As a super nerdy football recruiting fan, you might want to know which recruiting service I prefer. There is ESPN, then there is 247Sports.com, and then there is Rivals.com. Which one do I prefer?
All of them, but this time I am giving Rivals.com the love.
This is Rivals.com list of 5 star recruits from the 2014 recruiting class and some comments on how they did in their first season in college. The NFL continues to toss around the big bucks so these guys are just going to continue to come out of college early so it’s important to get them on the field as quickly as possible.
- Da’Shawn Hand – Woodbridge, Virginia: (6-4, 260) Alabama: The Crimson Tide was loaded up front this past season and Hand played a little. He had 2 sacks and 7 tackles on the season. Hand will back up 2 seniors next season and then start.
- Myles Garrett – Arlington, Texas: (6-4, 245) Texas A%M: Garrett was an instant impact player for the Aggies and finished with 11.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, and 53 total tackles. He played an Outside Linebacker position but should move to Defensive End under new coordinator.
- Jabrill Peppers – Paramus, New Jersey: (6-1, 210) Michigan: New Jersey star was slated to start from day one but was injured and redshirted instead. Peppers is a future super star in the secondary either at Corner or Safety.
- Leonard Fournette -New Orleans, Louisiana: (6-0, 225) LSU: After a slow start against
Wisconsin, Fournette got it going but they still brought him along slowly with 3 other Running Backs involved. Fournette finished with 1,034 rushing on 187 carries and 10 Touchdowns. His best 2 games were his last 2 games and he definitely came on strong. Great player.
- Quin Blanding – Virginia Beach, Virginia: (6-2, 210) Virginia: Awesome, awesome talent. Blanding led his team in tackles as a true freshman and Virginia had a good defense. Apparently, he was still growing as he is now listed as 6-4, 215. He had 123 total tackles with 3 Interceptions. Blanding has a tremendous future if he stays healthy.
- Adoree Jackson – Gardena, California: (5-10, 175) USC: Can you say Deion Sanders? I thought so. He may not be quite at that level, but that is who he makes me think of. Jackson started from day one a Corner Back for USC and his recovery speed is phenomenal. He also played some at Wide Receiver and was really good there as well. Jackson is also a threat as a return man. One of the best young talents out there.
- Kyle Allen -Scottsdale, Arizona: (6-4, 195) Texas A%M: One game Allen is standing on the sidelines hitting on a female photographer and the next one or two he is the starting
Quarterback on an SEC team. Allen wound up starting the last 5 games and the previous starter Kenny Hill has since transferred to TCU. Allen threw for 1,322 yards and 16 Touchdowns. As of the Spring, he is the only scholarship Quarterback on the Aggie roster.
- Joe Mixon – Oakley, California: (6-2, 210) Oklahoma: Knocked out a coed before school even got going and was suspended from the team. His cheap shot may have cost him a starting role because another Sooner freshman, Samaje Perine, ran for 1,700 plus yards and broke the all time single game rushing record. He is still in school.
- Marlon Humphrey – Hoover, Alabama (6-0, 175) Alabama: Redshirted his freshman season, so we will have to wait and see with Humphrey. He was a track star in high school and a good hurdler and expect him to contribute as early as next season.
- Jalen Tabor – Washington, D.C. (6-1, 185) Florida: Tabor is just a flat out star. Defense has never been a problem for the Gators and Tabor is one of their better players and will get better with experience. He had 31 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks and an Interception. He also broke up 8 passes. Will play 2 more seasons in Gainesville and then make the big bucks.
- Travis Rudolph – West Palm Beach, Florida (6-0, 190) Florida State: Rudolph is simply the next big receiving star for the Seminoles. As a true freshman, Rudolph was 4th on the team in receptions in 2014 with 38 for 555 yards and 4 Touchdowns. Jesus ‘Bobo’ Wilson, Ermon Lane and Rudolph will dominate in typical Florida State fashion and Lane was also a true freshman.
