- Henry Gola
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Scouts Inc. began evaluating and ranking high school prospects with the 2006 recruiting class.
The top 15 prospects in that class graded out the way they did because they were expected to be able to compete for playing time as true freshmen. With about half the college football season complete, it's a good time to look at how those players have panned out.
Florida QB Tim Tebow (No. 15 overall) and Arkansas QB Mitch Mustain (No. 5 overall) are making the most headlines. Used as a change-up for senior QB Chris Leak, Tebow has run for four touchdowns and thrown for two more. His ability to keep defenses off-balance and his poise in key situations makes him a near lock to assume the starting quarterback position full time next season.
With Mustain taking the majority of the snaps under center, Arkansas has won five consecutive games. He has thrown for 625 yards and seven touchdowns.
Two other top-15 quarterbacks haven't had as much success. Georgia's Matthew Stafford (No. 9 overall) lost his starting job when he struggled against Colorado but might have won it back after he replaced Joe Tereshinski in a loss to Vanderbilt. He has one touchdown and four interceptions this season.
USC signed four top-15 prospects from the '06 class, but only one has made a large impact. Safety Taylor Mays (No. 8 overall) has 23 tackles and one interception in six games. Wide receiver Vidal Hazelton (No. 3 overall) has only one catch for eight yards in limited playing time, safety Antwine Perez (No. 11 overall) has only one tackle in five games played and running back Stafon Johnson (No. 14 overall) is buried on the depth chart and has yet to register a carry this year.
That isn't to say USC didn't reload. Besides those top-15 prospects, the Trojans added a number of others who are contributing as freshmen. ESPN 150 running back Emmanuel Moody (No. 37 overall) has averaged 6.4 yards per carry and has two touchdowns, and ESPN 150 running back C.J. Gable (No. 52), who has shared carries with Moody, junior Chauncey Washington and true freshman Allen Bradford (No. 26 overall), has averaged 4.5 yards per carry and has two touchdowns.
Percy Harvin has seen his role with Florida evolve. He has 10 receptions for 163 yards and a touchdown, mostly from the wide receiver spot, but he saw all five of his touches in Florida's 27-17 loss to Auburn from the tailback spot. He has 14 carries for 158 yards on the year.
The top two linebackers from last year's class currently aren't starting, but both are contributing. Sergio Kindle (No. 7 overall) is second on Texas' depth chart behind Robert Killebrew but has managed 16 tackles, with 11 coming in extended playing time against Sam Houston State. Micah Johnson (No. 10 overall) has started two games for Kentucky and has registered 18 tackles and a forced fumble, but he is now second on the depth chart at middle linebacker.
As for the other top prospects, Florida State defensive back Myron Rolle (No. 1 overall) has 22 tackles in five games, Alabama OT Andre Smith (No. 3 overall) is starting at left tackle, and Penn State DE Maurice Evans (No. 12 overall) has 1.5 sacks in limited playing time.
New sanctions at Kansas won't have large effect
Kansas, recently put on probation by the NCAA Committee on Infractions, has to forfeit three football scholarships for the Class of '07 and '08 and also can accept only three junior college transfers in the next two years.
The new sanctions shouldn't have too much of an effect, though. Kansas has used an average of fewer than 22 scholarships per year under head coach Mark Mangino.
"Even though the reduction in scholarships is a serious matter, it's not a fatal matter," Mangino told the University Daily Kansan.
• Rutgers 6-0 start paid off Thursday when they landed their first marquee recruit, in-state ESPN 150 linebacker Manny Abreu (Union City, N.J./Union Hill).
• USC picked up its 10th verbal commitment of the '07 class from Jordan Campbell (Norco, Calif.), the country's No. 59 inside linebacker. Campbell is the second verbal at the position, joining Chris Galippo (Anaheim/Servite), the country's top-rated linebacker and No. 2 prospect overall.
• Offensive lineman Jason Hannan (Waxahachie, Texas) is the latest recruit to change a verbal commitment, switching from Oklahoma State to Oklahoma after a visit to watch the Sooners play Iowa State last weekend.
Henry Gola is the recruiting editor for ESPN.com
The top Class of '06 prospects are making big impacts this season, writes Henry Gola in the recruiting week in review.