The Grand Poobah
Mel Kiper Jr.'s: Top 25 Big Board **Updated** 1/4/07
Mel Kiper Jr.
The lone newcomer to my Top 25 Big Board is Hawaii defensive end Ikaika Alama-Francis. A late bloomer, Alama-Francis -- who originally was recruited to play basketball at Hawaii -- did not even play football in high school. I highlighted him last week in Personnel Points for a reason: He's a great athlete, a hard worker and has been a key performer on an improved Hawaii defense.
The next update to my Top 25 Big Board will be Jan. 4.
1. Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame (6-3½, 225) | previous: Same
Poised, smart and at his best in pressure situations. Quinn threw just one interception in his last eight games.
2. Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin (6-6½, 313) | previous: Same
Huge, quick and athletic with a long wingspan.
3. Leon Hall, CB, Michigan (5-11, 193) | previous: Same
Tough customer who also shows very good anticipation and awareness in coverage. Hall leads the Wolverines with three interceptions.
4. Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson (6-4½, 260) | previous: Same
Flashes dominating ability with his athleticism and quickness. Adams leads the Tigers with 10½ sacks and 15½ tackles for loss.
5. Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville (6-1½, 298) | previous: Same
A four-year veteran, and he is only 19 years old. Okoye is quick and explosive and goes all-out on every play. He is not only good at eating up space but also gets good penetration into the backfield. He's second on the Cardinals in both sacks and tackles for loss.
6. LaRon Landry, DB, LSU (6-1½, 205) | previous: Same
Four-year starter who has proven to be Mr. Reliable throughout his career. Landry leads LSU with 42 solo tackles.
7. Quinn Pitcock, DT, Ohio St. (6-3, 297) | previous: Same
Run-stuffing dynamo who does a great job of clogging the interior.
8. Adam Carriker, DE, Nebraska (6-6, 298) | previous: Same
You just don't see many defensive ends carrying 300 pounds who can move as well as Carriker.
9. Tony Ugoh, OT, Arkansas (6-5, 308) | previous: Same
Ugoh's stock has been rising all year to the point where he's one of the more intriguing senior prospects in the nation.
10. Jeff Samardzija, WR, Notre Dame (6-4½, 215) | previous: 11
Super hands and concentration with outstanding speed-to-size ratio. He caught a touchdown pass in four straight and six of the last seven games.
11. DeMarcus "Tank" Tyler, DT, NC State (6-2¼, 310) | previous: 12
Extremely quick and very powerful. A player on the rise, Taylor has been a one-man wrecking crew on the defensive line for the Wolfpack.
12. Ryan Kalil, C, USC (6-2½, 292) | previous: 13
His performance during the latter stages of his career has been that of a first- or second-round draft choice.
13. Turk McBride, DT, Tennessee (6-3, 277) | previous: 14
McBride is a quality athletic talent with dual versatility for the next level, only adding to his value. Week to week, he's one of the more productive defensive linemen in the nation. McBride is fourth on the team with 64 tackles, including eight tackles for loss and five QB hurries.
14. LaMarr Woodley, DE, Michigan (6-1½, 269) | previous: 15
Combination DE/OLB with a hustling approach and disruptive capabilities. Woodley leads Michigan in sacks (11) and tackles for loss (15½).
15. Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU (6-2, 217) | previous: 16
Big and productive, Bowe runs excellent routes and has the toughness to catch the ball in traffic.
16. Tim Crowder, DE, Texas (6-3¼, 273) | previous: 10
Consistent and reliable in his career, and he has become more of a playmaker for the Longhorns in 2006.
17. Levi Brown, OT, Penn St. (6-4½, 325) | previous: Same
Steady and reliable at protecting the quarterback's blind side.
18. Marcus McCauley, CB, Fresno St. (6-0½, 200) | previous: Same
He has the size and speed (4.33 40-yard dash) with outstanding coverage technique.
19. Anthony Spencer, DE, Purdue (6-2½, 261) | previous: 22
He has become a much more effective pass-rusher this season for the Boilermakers. The key at the next level will be his athleticism and versatility, because I project he would be an ideal outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.
20. Patrick Willis, LB, Mississippi (6-2, 235) | previous: 19
Tackling machine with great football sense. Willis lead the Rebels with 137 tackles (87 solo).
21. Daymeion Hughes, CB, California (6-0, 187) | previous: Same
Big-play cornerback for the Golden Bears. Finished strong in 2005 and it carried over to this season. Hughes has eight interceptions, tied for third in Division I-A.
22. Troy Smith, QB, Ohio State (6-0, 213) | previous: 20
A consummate winner, Smith performed at his best on the biggest stages. (See his 3-0 record against Michigan, a bowl win over Notre Dame and road win this season at Texas.) He's a great player who makes those around him better, and he has a great ability to keep plays alive with his mobility. His arm strength is excellent and if he was two or three inches taller, Smith would be talked about as a top-five pick.
23. Quentin Moses, DE, Georgia (6-4, 254) | previous: Same
Mature, hardworking and explosive off the edge. Moses is second on the Bulldogs with 10½ tackles for loss.
24. Ikaika Alama-Francis, DE, Hawaii (6-5, 265) | previous: Unranked
Alama-Francis didn't play football until his redshirt freshman season at Hawaii. (He was recruited to play basketball.) He's a late-developing standout in Jerry Glanville's defense who has great overall strength to consistently hold up against the run.
25. Craig Davis, LSU, WR, LSU (6-1¼, 200) | previous: Same
Possesses outstanding speed (4.35 40-yard dash) to go along with his size. Davis was steady and reliable for most of his career, then took his game to a new level late in the season for the Tigers.
Ben Grubbs, OG, Auburn (6-3, 300) | previous: 24
A versatile athlete who started his career at defensive tackle and then shifted to tight end. Grubbs brings a great deal of athletic ability to the interior of the offensive line.
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