My All-Decade Team
This story originally published on FOXSportsRecruiting.com
Megatron was too humble for nickname in '03
Megatron was too humble for nickname in '03
Director of Scouting
Posted Jan 31, 2012
Scott Kennedy 60x80


The Class of 2012 marked my 10th at Scout. Here is a look at my own personal All-Decade team based on where I saw them at the time in high school. There are some hits, some misses and some in betweens.

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The Class of 2012 marked my 10th year at Scout. The first five years I lived in Georgia and was the South Recruiting Manager as well as Combine Director for Scout, and the last five I've overseen national rankings while living in California.

Here is a look at what I like to call my All-Decade team of players I scouted extensively through the last ten years. In those 10 years I've seen some phenomenal football players. Some lived up to the expectations, some did not, and some have yet to leave their legacy on college football.

The list will be heavily influenced by players I saw the most, which will be Southern and West, luckily, those two regions produce some pretty good football players.

Questions or comments, please visit the Fox Sports Next message board
6'2/210 Signed with Georgia.
Class of 2006 - Dallas, Texas
I once referred to Stafford as having a generational arm, as in once in a generation. He had the Favre/Elway arm strength and a quick release. I flew to see him in a playoff game against another highly touted quarterback Jevan Snead (Video Link), and the two Texans put on a show in front of 20,000 with Stafford's Highland Park team coming out on top. Stafford went on to be the No. 1 overall draft pick by the Detroit Lions.

Others in consideration: JaMarcus Russell '03 LSU, Mark Sanchez '05 USC, Ryan Perrilloux '05 LSU, Tim Tebow Florida, '07, Matt Barkley '09 USC,

6'1/205 Signed with Oklahoma
Class of 2004 - Palestine, Texas

Scouts that have been around longest usually answer the question "who is the best prospect you saw" with Adrian Peterson. Peterson's blend of speed and power are rarely seen and in reality, haven't been seen since him with the possible exception of Darren McFadden at Arkansas. I referred to Peterson and McFadden as the Herschel and Bo of this generation. Peterson was picked No. 7 overall by the Minnesota Vikings. How he fell to No. 7 is still a mystery to me.

6'1/230 Signed with Ohio State
Class of 2006 - Akron, Ohio

Scout first launched its combines in 2005 and this was when juniors were anxious to compete and showoff their ability. Chris Wells, as he was known at the time, ripped off a 4.51 forty (I timed all of Scout's participants myself through the years) at 230 pounds. The film backed up what we were seeing, a powerful, swift athlete. Wells ended up the No. 1 overall prospect on Scout in 2006 and was a 1st round draft pick of the Arizona Cardinals

Others in consideration: Noel Devine '07 West Virginia, Trent Richardson '09 Alabama, Marcus Lattimore '10 South Carolina

6'4/215 Signed with Georgia Tech
Class of 2004 - Tyrone, Ga.

The surest of sure things I'd ever scouted, Johnson was a physical phenom who had good grades, was humble and worked hard. He was a high level baseball prospect at Sandy Creek High School as well. Johnson had his choice of schools before going on to star at Georgia Tech and being drafted No. 2 overall by the Detroit Lions and having the coolest nickname in the NFL - Megatron.

6'3/215 Signed with Alabama
Class of 2008 - Foley, Ala.

Ranked the No. 1 receiver in a historic Class of 2008, Jones arrived at Alabama game ready as a chiseled 215+ pounds. Receivers don't have the reputation of being overly tough, but Jones also played defense and could lay a lick as well as he could take one. Jones was drafted sixth overall and the No. 2 wide receiver in 2011 by the Atlanta Falcons behind...

6'3/215 Signed with Georgia
Class of 2008 - Summerville, S.C.

Julio Jones and A.J. Green have been linked since they were sophomores in high school as two of the most gifted wide receivers in the country even as 10th graders. What Green lacked in Jones' size and strength, he made up for in grace and flexibility. Green's ability to contort his body in the air made it nearly impossible to throw the ball behind him, he'd just rotate and the quarterback was always hitting him in the numbers. Green was ranked No. 2 in the Class of 2008 behind Jones, but went before him in the 2011 NFL Draft to the Cincinnati Bengals.

6'6/220 Signed with Missouri
Class of 2012 - Springfield, Mo.

