FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The class of 2013 is officially in the books, but recruiting remains a 24-hour a day, 365 days a year process with the classes of 2014, and 2015 already clearly coming into focus.
Class of 2014 defensive tackle Anthony Moten has been getting most of the early attention at St. Thomas Aquinas, but as is usually the case STA has many more talented prospects.
In South Florida, the talent on hand is plentiful on an annual basis, and on Thursday and Friday I made stops at several schools to take a closer look at prospect in the 2014 and 2015 classes.
Offers rolling in for St. Thomas Aquinas juniors
While defensive tackle Anthony Moten (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) receives the majority of the attention in the 2014 class at South Florida power St. Thomas Aquinas, there are three others prospects in the very talented class that have a number of offers in hand.
One of those is wide receiver Corey Holmes, who recently posted impressive numbers at the Under Armour Combine in St. Petersburg.
“Last Friday, I got an offer from Maryland,” Holmes said. “A couple of days before that was Tennessee, and I spoke yesterday with a UCLA coach and he told me they were going to offer.”
The offer from the Volunteers came from both the wide receiver coach and head coach Butch Jones.
“I talked to (assistant coach) Zach Azzanni at Tennessee. I talked to the head coach too, and they said they really like me. They also said they want to get me up to campus,” he said.
The recent offers have put Holmes over 15 thus far with spring practice three months away.
Class of 2014 four-star receiver Corey Holmes ran a 4.48-second 40-yard dash, a 4.15 pro agility shuttle, a 6.72 L-cone shuttle and had a 35.5 inch vertical leap at the Under Armour All-American Combine on Jan. 5 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
“I have Florida, Florida State, Miami, USF, UCF, Tennessee, South Carolina, Michigan, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Houston, Rutgers, Maryland, Wisconsin, Vanderbilt; and maybe one or two more,” he said.
The 6-foot-0, 180-pound pass catcher with 4.48 speed is hoping to add more SEC and Pac-12 offers to the list.
“Definitely Alabama and Auburn. I would like to get a few more SEC schools, and USC out west,” he said.
Growing up, Holmes wasn’t locked into one college team. He closely watched four, if not more.
“A couple come to mind when I was a kid. Michigan was a team I used watch all the time. USC, LSU and Clemson too. There were a few I really liked," he said.
Holmes said he stays in touch with Notre Dame, Michigan, Tennessee and South Carolina the most, at this point.
Another junior receiver offers and attention is one with a familiar name.
Cornerback Al Harris Jr. has recently added a pair of new offers to bring the number to four for the 5-foot-10, 160-pounder.
Class of 2014 cornerback Al Harris says his offer from South Carolina stands out at the moment. He is the son of the former NFL player with the same name.
“I just got new offers from Rutgers and Cincinnati, and I had already had offers from South Carolina and Purdue,” Harris said. “Purdue was my first offer. They offered during practice. They told my dad, who was coaching, and he told me, but I just kept going and practicing.”
The early offer from South Carolina is currently sticking out to the son of former NFL cornerback Al Harris.
“I really like South Carolina a lot. I’m weighing all my options, and I like all of the schools that have offered me. I want to take a junior day visit to South Carolina,” he said.
Harris, who is currently running track for “STA”, attended junior day at Miami Jan. 13.
“It was really nice. I got to meet some of the other recruits and freshman that had just come in. It was really nice there,”
Alabama, Florida and Florida State are among the many schools sending mail. He hopes to receive offers from Miami, Florida, Florida State, UCF and the schools close to home.
A third prospect in the 2014 class that has picked up verbal offers is running back Madre London.
“Recently, I got offers from Boston College and Rutgers,” London said. “I got Boston College like two days ago, and Rutgers two weeks ago. I already had offers from South Carolina and Cincinnati.”
Class of 2014 running back Madre London is a 6-foot-1, 210-pound back who says recruiters have told him he's built to play in the Southeastern Conference.
For the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder back with long arms and the frame to carry 220-pounds or more, the offer from the Gamecocks was big.
“The South Carolina offer is a big deal. They are an SEC team and they have a good running game. It was (Gamecocks secondary coach) Grady Brown that offered me. A lot of coaches tell me I’m built to play in the SEC, so I like South Carolina and hope other SEC teams offer me,” he said.
