The second annual 247Sports All-American team for the Class of 2014 features many of the top college prospects and high school football players in the country from the 2012 season.
The state of Virginia leads the way with three first-team selections, followed by California, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan and Texas with two each. Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee also are represented on the first team.
The 247Sports All-American teams are distinctly different from the 247Sports prospect rankings. The teams are based on two main criteria- production on the high school football field and college projections. The rankings are long-term projections for prospects based on highest possible ceiling and upside.
“The All-American team is a combination of highly thought of prospects and players who turned in terrific seasons on the field,” 247Sports Director of Scouting Gerry Hamilton said. “It’s a nice blend of the cream of the crop prospects that were productive and a few prospect not as heavily recruited that turned in sensational campaigns. The difference with the All-American team, and the 247Sports prospect rankings is the rankings are a long term projection of prospects with player development and continued ascension being the key.”
There are 10 repeat first-team selections from the 2012 Class of 2014 All-American team, including Leonard Fournette, Da’Shawn Hand, Damian Prince, Cameron Robinson, Andrew Brown, Raekwon McMillian, Jabrill Peppers, Marlon Humphrey and Quin Blanding.
Class of 2014 All-Americans
QB- Will Grier, Davidson (N.C.) Davidson Day
The strong-armed 6-foot-3, 180-pound Grier, who recently committed to the Florida Gators, had a memorable junior season to say the least. When it was over, he not only had led his program to a state title in North Carolina, but completed 324-of-414 pass attempts for 5,785 yards and 69 touchdowns -- with only six interceptions. Grier added another 813 yards on the ground. On Nov. 9, Grier set a national single-game mark with 837 passing yards on a Friday night he isn't likely to forget anytime soon. In a state filled with talented prospects, Grier was named Gatorade Player of the Year in North Carolina. Grier spins the ball extremely well and can make all the throws. Additionally, he's an athletic quarterback that can pass on the run, use his feet to escape the rush or contribute in the game. Grier is the No. 77 prospect in the 247Composite.
RB- Leonard Fournette, New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine
The legend of Leonard has been building since he dominated the varsity level as a true freshmen. Even at 15, he looked college ready but Fournette has proven over the following two years that he’s no flash in the pan. As a junior, Fournette rushed for 2,136 yards and 31 touchdowns. He had three more touchdowns and 313 yards receiving. With LSU, Alabama and the rest of the country giving chase on the recruiting trail, Fournette could end his high school career as one of the best high school backs Louisiana has ever seen.
RB- Jalen Hurd, Hendersonville (Tenn.) Beech
As a sophomore, Hurd was a big versatile athlete that had the look of a safety, wide receiver, linebacker and maybe a running back. As a junior, Hurd took on the burden of proof and removed any doubt that he’s a running back all the way. In 2012, the 6-2, 205-pounder led his team to a 15-0 record and a state championship. Along the way he rushed for a state record of 3,357 yards and 43 touchdowns. Hurd’s closing act as a junior was a 394-yard, seven-touchdown performance in the state championship game. Florida, Ohio State, Vanderbilt and Tennessee are currently listed among Hurd’s favorites.
WR- KD Cannon, Mount Pleasant (Texas) High
Despite his team only playing 11 games after being upset in the first round of the playoffs, the 6-foot, 158-pound junior recorded an astounding 102 receptions for 1,600 yards and 26 touchdowns. Cannon is not necessarily the biggest or fastest wide receiver but he runs great routes and finds ways to get open on the field. He was consistently able to get behind the secondary all year. Already invited to play in the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, the nation’s No. 45 overall prospect was named a first-team all-state selection by the Associated Press. Cannon, who holds offers from coast to coast, has yet to name a top group of schools but consistently mentions Baylor, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M.
WR- Drake Harris, Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian
The Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian standout became the first receiver in state history to eclipse the 2,000-yard mark, finishing the season with 91 receptions for 2,015 yards and 25 touchdowns. In the state championship, the 6-foot-4, 180-pound Harris caught eight passes for a finals record 243 yards and a touchdown in winning all the marbles. Harris committed to Michigan State to play both football and basketball back in June, however, he recently decided to focus on just the gridiron when he gets to the next level. With that, Harris has reopened his recruitment, and besides the Spartans, he is also considering offers from Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State. Harris is currently ranked as the nation’s No. 6 receiver and No. 56 prospect overall by the 247Composite.
