Assembled is a pre-season ranking for the top defensive ends in College Football Recruiting for the class of 2013. As these players head into their senior seasons, living up to the hype is a crucial.
1. Robert Nkemdiche -Loganville (GA) Grayson- The 6’5’’ 260lb Nkemdiche is ranked the number one player in the country for the class of 2013 almost unanimously, and is easily the most complete defensive end. Nkemdiche is a big and powerful end, with very good quickness for his size. He is not quite the prospect as 2012’s top defensive end and player overall, Jadeveon Clowney, but an elite prospect in his own right. Many early predictions were for Nkemdiche to join his brother, Denzel, at Ole Miss, but instead has given a verbal commitment to Clemson. Clemson already has two other Grayson teammates of Nkemdiche’s verbally committed, and could be adding more. Early Prediction: Clemson.
2. Kenny Bigelow- Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian Academy- For a defensive end, Bigelow is a monster at 6’3’’ and 295lbs. Even though he’s pushing 300, he carries his weight very well. A very powerful player with fantastic athleticism, Bigelow has tremendous hands that are incredibly violent at the point of attack, and has surprisingly good explosiveness. Bigelow does need to complement that skill set with a better counter-move while rushing the passer. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bigelow eventually get moved to a 3 technique defensive tackle in the Southern Cal defense, but also has the potential to play strong-side defensive end. He has 3-4 defensive end in the NFL written all over him. Early Prediction: USC.
3. Joey Bosa- Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas- Bosa has a great skill set, displaying good athleticism and strength. Bosa doesn’t have the elite explosiveness as some of the other top players, but makes up for it in field awareness. At 6’5’’ 270lbs, Bosa reminds me a lot of a young Ryan Kerrigan, but will need to put on some more muscle before he is ready to dance with the big uglies in the Big Ten. Bosa committed to Ohio State a few months ago after heavy recruitment from Urban Meyer, who regularly landed St. Thomas players while at Florida. There is always the chance Bosa stays closer to home for his college ball, but it appears he is ready to represent the Buckeyes next season. Early Prediction: Ohio State.
All three of these players have been recruited hard by the top programs in the country, but all have decided to try and slow down the process by verbally committing early. Granted, a verbal commitment is not the sure thing it used to be, so there is still an excellent chance one or all of these players will be suited up in a different schools colors September of 2013. Regardless of where they decide to go to school, whoever gets them in the end will be very fortunate.