Looking down the road a couple of years, it looks like it's going to be a banner year for elite prospects in states along the gulf coast. Alabama, Louisiana and Texas had three selections each on 247Sports' Class of 2014 All-American team. Those three states, along with Virginia, tied for the high. Florida and South Carolina had two each while Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Maryland, California, Georgia and D.C. had one selection each.
Louisiana running back Leonard Fournette had nearly 2,000 rushing yards during his sophomore campaign.
Jabrill Peppers, who is an early candidate for the 2014 cycle's top overall prospect, was named the Defensive Player of the Year, while running back Joseph Yearby is the Offensive Player of the Year.
DeShone Kizer, Toledo, (Ohio) Central Catholic
At 6-foot-5, Kizer possesses the size, arm strength, and mobility to be Ohio’s next big time dual threat quarterback. Early recruiting buzz: Ohio State is one of the schools showing interest.
Leonard Fournette, New Orleans (La.), St. Augustine
Fournette emerged during an outstanding freshman season and backed up the buzz by rushing for over 1,900 yards and 19 touchdowns and be named first team all-state in class 4A. Fournette has the production, instincts, and measurables to make a push as the cycle’s top back and top overall prospects. Early recruiting buzz: LSU, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech, West Virginia and others have offered verbally.
Sony Michel, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.), American Heritage
Sony Michel has been on the recruiting radar since lighting up varsity defenses as an eighth grader.
Michel burst on the national scene in 2009 as an eighth grader, rushing for more than 1,800 against varsity competition. Michel has since developed into a South Florida legend and projects as one of 2014’s best despite a season ending injury as sophomore. Early recruiting buzz: Alabama, Miami (Fla.), Florida State, Notre Dame and Florida, among others, have offered verbally.
Joseph Yearby, Miami, (Fla.) Central
Yearby took over for current Florida State running back Devonta Freeman became the first Dade County sophomore to rush for over 2,000 yards. The sudden runner finished with 2,160 yards and 24 touchdowns on 283 carries leading Miami Central to a 13-1 record and 6A state championship berth. Early recruiting buzz: Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Miami (Fla.) and West Virginia are among the programs that have issued early verbal offers.
Drake Harris, Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian
Harris, who also stars on the hardwood, hauled in 57 receptions for 1,118 yards and 14 touchdowns en route to being named first team all-state for Divisions 2-3. Early recruiting buzz: Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Ohio State are among the programs showing interest for football.
Shaq Davidson, Gaffney (S.C.)
Davidson proved to be a big-play threat, totaling 683 receiving yards and eight touchdowns while scoring twice from 99 yards. The speedster projects as one of the Palmetto State’s best in 2014. Early recruiting buzz: South Carolina has issued an early verbal offer and Clemson and others are showing interest.
Offensive tackle Donell Stanley hails from the same high school as NBA point guard Raymond Felton, Latta (S.C.).
Bentley Spain, Charlotte (N.C.) Providence
The 6-foot-6 Spain is one of North Carolina’s best sophomores and has the size and feet you look for in an offensive tackle. Early recruiting buzz: South Carolina has offered and Clemson, North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech all are showing attention.
Damian Prince, OT, Forestville (Md.) Bishop McNamara
At 6-foot-7, 300 pounds, Prince already has shown good athleticism to go with his already elite size.Early recruiting buzz: Virginia, Rutgers, Maryland, Syracuse and East Carolina all have offered verbally.
Donell Stanley, Latta (S.C.)
Stanley, who wears a size 22 shoe, has the measurables and skill set to become one of the cycles best offensive linemen. The three-sport athlete has been impressive in numerous camp settings to date. Early recruiting buzz: Clemson leads South Carolina and Alabama. All three have verbally offered.
Cameron Robinson, Monroe (La.) Ouachita Parish
Gerald Willis, the younger brother of 2012 five-star Landon Collins, already has attention from Alabama and LSU, which ended up being the finalists for Collins.
The massive Robinson projects as one of the Pelican state’s best rising juniors and was one of the better young linemen at LSU’s prospect camp this summer. Early recruiting buzz: The Tigers are among the programs showing early interest.
Jordan Poland, La Jolla (Calif.) Country Day
Poland was originally a highly-ranked 2013 prospect, but has since reclassified to the class of 2014. He was solid at the Under Armour All-American Combine in Florida on New Year’s Eve. Early recruiting buzz: Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State and San Diego State all have verbally offered.
Da'Shawn Hand, Woodbridge (Va.)
