The Opening 2014: Position-by-Position Rankings of the Invitees
The Opening is an annual summer event sponsored by Nike that now rivals postseason All-American games in terms of prestige and star power. The action returns to Beaverton, Oregon, on July 7-10, offering the country's premier collegiate recruits a chance to strut their stuff against their peers.
Throughout the country, 150 high school athletes have received invites to attend and test their skills. National bragging rights will be up for grabs as positional battles and seven-on-seven showdowns take center stage.
We surveyed the list of invitees, assessing and ranking the top players at each position in terms of talent and track record. These rankings apply as competition gets ready to commence at The Opening but could dramatically alter after the dust settles in Beaverton.
1. Josh Rosen: St. John Bosco High School (Bellflower, California), Committed to UCLA
The reigning California state champion may be the most likely 2015 quarterback prospect to start as a true freshman if Bruins starter Brett Hundley departs after his redshirt junior season. Rosen, a 6'4", 205-pound prospect, passed for 3,200 yards and 39 touchdowns in 2013.
2. Ricky Town: St. Bonaventure High School (Ventura, California), Committed to USC
The debate between Town and Rosen will wage on for years as they head to Pac-12 rivals. Town, who also stands at 6'4", 205 pounds, can make all the throws that scouts look for and completed nearly 70 percent of his passes last fall for 2,300 yards and 25 touchdowns.
3. Brady White: Hart High School (Santa Clarita, California), Committed to Arizona State
White isn't quite as big (6'2", 190 pounds) as his California contemporaries, but he flashes all the tools to emerge as the best collegiate quarterback from a loaded Golden State class. His breakout sophomore season set the stage for a dominant junior campaign that saw him collect 4,500 passing yards, 50 total scores and a sectional title.
4. Kyler Murray: Allen High School (Allen, Texas), Committed to Texas A&M
Murray has the potential to become college football's latest "undersized" superstar. The 5'11" gunslinger is 27-0 with two state titles and incredible statistics as a starter. His dual talents are regularly on display, with 5,600 passing yards, 2,600 rushing yards and 107 total touchdowns since 2012.
5. Deondre Francois: IMG Academy (Orlando, Florida), Uncommitted
He may have the strongest throwing arm in America, but questions remain about his ability to harness that velocity and develop improved touch when necessary. Francois' upside is tremendous, and he flashed unique abilities at times during two seasons as a starter at Olympia High School before transferring to IMG. He is expected to announce in late July, with Auburn, Oregon and Florida State as the finalists.
6. Blake Barnett: Santiago High School (Corona, California), Committed to Alabama
Yet another standout passer from the West Cost, Barnett backed out of an eight-month verbal pledge to Notre Dame in November. Alabama swiftly landed the 6'3", 195-pound playmaker who posted 2,332 passing yards and accounted for 41 scores in 2013, including 13 on the ground.
7. Drew Lock: Lee's Summit High School (Lee's Summit, Missouri), Committed to Missouri
Lock stands tall at 6'5", 195 pounds and delivers the football with elite precision and pocket presence. He'll follow his father, a former Tigers lineman, to Missouri. His junior campaign featured 3,000 passing yards and 37 total touchdowns.
8. Jarrett Stidham: Stephenville High School (Stephenville, Texas), Committed to Texas Tech
Stidham gained attention in high school for his receiving skills, catching 50 passes for 819 yards and 11 scores as a sophomore. His athleticism seamlessly transitioned to the quarterback spot in 2013, when he rushed for 821 yards and 14 touchdowns. Stidham, who stands close to 6'4", also passed for 2,600 yards, 30 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
9. Torrance Gibson: American Heritage High School (Fort Lauderdale, Florida), Uncommitted
Gibson, a freakishly athletic 6'4", 200-pound playmaker, may be the most divisive prospect in the 2015 class, with several experts insisting he's better suited for a career at wide receiver. He is an explosive runner who ran for 1,063 yards and 10 scores for the state champs in 2013. Mechanical improvement will go a long way in his development as a passer. Tennessee, Auburn and LSU are currently his top three in order.
