As is usually the case, the Southeastern Conference landed more than its share of elite talent during the 2013 cycle. Still, there are always those recruits that don’t necessarily get the fanfare that end up being top-level players at the college level and beyond. The “sleepers” if you will.
Offensive tackle Brandon Hill has already enrolled at Alabama and given his size and athleticism could develop into a high-level player.
Here’s a look at one potential sleeper in each SEC class for the 2013 cycle.
Brandon Hill, OT, Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy - The decision when looking at the Crimson Tide's class was simple. The 6-foot-6.5, 380-pound Hill possesses all of the baseline skill set one covets in an offensive lineman with very impressive body and reactionary quickness for his size. Hill has a very high ceiling, but still must continue to re-shape his body and refine technique.
Melvinson Hartfield, CB, Dallas (Texas) South Oak Cliff - The 5-foot-11, 185-pound cornerback was one of the top senior risers in the Lone Star state and a key recruiting win for Bret Bielema and staff over Kansas State. Should the physical and reactive corner qualify academically, it will not be a surprise to see him on the field as a true freshman.
Khari Harding, S, Edmond (Okla.) Santa Fe - The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Harding is a perfect fit for defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson's "SPUR" position, and has the frame to carry 220-pounds in time. Harding, one of the hardest hitters in the class, has the ability to hit the field as a true freshman due to his natural strength and physicality.
Jarrad Davis, OLB, Kingsland (Ga.) Camden County - The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Davis returned beautifully in 2012 from a cracked ankle that kept him out last spring. In the season opener in the Corky Kell Classic, Davis quick feet, reactions and ability to change direction and quickly close ground impressed. Once the three-star prospect adds the required strength and weight, he will very likely work his way into the rotation for the Gators.
Paris Bostick, S, Tampa (Fla.) Plant - The lone prospect from the Tampa are in the 2013 class for the Bulldogs was a "DawgNight" standout in July locking receivers down at corner, and even taking a handful of reps at wife receiver. The 6-foot-0.5, 217-pounder will likely begin his career at safety at Georgia, but could very easily end up as a 235-240-pound athletic playmaking outside linebacker.
JoJo Kemp, RB, Deland (Fla.) - The 5-foot-10, 190-pound back with a compact and ideal running back body type is one of the quickest backs through the hole and to the second level in the class. The three-star prospect also possesses plus change of direction and ball skills. His ability to carry the ball, and line up in the slot will likely get him on the field from jump street.
Lewis Neal, WDE, Wilson (N.C.) James Hunt - Neal may not pass the eye ball test at around 6-foot-1 and 235-pounds, but he certainly impresses with his overall athleticism and agility. The three-star Neal not only has a quick first step, but an understanding of playing with a low inside shoulder and the feet and agility to turn the corner. As impressive as his pass rush ability is his physicality with his hands, and his ability to turn and pursue.
South Carolina signee David Johnson has a high motor and is already 273 pounds.
De'Runnya Wilson, WR, Birmingham (Ala.) Wennonah - The 6-foot-4.5, 212-pound wide receiver is one of the many basketball players that began turning their attention to football as a senior. Wilson already has the big play ability down having made a number of jaw dropping catches the last half of his senior season, and now only needs to learn the position and develop as a route runner. One of the best blockers at the position in the 2013 class.
Jason Reese, TE/ATH, Euless (Texas) Trinity - The 6-foot-4, 227-pound Reese has always passed the eyeball test, and added the football part of the equation starting in the spring of his junior year. Reese, who committed to the Tigers after having been an Arizona State pledge for five months, could play tight end or on the defensive line on the next level. He has the frame to carry more than 250-pounds perfectly proportioned.
Eugene Brazley, RB, New Orleans (La.) G.W. Carver - The Rebels signed four prospects that could play running back in some capacity, and the 5-foot-10, 185-pound Brazley has received the least fan fare. Brazley is a back with big play ability featuring the ability to hit and scoot through the smallest of creases.
David Johnson, WDE, Lithonia (Ga.) - The Gamecocks put together another impressive class featuring four Top247 prospects and eight four-star's, but it's the undersized 6-foot-1, 253-pound three-star prospect that has the best motor in the class. Along with the relentless motor, Johnson has the ability to win the leverage battle and be a playmaker against the run and as a pass rusher.
Malik Brown, DE, Palm Beach (Fla.) Dwyer - The Volunteers got good news on national signing day when the 6-foot-3, 253-pound Brown switched from Syracuse. In doing so, Butch Jones and staff inked one of the top senior risers, and sleepers, in the Sunshine State. The latest heavily recruited prospect out of Dwyer High has an impressive combination of first step quickness, ability to run the arc and active hands.
Shaan Washington, ATH, Alexandria (La.) - The pick in a loaded class for Kevin Sumlin and staff is the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Washington. Washington is slated to start his career at safety, and while he could certainly end up as a 225-230-pound safety with plus hands, eventually spinning down to outside linebacker isn't out of the equation. The size, ball skills, physicality and frame are very inviting as a sleeper selection.
Mitch Parsons, TE, Parker (Colo.) Chaparral - Tight end was huge need for Vanderbilt in the 2013 class, and James Franklin and staff signed two or three prospects. In Parsons, the Commodores are getting a 6-foot-4, 235-pound athletic and all-around tight end with 4.7 speed and soft hands. Parsons body control and subtle ability after the catch are among the best at the position in the class.