2008 Top 25 Positioner: Safety

New Jersey's Will Hill top safety prospect in country

Oct. 4, 2007

By Tom Lemming

Special to CSTV.com


Top 25 Safeties



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

CSTV Recruiting Expert Tom Lemming has highlighted the top recruits in the country with his Class of 2008 Top 100. Now he's broken down each position into its own Top 25. With the season underway and signing day rapidly approaching, CSTV.com will highlight the top recruits at each position with Lemming's personal insights on the players who will be the next stars of college football.




1. Will Hill (Committed to Florida - 6-3, 208, 4.38 - Jersey City-St. Peters, N.J.)


This guy certainly possesses all the tools to dominate at the next level. A difference maker at the high school level, we had Will on our Generation Next signing day special on CSTV this past February and I was impressed with him both in person and on the film he gave me. I also met him down at the Elite combine, even though he did not work out, we spent a good hour talking about his game and what he's looking for in a college. At that time he had 63 offers. What you see on film is an outstanding QB on offense who led his team to the state title game, and a difference maker at the FS position. This year's draft had LaRon Landry going above all others at the FS position but believe me he's got nothing on Will The Thrill Hill who is the total package. He presents great size, blazing speed, terrific instincts and a confidence rarely seen in a prep player. Always seems to get a great break on the ball, reads well, shows good toughness, strength, run support and shows great range. On offense he's one of the more talented QB prospects in the East with a good arm and great instincts. He makes things happen just about every time he touches the ball and you would have a good argument if you called him the most explosive offensive player in the state last year. He possesses all the tools to become a standout.


He completed 39-of-67 passes for 758 yards and 11 TDs and was picked off just three times. He also carried the ball 58 times for 682 yards averaging 11.7 yards per carry and scoring 15 TDs. He also returned 2 punts back for scores and averaged over 36 yards on kickoff returns. On defense he recorded 64 stops, two sacks and two tackles for losses playing both FS and SS.


Rated No. 16 overall in the Class of 2008.


2. Dee Finley (Committed to Florida - 6-3, 205, 4.5 - Auburn, Ala.)


There isn't much this guy can't do. He breaks on the ball like a pro, is a playmaker, a top-notch athlete, and a tough son of a gun who fills hard. He's an impact player in run support who can also excel when the ball is in the air. He is a tough and aggressive ballplayer who loves to mix it up and is a solid open field tackler. He has the ability to change the outcome of games with his instincts and hard-hitting style of play. He can redirect with the best of them and it seems like he has radar to the ball. He loves to compete and also loves to defend against the opposition's best receiver. In one game he had three picks and 10 tackles with only three balls having been thrown in his zone. Believe me this guy will be playing on Sundays in four years.


He totaled 60 tackles, one sack, four tackles for losses, eight picks, broke up 16 passes and also returned a punt back for a score.


No. 18 overall in the Class of 2008.


3. Gerell Robinson (Committed to Arizona - 6-4, 215, 4.5 - Chandler Hamilton, Az)


Made a name for himself as a QB but recruited as a DB and also for WR and LB.


He possesses that rare combination of size, speed, athleticism, vision and work ethic. He certainly ranks as one of the nations top five FS prospects and also one of the top QB prospects in the West. On defense he consistently gets a great break on the ball, reads well, shows toughness when coming up to stop the run and can make plays from sideline to sideline. On offense he shows a live arm, leadership skills, is a playmaker from the word go, elusive, strong and instinctive.


As a sophomore he threw for 1,800 yards and ran for 500 more. Last season on defense he totaled 56 tackles, 10 picks and batted down four other passes. He also averaged 38.3 yards per kickoff return.


No. 23 overall in the Class of 2008.


4. Nolan Brewster (Committed to Texas - 6-2, 205, 4.5 - Denver Mullen, Col.)


I first met this All-American when he was a one year old visiting his father who was then an assistant coach in North Carolina. Since then he has grown into a 6-foot-2, 205 pounder with brilliant speed, instincts and production.


Nolan is the hardest hitting defensive back west of the Mississippi. The key to his game are his instincts, they are second to none. He seems to always be around the ball. He hits like a linebacker but also shows good cover skills. He shows the best range of any FS in the West and consistently makes plays showing the athleticism, speed and leverage needed to become an All-American. He also has a very good closing burst in coverage and in run support. He is not afraid to stick his nose into the action, he lowers his shoulder and hits like a ton of bricks. He ranks as one of the nation's top three FS prospects.


He totaled 133 tackles, two picks, and broke up six passes and also caused five fumbles in 2006


His father, Tim Brewster, played ball at Illinois and with the New York Giants and Jets, and he is now head coach of the Minnesota Gophers.


No. 24 overall in the Class of 2008.


5. Brandon Smith (6-3, 210, 4.5 - New Brunswick, N.J.)


Shows outstanding cover skills, is a sure tackler and shows the ball skills to make big plays when they are really needed. He is blessed with long arms, explosive moves, great change of direction and can range from sideline to sideline. To top it off, he is also one of the better QB prospects in the state, but I believe he is better suited to play the FS position in college. He takes excellent angles to the ball, reads plays quickly and takes very few false steps. Just a natural at the FS position with difference maker type of potential, thus the five-star rating. His offensive skills, particularly his ball handling skills are remarkable, he shows a live arm and he causes problems for the defense with his quickness and anticipation.


He threw for 1,054 yards and 15 touchdowns and was picked off just three times. He also ran for 650 yards and six scores on defense. He totaled 70 tackles, picked off nine passes, batted down seven others and caused three fumbles on his way to earning First Team All-State honors.


No. 45 overall in the Class of 2008.