Hand has emerged as one of Virginia’s top prospects, earning first team All-Met honors from the Washington Post as a sophomore. The north Virginia native tallied 84 tackles and 21 sacks and has still yet to fully tap into his considerable potential. Early recruiting buzz: Hand is nearing double-digit verbal offers with Michigan, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Rutgers, Syracuse, N.C. State and Boston College already on board.
Gerald Willis, New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr
Willis looks to join his five-star brother Landon Collins as the second blue chip prospect in the family. The active defensive lineman helped Karr make the class 4A state championship in 2011. Early recruiting buzz: To the surprise of no one Alabama and LSU are among the schools showing early interest.
Tre' Williams is yet another Gulf Coast 2014 prospect. The Mobile (Ala.) linebacker is outstanding in coverage and has plus athleticism. Expect most of the SEC and ultimately the country, to be in hot pursuit.
Andrew Brown, Chesapeake (Va.) Indian River
Brown is impressive on film and in camp settings, showcasing quick first step, strength, aggressiveness, and active hands. Early recruiting buzz: Virginia, Virginia Tech and N.C. State are among the early verbal offers for Brown.
Solomon Thomas, Coppell (Texas)
Thomas is one of the top rising juniors in the Lonestar State, recording 60 tackles and 9 sacks as a sophomore. Early recruiting buzz: Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M and UCLA, among others have shown interest. He attended games in Austin and College Station this past fall.
Tre' Williams, Mobile (Ala.) St. Paul's
Williams shows outstanding physicality and ability in coverage for a young linebacker of his size, often lining up on wide receivers. It’s no surprise Williams held offers from a handful of the nation’s best programs the summer going into his sophomore season. Early recruiting buzz:
Alabama, Auburn and Florida State all have issued early verbal offers.
Josh Mabin, Klein (Texas) Oak
Cornerback Jalen Tabor already has a double digit scholarship count after bursting on the scene at a 7-on-7 event in New Jersey last winter.
Mabin is all over the field for Oak, showing that he can run sideline to sideline, time blitzes, and finish plays. Early recruiting buzz: Mabin is getting attention from a number of Big 12 programs early and should see his offer list start to grow this summer.
Raekwon McMillan, Hinesville (Ga.) Liberty County
McMillan is one of the biggest hitters in the Peach State, regardless of class. The south Georgia prospect, who totaled 84 tackles and 16 tackles for a loss in 2011, possesses advanced read and react ability at this juncture to go with a very good size/speed combination. Early recruiting buzz: Most of the Southeast is interested and most of the country will be in the near future.
Jabrill Peppers, Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco
Peppers was arguably the best player on both sides of the ball for national power Don Bosco in 2011 and could develop into one of the best cornerback prospects in recent years. Peppers ran for 921 yards and 19 touchdowns, returned two punts for scores, while recording 50 tackles, four interceptions, and two forced fumbles on defense. Early recruiting buzz: Rutgers, Miami (Fla.), USC, Oklahoma, South Carolina and others have extended verbal offers.
Jalen Tabor, Washington (DC) Friendship Collegiate Academy
Tabor has been a standout at camps and in pads, picking off eight passes this season and joined Hand as the only sophomores on the Washington Post’s All-Met team. Early recruiting buzz: Tabor has nearly a dozen verbal offers, including Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State, Maryland, Clemson and others.
Marlon Humphrey, Hoover (Ala.)
Humphrey was a game changer for Hoover as a corner and return specialist and was named first team all-state by the Alabama Sportswriters Association as a result. The tall corner’s father, Bobby, was an All-American running back for Alabama and brother Maudrecus is a wide receiver at Arkansas. Early recruiting buzz: The Razorbacks, along with in-state Alabama and Auburn are showing early attention.
Cedric Collins, Dallas (Texas) Skyline
Collins was first noticed as a freshman playing for one of Texas’ more talented teams. The metroplex native continued to show his ability as a cover corner this season, picking off five passes, while recording 13 pass break ups and 30 tackles. Early recruiting buzz: Oklahoma, Texas, TCU and others are showing early attention.
Bo Scarbrough, Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Northridge
Already blessed with size and a sub 4.4 40-yard dash, Scarbrough projects as one of the nation’s best in 2014 and possesses a long-striding running style that will draw comparisons to current Oakland Raider, Darren McFadden. Early recruiting buzz: Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi State have offered verbally. Expect most of the country to offer before all is said and done.
Quin Blanding, Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside
Some feel Blanding is Virginia’s best 2014 prospect, in what is shaping up to be a loaded crop. The Tidewater area star plays both wide receiver and safety for Bayside, but may grow into a linebacker in time. Early recruiting buzz: Virginia offered in April and Virginia Tech and a number of other programs are showing attention.
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