In most football seasons, the country’s best high school football player and the nation’s top recruit are different players.
Some highly touted recruits underachieve while the most dominant high school players can often lack that extra inch or two that would make them the apple of college coaches’ eyes.
In 2011, the top junior recruit and the top player on Friday nights was the same person: Robert Nkemdiche.
The 6-foot-5, 270-pound defensive end/running back dominated on both sides of the football, leading Grayson to an undefeated, AAAAA title-winning season and earning U.S. Air Force National Junior of the Year honors.
With 18 sacks and 17 hurries, Nkemdiche was completely disruptive on defense. Offensively, he scored 17 touchdowns and was the team’s go-to running back in short-yardage situations.
Nkemdiche leads a U.S. Air Force Junior All-American Team that is loaded with the nation’s most-accomplished eleventh graders.FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
James Quick, WR, 6-1, 190, Trinity (Louisville, Ky.)
Quick led one of the nation’s most dominant offenses, catching 82 passes for 1,434 yards and 21 scores to lead Trinity to the No. 2 spot in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Football Rankings presented by the Army National Guard
.Laquon Treadwell, WR, 6-2, 185, Crete-Monee (Crete, Ill.)
The Northwest Indiana Times Illinois Offensive Player of the Year
, Treadwell exploded as a junior, racking up 75 catches for 1,391 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also recorded eight sacks.Jake Oliver, WR, 6-4, 194, Dallas JesuitAfter an all-state season as a sophomore
, Oliver did not disappoint. He hauled in 108 passes for 1,637 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Adam Breneman, TE, 6-5, 225, Cedar Cliff (Camp Hill, Pa.)A Class AAAA all-state pick in Pennsylvania
, Breneman made 72 catches for 1,120 yards and 12 scores.Darius James, OL, 6-4, 295, Harker Heights (Texas)
With 70 pancakes and 67 knockdowns, James earned 5A all-state honors
.Austin Golson, OL, 6-6, 275, Prattville (Ala.), Florida State
Already committed to Florida State, Golson was a 6A all-state pick
for state champion Prattville.Chris Fox, OL, 6-6, 300, Ponderosa (Parker, Colo.)Fox was an All-Colorado selection by the Denver Post
and projects to be a top recruit next season.Steven Elmer, OL, 6-6, 305, Midland (Mich.), Notre DameA Detroit Free Press Dream Team selection
, Elmer had a fine season and is already committed to Notre Dame.Laremy Tunsil, OL, 6-5, 280, Columbia (Lake City, Fla.)Tunsil was an all-area pick
after registering 100 pancakes.Max Browne, QB, 6-5, 210, Skyline (Sammamish, Wash.)
Playing for one of the top programs in the Northwest, Browne did not miss a beat
from his prodigious sophomore season
. He completed 288 of 409 passes for 4,034 yards and 45 scores.Jarrett Solomon, QB, 6-0, 193, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)Solomon was the leader of a potent Bishop Gorman offense
. He threw for 2,744 yards and 41 touchdowns.
Ty Isaac, RB, 6-2, 190, Joliet Catholic Academy (Ill.)The Sun-Times Player of the Year
, Isaac was nearly unstoppable, gaining 2,114 yards and 45 touchdowns.
Derrick Henry, RB, 6-4, 220, Yulee (Fla.), Georgia
Already committed to Georgia, Henry continues to dominate the high school ranks. He was an all-First Coast pick
after rushing for 2,610 yards and 33 scores, one year after winning National Sophomore of the Year honors from MaxPreps
.Tyren Jones, RB, 5-10, 190, Walton (Marietta, Ga.)
It was Jones' fine running that guided Walton to the AAAAA title game. The all-state selection
rushed for 2,375 yards and 42 touchdowns.Justin Moore, ATH, 5-11, 175, Westlake (Westlake Village, Calif.)
The versatile Moore was instrumental in leading Westlake to the Open Division Bowl Game. He was the LA Daily News Player of the Year
after completing 172 of 272 passes for 2,483 yards and 27 scores while rushing for 1,099 yards and 13 scores.Cameron Van Winkle, K, 5-10, 160, Mount Si (Snoqualmie, Wash.)
Van Winkle nailed 18 field goals, six of which were longer than 42 yards. He was a Star Times all-area pick