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Recruiting Analysis: Defensive Line

We'll be doing these by position over the next few days. Let me just say that we're absolutely thrilled with the signing class. It has exceeded all of our expectations. This staff really put together an incredible class. So now for the analysis.

Defensive Ends:
Craig Drummond - With offers from everywhere imaginable, Drummond is the best defensive player that we signed. His video is just incredible.

Drummond will probably be in the rotation a little bit this season (since the coaches promised him they wouldn't redshirt him), but his real impact can be expected when the three senior DEs (Hardy, Tillman, Stephens) graduate. Drummond was a five-star before spending his senior year in street clothes due to injury. An uncanny pass-rusher and run-stuffer, he is a complete defensive end and is a huge recruit. My favorite thing about Drummond is that he appears to be unrefined and is still dominating. You can teach swim moves and spins, but you can't teach 260 pounds. Oh, did I mention that Drummond also ran track in high school, competing in hurdles?

Alex Williams - Williams is probably our second most heralded defensive end signee. With offers from Michigan, Tennessee, South Florida, Arkansas, and Iowa, Williams could develop into an elite pass rusher. He's only listed at 210 lbs., so he'll have to gain some weight, but he shows a knack for getting to the quarterback.

I expect Williams to redshirt based on the amount of depth we have returning at defensive end. He will be expected to contribute a good bit as a redshirt freshman though, since he'll probably be the 4th best DE on the team at the time. Williams' speed is incredible from the defensive end position, and he does a good job finsihing plays in his video. I hope he can get two hands on the ball carrier in college, but I'm sure that our coaches will work on that with him.

Cameron Whigham -
I'm not big on Whigham. I think he's overrated, and his video certainly doesn't look like a 6'3" 240 lb prospect. Certainly, he could be good, but I don't expect it. Maybe a greyshirt.

Defensive Tackle:
Corey Gaines -
Gaines is an Army All-American, and the coaches are really high on him. I can't give you an evaluation of him since I haven't seen any video of him playing defensive tackle. I can tell you two things about him:
1. He's big, and the coaches really like him a lot.
2. He was unimpressive at Center at Army All-American practices and didn't play in the game.
Gaines had offers from Tennessee, Arkansas, Auburn, Rutgers and South Florida. As long as we're getting players that many other legitimate schools are going after, we're doing well.

Eric Smiley -
I'm going to talk about Eric Smiley even though he's probably a sign and place. Smiley is perplexing. He garnered early offers from USC among many other excellent schools and then fell off the map. Our friendly neighborhood Arkansas fan, GonzoHog, assures me that the only reason Eric Smiley was not recruited harder after his senior year was grades. Apparently, Smiley is a physical freak who is a great combination of size and speed. Unfortunately, his grades are, from all accounts, not good enough to get into college right now. I hope we can hold onto him after he finishes Butler CC.

Bo Tillman -
Again, probably not reasonable to talk about since he has already enrolled at a junior college and isn't even on our commitment lists, but it's worth noting that Tillman will only be there for three semesters. That means he'll be at Ole Miss in the fall of 2010 with four years to play three. That coincides well with the projected loss of Jerrell Powe (who will probably go pro after next season). Tillman was a great player in high school, and he will probably inject a lot of strength and size into the interior of our defensive line when he gets to Ole Miss. Tillman uses his sheer size to overpower offensive linemen. I hope we can teach him to really move when he gets here.

I do wish that we had gotten another immediate qualifier at defensive tackle, but it's not immediately necessary to have more than one. Returning Powe, Laurent, Scott, Smith and Sanders (yeah... I think he's still on the team) makes any recruits third teamers. That should give Gaines a while to learn, but we need to sign two qualifiers next year (one would be Tillman).

That's it for me. GOJC should have an offensive line analysis up later tonight. I'm sure it will be funnier but less analytical.