2012: Jameis Winston (Signed with Florida State)
2013: Brice Ramsey (Committed to Georgia)
Comparison: Winston was a two-sport (Baseball and football) in high school and he was a very athletic quarterback who was best when plays broke down. Ramsey played in a wing-t offense, so he handed the ball off 90-percent of the time on the high school level. Both have good size, both have above average arms, and both are natural leaders. Winston was better with his legs while Ramsey had the stronger arm.
Higher Ranking: This is a very close one, but Ramsey gets the nod. It is a better quarterback class in 2013 and Ramsey sits at No. 7 while Winston was at No. 2 a year ago. When looking at upside and potential, Ramsey has as much as anyone in the last two classes.
2012: Keith Marshall (Signed with Georgia)
2013: Alex Collins (Considering Arkansas, Florida, Florida State, and Miami)
Comparison: Marshall was all about speed coming out of high school. He was a national track star and that showed on the football field. He was more of an edge runner. Collins has a great burst when he gets the football in his hands. He has added good weight and strength over the past season and he breaks tackles better than Marshall did at this stage. He is not quite as fast as Marshall, but there is not a big gap there.
Higher Ranking: Marshall finished with the No. 12 overall ranking a year ago and Collins finished at No. 17 this year. Collins gets the top ranking because of his upside. He is a more balanced back than Marshall and runs better behind his pads with top speed as well.
2012: Shaq Roland (Signed with South Carolina)
2013: Stacy Coley (Considering Cincinnati, Florida State, Miami, Ole Miss, and others.)
Comparison: Roland was an athlete out of South Carolina that starred on the football field and basketball court. He played all over the place on both sides of the ball as well, so he was a naturally gifted athlete. Coley is a raw athlete that can be as good as he wants to be. He makes plays when he wants to make them. Roland is a little longer and he has better body control, but Coley is faster and he has a little more big play ability.
Higher Ranking: Roland was No. 40 overall in 2012 and Coley is No. 75 overall in 2013. It would have stayed this way. Roland is just a safer bet at this time. Coley still has some questions while Roland will be productive on the next level.
2012: Kent Taylor (Signed with Florida)
2013: O.J. Howard (Committed to Alabama)
Comparison: Both of these young men were outstanding receivers on the high school level. Taylor and Howard know how to catch the ball with their hands, they both have long frames, and they both are tight ends that can stretch the field vertically. Taylor had the edge as a blocker coming out of high school while Howard is the better overall athlete.
Higher Ranking: Howard gets the nod at this position. He is an elite athlete that plays tight end and he will give something Alabama has not had before at that position. He will give them a real receiving weapon at tight end and/or H-Back. He will mature as a blocker, but he will mainly be a big weapon as a receiver.
2012: John Theus (Signed with Georgia)
2013: Laremy Tunsil (Considering Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Ole Miss, and Texas)
Comparison: Theus came out of of high school stronger and much farther advanced as a blocker. He is thicker, he has a different body type, and he may have been a little more consistent in run blocking and pass protection. Tunsil has the frame you look for in an elite tackle. He has better feet than Theus, longer arms, and and he slides better in pass protection.
Higher Ranking: Theus was better coming out of high school and more ready to play college football, but Tunsil has more upside. He has more room to develop physically and technically, and he would be the top tackle in these two classes. There is a little difference when they were high school seniors, but when talking the higher ceiling, Tunsil has it as a true left tackle.
2012: Vadal Alexander (Signed with LSU)
2013: Grant Hill (Committed to Alabama)
Comparison: Both are big and physical offensive linemen coming out of high school and both played a lot of offensive tackle on the high school level. Scout mentioned with each prospect as we evaluated them that both could play guard or tackle on the next level. Alexander is a better straight ahead mauler by a little, but Hill has the better feet and hips after dropping between 30-40 pounds over the last year. Alexander missed a lot of senior season with a sickness as well, so we were not able to see him at his best in 2012.
Higher Ranking: The edge goes to Hill. He is a little taller, a little longer, he bends a little better, and he moves better. Alexander is an elite OL and Hill has a little more upside. He could play guard or right tackle in Tuscaloosa.
2012: Ty Darlington (Signed with Oklahoma)
2013: Josh Cardiello (Committed to Georgia)
Comparison: Darlington is a coach's son that knows the game and he is a natural center. He is very smart, but physical, and he has good size as well. Cardiello plays for Buford, one of the best coached teams in the country, so he will be fundamentally ready to compete, but he played offensive tackle in high school. He has good feet, he is an intelligent player, and his size will make him a center on the next level.
Higher Ranking: It comes down to experience and Darlington has that. He has played center, he understands the position, and he knows what it takes to be the leader of the offensive line unit. Cardiello still has to develop at that position.
When looking back, the 2013 class got the higher ranking at five of the seven positions. That is saying something with numerous of the 2012 prospects featured making big impacts as true freshmen this past fall.
We will take a look at the defensive comparisons on Friday.