10. Brandon Wimbush: St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City, N.J.), Committed to Penn State
Wimbush didn't necessarily torch teams in 2013, passing for 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns, but he displayed the poise and elusiveness that offensive coordinators crave during a journey to the state title game. The 6'2", 205-pound prospect pledged to Penn State in May, but a new offer from Stanford could complicate things.
1. Taj Griffin: McEachern High School (Powder Springs, Georgia), Committed to Oregon
The 5'10", 175-pound speedster has a chance to impress in his future at Oregon. Griffin, who is clocked at 4.35 seconds in the 40-yard dash per 247Sports, rushed for 1,253 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2013. He displays dangerous kick-return potential and can score from anywhere on the field.
2. Jacques Patrick: Timber Creek High School (Orlando, Florida), Uncommitted
Patrick is a powerful runner who blends between-the-tackles aggression with quickness off the edge. He is coming off his second straight 2,000-yard season and has 59 total scores since 2012. His top contenders include Florida State, Florida, Michigan and Alabama.
3. Nick Brossette: University Lab High School (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), Committed to LSU
Brossette has enjoyed a prolific high school career and set the all-time record for Louisiana touchdowns before the end of his junior season. He's a pure power back who breaks tackles and demands defensive coordinators to crowd the box. His consistency has produced nearly 5,900 rushing yards since 2011.
4. Jordan Scarlett: St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Fort Lauderdale, Florida), Committed to FAU
Scarlett stunned the recruiting world when he committed to Florida Atlantic in December, though other in-state programs like Florida, Florida State and Miami are seemingly still in the picture. He is a dual threat out of the backfield and stands to see an increase in touches after transferring to powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas for his senior season.
5. Soso Jamabo: Plano West High School (Plano, Texas), Uncommitted
Since bursting onto the scene with a 28-touchdown sophomore campaign, Jamabo has cemented himself as a top offensive prospect in the Lone Star State. Aside from rushing for 2,774 yards during the past two seasons, he's also accumulated nearly 700 receiving yards. His top college options include Baylor, Oklahoma and Notre Dame.
6. Ray-Ray McCloud III: Sickles High School (Tampa, Florida), Uncommitted
McCloud is coming off a monster junior effort that featured 2,316 yards and 26 scores. Despite a somewhat diminutive frame, the 5'9", 175-pound playmaker is fearless in the open field and doesn't shy away from contact. He is considering offers from Clemson, Florida and USC, among others.
7. Saquon Barkley: Whitehall High School (Whitehall, Pennsylvania), Committed to Penn State
Barkley was one of the first 2015 prospects to jump on the Penn State bandwagon following James Frankin's arrival in Happy Valley. He rushed for 1,500 yards and 23 touchdowns as a junior, shining as a receiver in the process.
8. Jordan Cronkrite: Westminster Christian School (Miami, Florida), Committed to Miami
The 5'11", 196-pound prospect is adept at finding open space as both a receiver and rusher. Largely viewed as an "athlete," Cronkrite plays with an aggressive style and also stars at defensive back. He gained 1,343 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground last season.
9. Dexter Williams: West Orange High School (Orlando, Florida), Committed to Miami
Williams is another Hurricanes commit but could be a strong candidate to flip after campus visits to Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky and Louisville. He rushed for 1,071 yards and six scores in 2013.
10. Bryce Love: Rolesville High School (Wake Forest, North Carolina), Uncommitted
Love is an absolute burner who is clocked at 4.30 seconds in the 40-yard dash, per 247Sports. He enjoyed a career-best campaign in 2013, tallying 2,016 total offensive yards and 26 touchdowns.
1. Preston Williams: Lovejoy High School (Hampton, Georgia), Committed to Tennessee
Williams must be considered one of the most impressive athletic specimens to emerge at receiver this decade. The 6'5", 200-pound playmaker possesses elite speed and leaps over opponents, making them look silly in his wake. He caught 59 passes for 1,388 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2013.
