2015 Midwest Top 150

The preseason list of the top 150 recruits in the Midwest with a look back at how some of the past classes are doing.

There is no change at the top of the Midwest rankings. Damien Harris remains at the top followed by Brian Cole, Justin Hilliard and Jerome Baker. We've only seen Harris once since the Winter, at The Opening, where it's largely unfair, in my opinion, to move a running back's ranking unless something very obviously stands out either way. Cole also missed a lot of the spring and summer with injury so we stand on our evaluation of him from the season, although he looked great in the one 7-on-7 he played in.

The mover is Terry Beckner, who had a great performance at The Opening and was bigger and stronger. We will have some opportunities to see him early in the season and if his play there matches what happened in Oregon, he could contend for the top spot.

This is also a good chance to look back to see how previous classes are doing.

I've always felt that the NFL Draft is not necessarily the best way to verify the validity of recruiting rankings since you can be a great college player and not get drafted or drafted highly, but it is a way of checking our work.

The first ten Midwesterners selected last year were: Zack Martin, Ra'shede Hageman, Jack Mewhort, Allen Robinson, Jimmy Garoppolo, C.J. Fiedorowicz, Chris Borland, Michael Schofield, Corey Linsley, and Jonathan Newsome.

That's no five-stars, six four-stars, two three-stars, one two-star (Borland), and one unranked (Garoppolo).

As food for thought, here are the offer lists of the last five Midwest 1st Round picks.

Zack Martin Notre Dame Notre Dame, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Northwestern, Stanford, UCLA, Virginia
Eric Fisher CMU Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan
Tyler Eifert Notre Dame Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Indiana, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest
Travis Frederick Wisconsin Wisconsin, Air Force
Luke Kuechly Boston College Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke, Illinois, Louisville, Michigan State, Stanford, Virginia

You have three guys with good, solid offer lists, but not the type of lists that would have made anyone think they would be at the top of the draft and then two guys with very sparse lists.

Camp performance? Eifert was the only one of those five who was extra active on the camp circuit.

The guys who made it out of the Midwest and got drafted high were generally guys who worked their way. They weren't consensus high school All-Stars, can't-miss, blue-chip guys. So who will be the guys this year? Gabe Megginson and Jon Dietzen are the top two offensive linemen, and the region does seem to regularly produce top offensive linemen.

The top of the three-stars always seems to do well too in the Midwest. This year our first three-stars are quarterback Tommy Stevens, wide receivers Flynn Nagel and Leon Thornton, and cornerback Denzel Ward.

As always, this list can, and will very likely change throughout the season, but this is our starting point. Currently there are no five-stars in the Midwest. Will someone emerge this season? We will find out in a few short weeks.

1 Jaylon Smith Notre Dame Started every game for the Irish and is a leading preseason Butkus candidate.
2 James Quick Louisville Played in nine games and caught six passes for 73 yards.
3 Laquon Treadwell Ole Miss Won SEC Freshman of the Year after catching 72 passes for 608 yards.
4 Jalin Marshall OSU Redshirted and dealt with some injuries, but expected to contribute this Fall.
5 Ty Isaac USC Flashed ability in several games for the Trojans; transferred to Michigan.
1 Adolphus Washington OSU Started five games as a soph and had two sacks and 36 tackles.
2 Brionte Dunn OSU Is fighting for carries in a loaded Buckeye backfield.
3 Kyle Kalis Mich Started as a RS-freshman, but is now battling for his job.
4 Gunner Kiel ND Transferred to Cincinnati and is expected to start this season.
5 Jordan Diamond Auburn Redshirted, then played in four games a year ago; has struggled some with injuries.
1 Trey DePriest Alabama Started all 13 games in 2013, recording 65 tackles and two sacks.
2 Kiaro Holts UNC Injuries have kept him out of the lineup. Has started one game in Tar Heel career.
3 Braxton Miller OSU Big Ten MVP as a junior and Heisman candidate as a senior.
4 Steve Miller OSU Has played in 20 games in his Buckeye career with 16 total tackles.
5 Michael Bennett OSU One of the nation's best DTs and a potential early NFL Draft pick.

2015 Midwest 150

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