6. Darius Barksdale (Committed to Ole Miss - 5-11, 190, 4.5 - Batesville-South Panola, Miss.)


In person and on film, Darius has been blessed with great speed, particularly great speed to the ball, hits like a hammer, can redirect like no one's business and is relentless in pursuit. He is one of the more physical defensive players in the nation and plays every down like it's his last. Born to be a defensive player, his aggressive style of play has been a big hit in the Batesville area for the past three years. He is a playmaker and ball hawk, and he's also an exceptional run stuffer and a playmaker who understands the games. He takes great angles and seems to anticipate every play. He is just a natural and one of the nation's premiere defensive players. He picked off a couple of passes and totaled 16 tackles against Horn Lake, which is quite an achievement for an FS. He also played a little CB and RB in 2006.


No. 77 overall in the Class of 2008.


7. Spencer Adams (6-2, 179, 4.4 - Matthews Butler, N.C.)


A big play FS with big time quickness to the ball, he can cover one on one and is known for his hard-hitting style of play. He is a remarkable athlete, tall and rangy with an aggressive style of play. He is a FS who lives for the big hit. His body control and timing are second to none; he's a center fielder at the FS position and is a take-charge guy who loves to mix it up.


He was credited with 105 tackles, one sack, three picks, 10 passes batted down and three forced fumbles in 2006 and earned H-M All-State honors.


No. 97 overall in the Class of 2008.


8. Dan McCarthy (Committed to Notre Dame - 6-2, 195, 4.48 - Youngstown-Mooney, Ohio)

He is one of the first two players Ohio State offered a scholarship to this past winter and his brother Kyle plays for Notre Dame.


Proves to be a very physical, active and quick FS who competes on every play. Exceptionally athletic on offense and defense, bottom line this guy makes plays. It is tough to find any faults, he is a sideline to sideline ball player, fills hard, shows very good power at the point of attack and above average range. To top it off, he shows John Lynch-type instincts and hitting ability. On offense he is more then adequate at QB. A team leader who can get the job done passing and running. Against Akron Hoban, he rushed for 175 yards and totaled six TDs.


He recorded 110 stops, three sacks, two picks, six fumble recoveries, two caused fumbles and batted down eight passes on defense. He completed 153-of-205 passes for 780 yards and eight TDs and rushed for 1,900 yards and 21 TDs on his way to earning MVP honors in the state championship game.


9. Victor Johnson (6-1, 175, 4.4 - Waco, Texas)


He's one of the smarter and more instinctive ball players you will find. A prep version of Sean Taylor, he's not that big, but boy he can deliver a blow. He's as physical as they come with a smooth backpedal, great in transition and has tremendous closing speed. He shows above average pass defense skills. Confident, but not cocky, he's a ball hawk who is quick to react, does a good job of keeping the receiver in front of him and he's a sure tackler. A gifted defender with All-American skills.


He recorded 100 tackles and five picks, in which he returned one back for a TD in a playoff game against LaMarque. He also batted down 10 passes, caused five fumbles and generally just wreaked havoc upon the offense.


10. C.J. Holton (Committed to Florida State - 6-2, 195, 4.45 - Crawfordville-Wakulla, Fla.)


I met all of the Wakulla players off of Interstate 75 about a half hour south of Atlanta back in February. I was heading to Tallahassee and they were heading to Athens, Ga. and we just stopped and did a two hour interview along the way. One of the pleasant surprises of those interviews was C.J. and once I got a hold of his film, I could understand why the coaches were so excited about him.


This guy can hit like a ton of bricks and loves to do it. He is a very aggressive FS with a mean streak. He idolizes Sean Taylor and tries to emulate him and has become a guided missile towards the ball showing good range and instincts along the way.


He totaled 75 tackles, four picks and broke up eight passes at FS. He didn't touch the ball much on offense, but had one carry for 65 yards and one catch for 15 yards, meaning he averages 40 yards per touch.


11. Terrance Parks (Committed to Florida State - 6-2, 200, 4.4 - Fairburn-Creekside, Ga.)

12. Rashun Dixon (6-2, 210, 4.5 - Terry, Miss.)

13. E.J. Woods (Committed to UCLA - 6-2, 200, 4.49 - Encino Crespi, Calif.)

14. Keanon Cooper (6-0, 195, 4.39 - Dallas Skyline, Texas)

15. Aaron Hester (Committed to UCLA - 6-2, 190, 4.4 - Compton-Dominguez, Calif.)

16. Darvin Adams (Committed to Auburn - 6-3, 185, 4.5 - Kennasaw Harrison, Ga.)

17. Brandon Furtch (Committed to Texas A&M - 6-3, 190, 4.5 - Paris, Texas)

18. Rocky Duplessis (Committed to LSU - 6-2, 190, 4.5 - Belle Chasse, La.)

19. J.T. Floyd (Committed to Tennessee - 6-0, 190, 4.5 - Greenville-Mann, S.C.)

20. Charles Burrell (Committed to Michigan State - 6-1, 195, 4.5 - Detroit-Southeastern, Minn.)

21. Karnell Hatcher (6-3, 189, 4.6 - Delray Beach Atlantic, Fla.)

22. Jeron Gouveia (Committed to Virginia Tech - 6-2, 187, 4.6 - Ashburn-Stone Bridge, Va.)

23. Cooper Taylor (Committed to Georgia Tech - 6-4, 185, 4.5 - Atlanta Marist, Ga.)

24. Ryan Grant (Committed to Minnesota - 6-2, 215, 4.6 - Eden Prairie, Minn.)

25. Joseph Ibiloye (Committed to Oklahoma - 6-2, 195, 4.5 - Garland, Texas)