Friday, February 6, 2015
Incoming Freshmen to Watch in 2015 College Football Season: Defensive Edition
Just a few days removed from national signing day, and hype is already building for next year's college football season. The new season is
officially underway with programs signing recruits in hopes of being crowned national champions in the kingdom of NCAA football. As of late, underclassman have taken over the landscape of college sports, and 2015 will be no different. This incoming class has a lot of talent, and a lot more expectations to satisfy. Who should you look out for? Let's take a look at four defensive players you should remember for the next upcoming year:
Byron Cowart- Defensive End- Auburn
Byron Cowart is the number one overall recruit in this 2015 class, and for good measure. Cowart, standing at 6'3" and weighing in at 252 pounds, is the most dominant player on the field at all times. Lining up at the strong side defensive end position, his first step off the ball is impressive, but even more impressive is how he is able to get in the backfield. Cowart is a top athlete for his position, who excels at the outside pass rush with finesse moves to get to the quarterback. When tackling, he explodes through the ball carrier with ease and is able to deliver some big time hits at the next level. While scouting him, one thing makes Byron stand out from the rest- his ability to fly to the football. Defensive coaches will preach, and preach some more, how important it is to get to the ball, no matter where they are on the field. Cowart is consistently going the extra mile to chase down runners, something that can't be precisely taught. As well as playing defensive end, I believe Cowart could make the transition to outside linebacker if needed.
Highlight Video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2SVG_BW93A
Tarvarus McFadden- Defensive Back- Florida State
Although not ranked the number one corner on Rivals.com, Tarvarus McFadden sure does play like it. McFadden has everything you want in a corner, size to match-up with receivers, speed to cover their man/side of the field, athleticism to go up for jump balls (and come down with them) and a ball-hawk mentality when in coverage. McFadden jumps out on tape for two reasons. First, Tarvarus is not afraid to go up field and make a tackle. In today's modern day pass first style offenses, corners are rarely asked to break on the football and make tackles, and McFadden excels at just that. Secondly, McFadden is able to go back and return footballs. It seems like everybody today is able to take a punt or two back for a touchdown, however Tarvarus McFadden is a playmaker in the waiting with the ball in his hands (We all remember the last great DB from Florida State who could play the cornerback position and return kicks), as we saw in the Army All-American game when he took two kickoff returns back for touchdowns. The Seminoles are loaded next year on defense, and look for McFadden to be a key piece to their defensive success.
Highlight Video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbtM1En771U
Kahlil McKenzie- Defensive Tackle- Tennessee
If you're looking for a dominant player on the defensive front four, look no further. Kahlil McKenzie is a mammoth of a problem to run into, standing at 6'4" and weighing 340 pounds. Make no mistake, this is no gentle giant. McKenzie plays with a chip on his shoulder, crashing through double teams and slamming quarterbacks/running backs with no relent. For a man this size, Kahlil can move and is pretty good on his feet. One of the things that jumps out is his incredible power. This is a big, strong, agile player who bullies offensive lineman when coming off the football. His hand placement is pivotal to his success, and is very smart when doing so. One of his low points is he is a little slow after the snap, but that can be changed with correct coaching and timing. Other than that, you're looking at a Vince Wilfork type-player, and can provide Tennessee with a powerful presence in the trenches for the next few years to come.
Highlight Video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAP3Vxl_U5I
Leo Lewis- Inside Linebacker- Mississippi State
When first assessing the tape of number two ranked linebacker Leo Lewis, one thought comes to mind: My goodness, this boy can fly. Lewis apparently has one speed, and that is turbo. The Mississippi State signee explodes through holes and gets in the backfield before you know what's happening. Another tremendous aspect of Lewis is his athleticism. During his tape, he is shown on a PAT try jumping over a lineman and blocking the kick. Lewis is also able to drop back in coverage, a skill set that few inside linebackers are able to attain. A player that comes to mind when comparing Lewis to an NFL player would be Lawrence Timmons. Leo is patient when it comes to playing assignment football and is an intelligent player when on the field. Although not the highest ranked LB in the class, in a few years we may see otherwise from Lewis.
Highlight Video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Hq4uvg9sdo