Rivals.com football recruiting analysts weigh in on topics in a roundtable format.
Is there a particular state that you see having a down year in 2012?
Barry Every: It's a little early. Normally more than 3,000 kids receive offers in any given recruiting year. Right now just over 1,000 kids have received offers. As far as elite players, South Carolina seems a bit down this year after several excellent years. Also Oregon usually has two blue chippers a year and may have only one this year.
Mike Farrell: South Carolina is down for sure this year, especially when it comes to depth of talent. Right now there are 29 players with offers in the state, but few of them have major SEC offers. The top-end talent is still good with Shaq Roland, Shaquille Lawson, Martin Aiken, Quinshad Davis, T.J. Burrell and others, but everything is down from last year overall. Last year, South Carolina had four players in the national top 110 or so and this year I don't know if that will be the case.
Adam Gorney: Maybe I was just spoiled last recruiting cycle with the talent in South Carolina, but I just don't see a ton of outstanding prospects there this time around. Jadeveon Clowney led the way last season and he was phenomenal not only being the consensus No. 1 player but he drove more attention to players such as Brandon Shell, Phillip Dukes, Lateek Townsend, Charone Peake and others. I'm just not sure there is that star power in South Carolina this recruiting cycle.
Chris Nee: From all indications, it seems that South Carolina is down, especially compared with the 2011 crop. Obviously there is nobody to replace Clowney in the 2012 class. But the depth of the 2011 class in the Palmetto State was impressive, with around 55 prospects signing. At this point in 2012, I believe fewer than 30 prospects in the state hold offers. Just doesn't seem to be a group on par with last year from top to bottom.
Keith Niebuhr: I'm going to go with Louisiana. But that's largely because the state was so good for 2011, when it produced three five-star recruits - offensive tackle La'El Collins, defensive tackle Anthony Johnson and receiver Jarvis Landry. For 2012, there's a significant drop at the top and I don't believe the overall depth is there either. Still, this state will have its share of major recruits.
What impresses you more when you are scouting a camp: Brute strength in a one-on-one drill or blazing speed?
Barry Every: Both of these physical qualities are great. I like my linemen using their hands like Kung Fu fighters while keeping the opposition off their body. I also like seeing them move their feet once engaged. This is a great indicator of how athletic a lineman is.
Mike Farrell: Speed kills so I will always be more impressed with a player who can run away from everyone than a kid who makes his reputation on the bench press or simply bull rushes kids to death. College coaches covet speed much more than brute strength and speed wins championships.
Adam Gorney: Tough to really say one over the other but if I had to pick it would be speed, especially if the times are at the elite college or NFL level. Good college weight training programs can add strength to linemen but speed often comes natural to a lot of the top athletes. More than anything at camps - especially from guys who are well-regarded in their region - is toughness. I love to see kids who want to be challenged and guys who don't back away from competition. That fierceness can hardly ever be taught.
Chris Nee: Honestly it is neither of them. Brute strength is good, but if you are a lineman and inflexible it doesn't matter how much you can emulate the Incredible Hulk, you are going to get beat. Speed is great, but if you can't catch as a receiver, read blocks as a back or play your man as a defensive back, it is worthless outside of special teams. Give me a guy who is athletically gifted and well-rounded with an understanding and ability to play his position.
Keith Niebuhr: Blazing speed. At a camp, it's not as easy to gauge one's strength because they're not really hitting and they aren't in pads. But fast is fast. You can always tell which kid has the most speed.
Brian Perroni: I'm not one that puts too much stock into testing numbers. I would much rather watch how players perform in drills than watch a prospect run a 40-yard dash. But, when I'm at a camp with legit testing methods, my curiously is always piqued when I see an incredibly fast 40. I'll watch that kid a little bit closer during the position drills and the like. I don't think the bench press is a great method for determining strength anyway as players with shorter arms have an inherent advantage whereas players with longer arms have an advantage on the actual football field in the trenches.
Who is one player you had never heard of until he thoroughly impressed you at a camp/combine so far this spring?
Mike Farrell: He doesn't have any offers yet but it will be a crime if wide receiver Mike Burke doesn't end up at a D-I school before all is said and done. He was dominant at the Badger 7-on-7 in New Jersey and made one of the best catches I've seen at any event in my career. He was hard to cover, caught everything and just stood out. He has good size as well at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds.
Adam Gorney: I had heard bits and pieces of Cedrick Poutasi from Las Vegas Desert Pines but because he only had an Idaho offer I wasn't expecting everything I saw of him at the Elite Linemen Challenge. That's why event coverage is so valuable. Poutasi, all 6-foot-5 and 322 pounds, was competitive, tough and at times dominant against some pretty impressive defensive linemen. Since his showing two weeks ago in Las Vegas, Poutasi has added offers from Arizona, UCLA, SMU and UNLV. More will probably come soon.
Chris Nee: Vero Beach (Fla.) defensive end Dwayne Hoilett would have to be the guy for me. Saw him in mid-February at the Under Armour Combine held in Davie, Fla., and he had a strong showing. He is rail thin at just 207 pounds on his 6-foot-3 frame but he has good speed off the edge and has a frame you can mold. He won't contribute early in his college career, but has potential down the road.
Keith Niebuhr:Jehu Chesson, a receiver from St. Louis Ladue Horton Watkins. At last week's Nike Camp in Miami, he easily was among the best players. Nobody knew a thing about him when he arrived. By day's end, many were trying to figure out how to pronounce his Chesson's first name. At the time, Chesson had only one offer. By being one of the best two or three receivers on hand, he showed why that is likely to change.
Brian Perroni: I had heard of Allen (Texas) running back Jonathan Williams prior to this spring but I had never gotten a chance to see him in person and, to be honest, was not expecting the player I saw. He is a big back at 5-foot-11, 205 pounds but he still moves very well. He was at the Next Level Athlete Texas Top 100 camp and was perhaps the most impressive prospect there that day. He had one offer at the time and we decided to include him on the Rivals250 to watch list and it looks like we made a good call as several other programs have offered since that point. He has firmly entrenched himself as the No. 3 back in the state behind Johnathan Gray and Trey Williams at this point.