2014 DB Recruits Ready to Dominate as Freshmen
Intricate and evolving offensive passing attacks in college football make depth at defensive back increasingly important in today's game. Size and athleticism are at an all-time high at the wide receiver position, so it's paramount for programs to counter by stockpiling talent at safety and cornerback.
The infusion of elite freshman talent can elevate a defensive scheme to another level. Let's take a look at several senior recruits ready to make an immediate impact in the secondary when they arrive on campus next year.
5-Star CB Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas)
Tony Brown has attracted an abundance of scouts to Ozen High School. The 6'0'', 190-pound speedster is an ideal No. 1 cornerback at the next level.
Not only is Brown physically imposing, he can flat-out fly downfield. Brown's 40-yard dash time is clocked at a blazing 4.35 seconds, according to 247Sports.
He may be lightning quick, but his skills extend far beyond speed. Brown is an outstanding open field tackler and made his presence known early in high school.
He tallied 191 total tackles and four interceptions during his freshman and sophomore seasons, per 247Sports. The attention has only increased since then, as Brown holds offers from Florida State, Texas, LSU, Alabama, Texas A&M and Ohio State.
5-Star S Quin Blanding (Virginia Beach, Va.)
Bayside High School standout Quin Blanding is unquestionably one of the premier defensive players in this recruiting class. He shows promise in multiple phases and is athletic enough to line up at either safety position in college.
Blanding has a big frame at 6'2" and 200 pounds, allowing him to step up in the box and provide substantial support against the run. His speed (timed at 4.50 seconds in 40-yard dash) means coaches can trust him to patrol the back end of the defensive secondary on an island.
He entered the 2013 season with 15 career high school interceptions, per 247Sports. Blanding recorded 111 total tackles as a junior.
Virginia landed a commitment from Blanding in February. He picked the Cavaliers from an offer list that includes Clemson, Alabama, Miami, Michigan and Notre Dame.
5-Star CB Marlon Humphrey (Birmingham, Ala.)
Hoover High School star Marlon Humphrey has the skill set to establish himself as a starter during his first collegiate football season. It would be a minor upset if he doesn't emerge from 2014 training camp in at least a nickel or dime back role, regardless of where he ends up.
Humphrey, a 6'1", 175-pound ball hawk, displays incredible range from sideline to sideline. His length allows him to contend with physical receivers and he becomes even more valuable in red-zone coverage.
Since the start of his sophomore season, Humphrey has 13 interceptions, per 247Sports. When you factor in that few quarterbacks dare to challenge him through the air, it's a significant total.
Humphrey can eliminate a team's top receiving threat for four quarters. He is primarily considering offers from Alabama, Mississippi State and Florida State, according to 247Sports.
5-Star S Laurence Jones (Monroe, La.)
Louisiana product Laurence Jones is physically prepared to make the leap to college football. He's a 6'2", 215-pound playmaker who looks like a linebacker but has no trouble covering passes downfield.
The Neville High School standout doesn't need much time to close ground in coverage and continues to emerge as a reliable run defender. Jones, listed as the nation's No. 3 safety prospect in 247Sports' composite rankings, is a thumper in the open field.
He intimidates receivers on crossing patterns and won't be outmuscled by tight ends. Jones is also an excellent edge-rusher in blitzing situations.
LSU appears to be the frontrunner for his services, but Alabama and Ohio State are also squarely in the mix, according to 247Sports. He is slated to announce a commitment on Nov. 15.
5-Star CB Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif.)
Adoree' Jackson, listed as California's No. 1 prospect in 247Sports' composite rankings, is talented enough to play on either side of the ball in college. Perhaps he'll have a chance to play on both offense and defense, but any collegiate coach would be thrilled to add him into their secondary rotation next season.
The 5'10", 180-pound playmaker leads southern California title contender Junipero Serra High School as a cornerback and wide receiver. He racked up 56 tackles and five interceptions as a junior, per 247Sports.
Jackson executes cuts effortlessly and few players in this class can compare when it comes to hip fluidity. He is smooth in coverage and does a savvy job of baiting quarterbacks into ill-advised pass attempts.
Jackson ranks among the top uncommitted recruits remaining on the board. He is heavily considering offers from Florida, USC, LSU, Oklahoma, Illinois and Notre Dame, among others.
5-Star CB Arrion Springs (San Antonio, Texas)
Arrion Springs, the pride of Roosevelt High School, was recently elevated to a 5-star prospect in updated 247Sports composite rankings. He certainly deserves the moniker based on his performance at the high school level.
The 5'11", 192-pound cornerback is a polished prospect, and well equipped to step up early in college. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.40 seconds and seems to glide in pass coverage, refusing to sacrifice strides to opposing receivers.
During his past two seasons at Roosevelt, Springs has amassed 155 tackles and five interceptions, per MaxPreps. He's a physical corner who takes control at the line of scrimmage and relentlessly shadows routes.
Springs considered offers from Texas, Miami, Notre Dame and Oklahoma, before ultimately committing to Oregon in July. However, he is still expected to spend an official visit at Florida State in November, according to 247Sports.
5-Star S Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J.)
Jabrill Peppers has drawn nationwide recruiting attention since he was named the MaxPreps National Sophomore Player of the Year in 2011. He is capable of starting as a safety, receiver, running back and return man in college.
Simply put, he's a rare specimen who may be the best high school talent to emerge from New Jersey this decade. The 6'1", 205-pound Paramus Catholic playmaker tallied 80 tackles and four interceptions last season, while piling up mote than 1,800 offensive yards and 23 touchdowns.
Peppers is a heat-seeking missile out of the secondary and shows extremely sound technique in coverage and tackling. His defensive instincts are something that you really can't teach.
He garnered offers from the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Miami, Stanford and USC. Peppers committed to Michigan in May.