Scout Prospect Rankings
The Class of 2012 is shaping up to be the year of the big man. It's an
incredibly deep year at the offensive tackle position including the No. 1
prospect in the country. Ironically, there was a debate as to if he was even the
best offensive tackle in his own region let alone the top prospect in the
The skill players usually get the headlines, while the offensive tackle position
ends up being the second highest paid player in the NFL. For the Class of 2012
though, it's the big man that makes headlines. An incredible three out of the
top four prospects on Scout.com are offensive tackles.
That's not to say there aren't skill players to celebrate around the country.
The Class of 2012 has the best receiver prospect since the heralded Class of
2008 that included A.J. Green and Julio Jones among others as well as explosive
running backs and hard hitting safeties.
But it's the big men that take center stage early on this year including Scout's
No. 1 overall Arik Armstead (6-8/275) of Ek Grove, Calif. While Armstead is No.
1 in the country, he had strong competition in his own region according to West
Regional Manager Brandon Huffman.
"It wasn't the runaway like DeAnthony Thomas last year or Matt Barkely in
2009," said Huffman, "but this was more along the lines of Ronald Powell/Robert Woods in that it literally could have gone either way. Ultimately
the choice for number one in the West was Armstead over Tempe (Ariz.) Corona del
Sol offensive tackle Andrus Peat (6-7/280). The younger brothers of a pair of
four-star defensive tackles in Scout 300's of the
past, the younger brothers are the best 1-2 punch of offensive tackles
out West, quite possibly, ever."
Armstead is a two sport star who also stars on both sides of the ball. He's good
enough to play college basketball, offensive or defensive lines.
"What clinched it for Armstead is the superior athleticism he has
compared to Peat. Peat is slightly bigger, while Armstead is a more agile. Both
have tremendous strength and quickness off the ball, both excel in pass pro and
in run blocking, but the quickness and mobility Armstead has eventually moved
him in to the front."
It's not just about the tackles as the nation's No. 1 safety resides in the
Golden State as well.
"Armstead and Peat were really the main candidates for the top prospect
in the region, Shaquille Thompson (6-1/195), the five-star safety from
Sacramento Grant is the top skill prospect in the West, but in a year of elite
lineman throughout the region, Armstead and Peat are clearly the class of the
Armstead and Peat are at the top of the class in the West, but they're not
"The common theme is just how strong the West is in in the
trenches," continued Huffman. "Nine of the top 10 players in the
region are either offensive lineman or defensive lineman. Any other year,
players like San Clemente (Calif.) offensive tackle Kyle Murphy (6-7/268),
Puyallup (Wash.) guard Joshua Garnett (6-5/275) or Encino (Calif.) Crespi
offensive guard Jordan Simmons (6-5/330) would be the top lineman, such as in
last year's class. But this year they merely round out a stellar list.
Defensively, Aziz Shittu (6-3/275) from Atwater (Calif.) Buhach Colony and Ellis McCarthy (6-5/295) from Monrovia (Calif.), stand out as top 10 prospects, both
at the defensive tackle position."
While Armstead currently has a grip on the No. 1 position, he not only faced
intense competition from his own region, but he got a strong challenge from the
best receiver prospect since the Class of 2008.
"Dorial Green-Beckham (6-6/220) looks like an NFL player right now,"
said Midland Regional Manager Greg Powers. "He is big, strong, fast and has
the ability to go up and snag the deep ball out of the air at the highest point,
creating mismatches that seem unfair in high school. Guess what? There
too many college defenders able to lock him down either."
The Midland Region seems to be the only one not loaded with big men in the
trenches, but the state of Texas boasts a pair of players who will challenge and
benefit the nation's best offensive lines.
"Defensive end Mario Edwards (6-4/26) of Denton Ryan and running back
Johnathan Gray (5-11/195) of Aledo were the two players pushing Green-Beckham
for the top spot in the Midlands. Edwards is a well-schooled and aggressive
defender who excels in stopping the run, and Gray is a home-run hitting runner
who puts his foot in the ground and gets the ball upfield in a hurry. Both are
excellent players, but just a half-step below the aforementioned stud
receiver." said Powers.
