Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Top position classes: Athletes
By Gerry Hamilton
With national signing day in the books, RecruitingNation is looking at the top position classes. For the full series, click here.
Nationally (and Big Ten) Ohio State continues to add speed and versatility, and the 2014 class was more of the same. The Buckeyes signed five athletes, and versatility was the name of the game. The Buckeyes' haul included potential corners to big wide receivers to safeties to speedy playmaking receivers and return men. The uber-impressive list includes future cornerback and ESPN 300 No. 45 Marshon Lattimore (Cleveland/Glenville), No. 153 Curtis Samuel (Brooklyn, N.Y./Erasmus Hall), No. 178 Parris Campbell Jr. (Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary), and four-star prospects Noah Brown (Sparta, N.J./Pope John XXIII) and Malik Hooker (New Castle, Pa./New Castle).
The Buckeyes had the nation’s best athlete class; these programs had the best in each of the remaining power conferences:
ACC NC State’s 2014 class flew under the radar nationally, but it features a bevy of talented athletes. Leading the way is four-star future defensive back Troy Vincent Jr. (Baltimore/Gilman School). He is joined by high three-star Elliott Davis (Gaithersburg, Md./Quince Orchard), jumbo athlete Jaylen Samuels (Charlotte, N.C./Mallard Creek), Stephen Louis (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Lakes) and Mike Stevens (Davidson, N.C./Davidson Day School).
Big 12 Oklahoma not only signed four talented athletes on Feb. 5, but it also picked up four prospects who project at different positions. The Sooners continued to work effectively in Northern California, pulling in ESPN 300 No. 75 Michiah Quick (Fresno, Calif./Central East), who figures to play wide receiver and return punts and kickoffs. High three-star Jordan Thomas (Klein, Texas/Klein Collins) figures to land at safety, while three-star Tito Windham (Gulfport, Miss./Harrison Central) will play cornerback and 6-foot-3, 219-pound Dimitri Flowers (San Antonio/Churchill) will play flex tight end or H-back.
Pac-12 USC is the call here after landing five-star Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra) and ESPN 300 No. 24 overall John "JuJu" Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Poly). Both can potentially play on either side of the ball. Another ESPN 300 prospect, No. 238 Rahshead Johnson (Long Beach/Cabrillo), is a third athlete in the class. Johnson could play receiver or cornerback, while Smith could play wide receiver, safety or even fill out into an outside linebacker at some point.
SEC Texas A&M signed a number of talented athletes in the 2014 class, including five-star Speedy Noil (New Orleans/Edna Karr). The quick and elusive Noil is already enrolled and will play slot wide receiver and return punts and kicks. Joining Noil in College Station will be ESPN 300 No. 61 Nick Harvey (Richmond, Texas/William B. Travis), who could play cornerback, nickel or safety, and No. 251 Armani Watts (Forney, Texas/North Forney). A fourth athlete in the class is three-star senior riser Donovan Wilson (Shreveport, La./Woodlawn), who, like Watts, will play defensive back.