2. Calvin Ridley: Monarch High School (Pompano Beach, Florida), Committed to Alabama
This two-way standout approaches the game with a mean streak, and it shows up on tape as he overwhelms opponents with physicality and breakaway quickness. The 6'2", 170-pound prospect racked up 28 yards per reception as he tallied 41 catches for 1,131 yards and 12 touchdowns.
3. DaMarkus Lodge: Cedar Hill High School (Cedar Hill, Texas), Committed to Texas A&M
Few players in the country improved their stock more than Lodge last fall. He dominated competition, collecting 72 receptions for 1,255 yards and scoring 25 offensive touchdowns. He also earned state title game MVP honors.
4. Christian Kirk: Saguaro High School (Scottsdale, Arizona), Uncommitted
Kirk is arguably the most versatile offensive weapon invited to The Opening. He rushed for 832 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2013 while pulling in more than 1,000 receiving yards for the second straight season. His top options include Ohio State, Texas A&M, Arizona State, Auburn and Georgia.
5. Tyron Johnson: Warren Easton High School (New Orleans, Louisiana), Uncommitted
Johnson is the latest coveted pass-catcher to draw attention in the bayou. He finished the 2013 campaign with 1,300 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns. The 6'1", 191-pound prospect is looking hard at Oklahoma State, Georgia, LSU and Texas Tech.
6. Terry Godwin: Callaway High School (Hogansville, Georgia), Committed to Georgia
Godwin offers a glimpse of greatness on both sides of the ball. He could star at defensive back at the next level but earned receiver MVP honors at the Atlanta Nike football camp. His athleticism makes him a threat to score on any play, and he averaged 24 yards per reception while catching nine touchdowns in 2013, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
7. Cordell Broadus: Bishop Gorman High School (Las Vegas, Nevada), Uncommitted
Broadus was bestowed with celebrity status at a young age as the son of hip-hop icon Snoop Dogg, but his skills deserve their own spotlight. Before transferring to national powerhouse Bishop Gorman, he caught 60 passes for 685 yards and eight touchdowns at Diamond Bar High School in Southern California. He belongs in the conversation as the best in-traffic receiver of this cycle, and he's an aggressive downfield blocker.
8. George Campbell: East Lake High School (Tarpon Springs, Florida), Uncommitted
Campbell is a rare repeat attendee at The Opening and warranted attention last July when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds despite a frame that approaches 6'4". His receiving skills are still rather raw, which drops him a bit on this list. Campbell, who averaged nearly 25 yards per receptions last season, decommitted from Michigan last winter and is now considering Clemson, Florida and Florida State, among others.
9. Trent Irwin: Hart High School (Newhall, California), Uncommitted
The sure-handed Southern California standout erupted for 1,456 yards and 19 touchdowns on 76 receptions last season, per MaxPreps. He starred at the Rivals Five-Star Challenge in Baltimore this June, confirming his place among America's elite. His decision is down to Arizona State and Stanford, per Barton Simmons of 247Sports.
10. John Burt: Godby High School (Tallahassee, Florida), Uncommitted
The 6'3", 170-pound pass-catcher presents matchup problems for opponents and gains separation in the secondary on high targets. Burt plays in an offense that puts a premium on rushing the ball, but he still managed to tally 713 receiving yards and seven scores. Hometown Florida State must contend with the likes of Texas and Auburn.
1. Chris Clark: Avon Old Farms (Avon, Connecticut), Committed to Michigan
Clark dominated at the Nike camp in New Jersey this spring, making a case as the best overall pass-catcher in attendance. The 6'6", 247-pound talent caught 39 passes for 417 yards and six touchdowns in 2013 while showing off powerful blocking skills in the run game. He was scheduled to announce his commitment at The Opening but decided to pledge to Michigan in June.
2. Will Gragg: Dumas High School (Dumas, Arkansas), Uncommitted
The 6'4", 245-pound prospect moves well in traffic and does a nice job of keeping his routes sharp. Gragg, who features rare speed at his size, caught 31 passes for 321 yards and five touchdowns in 2013, per Hootens.com. He is a coveted in-state target for Arkansas, but SEC foes LSU, Alabama and Ole Miss are also in pursuit.
