Top classes by position: Offense

The class of 2013 is in the books. With the national letters of intent signed and faxed, and recruiting classes complete with the exception of a handful of prospects, I take a look at the top classes by position on offense.

Christian Hackenberg is the crown jewel of Penn State's 2013 class, but he's not the only talented quarterback heading to Happy Valley.


The pick here was fairly simple, Penn State. The Nittany Lions signed a pair of signal callers in the class, led by the top ranked high school quarterback in the class, the mobile and strong armed Christian Hackenberg (Fork Union, Va./Fork Union Military). While the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Hackenberg dominates the conversation at the position, the signing of four-star junior college signal caller Tyler Ferguson (Visalia, Calif./College of the Sequoias) is also of importance. Not only will the 6-foot-5, 210-pound Ferguson fight for the starting job staring this spring, but he will enable the Penn State staff to bring Hackenberg along at a slower pace.

Also considered – Texas A&M, LSU and Tennessee.

Running Back

This is simply an easy choice and a true embarrassment of riches, Alabama, Nick Saban and staff sign big time talent at the running back position annually, but the 2013 class is something to behold. The Crimson Tide not only inked three backs ranked among the nations best in Altee Tenpenny (North Little Rock, Ar./West), Tyren Jones (Marietta, Ga./Walton) and Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga.), but also the all-time leading rushed in high school football history in Derrick Henry (Yuless, Fla.). While Henry could line up at a number of positions in the future with taking handoffs being one of them, the trio of Tenpenny, Jones and Kamara are locked into the running back position.

The key to this class is versatility, and three backs that possess different strengths. The 5-foot-8.5, 203-pound Jones is one of the most instinctive and pure backs in the 2013 class featuring terrific feet, quickness and balance, while Tenpenny has the coaches dream running back body type along with natural strength, leg drive and sub 4.5-speed. In Kamara, Alabama is getting a back that can carry the ball, catch the ball as well as any in the class out of the backfield and could factor in the kickoff return game.

Also considered – Notre Dame, Michigan, Southern California, Florida and Nebraska.

Wide Receiver

The wide receiver position was a very tough call with Texas A&M receiving the nod. The Aggies signed five, and maybe six receivers, depending of the future position of five-star athlete Ricky Seals-Jones (Sealy, Texas). Leading the way for Kevin Sumlin and staff in the class is JaQuay Williams (Fork Union, Va./Fork Union Military Academy). The 6-foot-4, 204-pound fifth year prospect from Georgia is already on campus, will go through spring practice and is expected to make an instant impact. While Williams will be the first of the talented group to hit the field, wide receivers coach David Beaty set up the position for the future.
Sebastian LaRue (Santa Monica, Calif./Santa Monica) and Laquvionte Gonzalez (Cedar Hill, Texas) is a dangerous pair of slot prospects with explosive ability in the return game. LaRue is a tough, competitive advanced route runner with punt return skills, while Gonzalez is among the quickest prospects in the class with game changing kickoff return ability. Joining the talented duo is Top247 outside receiver Kyrion Parker (Manvel, Texas) and Jeremy Tabuyo (Honolulu, Hi./St. Louis).

The Aggies edged out Ohio State at the position. Urban Meyer and staff made an impressive late push, adding as much speed and playmaking as any program in the country. The trio of Jalin Marshall, Corey Smith (Scooba, Ms./East Mississippi C.C.) and James Clark (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.) is dynamic, and all-purpose back Donte Wilson (DeSoto, Texas) will likely line up in the slot or split out as much or more than he lines up in the backfield.

Also considered – Florida, LSU, Auburn, Baylor and Washington.

Tight End

The nod here goes to the Miami Hurricanes, who signed a pair of talented prospects. While there is not a flashy name among the duo, there is talent and versatility. Beau Sandland (Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce College) is the top ranked junior college tight end in the 2013 class with offers from coast-to-coast, while Standish Dobard (New Orleans, La./Edna Karr) was offered by the majority of the Southeast Region powers.

The duo will provide a nice blend of playmaking in the passing game, Sandland, and in-line blocking in the run game, Dobard. Along with being talented and versatile, both prospects are already on campus, will go through spring practice and will impact winning from day one next season.

Also considered – LSU, Alabama and Vanderbilt.

Offensive Line

The best class on the offensive line boiled down to the trio of Michigan, Notre Dame and Texas with the Longhorns getting the slight nod. While Texas didn’t ink the top five and 10 level class accustomed to seeing of the last decade, the offensive line haul is among the best in the Mack Brown era.

Texas received national letter of intent from five prospects on Wednesday led by the nations top junior college offensive tackle in Desmond Harrison (San Pablo, Calif./Contra Costa. The 6-foot-7, 305-pound late bloomer physically is a big time athlete on the edge, and is joined by the likes of Darius James (Killeen, Texas/Harker Heights), Kent Perkins (Richardson, Texas/Lake Highlands), Jake Raulerson (Celina, Texas) and Rami Hammad (Irving, Texas). The class features five prospects with versatility led by James, who could line up anywhere from right tackle to center at the next level. All four high school prospects were ranked in the Top247.

Notre Dame and Michigan also inked five line prospects in the class, and like Texas, the Fighting Irish signed five four-star prospects.

Also considered – LSU, Ole Miss and UCLA.