Next up could be an offer from the ACC, and hopes his two long time favorites will follow at some point.
“The team that is close to offering is the North Carolina Tar Heels. I hope Arkansas offers me. Arkansas is my home state school. I also hope Texas offers me. I have liked them since Vince Young was there,” he said.
London is attacking the recruiting process with patience headed into the spring evaluation period.
“I’m just waiting for next season to see who all offers me. I know the process is just getting started for me, so I’m going to wait and see what happens."
Along with the offers, London has a junior day invite from Louisville.
Clark and others at Chaminade-Madonna
Class of 2014 defensive tackle Khairi Clark is the No. 48 overall prospect in his class currently according to 247Sports.
One of the most popular stops for FBS head coaches in recent weeks has been Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna. The reason is simple, the South Florida private school is home to one of 2014’s top defensive tackle prospects, Khairi Clark.
At a Friday visit to Chaminade-Madonna, head coach Marcelo Rodriguez broke down what makes the 6-foot-4, 310-pound Clark a top national prospect.
“We’ve had a number of head coaches come through recently,” Rodriguez said. “Bo Pelini, Will Muschamp, Dabo Swinney, Al Golden, there have been a lot. He’s definitely a phenomenal player. He’s got a great work ethic in the weight room, which is where we are at right now and he has taken on some more leadership qualities off the field. He has a great mother that is hard on him, he’s doing a lot of good things in the classroom and we could be more proud of him. Colleges are looking at him as a three, and some as a one-technique as well. He’s getting bigger and stronger by the day. Right now, he’s 6-foot-4, 310-pounds and is a 400-plus pound bench presser and a 500-plus pound squatter. He can really bend which is what all coaches have been impressed with seeing him in person.”
Clark, who posted 60 tackles and nine sacks in 2012, has verbal offers from Miami, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Oklahoma, Michigan, Notre Dame, Clemson, Georgia and a fast growing list of others. He attended Miami junior day on Jan. 13.
Joining Clark in the 2014 class at Chaminde-Madonna is wide receiver and return man Alex Thomas. According to Rodriguez, the 6-foot-0, 170-pounder playmaker
“Alex is a really dynamic player for us. As a punt returner this year, he returned six for touchdowns. He played some corner for us too, and next year he will play the dual wide receiver and corner for us again. He a physical kid with great hands, and he is also getting bigger and stronger right now. He’s not scared to go down the middle of the field and can run with just about anyone on the football field. Tennessee likes Alex, so does Duke and Miami and some others,” Rodriguez said.
A third prospect has caught the eye of college coaches in recent weeks at the school that has produced NFL players Jon Beason and Cary Williams, but this time it’s a member of the 2015 class.
“Christian Strachan is definitely one of those kids that has amazing potential. He can bend, plays left tackle for us and handled himself extremely well there. You can tell he’s learning the game. He just moves very well for his size. For a kid around 6-foot-4 and 300-pounds going into his junior year, his ceiling is very high as an offensive lineman. He’s hard to miss. College coaches have asked “who is that kid” when seeing him in the hallway and things like that. He’s definitely on the radar.” Rodriguez said.
2015 prospect emerging in Boca Raton
While the class of 2014 is on the mind of most, it’s never too early to truly dig in on the class of 2015 with the spring evaluation period and summer camps right around the corner. In Boca Raton, a class of 2015 prospect is beginning to emerge at St. Andrews
Tight end Jake Bargas (Boca Raton, Fla./St. Andrews School) is a name known to college coaches already, but in lacrosse. The Michigan commitment is widely considered one of the top 2015 lacrosse prospects in the country as a defenseman, but is also emerging as a top-flight tight end prospect.
While the near 6-foot-3 and 220-pound three sport athlete hasn’t been to any college camps or combines to help get his name out there, his play on the field impressed anyone that watched. In 2012, Bargas turned in a 45 receptions, 824 yard and 11 touchdown season for the school known much more for lacrosse than any other sport.
Bargas also plays on the varsity basketball team for Saint Andrews School, who won the 12-4A District Championship on Friday night over Cardinal Newman.
Gerry Hamilton is the lead national recruiting analyst for 247Sports. Follow him on Twitter @GerryHam247