3. C.J. Conrad: Keystone High School (LaGrange, Ohio), Committed to Kentucky
Conrad earned a late invite to The Opening with his performance at Nike's Columbus camp. The 6'5", 225-pound playmaker is a highly productive downfield threat. He caught 59 passes for 924 yards and 14 scores last season.
4. Jordan Davis: Clear Lake High School (Houston, Texas), Committed to Texas A&M
Though Davis is accustomed to lining up wide in high school, he doesn't possess the speed to play receiver. His 6'4.5", 255-pound frame provides ideal size at tight end for the Aggies. He set career highs in 2013 with 39 receptions for 558 yards and five touchdowns.
1. Mitch Hyatt: North Gwinnett High School (Suwannee, Georgia), Committed to Clemson
Hyatt, an offensive tackle who could flourish on either side, is about as polished as they come in high school. He dominates defenders, often driving opponents more than 10 yards downfield on run plays. The 6'5.5", 271-pound prospect is also athletic enough to do damage on screen plays and cut off speedy pass-rushers.
2. Chuma Edoga: McEachern High School (Powder Springs, Georgia), Committed to USC
The Peach State continues to produce premier tackles, and you can count Edoga among them. The 6'4", 276-pounder displays tremendous short-area quickness to make up ground in pass blocking. That bodes well for future USC teammate Ricky Town, a 5-star quarterback prospect.
3. Martez Ivey: Apopka High School (Apopka, Florida), Uncommitted
Ivey is the proverbial "high ceiling" player in this elite mix. His 6'6", 270-pound frame is more reminiscent of a basketball forward than an offensive lineman, creating intriguing possibilities for his physical development. He is a few technical improvements away from becoming a dominant multiyear anchor on a college line. Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and Auburn are among the SEC squads vying for his commitment.
4. Maea Teuhema: Keller High School (Keller, Texas), Committed to LSU
Teuhema and his older brother, 2014 defensive end Sione Teuhema, flipped from Texas to LSU last signing day. The first-team all-state selection is among the most violent trench players in this class and exhibits excellent reach. He could end up at guard or tackle, with the latter being a more likely landing spot.
5. Jerry Tillery: Evangel Christian Academy (Shreveport, Louisiana), Committed to Note Dame
Tillery was among the first top 2015 offensive linemen to announce his college choice, picking the Fighting Irish in June 2013. Standing at nearly 6'6", he runs the 40-yard dash in a reported 5.05 seconds, per StudentSports.com. He's more advanced as a run-blocker than a pass-blocker at this stage of his career.
6. Matthew Burrell: C.D. Hylton High School (Woodbridge, Virginia), Uncommitted
Burrell is a battering ram who paved the way for one of the state's most potent rushing attacks, which averaged almost 300 yards on the ground per game, according to MaxPreps. His explosive lower body allows him to direct traffic and drive defenders. He is weighing offers from Ohio State, Alabama, Notre Dame and Clemson, among others.
7. Richie Petitbon: Gonzaga College High School (Washington, D.C.), Committed to Alabama
Petitbon, a third-generation Division I college prospect, is a tactician with his hands who is rather far along in his advancement from a fundamental standpoint than other recruits. He does a good job of disengaging and eliminating linebackers from the play at the second level. He is capable of playing tackle, guard or center in Tuscaloosa.
8. Drew Richmond: Memphis University School (Memphis, Tennessee), Uncommitted
This all-state selection already looks like a collegiate tackle, standing at 6'5", 320 pounds. Richmond must improve his footwork, but his raw power will naturally increase. Tennessee would love to land the in-state target, but programs like LSU, Ole Miss, Ohio State and Alabama are also giving chase.
9. Tommy Hatton: St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, New Jersey), Committed to UNC
Hatton may be the most competitive offensive lineman at The Opening. He is a prideful leader and refused to relent snap after snap at the New Jersey Nike camp. He is confident that he's the best center in America, and it's difficult to argue the matter based on his performance.
10. Lester Cotton: Central High School (Tuscaloosa, Alabama), Committed to Alabama
The 6'4", 325-pound road-grader will stay in his hometown to compete for the Crimson Tide. Cotton locks defenders up at the point of attack, creating massive rushing lanes. His mobility is a work in progress, but expect him to push players around in Beaverton.
