Lemming's Impact Players: Big Ten

April 12, 2006

By Tom Lemming

Special to CSTV.com



Tom is CSTV's college football recruiting analyst, and writes for CSTV.com regularly. E-mail here!

·          RB Chris Wells, Ohio State


Wells, the Akron Garfield product is the No. 1-ranked player in the country and could very well have the same kind of impact that Maurice Clarett had as a true freshman. The difference is that Ohio State has more depth at tailback than it did during that season, so Wells is going to have to share the load for a while. That said, expect Wells to come in and surprise a lot of people early.


You can't pigeonhole the 6-foot-2, 230-pound native of Ohio as a slasher or a power back, as he does everything well, and, like last year's All-American Toney Baker, demonstrates an uncanny vision and balance. Wells can do it call: run, block and catch. During one game against Ellet, this kid carried for 263 yards and eight touchdowns -- in a little over one half. Wells is a punishing runner that makes defenders pay for the tackle.


·          ILB Brandon Graham, Michigan


There was never any question who the best high school player from the state of Michigan was during this recruiting season. A lot of people expect the 6-foot-2, 235-pound Detroit product to play right away when he gets to Ann Arbor and they probably won't be disappointed. There aren't too many 235-pounders that can run the 40-yard dash in under 4.5 seconds but that's what Graham did at the Michigan camp just 10 months ago. He is a tremendously fast, big and athletic guy -- and has the ability to start as a true freshman.


Graham is almost impossible to block, and shows enormous strength and an uncanny knack for finding the ball which complements his great mobility and leverage. During his senior season at Crockett, he tallied an eye-popping 60 tackles for losses to go with 20 sacks, 10 fumble recoveries and six interceptions.


·          SS Jonas Mouton, Michigan


Mouton is one of the two hardest-hitting safeties in the country, along with Antwine Perez. He's a big guy that can play linebacker or safety. His athletic ability will put him on the field right away for the Wolverines.


The 6-2, 210-pound California native is a playmaker, a terrific and physical all-around athlete and ranked as one of the nation's top three prospects at strong safety. Mouton is a good open-field tackler and has the ability to change the outcome of games with his instincts and hard-hitting style of play. Mouton was also an excellent offensive player at Venice High, but isn't expected to play any offense in Ann Arbor.


·          DE Maurice Evans, Penn State


This defensive end from Middle Village, N.Y., could surprise a lot of people. Evans has proven himself as a dominant presence on the line. The 6-foot-3, 260-pounder studied martial arts and has been gifted with unusual flexibility and body control as a result.


Evans certainly has the explosive moves, great strength and quick hands needed to make an immediate impact on the college level. Don't be surprised to see this first-year player's name thrown around often as Penn State tries to build on last season's improbably success.


·          DE Robert Rose, Ohio State


Both Evans and Rose looked great in the U.S. Army All-American game. Although the Cleveland native was considered a four-star prospect, the athletic 6-foot-4, 240-pound end should see action early in Columbus. He's quick to the ball, can redirect, gets to his blockers quickly and uses his hands to shed. Rose is very strong at the point of attack and is a big kid who is rarely off his feet.



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