Though cornerbacks and safeties individually have the ability to impact a game immensely, a defensive backfield unit is only as good as the sum of its parts. Below we break down the top five recruiting classes in the class of 2014 as it relates to the defensive secondary.
Erick Smith committed to the Buckeyes during the Army Bowl after an impressive week of work.
1. Ohio State
While there are other classes around the country with more defensive backs committed, nobody possesses the kind of talent per man as Ohio State. All three of Ohio State’s DB commits are ranked among the Top100 in the 247Sports Composite. Webb has phenomenal ball skills at the cornerback position, Lattimore is one of the best to ever emerge out of the talented Glenville program in Ohio, meanwhile Smith was better than both of them at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl this January showing the ability to play either corner or safety.
Auburn has landed the No. 1 junior college safety in the country in Moncrief who brings grown-man size to the position but the group is very physical among the cornerbacks too. Roberts is your prototypical boundary corner that can support the run effectively and still cover, Ruffin has safety size but was one of the best performers at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl as a corner and Bessent has been a standout two-way threat at one of the top programs in the country. It’s a group that is very complete in skill and could comprise a starting back four on the Plains.
Commits: Todd Kelly (Knoxville, Tenn./Webb), Cortez McDowell (Locust Grove, Ga./High), D’Andre Payne (Washington, D.C./Woodson), Rashaan Gaulden (Thompson Station, Tenn./Independence), Emmanuel Moseley (Greensboro, N.C./Dudley)
As with the rest of Tennessee’s 2014 class, the DB group has numbers but it also has talent. Todd Kelly is the bell cow of the group and is a prospect that looks college ready from a physical standpoint and from a mental standpoint. Alongside him are two other terrific safeties in McDowell out of Georgia and Gaulden who is one of the more instinctive safeties in the country. There are a lot of SEC starts comprised within that threesome. Payne and Moseley bring playmaking ability to the cornerback position and though he’s listed as an athlete Evan Berry could end up in the secondary as well adding a major boost to the position group.
Only at LSU can you lose a four-star safety to a rival (Laurence Jones to Alabama) and then turn around and land an even better prospect in his place (Adams). That’s what happened for Les Miles and Adams joins a very talented and very big group. Paris has a big frame for a safety but wants to play cornerback, Voorhies has tremendous length and has played all over the field in high school, and Battle is that in-state defensive back that hasn’t received a lot of hype but could wind up being the best of the bunch a la Morris Claiborne or Tyrann Mathieu.
Wadood is one of the top playmakers in the country. Though he doesn’t quite have ideal size, there is size represented in the UCLA class. Robinson is a big safety that well outplayed his offer list throughout the last year. Pickett and Fisher are among the best cornerbacks in California. Fisher in particular has elite length and upside.
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