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Tuesday, February 5, 2013
All-Big East offense as recruits

By Andrea Adelson

It is always fun to take a look back at the best players in the Big East to see where they ranked as recruits. Bottom line: star-ratings are fun fodder for Signing Day but often times do not translate into on-field success.

Just take a look at the 2012 first-team Big East offense, and how ESPN recruiting experts judged them coming out of high school.

WR Alec Lemon, Syracuse. Scout grade: 71. Lemon was ranked the No. 187 receiver in the class of 2009 out of Arundel Senior High in Gambrills, Md. The ESPN Scouting Report Insider says, "Lemon is a good-looking athlete at the high school level and brings sought-after versatility to the table as a college prospect. Will need to fill out and add strength to play at the next level but is tall with a desired rangy, high-cut body.

Alec Lemon
Alec Lemon, ranked the No. 187th best receiver in the class of 2009, became Syracuse's all-time leader in pass receptions.
WR DeVante Parker, Louisville. Scout grade: 78. Three-star prospect out of Ballard High in Louisville. Parker was ranked the No. 77 receiver in the nation in the class of 2011. The ESPN Scouting Report Insider says, "He is raw and shows some upside as a late-bloomer that could really see a bright future with some polish. He is long and gangly, but has deceptive quickness and overall speed."

OT Eric Lefeld, Cincinnati. A defensive end out of Coldwater, Ohio, Lefeld did not receive a grade from ESPN as part of the Class of 2010. One other national scouting service had him rated as a two-star prospect.

OT Justin Pugh, Syracuse. The top tackle in the Big East, Pugh did not receive a grade from ESPN as part of the Class of 2009. He had other offers from Akron, Pitt, UConn and Temple.

OG Austen Bujnoch, Cincinnati. Scout grade: 74. Bujnoch was rated the No. 122 offensive tackle in the nation in the class of 2009 out of Elder High in Cincinnati. The ESPN Scouting Report Insider says, "Bujnoch is a respectable offensive lineman at the tackle position. He is 6'5"with a big wing span but his 245 pounds doesn't give him enough weight to get a lot of movement in the run game. Unlike most high school offensive lineman, he is a better pass protector than run blocker and his run blocking isn't bad."

OG Antwan Lowery, Rutgers. Lowery was one of the premier prospects among every player who made the 2012 first team, ranking No. 134 on the ESPN 150 in the class of 2009 as a defensive tackle out of Columbus High in Miami. The ESPN Scouting Report Insider says, "With a nice blend of size and quickness, Lowery has the tools to be a good college defensive tackle who makes some plays."

C Mario Benavides, Louisville. Scout grade: 78. Benavides was rated the No. 40 offensive tackle in the class of 2008 out of Los Fresnos, Texas. The ESPN Scouting Report Insider says, "Benavides is a smash mouth offensive lineman. He is so frequently slamming kids to the ground that he blurs the line between football and professional wrestling. He is a tough kid not to like if you are a fan of physical and nasty offensive lineman."

TE Travis Kelce, Cincinnati. Scout grade: 74. Kelce was rated the No. 74 quarterback in the class of 2008 out of Cleveland Heights High in Ohio. The ESPN Scouting Report Insider reads, "Kelce is a big, strong quarterback prospect with good mobility. College coaches might be tempted to position this kid at tight end or defensive end with his great blend of size and athleticism, but we do see some upside as a signal caller." Yup, Butch Jones moved him to tight end.

QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville. Scout grade: 80. Four-star prospect ranked No. 143 in the ESPN 150 for the class of 2011 out of Miami. Bridgewater was one of the most sought after recruits in the country, and ended up at Louisville after de-commiting from Miami. The ESPN Scouting Report Insider says, "Overall, you have to love Bridgewater's gritty competitiveness and he absolutely loves to play the game. He has terrific measurables and so many traits you want in a dual-threat QB. There is a lot to mold here as far as upside as a passer."

RB Ray Graham, Pittsburgh. Scout grade: 77. Graham was ranked the No. 66 running back in the nation in the class of 2009 out of Elizabeth High in N.J. The ESPN Scouting Report Insider says, "Graham is a gifted runner who possesses workhorse-type qualities in a small package. He is small in height not body composition."

RB Montel Harris, Temple. Scout grade: 71. Harris was rated the No. 143 running back in the class of 2008 out of Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Fla. Harris signed with Boston College before transferring to Temple for the 2012 season. The ESPN Scouting Report Insider says, "He is not overly elusive or fast and is more of a slashing, north-south runner. Does not possess great upside physically but could develop into a good change-of-pace, power-back in college."

K Maikon Bonani, USF. Bonani did not receive a grade from ESPN as part of the class of 2008 out of Lake Wales, Fla.

RS Matt Brown, Temple. Brown did not receive a grade from ESPN as part of the class of 2009 out of New Berlin, N.Y.