College Football

Pro Player Comparisons for the Top 10 College Football Recruits of 2014

Tyler DonohueNational Recruiting AnalystJanuary 15, 2014

Pro Player Comparisons for the Top 10 College Football Recruits of 2014

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    Jabrill Peppers faces immense expectations at the next level.
    Jabrill Peppers faces immense expectations at the next level.Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    The 2014 recruiting class features several standout athletes destined to become superstars at the next level. Many of these players will eventually make a leap to the NFL, following in the footsteps of past high school phenoms.

    We're always looking for the next football icons, so it's time to take a peek at the nation's most impressive seniors. The spotlight shines on America's Top 10 prospects, identifying pro players who feature similar skill sets and may give us an indication of a career path to come.

     

    Recruit rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings.

10. 5-Star QB Kyle Allen

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    Hometown: Scottsdale, Ariz.

    School: Desert Mountain High School

    Size: 6'2.5", 185 pounds

    Schools of Interest: Enrolled at Texas A&M

     

    Kyle Allen is the most polished passer in this class and it's not a very close race. His footwork shines on tape and he displays underrated mobility when forced outside the pocket.

    Allen maintains exemplary fundamentals, keeping his shoulders square and eyes downfield. Like Andrew Luck, his precision is impressive and he does a great job locating second and third options as a play develops.

    There are few flaws in Allen's mechanics and his game will grow as he becomes more physically mature at Texas A&M.

     

9. 5-Star CB Tony Brown

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    Hometown: Beaumont, Texas

    School: Ozen High School

    Size: 6'0", 188 pounds

    Schools of Interest: Enrolled at Alabama

    Pro Player Comparison: Stephon Gilmore, Buffalo Bills

     

    Gilmore, a South Carolina product, is a physical coverage cornerback who cuts off pass routes and doesn't allow receivers to blow the top off a defense. Tony Brown breaks on the ball in missile-like fashion and has the tools to become an immediate fixture in the Crimson Tide defensive backfield.

    He isn't intimidated by bigger opponents and frequently matches their physicality from the snap. Smooth strides and quick-trigger lower-body reaction allow Brown to shadow receivers with the ferocity Gilmore shows on Sundays.

8. 5-Star WR Speedy Noil

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    Hometown: New Orleans, La.

    School: Edna Karr High School

    Size: 5'10.5", 176 pounds

    Schools of Interest: Enrolled at Texas A&M

     

    Speedy Noil is a scintillating offensive threat who can score from anywhere in an offensive formation. He lives up to his nickname with breakaway quickness, which becomes even more dangerous when combined with effortless agility in the open field.

    His ability to do damage on bubble screens and deep balls alike is reminiscent of former West Virginia playmaker Tavon Austin. Noil needs minimal space to maneuver and will torch teams with an occasional end-around rush.

7. 5-Star CB Adoree' Jackson

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    Hometown: Gardena, Calif.

    School: Junipero Serra High School

    Size: 5'9.5", 182 pounds

    Schools of Interest: Florida, LSU, Tennessee, USC, Oklahoma, UCLA

     

    Adoree' Jackson is an electrifying playmaker capable of creating an impact at a variety of positions. Effortless speed and hip fluidity make him a prospect who projects favorably at cornerback.

    During the past decade, few NFL defensive backs have displayed the stride-for-stride coverage skills of former Michigan star Leon Hall. He has 23 interceptions since entering the league in 2007 and rarely seems lost in traffic.

    Jackson's mid-play awareness is a central component to his unique approach and sets the stage for some incredible efforts in coverage. The acrobatic athlete often impedes passes even when he appears out of position during the late progressions of a play.

6. 5-Star S Quin Blanding

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    Hometown: Virginia Beach, Va.

    School: Bayside High School

    Size: 6'2", 200 pounds

    Schools of Interest: Committed to Virginia (Feb. 27, 2013)

     

    Quin Blanding is a complete safety prospect who provides the secondary with a legitimate stalwart and lynchpin in the back end. His coverage and pass-catching skills are polished, forcing quarterbacks to think twice before firing a pass toward the center of the field,

    He is a disruptive force in the box, as Mark Barron has proven to be at Alabama and in Tampa Bay. Blanding bursts beyond the reach of blockers when dialed up on a blitz and delivers run support that doesn't typically emerge from the defensive backfield.