While the offensive tackles top many lists around the country, the interior
linemen fittingly are in the middle of the country.
"There are definitely some talented players at the tackle spots in the
Midlands, but there a large amount of talented interior linemen as well.
The Midlands boasts the top two centers in the country in Evan Boehm (6-3/290)
of Lee's Summit, Mo. and John McGee (6-3/275) of Texarkana, Texas, and there are
six offensive guards in the Scout300 after only one made that list a year
While the East produces the smallest amount of Division 1 Signees among the
Scout Regions, the players at the top of the list are extremely talented. five
of Scout's Top 16 prospects reside in the East, including the Nation's No. 1
"The top ranked player in the East Region is Harrisburg, Pa. defensive end
Noah Spence (6-4/240)," said East Regional Manager Bob Lichtenfels.
"The rush end has recorded more than 40 sacks in three seasons as a starter
and he is good at getting after the quarterback as anyone in the country. Spence
is consistent and very athletic."
The state of Pennsylvania also has a running back that reminds Lichtenfels of
another Northern back who made headlines recently.
"One player who was considered for the top spot in the East was Hopewell,
Pa. running back Rushel Shell (5-11/215). Shell reminds us a lot of former
Heisman winner Mark Ingram. He plays on a team with limited talent and everyone
in the stadium knows he is getting the ball, but Shell still posts staggering
The run on offensive tackles may have taken a break in the East and the
Midlands, but it picks right back up as we move South.
"John Theus (6-6/292) of Jacksonville, Fla. was the top prospect in the
South because he is the total package," said South Regional Manager Chad
Sommons. I have been watching him closely for two plus years and he was good in
2009 and he is great in 2011. He is up to 6-foot-6 and 292 pounds and he has
everything together on and off the field. He comes from a great program in
Bolles (Jacksonville, Fla.), so he is being well coached.
He has the size that
you look for, he has the attitude that you love to see in an offensive lineman,
he is a very intelligent player that understands the game, he has great feet,
and he is someone I say confidently that we will all be watching play on
Sundays. He is just a special player in a very strong region that makes a very
strong case for the overall number one spot."
Theus was pushed for the top spot by a player he could end up paving the way for
on the next level.
"It came down to Theus and running back Keith Marshall (5-11/190) with
defensive tackle Quay Evans (6-3/300) not too far behind. There are just no real
questions or concerns about Theus and while Marshall and Evans are not too far
behind, Theus is the clear number one guy at this time."
Like many of the managers, Simmons is in awe of the talent in the trenches this
"Offensive tackle is a very strong position in the South this year like
it is across the entire country. It is crazy this year at that position. The
state of Florida is known for speed and guys at the skill positions, but my top
three prospects in that state right now all play offensive tackle. Four
offensive tackles in the South are five-star prospects and six of the offensive
tackles in this Region were named in the top 74 prospects in the country. It is
a very strong year at tackle in the South and it is good at the top and with
good depth as well."
While the Midwest lacks some of the talent at the top of the list that we're
accustomed to seeing, there is a lot of depth just below the Top 15 list
including five prospects in the next 15 such as Scout's No. 1 quarterback Gunner Kiel (6-4/215) of Columbus, Ind.
The Midwest boasts two of the nation's best quarterbacks in Kiel and Zeke Pike
(6-6/225) of Fort Mitchell, Ky. Kiel and Mitchell are similar passers with
excellent frames and big arms, but Kiel has been a little more consistent to
this point of his career and got the nod heading into the spring and summer
Adolphus Washington (6-6/240) of Cincinnati, Ohio is a defensive end that drew
consideration for the top spot at his position, and athletically, he may still
be the best in the country. He is a player to keep an eye on to keep pushing his
way higher as he develops as a senior.
Scout currently has roughly 550 players ranked as we're in the heart of the
Spring Evaluation Period, and we will continue to update the rankings as we go
through the rest of the evaluation period, the summer camp season, senior years,
all-star games and more as we countdown to signing day in February of 2012.