1. Josh Sweat: Oscar Smith High School (Chesapeake, Virginia), Uncommitted
Sweat is the latest in a long line of defensive ends who are simply impossible to label. He's an edge defender who, at 6'5", 237 pounds, runs sideline to sideline like an elite outside linebacker and holds his own inside. He's a ferocious hitter who compiled 94 tackles and 22 sacks last season. He has more than 60 offers, including Florida State, Virginia Tech, Tennessee and Ohio State.
2. Trent Thompson: Westover High School (Albany, Georgia), Uncommitted
The 6'4", 292-pound defensive tackle is the top-rated overall player in 247Sports' composite rankings. He obliterates offensive game plans with sheer power and elite foot speed, rumbling into the backfield like a freight train. Thompson's explosive play has resulted in 148 tackles and 17 sacks during the past two seasons. Georgia is still attempting to land the top in-state target, but Auburn, Alabama and Clemson are in the mix.
3. Daylon Mack: Gladewater High School (Gladewater, Texas), Committed to Texas A&M
Mack is another specimen who defies physics at 6'2", 310 pounds. He actually lines up in the backfield on offense, providing an indication of the kind of athleticism he brings to the field. The defensive tackle enjoyed a monster junior season, tallying 97 tackles, including 36 for loss, and six sacks.
4. Rasheem Green: Junipero Serra High School (Gardena, California), Uncommitted
The 6'5", 275-pound playmaker is among the most versatile defenders in America. He looks like an ideal fit at the 3-technique but could ultimately slide outside depending on the college defensive scheme he joins. Green showed he can harass the quarterback up the middle with 14 sacks last season. UCLA, Oregon and USC are among his top suitors.
5. Daron Payne: Shades Valley High School (Birmingham, Alabama), Uncommitted
Payne is a persistent force inside and set to emerge as a powerful nose tackle at the next level. The 6'2", 330-pound disruptor bullies offensive linemen with incredible upper-body strength and relentless leg drive. He compiled 65 tackles and two sacks in 2013, per AL.com. Alabama, Auburn and Texas view him as a top priority.
6. Byron Cowart: Armwood High School (Seffner, Florida), Uncommitted
Cowart displays a lethal blend of size and speed that keeps offensive linemen off-balance. The 6'4", 250-pound defensive end is clocked at 4.60 seconds in the 40-yard dash, per 247Sports. He projects as a strong-side defender and tallied 72 tackles and 13 sacks last season. He is considering Florida, Oregon, Auburn and Alabama, among others.
7. Natrez Patrick: Mays High School (Atlanta, Georgia), Committed to Georgia
Patrick is a pure pass-rusher whose game is based on speed and finesse moves. The 6'3", 220-pound defensive end will bulk up at the next level in order to set the edge, but he already displays an ability to provide intermediate pass coverage in the flats when matched with tight ends. He consistently blew past blockers untouched to total 83 tackles and 17 sacks in 2013.
8. Tim Settle: Stonewall Jackson High School (Manassas, Virginia), Uncommitted
Settle surges off the snap with a 6'3", 318-pound frame. He moves remarkably well laterally, peering into the backfield at all times before attacking. He secured 92 tackles and four sacks last fall, per SportsTalkSC.com. Tennessee, Clemson and Alabama have emerged as top possibilities.
9. Keisean Lucier-South: Orange Lutheran High School (Orange California), Uncommitted
Lucier-South is still rather raw but bursts on game film as a special athlete with immense promise. The versatile 6'5", 225-pound defensive end has receiver-like speed and stretches the defensive perimeter with long strides. He accounted for 38 tackles and 10 sacks as a junior. UCLA, USC, Notre Dame and Michigan are just a few of the many teams in pursuit.
10. Kahlil McKenzie: Clayton Valley Charter High School (Concord, California), Uncommitted
The son of Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie has made a name for himself at defensive tackle. Kahlil, who recently transferred out of powerhouse De La Salle High School, is from a football-rich family and plays with great instincts. He tallied 74 tackles and 12 sacks last season. He is set to decide between Tennessee and Arizona at The Opening.
