Comparing high school kids to NFL stars isn't always fair, but it's
certainly fun. Nobody can do it with more expertise than MaxPreps/CBS
recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, who has been grading high school talent
for more than 30 years.
When asked to compare his top
10-ranked high school players
to an NFL player, Lemming listed the following:
No. 1 WR Dorial Green-Beckham (Hillcrest, Springfield, Mo.)
– Randy Moss.
No. 2 QB Gunner Kiel (Columbus East, Ind.)
– Matt Stafford.
No. 3 WR Cayleb Jones (Austin, Texas)
– Michael Irvin.
No. 4 TE/DE Noah Spence (Bishop McDevitt, Harrisburg, Pa.)
– LaVar Arrington.
No. 5 DE Mario Edwards (Ryan, Denton, Texas)
– Lamar Woodley.
No. 6 OL
John Theus (Bolles, Jacksonville, Fla.)
– Joe Thomas.
No. 7 TE/DT Ellis McCarthy (Monrovia, Calif.)
– Vince Wilfork.
No. 8 RB Jonathan Gray (Aledo, Texas)
– Willis McGahee.
No. 9 DB Landon Collins (Dutchtown, Geismar, La.)
– Taylor Mays.
No. 10 RB Barry Sanders (Heritage Hall, Oklahoma City)
– Barry Sanders Sr. PREP SCHOOL PROPS:
One year of prep school can make a huge difference in the careers of athletes who want to play college football at a higher level, according to Lemming.
Lemming noted that Cody Keith was a fifth-year senior quarterback last season at
Cheshire Academy (Cheshire, Conn.)
where he passed for 3,840 yards and 39 touchdowns, with a state-record 637 yards in one game. That sterling year earned him a scholarship to a Division I school, East Carolina.
He expects an extra year this fall at Cheshire Academy to do the same for another quarterback, Michael Villapiano
Michael is the son of Phil Villapiano, who was a standout linebacker on the Oakland Raiders' Super Bowl XI championship team and also played in four Pro Bowls.
"He has a good arm and a lot of people were impressed with him this summer," Lemming said of Michael Villapiano. "He's big and an all-around athlete who needed to be polished. I think he's ready now. He's got all the tools. He just has to prove himself. I think it's a smart move for a kid who has talent but no Division I offers."
Both father and son will be guests on the MaxPreps/Lemming Report Friday at 7 p.m. (EST) on the CBS Sports Network. Lemming also will show video and discuss this year's top 10 high school linebackers. OFFICIAL VISITS AND BIG GAMES:
How important is a high school player's official visit at a university?
"It's not quite as important as it used to be," Lemming said. "A lot of times a kid commits before he visits. About 70 percent. However, if he doesn't have a good time, things could change.
"Big games are important, because there is electricity in the air. Kids get caught up in the excitement. A lot of times kids who didn't intend to commit right away, do commit right away. Sometimes they switch later, anyway – it's a chess game. Some kids make two or three different commitments. Recruiting is a 365-days-a-year process and you've got to stay on top."
Lemming believes that the schools with the longest winning tradition would not be hurt as badly by a loss on a big recruiting weekend as a rising program which is trying to strengthen its recruiting base.
A couple of games which could sway recruits this weekend match Nebraska against Wisconsin and Florida against Alabama.
Some major recruits will be present Oct. 22 when USC travels to Notre Dame.
One of those recruits is Theus, a 6-foot-6, 301-pound senior. Lemming has him ranked as the nation's No. 1 offensive tackle.
He told the South Bend Tribune, "I'm 100 percent committed to Georgia."
So why go to South Bend for the USC-Notre Dame game?
"In case something does happen to Georgia, I know what I want to do," he said.