TE- Tyler Luatua, Lamirada (Calif.) High
Though he’s listed as a tight end for our purposes, Luatua can make plays all over the football field and is an early favorite as one of the top players in California for 2014. During his junior season, Luatua caught 43 passes for 594 yards and eight touchdowns. Defensively he added 46 tackles and five sacks, all while leading his team to an impressive 9-2 campaign. Luatua is the younger brother of 2011 Alabama signee Isaac Luatua and has USC and Alabama near the top of his list.
OL- Kc McDermott, West Palm Beach (Fla.) Palm Beach Central
McDermott already has double-digit offers, and they've come from many of college football's most storied programs [at this point, some believe Miami is the one to beat]. The 6-feet-6, 285-pounder has the prototypical offensive tackle body, and the skills to go with it. He's currently the No. 24 overall prospect in the Composite rankings. Additionally, he is No. 2 among offensive tackles and No. 2 among Floridians in his class. After a solid 2012 season, McDermott was named Class 8A all-state. He already has accepted an invitation to play in the 2014 Under Armour All-America Game. McDermott is a well-rounded blocker that utilizes excellent technique and a terrific punch to neutralize many of his opponents.
OL- Cameron Robinson, West Monroe (La.) High
The five-star prospect and the nation’s No. 6 overall player in the class of 2014 made a huge splash at West Monroe after transferring from nearby Ouachita Parish just prior to the start of the season. Robinson helped the Rebels to a 12-3 record and the Class 5A state semifinals. Robinson was named a first-team all-state pick by the Louisiana Sportswriters Association as he anchored a talented West Monroe line. A known name in recruiting circles for quite some time, the 6-foot-6, 330-pound tackle has compiled offers from nearly every school in the country. As has been the case with many of the top prospects in the state of Louisiana as of late, Alabama and LSU are the two primary teams battling for his services.
OL- Damian Prince, District Heights (Md.) Bishop McNamara
The 6-foot-7, 300-pound Prince is dominant as both a pass blocker and run blocker and had close to 50 pancake blocks this season for his high school team. He was an All-Met selection by the Washington Post and his scholarship offer count reached double digits long ago.
OL- Braden Smith, Olathe (Kan.) South
One of the more physically impressive offensive linemen in the nation on the hoof, Smith is the state of Kansas' highest-ranked prospect in several cycles. The 6-foot-6, 282-pounder helped Olathe South to a state championship as a sophomore and followed that up with a solid junior campaign. Smith rarely comes off the field for the Falcons, being the basis for the run game in their wing-t offense in addition to playing defensive tackle, where he tallied 26 tackles, and 3 sacks in 2012. The 247Composite five-star holds over 15 offers and has yet to name top schools, but Nebraska, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas, and Texas A&M are among the programs thought to be in the best position heading into offseason visits.
OL- Roderick Taylor, Jackson (Miss.) Callaway
Taylor has several key traits desirable in an offensive guard- he's athletic, strong, has outstanding feet, and possesses a surly disposition. The 6-foot-3.5, 305-pounder plays tackle for Callaway excelling in both pass protection and getting to the second level as a run blocker. Taylor will move inside at the next level and has three offers from SEC west programs - Alabama, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State- with the tenders coming after performing each team's respective camp. Despite keeping a low profile, it is thought that Alabama is the early leader for Taylor's services.
DE- Lorenzo Carter, Norcross (Ga.) High
A five-star prospect, the No. 1 overall weak-side defensive end in the country, and the No. 1 player in Georgia for 2014, Carter is No. 113 in the 247Composite. He is blessed with an NFL-type of frame with which to work. Carter, who also is a standout basketball player, is every bit of 6-feet-6, 232 pounds and he might not be done growing. His greatest football assets are his first step, he surprising strength, his reach [which he uses extremely well to his advantage] and his relentlessness. Carter, who is known for going hard every snap, recorded136 tackles, 45 tackles for loss and 17 sacks in 2012 while leading his team to an unbeaten season. Not surprisingly, he was a first-team all-state pick. At this point, he is wide open in his recruitment.