1. Malik Jefferson: Poteet High School (Mesquite, Texas), Uncommitted
Jefferson is a devastating force wherever he lines up on the football field, exhibiting true star power as an edge-rusher and run-stuffer. He dishes out highlight-reel hits and plays more physical than his 6'2", 225-pound frame suggests. He accumulated 188 tackles, including 37 for loss, and 19 sacks during the past two seasons. Texas, Baylor and Texas A&M are attempting to keep him in state.
2. Justin Hilliard: St. Xavier High School (Cincinnati, Ohio), Uncommitted
The 6'2", 230-pound outside linebacker is relentless near the line of scrimmage, fighting through blocks in pursuit of the play. He exhibits outstanding hustle, chasing down ball-carriers from behind when it appears the play is past him. Hilliard is a sure tackler who delivers jarring blows. He played in just seven games last season due to injury but managed 80 tackles and five sacks. Big Ten rivals Ohio State and Michigan are heavily invested in him.
3. Roquan Smith: Macon County High School (Montezuma, Georgia), Uncommitted
Smith, the 2013 Georgia Class 2A Defensive Player of the Year, spent plenty of time in opposing backfields last fall. He tallied 27 tackles for loss and added six sacks. The 6'2", 205-pound playmaker continues to develop in pass coverage and should become a valuable commodity in that regard during his college career. Georgia, Auburn and Florida are notable SEC options.
4. John Houston: Junipero Serra High School (Gardena, California), Uncommitted
Yet another defensive standout from Southern California, Houston looks to build on a breakout junior campaign. He collected 137 tackles in 2013, spearheading a dominant defensive unit. His coverage skills separate him from the pack, as he shows off fleet feet at 6'3", 211 pounds. USC and UCLA are engaged in another turf war for his services, but teams like Tennessee and Alabama aim to lure him away.
5. Cameron Smith: Granite Bay High School (Granite Bay, California), Committed to USC
Smith is a prototypical inside linebacker with a mean streak. He provides an intimidating presence at the heart of the defense and dissects plays with decisiveness. He secured 113 tackles as a junior and showed a penchant for creating turnovers, picking off three passes and forcing a pair of fumbles.
6. Te'Von Coney: Palm Beach Gardens High School (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida), Uncommitted
Coney was an absolute menace in every phase of the game as a junior. He racked up 172 tackles, 14 sacks and six forced fumbles. The 6'2", 225-pound prospect could play inside or outside at the next level and has the pass-coverage capabilities to warrant three-down duties. Miami, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Florida are among teams in the hunt for this fast-rising recruit.
7. Sherrod Pittman: First Coast High School (Jacksonville, Florida), Committed to South Carolina
Pittman is a punishing hitter who overcomes less-than-ideal size (6'0.5") with rare downhill burst. He's instinctive against the run, maintaining proper pad level through the midsection of his target. His height doesn't discount his effectiveness against the pass, as he shines as a scrappy coverage defender. His junior season included 105 tackles and three interceptions.
8. Ben Humphreys: Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, California), Uncommitted
The rangy 6'3", 210-pound prospect possesses speed (4.55 seconds in the 40-yard dash, per 247Sports) to excel in pass coverage as a bit of a hybrid defender. He's also a star tight end, so receiving skills are in place to create turnovers off interceptions. Humphreys collected 10 sacks during the past two seasons. He is coveted by Pac-12 programs, including Oregon State, Cal and Washington.
9. Cecil Cherry: Frostproof High School (Frostproof, Florida), Committed to Tennessee
The 6'1", 219-pound prospect is best suited for a collegiate career at middle linebacker, where his sturdiness as a run-gap blitzer will shine. He made 118 tackles last season and is also a capable pass-rusher when called upon.
10. Quarte Sapp: Milton High School (Alpharetta, Georgia), Uncommitted
Sapp isn't quite as nationally heralded as some of his linebacker contemporaries, but he impressed at the Atlanta Nike camp to earn an invite to The Opening. His 2013 play alone could have been enough to warrant consideration, as he collected 110 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions. The 6'2", 203-pound talent has Miami, UCF, North Carolina and Tennessee on his trail.