5. 5-Star DE Da'Shawn Hand

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    Hometown: Woodbridge, Va.

    School: Woodbridge High School

    Size: 6'4", 254 pounds

    Schools of Interest: Committed to Alabama (November 14, 2013)

     

    Dominant defender Da'Shawn Hand is a supremely athletic specimen who supplies a coaching staff with several options up front. He displayed elite pass-rushing skills at a young age, evidenced by 21 sacks as a sophomore, and continues to grow more stout as a run-stuffer.

    Chris Long, a Virginia product, ranks among the most versatile defensive ends in the game. Hand displays similar attributes, including the ability to provide a speed rush off the edge or take on interior blockers with an arsenal of block-shedding moves.

    Miller is rangy and quick enough to put a clamp on the flat in certain defensive settings. He can also disrupt the passing game by knocking down passes at the line of scrimmage.

4. 5-Star OT Cameron Robinson

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    Hometown: West Monroe, La.

    School: West Monroe High School

    Size: 6'7", 335 pounds

    Schools of Interest: Enrolled at Alabama

     

    Cameron Robinson could have simply relied on raw power to overwhelm opponents at the high school level. Instead, he displayed fundamental footwork and excellent upper-body technique while engaging defenders, separating himself from an impressive pack of offensive tackles.

    D'Brickashaw Ferguson dominated at the point of attack as one of the nation's top offensive line prospects before going on to have an All-American career at Virginia. His mammoth frame and ridiculous reach resulted in Top-10 draft status with the New York Jets.

    Ferguson was a four-year starter for the Cavilers. The road to a starting role at Alabama requires a serious competitive streak, and Robinson appears primed to follow Ferguson's path to greatness at left tackle in college.

3. 5-Star ATH Jabrill Peppers

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    Hometown: Paramus, N.J.

    School: Paramus Catholic

    Size: 6'1", 205 pounds

    Schools of Interest: Committed to Michigan (May 26, 2013)

     

    Expect to hear the Charles Woodson comparison ad nauseum while Jabrill Peppers is competing in Ann Arbor, where Woodson remains a revered figure. The New Jersey star is skilled enough to star in all three phases of the game, and perhaps he'll get the chance to prove it at the next level.

    Like Woodson, Peppers is a threat to score anytime he gets his hands on the football. He's an electric return man and creates scoring opportunities off turnovers.

    His size allows him to matchup against larger receivers, yet he won't sacrifice speed or shiftiness against downfield burners. The dynamic Peppers is prepared to match up against the Big Ten Conference's best playmakers and build his highlight tape as a ball hawk.

2. 5-Star DE Myles Garrett

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    Hometown: Arlington, Texas

    School: James Martin High School

    Size: 6'4", 240 pounds

    Schools of Interest: Committed to Texas A&M (Oct. 18, 2013)

     

    Michael Johnson, a fifth-year pro out of Georgia Tech, is an explosive force off the edge who overmatches opponents with elite power. Myles Garrett is a sleek pass-rusher built more like a college basketball forward than a lineman, but he already holds his own against much heavier opponents.

    Much like the mammoth Johnson, Garrett is deceptively well-suited to handle the rigors of interior defense. He sheds blockers at the snap with brilliant handwork and gets upfield to wreak havoc in the backfield.

    He has a developing mix of finesse moves that showcase his elusiveness in the trenches. Garrett's vision also stands out, as he seldom allows a run play to get past him while maintaining a gap.

1. 5-Star RB Leonard Fournette

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    Hometown: New Orleans, La.

    School: St. Augustine High School

    Size: 6'1", 226 pounds

    Schools of Interest: Committed to LSU (Jan. 2, 2014)

     

    Leonard Fournette essentially transcends comparisons at the running back position. His unique blend of speed, receiving skills and tackle-breaking ability combine to create an athlete in his own mold.

    However, he does draw comparisons to the league's best back. Adrian Peterson, a former Oklahoma star, violently attacks the line of scrimmage, shrugs off linebackers and outraces secondary defenders.

    Fournette routinely follows a similar path to the end zone and finishes off runs with forward movement. The hype is at an all-time high in Baton Rouge, and he'll have ample opportunities to match expectations early at LSU.

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