There is little doubt that this is a great year nationally at the safety position (and what’s even more interesting is with five-star studs like Quin Blanding and Edward Paris the 2014 class at the position may be even better), so it stands to reason that there are multiple high-ceiling talents available.
Tony Conner could be the best of a host of talented prospects to come out of South Panola High in Batesville, Miss., and is the best available safety prospect in the nation for the 2013 class according to the 247Composite.
Here are the five best available safety prospects in the 2013 class according to the 247Composite, which equally weighs recruit rankings and ratings from multiple media networks.
1- Tony Conner, Batesville (Miss.) South Panola
Observers in Northwest Mississippi will tell you that even with the many talented players that have come through South Panola High over the years, Conner could be the best of them all. “There’s just something different about him,” one long-term area scout said. The 6-foot, 202-pounder currently is rated as the No. 22 overall prospect in the 247Composite. Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU and Mississippi State all are in the mix for Conner. The Crimson Tide and Rebels appear to be the teams to beat and his recruitment could be one of the most hotly-contested in the South down the stretch during the 2013 cycle.
2- Leon McQuay III, Seffner (Fla.) Armwood
The dynamic McQuay has been one of the top players in the Tampa area for several years and with excellent range and ball skills, he’s a coveted safety prospect nationally. USC, Vanderbilt, Michigan and Florida State all appear to be the major players at this time, with an edge to the Trojans and Seminoles. McQuay has scheduled official visits to four schools, but has not set SC up yet. Vandy (Oct. 12), Oregon (Oct. 26), Michigan (Nov. 9) and Florida State (Nov. 23) all have been set up. McQuay is the No. 32 overall prospect in the 247Composite for the Class of 2013 and the third-ranked safety.
3- Vonn Bell, Rossville (Ga.) Ridgeland
Bell could end up being a cornerback long-term as he has the hips, change of direction and recovery speed needed to play the position in college, but he insists he will play safety and also projects well long-term there. Ohio State, Tennessee and Alabama are the current top three. The Buckeyes and Vols have long been considered the frontrunners while the Crimson Tide has been charging (but has not caught the other two as of now). Bell is the No. 51 overall prospect in the 247Composite and the fifth-ranked safety.
4- Tahaan Goodman, Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.)
Like McQuay, Goodman is a rangy ballhawk who is dynamic in pass coverage and big enough to be extremely effective against the run. Goodman has a national offer list and programs like LSU and Florida are in the mix, but in the end it would be a surprise if he did not remain on the West Coast- most likely at USC or UCLA (signs point toward the Trojans). If there is a program that could pull him out of the area, it’s probably LSU. Goodman is the No. 53 overall prospect in the 247Composite and the No. 6 safety.
5- Marcell Harris, Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips
From the time we saw him as a sophomore at the Miami Under Armour Combine, we’ve thought that Harris possessed a special combination of size and athleticism and that while he looked like a linebacker eyeball-test wise at times, he was good enough in pass coverage to just be a big safety. Harris will take official visits to Oklahoma and South Carolina, but there are three schools that are serious factors- Florida, Florida State and Texas. Most believe he will be a Gator in the end. Harris is the No. 72 overall prospect in the 247Composite and the No. 8 safety.
Jayme Otomewo, Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey
The 6-foot-2, Otomewo has good size and ball skills and is from a program that is no stranger to producing top talent. We’ve seen him in person at 7-on-7 events and he can move around quite well and has good ball skills. Arizona State, Colorado, Fresno State, Hawaii and San Jose State have offered while UCLA and Washington have continued to sniff around. Whatever program lands Otomewo has a chance to develop him into a player that ends up performing at a level that approaches the five best available. Otomewo is rated as the No. 44 safety prospect in the country according to the 247Composite.