1. Iman Marshall: Long Beach Poly High School (Long Beach, California), Uncommitted
The idea of a true shutdown cornerback may be mythology, but Marshall is about as a close as it gets in high school. The 6'1", 190-pound playmaker didn't allow a single pass completion in league action last season, per Long Beach Press-Telegram. He is a complete defensive back who provides support against the run and totaled 64 tackles in 2013. His top offers include USC, Stanford, LSU and Notre Dame.
2. Derwin James: Haines City Senior High School (Auburndale, Florida), Committed to FSU
James pledged to Florida State as a freshman and hasn't failed to live up to lofty expectations. He was a first-team all-state selection in 2013, showing continued growth in run coverage. The 6'2", 201-pound safety lays lumber and will make receivers think twice before crossing his path.
3. Kevin Toliver II: Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville, Florida), Committed to LSU
The 6'2", 185-pound prospect is balanced enough to play a variety of roles in the secondary. However, his stride-for-stride coverage skills are best utilized at cornerback. Toliver is a playmaker with the ball in his hands—as evidenced by 11 offensive touchdowns—and seals off his side of the field on defense.
4. Tarvarus McFadden: American Heritage High School (Fort Lauderdale, Florida), Uncommitted
McFadden was rarely tested by opposing quarterbacks while patrolling the secondary for a state champion. He recorded 31 tackles and ranked second on the team with 10 passes defended, per MaxPreps. The 6'3", 198-pound cornerback challenges receivers with his height, providing a valuable asset for any defensive coordinator. Florida State and LSU appear to be his top contenders.
5. Kendall Sheffield: Fort Bend Marshall High School (Missouri City, Texas), Uncommitted
Sheffield has world-class speed and combines it with physicality at cornerback. He is clocked at 4.40 seconds in the 40-yard dash, per 247Sports. Smooth in single coverage, he is keenly aware of when the ball is headed in his direction and knows when to pull the trigger to disrupt downfield attempts. Baylor, Alabama, Texas and Texas A&M are among his top contenders.
6. Minkah Fitzpatrick: St. Peter's Prep High School (Jersey City, New Jersey), Committed to Alabama
Fitzpatrick passes the eyeball test, standing at a solid 6'1", 198 pounds. His strength gives receivers fits off the snap, and he has fluid enough hips to comfortably sink back into coverage. Fitzpatrick, who can also rush the passer in blitz schemes, broke up 21 pass attempts in 2013 and recorded 62 tackles.
7. Tyrek Cole: Miramar High School (Hollywood, Florida): Committed to FSU
The wiry cornerback combats pass attempts with elite closing speed and executes proper timing on contested balls. He broke up 32 passes during the past two seasons, snagging four interceptions in the process. Cole posted a career-high 48 tackles last fall.
8. Rico McGraw: Ensworth High School (Nashville, Tennessee), Committed to Georgia
McGraw is a tenacious defender, and college coaches don't need to be concerned about his competitive nature. At 6'0", 190 pounds, he possesses the size to stick with shifty receivers and could make an immediate impact at slot cornerback. He intercepted three passes in 2013.
9. Marvell Tell: Crespi High School (Encino, California), Uncommitted
The 6'2", 175-pound safety makes up ground in a hurry and can erase mistakes at the back end of a defense. He is able to handle tall receivers and makes matters difficult with strong leaping skills and a long reach. Tell tallied 93 total tackles during the past two seasons. His offers include Oregon, USC, UCLA and Notre Dame.
10. Shaun Crawford: St. Edward High School (Lakewood, Ohio), Committed to Notre Dame
Crawford flipped his pledge from Michigan to the Fighting Irish in June, giving Brian Kelly a dependable defensive back to develop. There are some height concerns with the 5'10" defender, but that doesn't impact his playmaking ability. He totaled 82 tackles and two interceptions in 2013, adding 10 offensive touchdowns.
Recruit information courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.
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