About 247Sports Recruiting: 247Sports has one of the industry’s largest and most recognized national recruiting staffs. Led by industry veterans JC Shurburtt (@jcshurburtt), Gerry Hamilton (@GerryHam247) and Jerry Meyer (@JerryMeyer247) (basketball), 247Sports employs a staff of more than 50 reporters, analysts and evaluators that rank the nation’s elite high school football and basketball recruits from multiple class years.

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  • Alabama and Nick Saban
    [edit]WSJ Medical Scholarship Concerns
    On September 24, 2010, the Wall Street Journal published an article suggesting the University of Alabama and its head coach, Nick Saban, had encouraging some under-performing players to quit the team for medical reasons in order to gain a competitive edge.
    Former Alabama linebacker Chuck Kirschman said "I'm still kind of bitter," and Coach Saban encouraged him to accept the scholarship because of a back problem that Kirschman believes he could have played through. Kirschman said the school offered in the summer of 2009 to pay for his graduate degree in business, an offer he accepted, and that he still gets some of the same perks as players. Kirschman completed his MBA in Finance.
    Charles Hoke, a former Alabama offensive lineman, took a medical scholarship in 2008 because of a shoulder problem, said the choice was left entirely up to him and was based on the many conversations he had with the team's doctors and trainers over the course of his junior year.
    Jeramie Griffin tore an anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in August 2009. He said, "I came back in the spring and I was OK." Griffin said that he was surprised football staff told him he had failed a physical. Griffin said, Saban asked him what he wanted to do besides playing football, and that Saban floated the possibility of a medical scholarship and asked if Griffin was interested in student coaching. Griffin said he doesn't contest the results of the physical and said it was "basically my decision" to forgo the rest of his playing career.
    Doug Walker, the school's associate athletic director for media relations, said "Decisions about medical disqualifications for student-athletes are made by medical professionals and adhere to the parameters outlined by the NCAA…and the Southeastern Conference."[20]
    On September 29, 2010 Coach Saban responded to questions about the Wall Street Journal Article, "We don't make the decision about medicals. I have nothing to do with that. Those are medical decisions made by our medical staff. I think we have one of the finest medical staffs in the country. I don't have any question about the fact every player we have given a medical to, it's been because of the medical opinion of the medical staff," Saban said. "Those guys should not continue to play football because it would put their future in tremendous risk. Those decisions are always made in the best interest of the player. Whether the player agrees with that or not, I can't control. I don't make the decision. They don't make the decision as players. That's why we have a medical staff."[21]
    [edit]WSJ Transfer Concerns
    On November 25, 2010, the Journal reported that several former Alabama players claim Saban and Alabama lied about their reasons for leaving the school.[3] On August 5, 2009, Saban made a statement in a press conference that included a reference to four players Price Hall, Brandon Fanney, Alonzo Lawrence and Jermaine Preyear. "These guys all did something. It doesn't make them bad people.…These guys didn't do what they were supposed to do here, whether it was for academic reasons or whatever. They're not going to be part of the program."[22] The players told The Wall Street Journal they committed no such violations and that Alabama and Saban had only claimed as much so as to protect the image of their program in the eyes of future recruits.
    Prince Hall, a starter and All-American as freshman, had been suspended for the 3rd time during the Spring according to published reports, the last being categorized as indefinite. Brandon Fanney, a 14 game starter from the previous season, had been suspended for rules violations during the Spring.[23]
    Preyear, who decided to transfer six months after enrolling during the Spring, said he chose to leave over concerns about playing time. "I don't know any rules I could have broken."
    Alonzo Lawrence reasons for transfer were unclear, but according to his high school coach his problems at Alabama "wasn't anything major," and tied it to things like being late to team meetings. Lawrence transferred to Southern Miss before moving on to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.[24][25]
    [edit]Saban's Exchange with another Reporter
    On April 15, 2008, Saban was asked by reporter Ian Rapoport how he was going to handle the numbers and when does he you start to worry about it? Saban replied "I'm not worried about them. It'll all work out. I mean, the whole thing has a solution to every issue. You don't put yourself in a position where you don't know what's coming." Rapoport respond, "So you're not going to tell us?" to which Saban replied "We know how it has to be managed, and it will be managed. It's none of your business. Aiight? And don't give me this stuff about the fans' need to know, because they don't need to know. Don't even ask. Aiight?"[26]
    In early 2011, after National Signing Day, Saban and the University of Alabama again became the subjects of heavy media criticism after they again appeared to have oversigned. When asked about the appearance of being oversigned during his Signing Day press conference, Saban gave a 431-word response[27] in which he denied being oversigned but refused to clarify the situation by explaining how many scholarship players departed the program after the 2010 season.[28] Further raising questions about Saban and Alabama, Birmingham News journalist Kevin Scarbinsky revealed a few days after Saban's press conference that in numerous requests by the newspaper for the scholarship numbers of public universities in Alabama, the University of Alabama has been the only one to completely redact the numbers for every sport in which it participates.[29]

    I would like to thank those young men who gave up their future so that Bama could win 3 out of 4 NCs. The severance packages were pretty good considering. The lone exception seems to be Kirschman who got greedy. That being said, Go SEC!

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    This post was edited by beardown2489 17 months ago

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