Nearly midway through high school football season, 247Sports has unveiled updated rankings for the 2014 recruiting class. The list features a trio of talented prospects freshly dubbed as 5-star recruits.
The three players who made a leap come from different corners of the country and, unsurprisingly, they each hold a sizeable collection of scholarship offers. Defensive lineman Gerald Willis (New Orleans, La.), linebacker Christian Miller (Columbia, S.C.) and cornerback Arrion Springs (San Antonio, Texas) are the newly anointed top-tier recruits.
Now that this defensive group has been designated as "the best of the best," let's take a look at what makes each of them special and where their collegiate recruitment currently stands.
Willis is one of two 5-star seniors playing for Edna Karr High School, along with national No. 1 wide receiver prospect Speedy Noil. The 6'3", 275-pound defensive lineman landed front and center on the national radar after a dominant 2012 campaign.
As a junior, Willis tallied 100 tackles and 13 sacks, according to 24Sports. He collected 48 tackles and eight sacks as a sophomore.
Willis, ranked the country's fifth-best defensive tackle by 247Sports, is an explosive force along the defensive interior who essentially appears unblockable at the high-school level. He's continued to anchor Edna Karr's attack as a senior, displaying superior athleticism despite gargantuan size.
Louisiana is loaded this year, as Willis becomes the fourth 5-star recruit from the state. He remains uncommitted and is considering offers from LSU, Texas A&M, Florida and Alabama, among others.
The 5'11", 192-pound cornerback is bursting with athleticism. Springs has the speed (4.40 in the 40-yard dash) and fluidity to emerge as a top-flight coverage man at the next level.
He starts at Roosevelt High School, where he accrued 155 total tackles and five interceptions during his sophomore and junior seasons, per MaxPreps. Springs brings a physicality to the game that becomes even more ferocious when you factor in his quickness.
After weighing offers from Florida State, Texas, Miami, Notre Dame and Oklahoma, Springs committed to Oregon in July. He is ranked the nation's No. 3 cornerback by 247Sports.
The Spring Valley High School standout is an intimidating presence at linebacker. Standing at 6'4", 222 pounds, Miller is capable of disrupting the passing pocket as an edge-rusher.
During his junior season, he exploded for 121 tackles and 14 sacks, according to AL.com. Miller has been a menace again in 2013, with seven sacks through the first five games of his senior season.
He typically lines up tight along the defensive front at Spring Valley, but will step back into the second level at college. Miller is ranked South Carolina's top overall player and the nation's No. 2 outside linebacker prospect by 247Sports.
The dominant defender committed to Alabama in July. His offer sheet includes Georgia, UCLA, Clemson, Florida State, Tennessee and Florida.