A look at the top-ranked offensive linemen in Rivals.com history
The off-season is a time for reflection and at Rivals.com we thought it would be interesting to take a look at our highest ranked players in history by position. Today we look at the offensive linemen led by the most physical offensive guard you’ll see on film.
Andre Smith, No. 2, 2006
Recruiting: On National Signing Day, Smith picked Alabama over USC, LSU and Florida. He had three hats on the table - none was Alabama - and when he made his announcement, Smith pulled a houndstooth hat out and put it on. The Crimson Tide won out.
Overview: Smith had a highly successful career at Alabama and he won the 2008 Outland Trophy. He was the sixth overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft and has played in the league since with the Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings and now the Arizona Cardinals.
Farrell’s take: Do yourself and favor and find Smith’s high school highlight tape and take a look. He would block players out of bounds, into the stands, 10 yards downfield and anywhere he could put them. He’s still the most physical offensive lineman I’ve scouted in my career. Despite his lack of height and the fact that he projected as a guard (although he proved he could play tackle) he pushed for No. 1 his year.
Seantrel Henderson, No. 2, 2010
Recruiting: After taking official visits to USC, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Florida, Henderson committed to the Trojans but hesitated signing his letter of intent. After the NCAA ruled in the Reggie Bush case, Henderson was granted his release and decided to attend Miami.
Overview: After an average career with the Hurricanes, Henderson was a seventh-round selection of the Buffalo Bills in the 2014 NFL Draft. He played in Buffalo for a few seasons and dealt with medical issues related to Crohn’s disease. In March, he signed a one-year deal with the Houston Texans.
Farrell’s take: Henderson was once our No. 1 overall prospect and was one of the biggest kids I’ve scouted. He had those basketball player feet, a long wingspan and he was physical and aggressive. Few will forget his commitment to USC but refusing to sign his LOI because of the NCAA investigation and how he ended up at Miami. He had an okay career but we expected more overall with his talent level.
D.J. Humphries, No. 2, 2010
Overview: Humphries had an impressive career at Florida but also missed a good deal of time due to injury. He was the No. 24 overall pick in the 2015 pick by the Arizona Cardinals and still plays there.
Farrell’s take: Humphries was young for his class and so athletic we figured he would grow into a dominant tackle. He had amazing feet and was athletic like a tight end. He had an average career at Florida because of injuries but still ended up as a first rounder because of that potential. He checked all the boxes to be a great player.
Eugene Monroe, No. 3, 2005
Recruiting: Shortly after a visit to Virginia in the summer before his senior season, Monroe committed to Virginia. Maryland was also seriously involved and the five-star also had many top national offers, but his trip to Charlottesville sold him on the Cavaliers.
Overview: Monroe was the eighth overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft and he had a successful career in Jacksonville from 2009-2013. He was then traded to Baltimore where he struggled with injuries. In July 2016, Monroe announced his retirement from the NFL.
Farrell’s take: Monroe was a massive, and I mean massive, offensive tackle out of high school who loved to put his opponents into the dirt. For a player his size he had good feet, he was good at getting to the next level and I loved his mauling style in the run game. He had a solid career at Virginia, was a first-rounder and had a nice career in the NFL where he re-shaped his body like few I’ve seen before.
D.J. Fluker, No. 3, 2009
Recruiting: Though he grew up in New Orleans and was an LSU fan, Fluker committed to Alabama and stuck with the Crimson Tide. Hurricane Katrina forced his family out of Louisiana to Mississippi and then to Alabama, where he finished his high school career.
Overview: Originally a defensive lineman, Fluker excelled at playing offensive tackle, shined at Alabama and was the No. 11 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. He was drafted by San Diego and played with the Charger from 2013-2016, with the New York Giants in 2017 and Fluker is now with the Seattle Seahawks.
Farrell’s take: Fluker is probably the biggest and most intimidating offensive lineman I’ve ever seen out of high school. He looked like a six year NFL veteran and he had some of the biggest hands you’ll ever see. He moved fairly well for a big man but his strength was off the charts and once he got his hands on you, it was over. Another player on this list who ended up as a first rounder, Fluker lived up to the hype.
