When looking at the ratings for the Class of 2012, it's important to have some perspective on not just where the current rankings are, but where they are going.
Currently, Scout has just over 500 players rated for 2012. The player ratings break down like this:
Class of 2012 Prospects
Over the course of the next year those numbers will expand to 50 5-Star, 250 4-Star, and 1,000 3-Star out of the nearly 2,500 players that will sign Division 1 scholarships in February of 2012.
A player currently rated 3-Stars or better on Scout are among the top prospects in the Class of 2012.
The South is Scout's largest region for producing D1 signees, with over 1/3 of all college players coming from the nine states that comprise the South. Regional Manager Chad Simmons has a difficult task ranking so many players, and he doesn't see the top of the rankings as cut and dry as it was for 2011.
"For me there is not a clear cut number one guy in the South," said Simmons "Jadeveon Clowney and Tim Jernigan were an easy one, two for me in 2011, but it is fully up for grabs in 2012. Offensive tackle John Theus (6-6/290) of Jacksonville, Fla., running back Keith Marshall (5-11/180) of Raleigh, N.C. and linebacker Kwon Alexander (6-2/210) of Oxford, Ala., are three that I have already tabbed as five-star prospects, but there are many more behind that trio that will be fighting for that top spot early next year."
With Florida signing over 300 players each year, there is always a depth of talent in the Sunshine State, but Simmons sees depth in other places as well.
"The state of Alabama looks to be very deep in 2011. One prospect already has five stars and four others have been given four stars. Another 17 have been given three stars and this looks like a strong year there, especially on the defensive side of the ball. A lot of good prospects on all three levels of defense.
The state of Florida is loaded again with skill guys. Four wide receivers are
already listed in the Scout100 and there are many behind those that hold
numerous BCS offers. LSU commitment Avery Johnson (6-2/185) of Pompano Beach, is
one of those along with Ricardo Louis (6-2/200) of Miami Beach, Chris Black
(5-11/160) of Jacksonville , and Angelo Jean-Louis (6-0/185) of Wellington.
There is not a clear cut number one guy at this position in 2010 like Sammy Watkins is in 2011, so it will be a race to the finish at wideout.
On the other side of the ball at defensive back, safety is the strongest position with guys like Nelson Agholor (6-1/175) of Tampa, Eddie Williams (6-4/205) of Panama City, and Travis Blanks (6-1/180) of Tallahassee leading the way, but corner is strong too with Brian Poole (5-11/185) of Bradenton, Tracy Howard (6-0/185) of Miramar, and A.J. Leggett (5-11/175) of Miramar on top.
The quarterback position is solid, but it does not appear to be overly strong in 2012. Jameis Winston (6-4/190) of Hueytown, Ala. and Greyson Lambert (6-5/185) of Jesup, Ga. will be two highly touted signal callers, but the overall depth does not appear to be strong. It would be one of the weaker positions in the South, if not the weakest."
Out West, Regional Manager Brandon Huffman struggled to find linemen for the Class of 2011; maybe that's because they all seem to be in the Class of 2012.
"Lineman and receivers are the story," said Huffman. "Not just at the high end talent, but the depth of the talent. For the Class of 2011, it was not a great year for receivers, and outside of Arizona, it's one of the worst years for offensive linemen in a long time. All changes in 2012's class. The high-end receivers like Jordan Payton (6-2/190) of Westlake Village, Calif., Davonte Neal (5-9/175) of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Bryce Treggs (5-11/175) of Bellflower, Calif. are just the tip of the skill depth.
Then on the lines there are several players that could push for the top spot in the country at their respective positions. Arik Armstead(6-8/275) of Elk Grove, Calif. and Andrus Peat (6-6/280) of Tempe, Ariz. are the headliners, but throw in guys like Josh Garnett (6-5/275) and Zach Banner
In a role reversal, the Midwest is typically the land of the linemen with the passers out West, but the quarterbacks are standing up and making a statement this year according to Midwest Manager Allen Trieu.
"The Midwest has been somewhat weak on quarterbacks the last few years with the exception of a few standouts," said Trieu. "I think in 2012, we finally get some depth. There isn't a five-star candidate in my mind right now, but Robert Gregory (6-3/180) of Chicago, Ill., Maty Mauk (6-2/190) of Kenton, Ohio, Wes Lunt (6-3/180) of Rochester, Ill., and Brian Blackburn (6-5/210) of Detroit, Mich. are all guys who should end up playing at the BCS level along with our previous four-stars Gunner Kiel (6-4/215) of Columbus, Ind. and Zeke Pike (6-5/225) of Ft. Mitchell, Ky.
Not all of them have offers yet, but we expect that to change. The interesting thing about those guys is, they all play in a spread. It's getting harder and harder to find quarterbacks that run a pro style offense in high school."
The state of Missouri has moved to the Midland region for Scout, and according to manager Greg Powers, it's a good year to pick up the Show Me State.
"After only having one player ranked amongst the Scout 300 for the Class of 2011, the state of Missouri is absolutely stacked with top-end talent in the Class of 2012," said Powers. "Leading the charge is Dorial Green-Beckham, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound 5-star wide receiver from Hillcrest High in
The state will also produce two certain Scout 300 members in Durron Neal, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound talented wide out from DeSmet High in St. Louis and Evan Boehm, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound offensive lineman from West High in Lee's Summit. Neal has good size and hands and also has the ability to score from any spot on the field. People are already comparing him to Jeremy Maclin. Boehm is a mauler who plays tackle in high school, but will likely end up playing center in college. He has a low center of gravity, good technique and is super strong."
Looking for running backs? East Manager Bob Lichtenfels says it's in his region where recruiters will find a dearth of them.
"In the East Region, there is depth at every position across the board, but what really stands out to me is the talent at the running back position," said Lichtenfels. "Not only are there some talented players, but I'm talking game changing type guys. Players like Rushel Shell (5-11/220) of Hopewell, Pa., Wesley Brown (6-0/190) of Olney, Md., Ronald Darby (5-11/170) of Oxon Hill, Md., Drew Harris (6-2/195) of Exton, Pa., and Greg Garmon (6-2/200) of Erie, Pa., are all players who can be the franchise type running back that schools are yearning for.
The one position that could sneak up on some people and produce some very good college players is wide receiver Leonte Caroo (6-2/180) of Ramsey, N.J., Stefon Diggs (6-0/185) of Olney, Md., Eugene Lewis (6-2/190) of Plymouth, Pa., Wayne Capers Jr. (6-1/175) of Bridgeville, Pa., and Deontay McManus (6-0/209) of Baltimore, Pa., are all top flight guys. There are several more that could rise into that upper echelon. From top to bottom this just seems to have the makings of an outstanding class.
Other changes for the Class of 2012 includes a realignment of territories. With the University of Colorado heading to the Pac-10, the state of Colorado along with New Mexico, Montana, and Wyoming are part of the West Region for Scout. While the Midland Region loses four states, it also picks up Missouri.