Author's Note: Last year, before I became a Front Page Author, I posted a few pieces on the top college prospects at the very beginning of the college football season for '09-'10. There are roughly 22 positions (11 on each side of the ball) to focus on. Each week, leading up to the very first NCAA Football Game for the '10-'11 Season, I will take a look at one of the positions. Each position will vary in the amount of players I cover. Number of players per position will range anywhere from 10-20 of the top prospects. I will be ranking them as to where I think they will be slotted in next years draft should they all enter. Mind you, these are just my opinions, but I feel that the rankings are going to be pretty close to the opinions of the rest of the Nation. I haven't seen any preseason player rankings yet, so it should be interesting to compare to once they come out.
Although the 49ers drafted two offensive lineman, I am still going to take a look at some of the guys who will potentially be entering the draft in 2011.
It remains a mystery as to whether or not Anthony Davis or Mike Iupati will amount to anything but so far all sign are pointing up. Should one or the other not do well in their first or second seasons, the 49ers will need to look for some help either in free agency or the draft again. A lot of fingers will be crossed in hopes that both of the 49ers first round draft picks will pan out sooner rather than later.
The turnover rate for linemen in college football is actually quite high. I'm not sure what the exact percentage would be but it has to be up there. It seems that each and every year, college teams are having to bring in new guys. It is very hard to develop any kind of chemistry on the offensive line in college football.
All in all, this group of offensive tackles appear to be as good, if not better than the one that just came out in this past draft. But that is the fun about this specific college sport... you just never know who is going to emerge in to that elite class.
After the jump, I'll preview the top 10 Tackles heading in to the '10-'11 Season. This finishes up the offensive side of the ball for this segment. Next week will begin looking at the defensive positions.
1. GABE CARIMI | 6'7", 315 LBS. | WISONSIN BADGERS - Gabe Carimi I think by season end will be hands down the first tackle to be selected in next years draft. He has enough mass and enough agility to be excellent at the next level as well. He started 9 games at left tackle in '09 and will look to start them all this year. Carimi is a player that will not go unoticed in the up and coming season.
2. ANTHONY CASTONZO | 6'7", 300 LBS. | BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES - Castonzo finished last year voted as a First Team All-ACC member. There is high expectations for this young talented prospect. Castonzo was the first true freshman to start for Boston College since 1998. He has the experience and will more than likely be a first or second round selection in next years draft.
3. JARVIS JONES | 6'7", 305 LBS. | OKLAHOMA SOONERS - With Trent Williams gone, Jarvis Jones could be the focal point on the offensive line for the Sooners. Jones in my opinion will be better than Williams was for the Sooners. The Sooners are very young and Jones will be expected by Coach Stoops to keep Quarterback Landry Jones upright in the upcoming year.
4. NATE SOLDER | 6'9", 310 LBS. | COLORADO BUFFALOES - There will be a lot of tackles being scouted in the Big 12 this year and Solder will be one of the main ones. He is extremely tall and has long powerful arms. He has a very good chance to put himself higher than this slot here but I believe this is fair for now.
5. JOESPH BARKSDALE | 6'5", 315 LBS. | LSU TIGERS - A lot of folks felt like Barksdale had the most upside between him and Ciron Black. I am on board with that assesment. Barksdale has mounds of potential but is a bit unpolished. If he works diligently he will be a top 5 tackle next year.
6. JASON PINKSTON | 6'4", 310 LBS. | PITTSBURGH PANTHERS - Pinkston helped the Panthers to a very succesful season last year. He will be a key element in helping Deon Lewis in his campaign to be one of the best running backs in college football. Pinkston has that star potential but his work ethic has been questioned at times.
7. MARCUS CANNON | 6'5", 350 LBS. | TCU HORNED FROGS - Cannon is probably the heaviest top prospect potentially entering the NFL next year. Even though he weighs 350 LBS, that doesn't mean he isn't extremely agile. Some NFL team will love his size coupled with the agility and he has a good shot at being a mid-round selection. Considering that, he could be one of the players that emerges from the middle of the pack to be elite as well.
8. JAMES CARPENTER | 6'5", 300 LBS. | ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE - Carpenter spent his first couple years playing at a community college later transfering to the University of Alabama. Carpenter was one of the guys who helped Mark Ingram earn the Heisman Trophy. Carpenter will be the corner piece to helping Ingram blaze the field up for another season.
9. LEVY ADCOCK | 6'6", 320 LBS. | OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS - Russell Okung was expected to be the very first tackle taken in last years draft but that's not the way things went down. In my opinion, there is no way Trent Williams should have got selected before Okung; blocking scheme or not. Adcock is going to have the spotlight now after living in the shadow of a great college tackle in Okung. I think Adcock has all the right tools to do just as well as Okung was able to at OSU.
10. LEE ZEIMBA | 6'8", 320 LBS. | AUBURN TIGERS - Zeimba has received a few awards throughout his college career, but his awards are not what has put him on the scouting radar. If the running backs and passing game excel next year for the Tigers, it will have a lot to do with a solid offensive line and a talented prospect like Lee Zeimba. He is another interesting prospect to keep an eye on this coming season.
Note: As mentioned above, be on the look out for next weeks article as we'll begin looking at the defensive prospects.