Mike Adams, No. 3 in 2008
Recruiting: During a weekend birthday celebration with some other top prospects, Adams committed to Ohio State in March before his senior season. The Buckeyes were long considered the favorite with Michigan, Notre Dame and others involved.
Overview: Adams was a second-round selection of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2012 NFL Draft and could have gone higher if not for a positive drug test at the combine. He had an up-and-down career with the Steelers during his time there from 2012-2015. He then played one year with the Chicago Bears before a back injury sidelined him.
Farrell’s take: Adams was a physical freak like many on this list and was described by many as a dancing bear, a massive lineman with such great feet and balance he couldn’t be beaten. He de-railed his own career at Ohio State for the most part but was still a high draft choice. His NFL career never blossomed.
Cyrus Kouandjio, No. 4, 2011
Recruiting: In a surprising move on National Signing Day, Kouandjio committed to Auburn (where he had taken his final visit) even though his brother, Arie, was playing at Alabama. A few days later, Kouandjio decided to sign with the Crimson Tide. In a unique recruitment, the five-star also took visits to New Mexico and Iowa.
Overview: After a strong career in Tuscaloosa, Kouandjio was a second-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. He played with the Buffalo Bills for a few seasons before eventually landing with the Denver Broncos, where he plays now.
Farrell’s take: I remember one media outlet had Kouandjio as the No. 1 player in the country ahead of Jadeveon Clowney, which was a bit ridiculous but also showed how some people thought of his potential. Known as much for committing to Auburn on national TV and then flipping to Alabama, he had a good career in college and is still starting in the NFL. He was the ultimate athlete at tackle, a kid who legitimately could have played tight end if he wanted to.
Greg Little, No. 4, 2016
Recruiting: Little picked Ole Miss over Alabama, his second choice, along with Georgia, Auburn, LSU and others. He was in the same recruiting class as star receiver A.J. Brown and five-star QB Shea Patterson, who has since transferred to Michigan.
Overview: Little is projected to be one of the top offensive tackles in college football this season and could leave early if all goes well. He is in the running to be the first player at his position drafted along with Alabama’s Jonah Williams, Washington’s Trey Adams and possibly others.
Farrell’s take: Little was a special talent from a young age in high school and projected as a star in college and beyond with his technique, footwork and arm extension. He’s lived up to the billing so far and could be a first-rounder easily next year. I remember his performance at two of our Five-Star Challenges and his improvement from year one to year two was astonishing.
Alex Leatherwood, No. 4, 2017
Recruiting: A class of 2017 five-star, Leatherwood committed to Alabama in June 2015 but his recruitment certainly had its exciting moments. Georgia tried to flip him, Auburn and Florida were right there, Michigan received a visit and others were in there, too. He decided to stick with the Crimson Tide.
Overview: Four of Alabama’s starting offensive linemen return from another national championship team, so there is a logjam to get in that starting rotation. After this season, Leatherwood is primed for a starting role.
Farrell’s take: Leatherwood was a monster offensive tackle coming out of high school who was very aggressive and loved to get his hands on his opponent and just steer them where he wanted them to go. He was physically ready to play right away in college and was the kind of kid who learned quickly on the field from each rep he took. He should be a star in college and has first-round potential down the line.
Martez Ivey, No. 4 in 2015
Recruiting: Ivey picked Florida over Auburn on National Signing Day. It was a big victory for the Gators since then-Auburn assistant coach Will Muschamp was landing lots of players from the state of Florida that recruiting cycle.
Overview: Ivey has decided to return to Florida for his senior season, a big boost for the Gators’ offense which should have a new look in first-year coach Dan Mullen’s offense.
Farrell’s take: I was never as high on Ivey as some others were but there was no question he had a lot of talent. He’s been slow to come on but is now finding his footing in college and is expected to have a big senior season. Like everyone on this list, he had good size and footwork coming out and a very high ceiling.