Just a bit outside
Led by QB Ford Childress, these 11 prospects are threats to move up into the 150
As we head into the summer camp season, which is followed by the fall evaluation period, the players below still have an opportunity to move up into the ESPNU 150. They just missed the cut but could be poised to make the jump at some point. Some are big-name prospects, while others are players you may not have heard much about but will.
QB Ford Childress (Houston/Kinkaid)
When evaluating Childress on film it's almost shocking to learn he has garnered only minimal BCS attention, particularly playing in the fertile state of Texas. West Virginia has a commitment from perhaps the biggest hidden gem in this class, at least from a video evaluation standpoint, and a guy we feel will challenge for early playing time in Dana Holgorsen's offense. Along with great size and production, Childress has one of the quickest and most fluid deliveries in this QB class. He can spray the ball underneath with zip or drive it vertically with velocity. The only concern is trying to catch this guy compete in person to see if he matches the 150 talent we see on film.
QB Nate Sudfeld (Modesto, Calif./ Modesto Christian)
Physically there are few prospects in this class who possess the size, arm strength, feet and accuracy of Sudfeld. We have only recently seen enough of him to make a fair assessment and fully expect he will enter the ESPNU 150 at some point and we feel the University of Arizona got a steal here. Sudfeld can really throw it with outstanding arm strength and is a powerful prospect on the hoof. He is accurate, capable of changing up ball speeds and can make every throw on the field. What we really like about him is his deceptive athleticism and ability to keep plays alive with his feet. There is no doubt he is one of the more complete prospects in this class at the quarterback position.
ILB Joe Bolden (Cincinnati/Colerain)
Michigan is certainly putting an emphasis on improving its defense. Bolden is as physically and fundamentally sound as you will find between the tackles in this class. He may not be the most fluid, but he is always around the ball on tape because of his reactive athleticism and ability to beat blockers with power at the point of attack or with quickness to the hole. The size and physical tools are there with this guy as well as the intense motor and smarts. The Wolverines have two productive inside linebackers coming in with Bolden and James Ross.
WR Ja'Quay Williams (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek)
The only area we really question on this guy is the speed needed to separate at the next level. Williams has the height, body control and athleticism highly coveted on the outside to create mismatches on shorter corners. The Georgia native is a big target with the great catch radius and overall length to produce as an intermediate pass catcher in college and as an overall downfield go-to guy. It's his terrific jump-ball skills that place him in the top 20 for receivers and just outside the ESPNU 150 in our first release. Polish as a route runner will only enhance his game.
ATH Lucas Thompson (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange)
We thought it was just a matter of time before this guy started to see his recruiting stock rise; Thompson is too athletic and talented. He's a scheme-versatile defensive back with the great range, closing speed and ball skills to make big plays in all three levels of the defense. Thompson, who we project will settle in at safety in college, needs to refine his footwork but has natural explosion and burst you can't coach. Look for this physical prospect to continue rising up the boards of colleges and emerge into a national prospect.
RB Brian Kimbrow (Memphis/East)
Kimbrow was in strong contention for a 150 spot and certainly has the speed to warrant a placement in the ranking. The one knock we have on the third-rated prospect in the state of Tennessee is size. He's a speedy and elusive back, but we question if he can carry the rock fulltime as a running back and produce between the tackles while staying durable. He may get recruited to play at corner, but his height on the perimeter versus today's taller college receivers could be exposed. You can't coach speed, though.
ATH Kevon Seymour (Pasadena, Calif./John Muir)
Seymour is certainly a quick and athletic prospect with ESPNU 150-type athleticism. He's a playmaker at multiple positions on offense, but in our opinion he is a likely slot or corner in college and is a bit quicker than fast. At both positions he will need to refine his technique -- transitional skills at corner and route running at receiver. Seymour needs to continue filling out as well but is an instinctive athlete and should develop the polished skill set necessary to making plays at the college level.
TE Devin Funchess (Farmington Hills, Mich./Harrison)
The tight end position saw only four players crack the ESPNU 150, but one player that came close was Funchess, a Michigan commit. The four-star prospect has plenty of height, nice hands, good body control and a big catch radius to make plays as a target in the passing game. He lacks ideal bulk for the position and is more of a tight end/wide receiver 'tweener at this stage. He gives effort as a blocker but needs to keep developing and filling out his frame for the position. Funchess is a fine prospect and can even be a playmaker at the position, but he needs to keep getting bigger and stronger.
DE Jamal Marcus (Durham, N.C./Hillside)
A deep group of defensive ends made the 150, but beyond that group remains some good talent at the position. A prospect we have studied on film and seen in person, Marcus has some ability and tools to develop. He can be a physical kid that gets off the ball and can move well. He is a good player that can be a little raw in areas and needs to keep melding his natural ability with better and more consistent technique. Marcus is on the cusp and is a prospect that could fight his way into the 150 by the time it is all said and done.
OG Curtis Riser (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto)
It was not a deep group of guards that made the initial ranking, but Riser was one that came close. Riser, a Texas commit, has good size for the position and the skinny ankles you like to see from a line prospect. In addition, he bounced from a minor injury with a strong performance at a recent camp. The four-star has the tools to be a tough run blocker and shows flashes to be a good pass protector, but studying film he can play high and needs to play more consistently with better bend in his lower body and maximize the ability he has shown. Riser is a good guard and someone we are watching.
DT Donald Hopkins (Lago Vista, Texas/Lago Vista)
There is a pair of talented but under-the-radar defensive tackle prospects out of the state of Texas that contended for a spot in the initial 150 ranking. One is TCU commit Joey Hunt of El Campo, Texas, and the other is Hopkins. The four-star lacks ideal bulk but is an explosive player and uses his hands well. Things have begun to pick up for him in the way of offers and now that he is on the radar a bit more this explosive but somewhat undersized defender from a smaller program could see his stock rise.
RB Matt Jones (Seffner, Fla./Armwood)
Jones is a big back who intrigued us in the evaluation process. He has very good overall size and looks like a linebacker lined up at running back. He displays the tools to transition to college as a runner who flashes good straight-line speed and can be a load back with his size and size potential. We do feel he can make his size work more for him when carrying the rock and believe he could see a move to defense in college. Jones has size and ability, but we're not convinced running back is his calling in college.
Billy Tucker is a recruiting coordinator for ESPN Recruiting and has close to a decade of coaching experience at the college and high school levels. Craig Haubert is the recruiting coordinator for ESPN Recruiting and has more than a decade of coaching experience. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.
• Nearly a decade of college coaching experience.
• Was recruiting coordinator at nationally-ranked Division II colleges.
2012 ESPNU 150
Hard-hitting DE Mario Edwards leads the way in the release of the 2012 ESPNU 150.