Derwin James recruit scouting report: Top safety

Student Sports

Derwin James is the best safety in the country.

Derwin James is considered one of the top secondary players in the nation in the class of 2015, and is receiving interest from top-tier programs across the United States. He claims offers from Florida State, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Miami and Ohio State, among others

James attends Auburndale (Fla.) Haines City Senior High School, and is considered one of the top prospects in the Sunshine State. He is projected to play safety at the next level by 247sports, Scout and ESPN, but Rivals lists him as an athlete who can play multiple positions.

The rising senior is listed at 6'2 and 201 pounds. As of March, He is considered a five-star prospect by 247sports and scout, and is given four stars by Rivals and ESPN. Combining the ratings of all four services together, he is a composite five-star. Rivals lists James as an athlete, but the other three services all place him No. 1 at his safety position nationally.

Note: This is a scouting report. Where a player is or is not committed is irrelevant. A player may change his commitment status several times before National Signing Day, but his skills likely won't change much. Omission of recruiting status is intentional.

He can be followed on Twitter @derwinjames6.

Derwin James is clearly the best safety in the country. Let's review why.

James has an excellent build for a safety, and he will likely play college football around 210 or 215 pounds.

James has very good speed for a safety. He has run in the 4.5 range, laser timed, and will likely do so again on his second trip to Nike's The Opening. He also has an excellent first step, using his acceleration to reach top speed very quickly. That allows him to close on the football extremely well. It appears offensive players underestimate James' speed, as he is on them, delivering a crushing blow, much quicker than they anticipate.

Speaking of hitting, James really brings the lumber. He explodes through his hips to level offensive players. He is perhaps over-aggressive at times, but he is so physically dominant in high school that he can get away with it.

James' film does not show a ton of pass coverage reps, but I can attest to his coverage skills, at least while playing 7-on-7, a format that does not involve any run defense. For the last two years, James has been either the first or second-best defensive back in every tournament he's entered. He has excellent vertical leaping ability, strong hands, and seems to track the ball well.

I've also seen James cover in man-to-man in camps, and he shows good hip fluidity for a safety.

James profiles as a multi-year starter at the BCS level and has all the makings of an NFL player. He might not be the most polished player at this point, but his tools are off the charts.

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