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SI99: A look at the Top 10 Football Prospects in America

SI All-American's Edwin Weathersby II breaks down the prospects in the top 10 of the inaugural SI99.

The inaugural SI99 is now out and released, showcasing the best of the best among college football prospects in the 2021 class. To say significant time and sacrifice was put into this would be an understatement, as we did not take this lightly. We began with evaluating more than 1,000 players and publishing those written evaluations at the start of the summer. 

As a scout, it’s imperative to understand the difference between evaluation and valuation, and that was a foundation for our efforts in constructing the SI99: to understand fit and value. We valued position-specific skills and core traits that were shown on film on a consistent basis of high quality that we felt projected well to today’s college game as a successful and productive fit on a college roster. Sub-positions were birthed, as we separated the secondary by ranking cornerback, safety and nickel prospects. We recognize that classic outside linebackers are a thing of the past, opting for off-ball linebacker and grouping defensive ends and stand-up OLBs as “edge” prospects. Offensively, we separated receivers by WR and Slot and split TE’s into Y and H prospects after separating OT’s from interior OLs. 

We stacked the SI 99 with an NFL approach, with our meetings and conference calls unfolding like an NFL Draft meeting or as a meeting among college football player personnel and recruiting staff. We kept position value in mind, with premiums placed on quarterback, left tackle, pass-rusher and cornerbacks serving as tie-breakers between evenly graded prospects. Versatility, current frame versus growth potential and skill-set/athletic floor were also high factors, as the best predictor of future success is prior success. 

We trusted our eyes. We remained open to updating our grades upon receiving new information. There was no politicking or campaigning for players. This isn’t Edwin Weathersby II’s board. This isn’t John Garcia, Jr.’s board. This is an honest board. 

This is the SI99.

1. QB Caleb Williams, Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga College

6-foot-2, 210 pounds

Committed to Oklahoma

Williams earns the mark as our top passer and prospect on our board, as he grades out highly in most, if not all, of our QB position-specific and critical factors. Blessed with an above-average frame and bulk, Williams’ athleticism is elite. However, his arm talent is downright special. From being able to alter his arm slots, manipulate ball speeds and delivering throws with proper ball placement and accuracy to all levels, he can fit in many different offensive structures that call for him to play in and out of the pocket. Williams has Gumby-like body flexibility to execute off-platform throws, along with excellent functional mobility to also threaten defenses with excellent run traits. Should he continue to develop, Williams projects as a high-end starter at Oklahoma.

2. DE JT Tuimoloau, Sammamish (Wash.) Eastside Catholic

6-foot-5, 280 pounds

Considering Washington, Ohio State, Alabama, USC and Stanford, among others

Tuimoloau is not only the top Edge prospect on our board, he could have easily been the top overall prospect in this class. The Washington native is a player we’ve been aware of since before high school, and even then there was talk he was already the best of the 2021 class. Tuimoloau can work as a “Buck” on the edges, as his size, strength and athleticism allow him to be effective both standing up and with his hand down. He can convert speed to power with ease as a pass-rusher, as well as set an edge, anchor and shed blocks in the run game. Although his size does warrant an interior projection to defensive tackle, and that is something we definitely can foresee in his college career, we begin Tuimoloau as an Edge prospect since he’s shown versatility to play as an on-ball Sam, Buck or Jack, 5-technique end in a 3-man front and as a 7/9-technique rush-end in a 4-man front.

3. DE Jack Sawyer, Pickerington (Ohio) North Pickerington

6-foot-5, 230 pounds

Committed to Ohio State

Perhaps the most polished pass-rusher in the country, Sawyer is also among the top overall pure football players in this class. The Ohio State pledge spends some time standing up, but is at his best from a 4-point stance with both hands down. Sawyer has ideal snap quickness, as well as long arms and active mitts. He possesses a varied pass-rush toolbox. It consists of a classic speed rush, that he pairs with good bend and a front-shoulder dip at entry points, a spin, a stutter-go and speed-to-power, among others. Sawyer also plays with a motor that is noticeable on tape, showing speed and effort when pursuing backside runs and hunting ball-carriers. He works to keep his outside arm-free when he’s the play-side edge in the run game and takes proper angles with movement skills that translate from his basketball background. We strongly feel he has alpha-rusher traits, and fits well as a wide-alignment end in a 4-man front. It would not be surprising if Sawyer saw himself earn a role as a sub-package pass-rusher very early in his career in Columbus.

4. IDL Korey Foreman, Corona (Calif.) Centennial

Considering Clemson, USC, Oregon, LSU, Alabama, Georgia and Howard

6-foot-4, 265 pounds

We list Foreman as our top interior defensive line prospect, yet make no mistake about it: he can certainly live on the edges at the next level. However, his frame, bulk, strength and power are all traits that warrant an interior projection. Foreman is urgent and intentful with his snap quickness, reduces ground in a hurry to engage with blockers and has a powerful longarm stab that he lands with consistent accuracy. We’ve seen him put offensive linemen on skates and train-wreck secondary blockers. He has very good mesh-point vision to track runners and hunts with good closing quickness. Foreman is also a power player as a pass-rusher, and does show hand quickness to counter. The SoCal native can play as a base strong-side end or as a 3-technique defensive tackle in a 4-man front, plus we also feel he could project very well as an end in a 3-man front at the 4i/5-technique alignment, which leads to the interior listing here.

