The class of 2014 in the state of Texas is loaded at defensive back, to say the least. In the current Top247, there are two five-star defensive backs among the 13 prospects that are being recruited as a defensive back or projects to the defensive backfield long term.
Five-star Edward Paris has great size and the ability to play cornerback or safety in college.
The headliner of the uber-talented class is Edward Paris (Mansfield/Timberview). The 6-foot-1.5, 195-pounder could play corner or safety at the next level with difference maker ball skills and size. Paris, a member of the 247Sports All-American team for 2014, has taken in junior days at Baylor (Feb. 2) and Texas (Feb. 10) the last two weekends and has March 29 circled for a decision date. LSU has long been thought to be the front-runner for the Louisiana native, but the in-state schools are attempting to make it a battle.
Paris, who is currently the No. 15 ranked prospect in the 247Composite (which weighs rankings and ratings from recruiting media outlets equally to give a general consensus of prospect rank), competes on the same 7-on-7 team with a number of the other top defensive backs in the state.
“I know a few of the other DB’s,” Paris said. “We all play on the same 7-on-7 team. It’s Cedric Collins, Brandon Simmons, Tony Brown, Jamal Adams and myself. We just all play well together. We are all physical, aggressive and fast DB’s that like to play man,” Paris said.
For Paris and the others, talk about recruiting rarely goes beyond chatter.
“I don’t really talk that much recruiting with the guys. We have a feel for who we like, but that’s it," he said.
Joining Paris as a five-star prospect at defensive back out of the Lone Star state is cornerback Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen). The 5-foot-11.5, 185-pound explosive athlete has attended Baylor and Texas junior days the last two weekends and is expected at LSU for the fourth time in six months this month. Brown, whose sister Beloved Brown is headed to LSU on track scholarship, is thought to be leaning to LSU with Texas and Alabama giving chase. Brown is currently the No. 8 ranked prospect nationally in the 247Composite.
The list of four-star prospects that are members of the Top247 include cornerback Nick Watkins (Dallas/Bishop Dunne), Texas A&M commitment Nick Harvey (Richmond/Bush), the versatile Jamal Adams (Lewisville/Hebron), Baylor jack-of-all-trades commitment Davion Hall (Texarkana/Liberty-Eylau), hard-hitting and rising safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner (Mesquite/West Mesquite), T’Kevian Rockwell (Wylie), safety John Bonney (Houston/Lamar), Texas A&M commitment Cedric Collins (Dallas/Skyline), safety Brandon Simmons (Mansfield/Timberview), Northwestern cornerback commitment Jordan Thomas (Spring/Klein Collins) and the speedy Arrion Springs (San Antonio/Roosevelt).
Like Paris, the 6-foot-0, 180-pound Simmons plays on the same 7-on-7 team with Collins, Brown and Adams.
“We have a pretty tight group that plays 7-on-7 together,” Simmons said. “We talk all the time. We know which schools each other like. Jamal and myself talk twice a week, and Ed and I hope to go to the same school together,”
Simmons says there are similarities between many of the defensive backs.
“The thing is, we are all aggressive guys. Tony (Brown) and Jamal (Adams) especially. They are relentless in coverage.”
The 6-foot-0, 185-pound Bonney is one in the special class that plays close attention to others.
“I know a couple of them,” Bonney said. “In my area, I know (Brown). We went to some of the same camps last summer. The DB class is really deep. A lot of us have offers from all over the country. I don’t pay attention to where guys are looking right now, or committing, but as I get closer to making a decision I will definitely take a look at that. We all can’t go to the same school. It’s too deep of a class to do that.”
The class of defensive backs is deep beyond the Top247. There are currently three more four-star rated prospects at the position, in athlete Derrick Neal (Dallas/Lincoln), safety Jyaz Jones (Dallas/South Oak Cliff) and playmaking safety Derrick Dixon (Dallas/Carter). While Neal could end up at slot receiver on the next level, Jones and Dixon are locked into safety at the next level.
Add in TCU cornerback commitment Nick Foster (Keller/Fossil Ridge), the talented Darrion Johnson (Brenham) and five or six others, it adds up to impressive depth at both cornerback and safety. All told, more than 20 defensive back prospects in the 2014 class in Texas have been verbally offered already with that number expected to rise during the spring evaluation period and summer.