Five-star recruits begin to establish themselves in the class of 2013
Eight players have emerged as the most sought after recruits in the class of 2013
Alabama and Georgia are among schools being considered by multiple recruits
Robert Nkemdiche may be the most talented player in all of high school football
The football season has yet to begin for many high school players, and many college programs are barely removed from two-a-days. But from the SEC to the Pac-12, recruiting lists for the class of 2012 are already filling up. In fact, many of the nation's top programs have started looking to the class of 2013. The process never stops.
Here are eight players, listed alphabetically, that have separated themselves as five-star recruits in the rising junior class.
Vitals: Linebacker; Troup County (LaGrange, Ga.); 6-1, 230
Why he's a five-star: Dating back to his freshman season, Foster has gained a reputation as one of the top linebackers in the state. He's one of the hardest hitting players in the country, blessed with an amazing nose for the football and terrific acceleration through contact. Foster also possesses some of the best linebacking instincts we've seen in several years.
Recruitment: After an early commitment to Alabama, Foster would seem to be off the market. That's not necessarily the case. Georgia, in particular, should chase the 230-pounder during the next year and a half, serving as a school, if any, that could give the Crimson Tide cause for concern.
Vitals: Running back; Yulee (Fla.); 6-3, 232
Why he is a five-star: Derrick Henry, simply put, is one of the best athletes in the nation. He was laser-timed at 4.45 seconds in the 40, recorded a 38-inch vertical leap and ran a 4.27 shuttle time at Nike's The Opening training program. He's also a statistical monster: He rushed for more than 5,000 yards during his first two varsity seasons. Henry has the skills to contribute at running back, tight end, defensive end or linebacker at the next level.
Recruitment: Henry committed to Georgia in July, wrapping up a very brief recruitment period. He seems solid in his decision: He's already built strong relationships with several of his fellow Bulldog commits.
Vitals: Linebacker; De La Salle (Concord, Calif.); 6-2, 215
Why he's a five-star: Hailing from one of the most storied programs in the nation, Hutchings is a high-effort, high-intensity linebacker that flies around the field. He's a hard-hitter at the point of attack, and has excelled during brief stints on the offensive side of the ball. Hutchings demonstrates precocious instincts, making him a perfect fit in a weak side linebacker role.
Recruitment: Far from under the radar, Hutchings already holds offers from most Pac-10 and numerous national programs. He insists he has no geographic preference, but in-state programs seem to have a leg up. Hutchings grew up a USC fan and is heavily considering California and UCLA. His teammates could also factor into his decision. Michael Barton, a fellow De La Salle linebacker, is a member of Cal's 2012 recruiting class.
Vitals: Quarterback; Middletown (Ohio); 6-0, 190
Why he's a five-star: Though he plays quarterback in high school, Marshall projects to be a star wideout or defensive back in college. His more than 1,400 rushing yards prove why. With the ball in his hands, he is one of the nation's most exciting players, owning both the creativity and versatility to burn by overmatched opponents.
Recruitment: Marshall currently counts Notre Dame and Ohio State as his top two, but has received offers from a number of other prominent programs. His list is growing. Expect more offers to pour in as he continues to dominate the Ohio prep circuit.
Vitals: Defensive end; Grayson (Loganville, Ga.); 6-4, 265
Why he's a five-star: Some analysts believe that Robert Nkemdiche is the best prospect in the country regardless of class. They're not necessarily wrong. Nkemdiche is a beast of a player, a 265-pound specimen with hardly an ounce of fat. He's also versatile. He has lined up to play off the edge, toward the inside, at defensive tackle and even at tailback in Grayson's run-heavy offensive scheme.
Recruitment: Though Nkemdiche is likely months from making his decision, Alabama appears to be the early favorite. But others are certainly in the running. Ole Miss made a stealthy play by signing older brother Denzel in 2011, and Georgia should give chase with his high school located just 40 miles from its campus.
Vitals: Linebacker; Bishop Luers (Fort Wayne, Ind.); 6-3, 215
Why he's a five-star: Smith has the kind of frame that a prototypical young linebacker should have, blessed with plenty of length and room for added weight. He's also multifaceted. While he likely projects as an outside linebacker or defensive end, don't overlook Smith's skills in the backfield. He rushed for an impressive 222 yards and three touchdowns in his first game in 2011.
Recruitment: Smith currently has offers from Indiana, Tennessee, Purdue, Mississippi State and Ohio State, and more should filter in as the season progresses. The Buckeyes seem to claim an early edge. Smith's older brother, Rod, is currently a redshirt freshman running back for Luke Fickell's rebuilding squad.
Vitals: Offensive tackle; Columbia (Lake City, Fla.); 6-6, 265
Why he's a five-star: Unlike most offensive linemen his age, Tunsil has already shed the majority of his bad weight. He has long arms and an ideal frame, and dominated opposing linemen much older than him during fall camp. Tunsil is a highly-coveted left tackle and has all the requisite skills to keep quarterbacks safe.
Recruitment: Tunsil named Florida State as his leading candidate following a recent trip to Tallahassee, noting that he liked Rick Trickett's tough brand of coaching. The Seminoles lead, but they're far from a sure thing. Tunsil also holds D-I offers from tradition-rich Notre Dame and USC.
Vitals: Running back; Aloha (Beaverton, Ore.); 6-0, 207
Why he's a five-star: A north-to-south runner with terrific size and strength, Tyner can simply run over defenders on his way to the end zone. He can also run around them. His exploits on the track parallel his dominance on the gridiron, as Tyner set the Oregon state record with a 10.43 time in the 100 meter dash. In the backfield, he rushed for more than 1,800 yards to lead Aloha to a 2010 6A title.
Recruitment: With offers pouring in from seemingly everywhere, Tyner will have a difficult time narrowing his list. Expect him to stay in-state. Both Oregon and Oregon State are in the hunt, with Ducks holding a slight advantage for their renowned track and field program. Tyner plans to compete in both sports upon arriving to campus.
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