DE- Da’Shawn Hand, Woodbridge (Va.) High
Hand, the consensus top prospect in the 2014 class, had a huge season on the field, piling up 78 tackles and 16 sacks while constantly facing double and triple teams. He was named All-Met by the Washington Post and is a fixture on most All-American teams. The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder also wrestles and is a state contender in his weight class. His most recent top five out of more than 60 offers consisted of Alabama, Florida, Michigan, South Carolina and Virginia Tech.
DT- Andrew Brown, Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith
Brown is an extremely impressive defensive tackle that is ranked as the No. 9 prospect for 2014 in the 247Composite and No. 1 player at his position. The 6-feet-4, 282-pounder was simply dominant at times in 2012, and ultimately was a USA Today first-team All-American. Brown finished with 82 tackles, including 12 for loss, and forced four fumbles despite facing constant double and triple teams each and every week. There are college staffs that have him No. 1 on their defensive board. Brown isn't just big, he's extremely athletic and cerebral. He utilizes an excellent first step, gets great leverage, knows how to get skinny in space and is masterful at using his hands to keep offensive linemen from getting a body on him. Brown is approaching three dozen offers.
DT- Malik McDowell, Detroit (Mich.) Loyola
Helped lead Detroit (Mich.) Loyola to an appearance in the state championship game this past fall, registering 63 tackles and 15 sacks while also playing offensive tackle. The 6-foot-7, 290-pound McDowell can play across the defensive front, and it’s easy to see why he holds early offers from the likes of Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Florida, Oregon, Stanford and Wisconsin. McDowell is ranked by the 247Composite as the country’s No. 2 strong-side defensive end and No. 15 prospect overall.
LB- Raekwon McMillan, Hinesville (Ga.) Liberty County
Simply put, McMillan is a playmaking machine. In 2012, he recorded 155 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, seven sacks and five forced fumbles. A year earlier, he had 16 tackles for loss. The 6-foot-3, 236-pound McMillan is one of the biggest and most physical linebackers in the country. He's currently the No. 1 inside linebacker and No. 22 overall prospect in the 247Composite rankings. McMillan not only was named first-team All-State in Georgia, but was the Class AAAA Defensive Player of the Year. McMillan, who currently has Ohio State in front with Clemson next, has excellent speed and quickness for his size. He's a true sideline-to-sideline player. Additionally, he possesses a stout power base, which gives him great strength to apply massive and forceful hits.
LB- Christian Miller, Columbia (S.C.) Spring Valley
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Miller had an All-State season at Spring Valley High, pilling up 121 tackles, including 21 for loss and 14 sacks. He also forced four fumbles and had three fumble recoveries. On the recruiting trail, both Alabama and Florida recently the offered the son of former New York Giants linebacker Corey Miller. Both believe he’s an outstanding fit in their defensive scheme. Virginia Tech, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Clemson, South Carolina and a host of other programs also have offered.
LB- Nyles Morgan, Crete (Ill.) Crete-Monee
Registered 118 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles in Crete (Ill.) Monee’s run to an undefeated season and state championship. The 6-foot-2, 222-pound Morgan made all the defensive calls as well. Ranked by the 247Composite as the nation’s No. 4 inside linebacker and No. 53 prospect overall, Morgan has racked up early scholarships from places such as Arizona State, Florida, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, UCLA, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin.
S- Quin Blanding, Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside
A dominating player a la Washington freshman safety Shaq Thompson. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Blanding racked up 111 tackles and five interceptions from his safety spot, while adding another 55 receptions for 1,035 yards and six touchdowns on offense. No surprise Blanding had such a great year after dominating during the summer at several camps and 7-on-7s including The Opening among many of the country’s top 2013 prospects. Blanding is a complete safety that can come up and tackle just as well as he can cover. Virginia is the early team to beat over offers from North Carolina and Clemson. Blanding has offers from just about every major program in the country. He is billed by the 247Composite as the country’s top safety and No. 15 prospect overall.
