconsin commit Dan Voltz of Barrington, Ill.
Jessamen Dunker, a physically gifted tackle committed to Florida, could be in position to earn a five-star ranking as well. Dunker is currently the No. 25 prospect in the country.
Five-stars Arik Armstead, Andrus Peat and Kyle Murphy are joined in the Top247 by other western line prospects such as Joshua Garnett (Puyallap, Was./No. 40), Ronnie Stanley (Las Vegas, Nev./No. 62), Jordan Simmons (Encino, Calif./No. 70) and Erik Magnuson (Carisbad, Calif./No. 85).
The quarterbacks continue to show up as highly rated as well. Texas commit Connor Brewer out of Scottsdale, Ariz., checks into the Top247 as the nation’s No. 56 prospect. Chad Kelly, the nephew of Buffalo Bills great Jim Kelly, lands at the No. 79 spot after a season in which he rushed for more than 1,000 yards and threw for more than 2,000 yards.
Geographically, three New Yorkers are in the top 100 (DT Jarron Jones, CB Wayne Morgan and Kelly) and four Top247 members from Massachusetts (CB Armani Reeves, LB Camren Williams, DT Canaan Severin and LB Abner Logan) continue to prove that elite players can come from any area.
The second tier is strong
It’s a futile exercise to argue that any state other than California, Florida or Texas is the best when it comes to football talent. Once again the big three are well represented in the Top247 with 31, 31 and 30 prospects respectively, on the list.
This year, second tier states like Ohio and Georgia are particularly strong - though neither state has a five-star representative yet.
Georgia is led by DE Jordan Jenkins at No. 27 nationally and CB Geno Smith at No. 29 nationally. Six other Georgians join Jenkins and Smith in the Top100 and a total of 16 Georgians are represented in the Top247.
Not far behind, 14 Top247 members hail from Ohio. That group is led by one of the most intriguing prospects in the nation in Ifeadi Odenigbo, a defensive end out of Dayton. Odenigbo had never played football until his sophomore year, but you’d never tell by watching highlights of his 10.5-sack junior season. The sky is the limit for this unique 6-4 athlete.
Odenigbo isn’t the only elite lineman coming out of Ohio. Chris Wormley has a strong case for the top spot in the state and he checks in at No. 57, 20 spots behind Odenigbo.
Fast out of the gates
It’s only April, but there are a handful of programs that have jumped out to impressive starts on the recruiting trail.
Texas is always one of those schools, though by Texas standards the Longhorns may be a bit behind where they usually are - at least from a numbers standpoint.
Of its 15 early commitments, eight of them are in the Top247. Malcom Brown out of Brenham, Texas, tops the lists of Longhorn commits at No. 26. Other notables include Thomas Johnson out of Dallas Skyline at No. 54 and wide receiver Cayleb Jones at No. 93.
Alabama has a strong representation as well. To date, the Crimson Tide have landed 10 verbal commitments and six of them found their way into the Top247. That group is led by five-star Eddie Williams and a Nick Saban prototype at linebacker in Reggie Ragland at No. 47.
From a percentage standpoint, Florida State has a very strong representation. Of FSU's seven commitments, six are in the Top247.
Across the state, six of Will Muschamp’s first nine commitments at Florida are represented.
Ohio State also lands four of its five commitments in the Top247, led by offensive tackle Kyle Kalis at No. 52.