5. OT Tommy Brockermeyer, Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints Episcopal

6-foot-6, 280 pounds

Committed to Alabama

Brockermeyer is among the elite blue-chip prospects in this class, regardless of position, evidenced by checking in at No. 5 on our current board. He is a rare prep OL prospect who has the skill set, frame and athleticism to be regarded as a pure left tackle. The Texan has good snap quickness and movement skills, which allow him to win on reaches upon contact on the run game. There, he consistently brings his feet and hips. Brockermeyer has good target adjusting ability to factor on the second level and can work with a nastiness that appears on tape. He has a solid base in pass-protection, as he mirrors well and can deliver a solid punch before riding opponents around the arc. At this point, Brockermeyer can fit fine in both zone and gap-scheme concepts.

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6. LB Smael Mondon, Dallas (GA.) Paulding County

6-foot-3, 220 pounds

Considering Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee and LSU

Mondon profiles as the most complete linebacker in the class just about across the board. In addition to a strong frame and mature build, his athleticism jumps off the tape whether he lines up at 'backer, on the edge and even as a running back. Beyond the recent data suggesting high school backs make the best college linebackers, there are undeniable downhill traits at play here. Sure, the vision is where you'd expect it to be with great run-through fluidity along with finishing power, but the instincts are also off the charts. Beating blockers with legitimate track speed or power/technique looks to be a breeze en route to the assignment. Mondon is plenty capable of rushing the passer in a pinch with great leverage, instincts and a burst few can duplicate at 220 pounds. Comfortable in space and coverage with discipline to play inside-out, the uncommitted Peach State prospect is what a new-age three-down linebacker should look like entering the collegiate game.

7. DE Demeioun Robinson, Gaithersburg (Md.) Quince Orchard

6-foot-4, 220 pounds

Committed to Maryland

There aren’t many Edge prospects in this class who are as active and disruptive as Robinson. He’s a talent who could begin to change the trajectory of Maryland’s program both on the recruiting trail and on the field, in a similar fashion Shaun Cody did for Pete Carroll and USC at the turn of the century in the year 2000. Robinson has excellent length on the hoof, which allows him to keep offensive tackles away from his breastplate. He also possesses ideal snap quickness to jump on top of blockers and quickness with his mitts. The future Terp can bend and corner flat to passers, as well as hunt with speed to chase runners in long pursuit. Whether it’s standing up or with his hand down, it would not be surprising to see Robinson on the field as a sub-package pass-rusher as a true freshman.

8. RB TreVeon Henderson, Hopewell (Va.) High School

5-foot-10, 185 pounds

Committed to Ohio State

There wasn't much discussion as who’s the top dog among RBs, considering Henderson's athletic profile. The state champion sprinter has just about every ideal tool for a back in the modern age with the tape and production to back it up coming off of a 3,000-yard, 50-plus touchdown campaign in 2019. The future Buckeye has breakaway speed, balance, vision, patience and that gaudy production to his name. His bounce and acceleration pair for chunk potential both in between the tackles and outside while his subtle wiggle and open-field speed make him a true problem for tacklers in space. As he continues to fill out his frame, something he's working on before enrolling at Ohio State, Henderson is a candidate for immediate playing time anywhere -- even in Columbus.

9. RB Camar Wheaton, Garland (Texas) Lakeview Centennial

5-foot-11, 195 pounds

Considering LSU, Oklahoma, Texas and SMU, among others

The Texan could very well be the fastest running back in the country from a football or track and field perspective. Wheaton has some of the most head-turning 'juice' in the class when it comes to explosiveness and breakaway ability at any position. His one-cut style and rock solid frame also make for a decisive back going for big yardage without wasted movement. Running with great lean and behind his pads, the strike zone for defenders is maintained to a minimum inside the box or not. Wheaton has the tools to compete in the passing game, too, with that elite speed and some subtle elusiveness in the open field including a dynamic jump cut.

10. WR Emeka Egbuka, Steilacoom (Wash.) High School

6-foot-1, 190 pounds

Considering Washington, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Clemson

One of the top uncommitted prospects in the country regardless of position, Egbuka makes big plays at wide receiver and defensive backs on Friday nights. His flashes on offense, particularly down the field and at the catch point, can contend with any play-maker's top cuts. But there is alarming consistency from a production standpoint, too, coming off of back-to-back 1,400-yard, 20-touchdown campaigns. Egbuka is dominant with the football in the air with plus speed and elite hands. Polish is present as a route runner and while not the shiftiest player with the ball in his hands, he is plenty elusive with his instincts, efficiency and one-cut ability to break down defenders in space.

More SI99 Coverage

Inaugural SI All-American SI99 Released

College Programs Dominating the SI99

SIAA's 2021 Rankings by Position

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