I'm biased towards the bigger receivers, and few are bigger than this year's Dorial Green-Beckham. Size isn't everything (just seeing if you're paying attention), but if a player has all of the other requisite skills like speed, body control, hands, and quickness, than the bigger receiver is going to win. Green-Beckham is the closest thing to Calvin Johnson since Calvin Johnson, right down to the quiet confidence. He's an immediate impact player in college, and frankly would probably be drafted this year if he were eligible.

Others in consideration: Patrick Turner '05 USC, DeAndre Brown '08 Southern Miss, Robert Woods USC '10

6'3/320 Signed with Alabama
Class of 2006 - Birmingham, Ala.

If anyone were to epitomize the Billy Beane philosophy of "we're not selling blue-jeans" based on how a player looks in his uniform it would be Smith. Smith walks up without a lot of muscle-tone, built like a guard, and a little pigeon-toed, and the whispers start "that's the guy?" Then the whistle blows and Smith is putting guys in the stands, literally. A three year starter at Alabama before being drafted in the first round by Cincinnati, Smith won the Outland Trophy as a junior as the nation's best lineman.

6'5/330 Signed with Ole Miss
Class of 2005 - Memphis, Tenn.

Mr. Blindside himself had a teammate at Briarcrest on the offensive line who sent out his video to anyone and everyone, I used that player's highlights as Michael Oher's first highlight film. If there was a player being run, Oher was putting someone on his back. Oher wasn't a project on the field; he was an animal. He starred at Ole Miss before being taken in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens, but even the most casual of fans probably knew that one already.

6'7/300 Signed with Notre Dame
Class of 2006 - Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Sam Young was the left tackle on arguably the best offensive line I've seen in high school at St. Thomas Aquinas. He had the ideal frame to play tackle, good footwork, and he played with excellent leverage. He started four years at Notre Dame and has bounced around the NFL but didn't live up to the billing as the nation's No. 2 offensive line prospect behind Andre Smith.

6'8/330 Signed with USC/Miami
Class of 2010 - St. Paul, Minn.

A basketball player by trade, Henderson had the size of an NFL left tackle and the feet of a power forward. Ranked the No. 1 prospect in the country regardless of position in 2010. Henderson continued a string of No. 1 prospects who waited until after Signing Day to announce, then inexplicably signed his Letter of Intent to USC before the sanctions had been announced after waiting to see the NCAA damage. USC did the admirable thing in letting Henderson out his LOI. Henderson started nine games as a freshman for Miami in 2010.

6'8/280 Signed with Oregon
Class of 2012 - Elk Grove, Calif.

Arik Armstead was born to play offensive tackle. He's got Jonathan Ogden size and ability. Problem is, he thinks he's a defensive lineman. I don't say this lightly that he's the best pure offensive tackle prospect I've ever scouted. He can be a serviceable, even all-conference type of defensive lineman, but he can be one of the all-time greats on the offensive line. Here's hoping...
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6'6/255 Signed with NC State
Class of 2003 - Richlands, Calif.

Mario Williams was the No. 1 defensive end in the south in my first class as South Recruiting Manager, and though his ranking was correct, I didn't fully appreciate what a special player I was watching at the time. Williams was a standout at NC State from day one, and is athletic enough that he played outside linebacker for the Houston Texans at 300 pounds. A controversial No. 1 overall draft pick, he's exhibit No. 1257 why fans shouldn't get too upset about trying to predict the future. Nice pick Texans.

6'5/245 Signed with South Carolina
Class of 2011 - Rock Hill, S.C.

If there is any player that was going to match Williams' athleticism it was No. 1 overall prospect in 2011 Jadaveon Clowney. Guys that big aren't supposed to be able to do standing back flips. Blessed with incredible size, power and quickness, Clowney also played running back on his Rock Hill squad. Clowney was named Fox Sports Next's Freshman of the Year on defense in 2011.

Others in consideration: Charles Johnson '04 UGA, Peanut Whitehead '06 Louisville, Everson Griffen '07 USC, Da'Quan Bowers '08 Clemson

6'4/275 Signed with Alabama
Class of 2008 - Birmingham, Ala.

Marcell Dareus came from the same high school as Andre Smith, prompting several questions like "what's in the water over there?" The first time I saw Dareus on film I was blown away and felt compelled to write this "A Monster loose in Alabama." At the time, Dareus was considered a fringe prospect because he wasn't expected to qualify, but the talent was obvious. He did qualify, and ended up being a force at Alabama before being taken in the first round by the Buffalo Bills.
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6'2/300 Signed with LSU
Class of 2011 - New Orleans, La.