- Racean Thomas – Oxford, Alabama (5-11, 200) Auburn: Thomas backed up seniors Cameron Artis-Payne and Corey Grant. He rushed for 214 yards on 43 carries and scored 2 Touchdowns. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn loves to run the ball and Thomas should be his main guy in 2015. Looks to be a talent.
- Sony Michel – Plantation, Florida (5-11, 205) Georgia: The Georgia Bulldogs brought in Michel and Nick Chubb last season and both backed up Todd Gurley last season. Gurley went down, obviously, but then so did Sony Michel. Clearly, with the playing time that he did get he is an outstanding prospect. Chubb ran for over 1,500 yards, but Michel hit 410 yards on 64 carries at 6.41 yards per carry and he scored 5 Touchdowns on the ground. Michel caught 7 passes for 106 yards and another Touchdown. Michel has some talent but he may not beat out Nick Chubb.
- Rashaan Evans – Auburn, Alabama (6-3, 230) Alabama: Evans played some as a true freshman and flashed some ability. He had 14 total tackles, with 2 for loss and a quarterback sack. Looks to have a nice future ahead of him at Outside Linebacker.
- Malachi Dupre -River Ridge, Louisiana (6-3, 190) LSU: Dupre was most everyone’s top Wide Receiver last recruiting season. He only had 14 catches as a true freshman but he clearly will be a star when the LSU Quarterback situation improves. Out of his 14 catches 5 were for
Touchdowns. Dupre will no doubt be a star at this level and the next.
- Bo Scarbrough – Northport, Alabama (6-2, 235) Alabama: Buried on the depth chart at Running Back and redshirted as a freshman. We will see next season, but will be hard to get any playing time with the depth the Tide possesses.
- Cameron Robinson – West Monroe, Louisiana: (6-6, 320) Alabama: Outstanding true freshman Left Tackle and has the potential to be one of the best of all time. Started from day one in the Spring and every game last Fall. Robinson is a major talent and will be a top draft pick in 2 years.
- Dalvin Cook – Miami, Florida (5-11, 190) Florida State: One didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to watch a few seconds of Cook’s high school film to determine this kid had some serious abilities. Cook is the next great Running Back at Florida State and led the team in rushing with 1,008 yards and 8 Touchdowns. Very explosive Running Back with outstanding quickness and speed.
- Raekwon McMillan – Hinesville, Georgia (6-3, 235) Ohio State: Super talented and aggressive Inside Linebacker who I thought should have been the top defensive recruit in the country last season. The Buckeyes were obviously national champions last season and are talented on defense. McMillan had 54 total tackles with 6.5 for loss and 2.5 sacks, plus an interception that he returned for a Touchdown.
- Damian Prince – Forestville, Maryland (6-5, 290) Maryland: Not that many offensive linemen start as a true freshman and Prince redshirted. He was recruited by the world as a tackle but moved inside to guard. Prince should be a top player for the Terps, but time will tell.
- Speedy Noil – New Orleans, Louisiana (6-0, 160) Texas A%M: Clearly from the minute you see this guy you understand how he got the name Speedy. Noil caught 46 passes in 2014 for 583 yards and 5 Touchdowns. He had 15 punt returns for a 12 yard per return average and he had 27 kickoff returns for a 23.89 per return. Oddly, he didn’t score off of either, but that will come. He was listed at 160 by Rivals, but apparently he put on a little weight and is 185 now.
- Chad Thomas – Miami, Florida (6-5, 230) Miami: Thomas is now up to 265 and gaining. Only registered 7 tackles as a true freshman but will see increased playing time in 2015. Has almost unlimited potential and could be a star for the Hurricanes.
- Tre Williams -Mobile, Alabama (6-2, 220) Auburn: A good Linebacker that will be much better with the addition of Will Muschamp as Defensive Coordinator for the Tigers. Williams had 17 tackles as a freshman and will more than likely log much more playing time this season. Look for Auburn to be a lot better than expected this season again because of Muschamp on
defense. The man may not be a great head coach, but he can handle a defense and has done so everywhere he has been.
