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February 3, 2010

Top five impact freshmen

MORE: Signing Day Central

Rivals.com recruiting analyst Barry Every breaks down five of the top impact freshmen on the 2010 class.

APB Brennan Clay, San Diego (Calif.) Scripps Ranch (Oklahoma)
This multipurpose back rushed for 3,479 yards and 47 touchdowns over the past two seasons. He also proved his versatility by catching well over 70 passes. His performance at the Los Angeles Nike Training Camp was reminiscent of Christine Michael's performance at Top Gun last year. No one seemed to work as hard or look as natural going through agility drills. Clay also flashed superb hands and the ability to make yards after the catch. His size (6-0, 190) and versatility will allow him to see the field early and often. This back fits perfectly into the pass happy Sooners offense. The only thing that could stop him from performing as a freshman is fellow Oklahoma signee Roy Finch of Niceville, Fla.

OT Jake Matthews, Missouri City (Texas) Elkins (Texas A&M)
The son of NFL Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews proved to be one of the more athletic offensive linemen at the U.S. Army All American practices by demonstrating flexible hips and knees. Matthews also proved to have the size (6-5, 275) and ability to play any of the five offensive line positions. Couple these talents with the Aggies' need for quality depth along the line, and the chances of him playing early and often are only amplified. Normally I am not a big fan of sons of legends, but in this case Jake Matthews does not fall far from the superstar tree. His versatility will lead to longevity in the game of football.

S Alec Ogletree, Newnan (Ga.) (Georgia)
This Under Armour All American helped lead his high school team to a 13-1 record. Ogletree played on both sides of the ball and on most special teams. For a thick, muscular safety, Ogletree (6-3, 210) possesses above average-ball skills and takes no prisoners on defense. He will remind fans of former Georgia Bulldog Thomas Davis. There is no doubt that Ogletree will play a pivotal role on special teams as a freshman. But there is also a chance he will get an opportunity to play either safety or weak side linebacker next season. The Bulldog nation is looking for difference-makers on defense, and I think they have one in Ogletree.

WDE Ronald Powell, Moreno Valley (Calif.) Ranch Verde (Florida)
A true thoroughbred of an athlete, Powell (6-4, 230) could project as a linebacker, defensive end or tight end at the highest level of college football. His phenomenal performance at the U.S. Army All American practices - and during the game - propelled him to the No. 1 player in the country. Powell exudes athleticism. His ability to bypass offensive linemen with ease will assuredly afford him playing time in the SEC this coming year. He is also athletic enough to cover kicks. I am sure coach Urban Meyer would love to have Powell intimidating return men on the gridiron. Gators fans, get your chalk boards ready because his career sack total could be staggering.

WR Kyle Prater, Hillside (Ill.) Proviso West, (USC)
All week at the U.S. Army All American practices, Prater's name was being bandied about as a serious candidate for the No. 1 player in the nation. He proved to be the most fluid pass catcher of the bunch. He has the ability to make acrobatic catches and has the size and strength to overpower strong safeties or linebackers for jump balls. His height alone (6 feet 5) makes him a serious threat to score anytime his team is in the red zone. I am sure there is no person or player happier about this receiver's commitment to USC then Matt Barkley. Barring an injury, Prater should eventually become the No. 2 target as a freshman for the Trojans. Prater has an outside chance of having a first season similar to players like Julio Jones, DeAndre Brown, and A.J. Green did a couple years ago.


Others considered: RB Roy Finch, Niceville (Fla.) (Oklahoma); DT Sharrif Floyd, Philadelphia (Pa.) George Washington (Florida); Braylon Heard, Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney (Nebraska); Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Portland (Ore.) David Douglas (Undecided), DT Sione Potoae, Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes (Washington).




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