Qualified defensive tackles are the hardest positions to fill in college football, and finding no-doubters is especially tough because of the tough transition in the trenches. Anthony Johnson had the look of one of those no-doubters as a sophomore in high school. A stout 6'2 and 300 pounds, Johnson earned the nickname "The Freak" by coaches and teammates. He was the No. 1 defensive tackle prospect in 2011.

6'0/200 Signed with Auburn
Class of 2005 - LaGrange, Ga.

Unfortunately Tray Blackmon is my answer to the bad question, "who was your biggest miss?" Blackmon was undersized at roughly 200 pounds, but he hit like a freight train, and I haven't seen a linebacker single-handedly take over games like he did since THE linebacker Lawrence Taylor. Sure those were different levels, but Blackmon picked up the nickname "Little Ball of Hate" for good reason at Auburn. He made some plays for the Tigers including a strip of Tim Tebow, a pivotal play that helped Auburn beat Florida, but injuries and eligibility problems helped contribute to his lack of consistent production.

6'2/210 Signed with Alabama
Class of 2008 - Mobile, Ala.

It was a bold statement at the time, but I remember saying that Mark Barron might be the best player in Alabama his senior season which included Julio Jones. That statement doesn't seem like a huge stretch after four years and two BCS Championships and a first round grade in the upcoming draft. Barron is a player I refer to as the exception. His size coming out of high school usually translates to linebacker, unless they run and make plays like Barron. Barron is the exception.

6'2/245 Signed with Arizona State
Class of 2009 - Corona, Calif.

While he's one of the best linebackers I've ever scouted in high school, he's also atop another list, the dirtiest player I ever scouted. When both players were committed to USC, Matt Barkley asked Burfict why he went after his knee when they were going to be teammates. Burfict told him flatly, "tonight we're not". There's a line between aggressive and reckless, it's Burfict has flirted with that line through the years at Arizona State.

6'0/195 Signed with Tennessee
Class of 2007 - Fairburn, Ga.

If Calvin Johnson wasn't the surest of sure things, Eric Berry was. He played quarterback for his Creekside team, went to the Army All-American Bowl and was immediately the best cornerback there. Then he started all three years at safety for Tennessee. He came to a combine of mine as a sophomore. After running the forty, his coach saw me do a double take at the watch, and before I could even look up, I heard "It's right!" with a laugh being shouted from the gallery. Coach Kevin Whitley was right, the 4.3 and change Eric ran was dead on.

6'2/210 Signed with Washington
Class of 2012 - Sacramento, Calif.

If I learned anything from Mark Barron in '08 it was that a player of this size with this skill level can play safety. Thompson has lined up everywhere including quarterback and running back for his Grant team. He has a tremendous feel for the game and changes the direction of the ball carrier when he arrives. He is Scout's No. 1 safety and Top 5 overall for the Class of 2012.

6'1/200 Signed with LSU
Class of 2012 - Pompano Beach, Fla.

Peterson was a huge defensive back at 200 pounds his senior season, but like many of the players on this list, he was an exception to the rule that would normally push him to safety. He would hit like a linebacker, but he had the change of direction of a scat back. More than anything, Peterson wanted to compete. He traveled all across the country from camp to camp to show he was the best... and he was. Considered a contender for the Heisman in 2011, Peterson was the 5th overall pick of the Arizona Cardinals.

5'9/165 Signed with Oregon
Class of 2011 - Los Angeles, Calif.

Quite simply the Black Mamba DeAnthony Thomas was the best two-way high school football player I've ever seen. Though undersized, he is blazing fast and instinctive on the field to have been ranked 5-Stars at four positions, corner, safety, wide receiver, and running back. I said when he was being recruited if I was coaching him, I'd want him at running back. If I were his agent, I'd want him at corner, because that's where his size best fits. We got a small taste of what he's capable of at Oregon this season.

Others in contention: Kenny Phillips '05 Miami, Demetrice Morley '05 Tennessee, Jamar Hornsby '06 Florida, Chad Jones '07 LSU, Major Wright '07 Florida, Cliff Harris '09 Oregon, Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix '11 Alabama, Karlos Williams '11 Florida State, Ronald Darby '12, Tee Shepard '12 Notre Dame
Scott began with Scout as the Southeast Regional Manager in 2002. In addition to his recruiting responsibilities, Scott developed and ran the National Scout Combine series from 2005 thru 2008. Scott has been Director of Scouting since 2006 and oversees the Recruiting Rankings for Scout.
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