- John Smith – Long Beach, California (6-1, 205) USC: Better known as ‘JuJu’. This guy is super impressive and was a force from the first game on even with some talent already on hand at USC with Nelson Agholor. Smith had 54 receptions for 724 yards and 5 Touchdowns. Smith and Jackson are the next big stars at USC. Very exciting player was listed as a 4.6 guy but looked much quicker.
- Tony Brown – Beaumont, Texas (6-0, 180) Alabama: This Texas kid played a little for the Crimson Tide last Fall and clearly showed that he will be a good player for them with some seasoning. He is definitely a talent with some excellent speed at Cornerback. He only had 10 tackles in 2014 and had a tackle for loss and a pass broken up.
- Malik McDowell – Springfield, Michigan (6-6, 290) Michigan State: McDowell got o play quite a bit as a true freshman and will be a force in the Big 10 next season and beyond. Defense was helped by the announcement of the return of Shilique Calhoun. McDowell had 15 total tackles with 4.5 for loss and 1.5 Quarterback sacks and another couple of hurries. Big man with a lot of talent.
- Josh Malone – Gallatin, Tennessee (6-3, 195) Tennessee: The Vols are on the rise and made a bowl game last season because of their latest recruiting class which was led by Malone and Jalen Hurd. Malone only caught 23 passes on the season but his talent was apparent really early. As Joshua Dobbs settles into his Quarterback position some more then expect Malone’s production to improve. The Volunteers has another top recruiting class this season and will be contenders in the next couple of years.
- Ermon Lane – Homestead, Florida (6-2, 170) Florida State: Lane did not play as much as fellow 5 star receiver Travis Rudolph, but he is a talent in his own right. He caught 13 passes last season for 267 yards and 1 Touchdown. He averaged slightly over 20 yards per catch which is impressive. Travis Rudolph, Bobo Wilson and Ermon Lane will need to step up and replace Rashad Greene and Tight End Nick O’Leary as far as number of receptions.
- Quenten Nelson – Red Bank, New Jersey (6-5, 300) Notre Dame: The Irish may have their problems but they have some solid depth in the Offensive Line and Nelson did not see playing time and may not again in 2015. We may have to wait a season or two to see how he turns out.
- Elijah Hood – Charlotte, North Carolina (5-11, 220) North Carolina: Hood was a big back coming in that many thought would dominate from day one, but he didn’t. He did manage to rush for 259 yards and a Touchdown. T.J. Logan was the starting Running Back last season and he only managed 582 yards as a sophomore. Hood needs to step up and fill he void his season and he probably will. North Carolina hired excellent Defensive Coordinator Gene Chizek and they will want to also improve their running game on offense.
- Deshaun Watson – Gainesville, Georgia (6-3, 200) Clemson: Clemson scored an offensive talent with Watson. Unfortunately, the super freshman Quarterback struggled with injuries in 2014. He is clearly the future for Clemson’s offense. Watson threw for 1,466 yards as a freshman and only 2 Interceptions with 14 Touchdowns. He ran for another 200 yards and 5 more Touchdowns. Watson is a star in the making.
- Andrew Brown – Chesapeake, Virginia (6-3, 300) Virginia: Brown played sparingly in 6 games and I am not sure why he wasn’t redshirted. It was hard to tell from limited playing time, but he has the ability.
- Jalen Hurd – Hendersonville, Tennessee (6-3, 230) Tennessee: Some have compared Hurd to former Ohio State Running Back Eddie George and I can see that. Big Running Back with excellent speed. He ran for 899 yards as a true freshman and he scored 5 Touchdowns on the ground. An outstanding receiver out of the backfield, Hurd hauled in 35 passes for 221 yards and 2 Touchdowns. Very good player with a bright future. The Vols brought in a Junior College player, former Alabama Running Back Alvin Kamara, to take a little pressure off of Hurd. Tennessee is definitely on the rise.
6 guys from Alabama in the top 33? Seriously? More than the 5 guys from Florida and there are 3 Californians and 2 Texans on the list. There is a lot of talent in the South, but I am not buying into 6 5 star guys in Alabama.
Still, you have to admit this is a pretty good list, overall. Only a few didn’t contribute as true freshmen and most of those were the guys from Alabama.