2013 Top 10 Seniors
- Published: April 27, 2012 at 05:52 p.m.
- Updated: April 30, 2012 at 07:57 p.m.
Here's a look at the top 10 senior prospects in college football:
1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Though scouts will not be blown away by Barkley's physical attributes (6-foot-2, 230 pounds), he will run an efficient pro-style offense for a title-contending Trojans team this season. If Barkley throws accurately to all levels of the field -- a task made much easier with outstanding young wideouts Robert Woods and Marqise Lee at his disposal -- he might earn the No. 1 overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft.
2. Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
The strong-armed passer (6-3/220) lost his head coach (Bobby Petrino) and three potential draft picks at receiver (Joe Adams, Greg Childs and Jarius Wright), but the cupboard isn't bare in Fayetteville. Wilson still has strong targets to find downfield in WR/TE Chris Gragg and receiver Cobi Hamilton. And the Razorbacks have a good running game, to boot. Though not a great athlete, he can sling the ball from the pocket and shows toughness taking hits.
3. E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
Going by pure physical stature (6-5/238), Manuel could be a Cam Newton-type prospect in 2013. Before he challenges Barkley for the top spot, though, he must continue to mature in terms of his accuracy and decision making. The Seminoles' growing expectations -- and possibly his draft stock -- hinge on Manuel and his receivers growing together this fall.
4. Alex Okafor, DE/OLB, Texas
Okafor's recorded seven sacks last season while moving inside and outside in Texas' multiple-front scheme, displaying his versatility and explosiveness as a pass rusher. If he proves himself agile enough to stand up during postseason workouts, 3-4 teams may see him as a powerful rush linebacker prospect -- much like former teammate Brian Orakpo, who went to the Redskins as the 13th overall selection of the 2009 draft.
5. Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
The Irish's leading tackler the past two seasons is a thick thumper (6-2/255) between the tackles and also can track down plays to the sideline with pure hustle. He'll need a surprising combine performance like this year's top inside linebacker, Luke Kuechly, to shoot up into the top 10 picks, but he'll be a productive player in the middle for someone.
6. Barrett Jones, OG/C, Alabama
Jones (6-5/302) started for two years at right guard for the Tide before moving to the left tackle spot to help the team win its second BCS title in three years. Now he's slated to take over for stalwart William Vlachos at center in 2012. That versatility, combined with his strength and competitiveness, make the 2011 Outland Trophy winner a solid first-round pick as an interior lineman who can slide outside in a pinch.
7. Brandon Jenkins, DE/OLB, Florida State
Some were disappointed with Jenkins (6-3/260) only accumulating eight sacks in 2011 after racking up 13.5 as a sophomore. But his ability to come up off the edge hard and potentially stand up in a 3-4 system will make him a hot commodity when teams search out pass rushers early in the draft.
8. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The winner of the Pac-12 Morris Trophy as the league's Defensive Lineman of the Year is as stout and agile as any nose tackle in the class. Teams primarily using three-man fronts will covet his ability to hold the point, step into the backfield and shed blockers to grab running backs coming through the middle.
9. Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
The rising senior (6-2/185) might be missing an "a" in his first name, but he isn't missing a lot in his game. He matches up with taller receivers outside and has displayed very good ball skills with 12 career interceptions. Banks needs to prove himself strong enough to handle physical receivers at the next level, but overall he'll be in the mix for a first-round grade.
10. T.J. McDonald, FS, USC
The son of former NFL Pro Bowl safety Tim McDonald, who was a part of the 49ers team that won Super Bowl XXIX, captured first-team All-Pac-12 accolades in 2011, but looks to be even better in his senior year. He has the size (6-3/205) and athleticism to handle tight ends in coverage, and makes receivers hesitant to cross the middle of the field with huge hits. A solid final year on campus gives him a good chance at moving up this list.