S- Jabrill Peppers, Paramus (N.J.) Catholic
The Paramus (N.J.) Catholic standout has dominated New Jersey High School football upon his arrival three years ago and this past fall was no different. In leading his team to a state championship, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Peppers moved from cornerback to safety and posted 80 tackles and four interceptions. On offense he added 1,552 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns on just 172 carries. Peppers also caught five touchdown passes. Stanford and Ohio State are the early leaders for Peppers, with Michigan and Notre Dame rounding out the top four. He is ranked by the 247Composite as the country’s top athlete and No. 7 prospect overall.
CB- Marlon Humphrey, Birmingham (Ala.) Hoover
The son of a former Alabama all-American running back and playing at one of the nation's top high school programs, Humphrey's pedigree is undeniable. As a junior, Humphrey helped Hoover to a 15-0 record and class 6A state title. Despite being rarely tested through the air, he finished the year with over 30 tackles, 4 interceptions, 15 pass breakups, 2 kickoff returns for touchdowns (averaging 40 yards per return), and 2 blocked punts. Doubling as one of the nation's top hurdlers, Humphrey's high-end athleticism, 6-foot-1 size, and cover skills make him one of the very best cornerback prospects in high school football, regardless of class. Ranked no. 4 overall by the 247Composite, Humphrey holds an early top three of Alabama, Florida, South Carolina.
CB- Edward Paris, Arlington (Texas) Mansfield Timberview
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound junior is huge for a high school cornerback but he plays the position exceptionally well. A five-star prospect, Paris recorded seven interceptions on the season, returning two of them for touchdowns. He has 17 interceptions for his career heading into his senior year. He also tallied 37 tackles, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He was named a first-team Class 5A all-state selection by the Associated Press and has already accepted an invitation to play in the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. A Louisiana native, the nation’s No. 9 overall prospect is expected to make his commitment on Mar. 29 and will choose between the likes of Florida, LSU, TCU, Texas and Texas A&M.
ATH- John Smith, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly
His name is common and there’s nothing abnormal about his high school pumping out college prospects, Smith is unique. The five-star safety out of the class of 2014 has become a dominant figure in southern California on both the offensive and the defensive side of the ball. He contributed to a strong late-season run for Long Beach Poly but compiling 49 catches for 752 yards and nine touchdowns while chipping in 51 tackles and six interceptions on defense. Smith has a slew of west coast offers early on but he should be able to pick his college nationally.
ATH- Nathan Starks, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman
Already with offers from the likes of Oklahoma, Texas and Arizona, Starks was the best player on one of the best teams in the country in 2012. Offensively the 5-11, 200-pounder contributed over 1,800 yards rushing and 27 touchdowns but he impacted games in the pass game, the return game and even on defense with an interception in one of his team’s biggest wins of the years. Starks is just a football player who knows how to win.
RB- Nick Chubb (Cedartown, Ga.)
RB- Elijah Hood (Charlotte, N.C./Catholic)
RB- Racean Thomas (Oxford, Ala.)
RB- Sony Michel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./American Heritage)
RB- Justin Jackson (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North)
WR- Trey Quinn (Lake Charles, La./Barbe)
WR- Malachi Dupre (New Orleans, La./John Curtis)
WR- Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla.)
WR- Mark Andrews (Scottsdale, Ariz./ Desert Mountain)
WR- Demarre Kitt (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek)
OL- Jamarco Jones (Chicago, Ill./De La Salle)
OL- Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco)
OL- Mason Cole (Tarpn Springs, Fla./East Lake)
OL- Garrett Brumfield (Baton Rouge, La./University Lab)
OL- Andy Bauer (Saint Louis, Mo./DeSmet)
LB- Kain Daub (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood)
LB- Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill.)
LB- Michael Ferns (Saint Clairsville, Ohio)
LB- Zach Whitley (Houston, Texas/Northshore)
LB- Dwight Williams (Gardena, Calf./Junipero Serra)
Gerry Hamilton, Brian Perroni, JC Shurburtt, Charles Power, Steve Wiltfong, Keith Niebuhr, Chad Carson and Barton Simmons contributed.
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