Yesterday was the conclusion to the 2013 recruiting class, but that doesn't mean recruiting slows down. Major schools already have scouting reports on several hundred kids for the class of 2014. While early recruiting rankings are something that should be taken with a major grain of salt, here are 25 recruits for the class of 2014 who definitely have have the talent to play for the best schools in the country.
1. Da'Shawn Hand | DE Woodbridge (Va.)
A 6'5, 250-pound defensive end with a lot of athleticism. I saw Hand at the Opening in the summer of 2012, and as a junior, he was not noticeably behind the elite seniors in his class. Big kids who have the athleticism to remain at end and not slide to tackle, or linebacker and not slide to end, or safety and not slide to corner, are special players.
2. Leonard Fournette | RB
New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine
Some people think Leonard Fournette is the best running back since Adrian Peterson or Trent Richardson. Even with a lot of good running backs in the class of 2013 (Keith Ford, Kelvin Taylor, Alex Collins, Derrick Green), Fournette was better than them all this year. He has excellent size at 6'0 and 215 pounds, but also has the speed to hit home runs.
3. Andrew Brown | DT
Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith
Defensive tackles are about athleticism, quickness, and frame. Brown has excellent quickness off the football, can bend well, and while he's not yet 300-plus pounds (he's around 290), he has the 6'4 frame to get there.
4. Lorenzo Carter | DE Norcross (Ga.)
If Da'Shawn Hand is the big defensive end in the mold of Robert Nkemdiche or Daquan Bowers, Carter is the guy in the mold of Jadaveon Clowney and Ronald Powell. Carter has great length and quickness at the snap, and at 6'6 and 235, he can add weight and play at 260-plus so that he is not a liability against the run.
5. Marlon Humphrey | CB Birmingham (Ala.) Hoover
(Pictured.) Again, it's the size and speed combo. Humphrey has excellent size at 6'1 and 175, but also has the athleticism to remain at the corner position. Oh, and he can really play.
6. Cameron Robinson | OT
West Monroe (La.)
6'6 and 330 pounds, and not that sloppy, considering he is a high school junior. Physically, SEC-ready as a high school junior. Robinson doesn't have the the athleticism that previous five-star tackles have; however, he has plenty of power.
7. Quinn Blanding | S
Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside
Blanding is 6'2 and 200 pounds as a junior, and even as he gets bigger and stronger, he has the ability to remain at safety. That's a weapon.
8. Jabrill Peppers | CB Paramus (NJ) Catholic
Another big defensive back at 6'1 and 205 pounds. Peppers might have to move to safety, and also plays offense, but man is he athletic. He'll find a home somewhere and be a star.
9. Bo Scarborough | ATH
Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Northridge
(Pictured.) At 6'2 and 218 pounds, Scarborough could play running back, receiver or linebacker. His quick-twitch athleticism is just off the charts, and I think he needs to play with the ball in his hands. Scarborough is one of only two committed recruits on this list. And not surprisingly, he's pledged to Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide.
10. Edward Paris | S
Arlington (TX) Mansfield Timberview
Range, range and more range. Oh, and instincts! Paris is a star in the making at safety. And at 6'1 and 190 pounds, he's not a liability in run support. Far from it.
11. Jalen Hurd | RB Hendersonville (TN) Beech Senior
Hurd is not Leonard Fournette, but he's still a very impressive running back at 6'2 and 210 pounds. He overwhelms his competition.
12. Damian Prince | OT District Heights (MD) Bishop McMamara
Prince is a very impressive offensive tackle in the prototype left tackle mold. He has excellent length at 6'7, and isn't sloppy at 300 pounds.
13. Raekwon McMillian | LB Hinesville (Ga.) Liberty County
Some highlights are just so fun to watch. McMillian is one of those players. McMillian, like many on this list, is special because he has the size that some would think a move to defensive end is necessary, but the athleticism to stay at the position that plays in space.
14. Tony Brown | CB Beaumont (TX) Ozen
Brown is a kid I first saw over the summer at an event that consisted of seniors -- or so I thought. He blended right in. Brown has some ridiculous speed, but he also has excellent size at 6'0 and 185 pounds.
15. Kain Daub | LB Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood
Like McMillian, Daub has the size at 6'3 and 230 pounds to make you think he will have to move to defensive end, but the athleticism to remain at linebacker. He's a terror off the edge rushing the passer, and when motivated, plays with a mean streak. Daub was once an LSU commitment but backed off, realizing he rushed his decision.
16. Laurence Jones | S
Monroe (La.) Neville
Another safety who is 6'2 and already 200 pounds as a junior in high school. Mercy. Jones makes plays all over the field and looks to be another LSU-Alabama battle.
17. John Smith | S Long Beach Poly
Well, this seems to be something of a trend. A high school safety who is already 200 pounds, and 6'1, who makes plays all over the field. Defensive coordinators looking for defensive backs who can play in space against the spread and also stop the run are going to be really happy with the class of 2014.
18. Hoza Scott | LB La Porte (TX)
Scott already has college-ready size at 6'2 and 220 pounds. He is an extremely active defender with good instincts and is not afraid to hit, but also can cover, as evidenced by his work against the many spread offenses found on the Texas high school circuit. He is committed to the Texas A&M Aggies.
19. Lorenzo Featherston | DE
Greensboro (NC) Page
Featherston is all about potential. At 6'7 and 215 pounds, he's very slight of build, but quickly growing. His quickness and length have all the makings of an elite pass rusher.
20. Malik McDowell | DL/OL Detroit (MI) Loyola
McDowell is a huge athlete at 6'7 and close to 300 pounds. And when I say athlete, I mean it. He can really move. Some think he can play five-technique, others believe he'll slide to defensive tackle, and some think he'll play on the offensive line.
21. Sony Michel | RB Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.)
Having played since 2009, Sony was an internet legend. Then he tore his knee. And he came right back and was excellent again. Michel is a very good back at 5'11 and 205 pounds.
22. Ermon "Money" Lane | WR Homestead (Fla.)
The tall (6'2) receiver with speed to burn, ball skills, and that flare for the position? That's Money. Over the summer, he also sported the worst haircut I had ever seen. (Pictured.)
23. Keller Chryst | QB
Palo Alto (Calif.)
There has to be a QB on the list, right? All kidding aside, Chryst's appearance here is not just as a token. He has a big arm and is more advanced than most of the quarterback prospects in his class. He also has good size at 6'3 and 215 pounds.
24. KC McDermott | OT
West Palm Beach (Fla.) Central
McDermott is a very good athlete, has the frame to be a big tackle at 6'6 and 285 pounds, and has a good pedigree, as his brother signed with Miami a few years back.
25. Braden Smith | OT Olathe (KS) South
Smith looks like Dolf Lundgren. Seriously. He's incredibly strong and has a good frame to get even bigger at 6'5 and 282 pounds. But when I saw him recently, he looked stiff and awkward in pass protection. I'm not sure if that is due to his natural ability, or the culture shock that came from playing elite competition (Kansas high school football is terrible). Either way, if he can't play tackle, he'll be a very good guard, I think.
Bonus: Jalen Tabor | CB
Washington (DC) Friendship Academy
I was reluctant to put another defensive back on this list, but Tabor simply belongs. He has great cornerback size at 6'1 and 182 pounds, with athleticism and speed to match.
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