College Football Recruiting: How The Top 5 Players From '11 Are Living Up To Hype

By Rick Stavig

It’s always intriguing to see how certain players live up the billing.

When it comes to College Football Recruiting, most of the time there is a consensus top 5 group of guys.  There are plenty of instances where all five bombed miserably, very few instances where all five became all-pro caliber at the NFL level.

While it is still too early to tell on the class of 2012, even though we have had all camp to evaluate them, it’s a good time to check out the top guys from the class of ’11.  Here is a list of the top five guys ranked by, and a brief update on how they are living up to their immense hype.

1. Jadeveon Clowney– Defensive End- South Carolina–  Clowney is the best pure pass rusher at the collegiate level since Terrell Suggs was at Arizona State.  While he is still incredibly raw and figuring out how to play properly, he has so much natural talent.  A fast and lean 6’6’’ 260, he is a true terror off the edge.  Safe to say he has lived up to the billing: 8 sacks and 5 forced fumbles in his freshman campaign, SEC Defensive Freshman of the Year, 2nd Team All SEC, even honorable mention All American by SI.  Needless to say, he is only going to get better, and will be a very high draft pick in 2014.

2. Curtis Grant-Middle Linebacker-Ohio State– Grant had a slightly disappointing freshman year, although he did play 10 games (mostly on special teams), and recorded 2 tackles.  He had a very good spring, however, and looks like a safe bet to start for the Buckeyes against Miami Ohio this Saturday.  Most importantly, Urban Meyer is very impressed with him, and feels he is an integral part of the OSU defense this year.   It still looks like Grant can live up to the billing.

3. George Farmer– Wide Receiver- Southern Cal– Farmer had a decent year for the Trojans as he was used as both a backup receiver and also a reserve running back, both difficult things to do for a true freshman at SC.  He also spent some time returning kicks and playing other special teams.  Right now Farmer is still listed as a reserve receiver, but could make a big impact considering how much attention opposing teams are going to give to starters Robert Woods and Marqise Lee.  Still looks like Farmer can live up to the hype.

4. Cyrus Kouandjio– Tackle- Alabama– Kouandjio played in 8 games as a true frosh, before missing the rest of the season with a knee injury, which is impressive considering he did it on a National Champion team.  Kouandjio  is so good that ‘Bama is moving their Outland Trophy winning left tackle, Barrett Jones, to center just to accommodate him.  Expect huge things from CK this year: he is playing the premier position on the premier offensive line of the premier team in the nation.

5. De’Anthony Thomas-Running Back- Oregon– Thomas is already a Heisman candidate, so I really shouldn’t have to comment on if he is living up to the hype.  A player like Thomas, in Chip Kelly’s offense, will continue to put up videogame type numbers.

Overall, what a phenomenal year for the top 5 guys.  There are three players on this list that could be very highly drafted in ’14 with Clowney, Kouandjio and Thomas.  It will be interesting to see how the last few years of college serves all of these guys.

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