2014: Dade County Defense

Dade County produces as much talent as any county in the country and the list is a very long one of players that made a big impact at the next level. Here is a look at the next crop of potential defensive superstars.

Here are six defensive prospects from Dade County that have made a big impact at the collegiate level:

CB Xavier Rhodes, FSU

DE Corey Lemonier, Auburn

LB Denzel Perryman, Miami

S Deon Bush, Miami

S Lamarcus Joyner, FSU

DE Ed Stinson, Alabama

PHOTO GALLERY

DEFENSIVE LINE

Booker T. Washington DE Chad Thomas continues to be one of the most heavily recruited prospects in Dade County. At 6'5, 210 Thomas has ideal length, quickness, and play-making ability. He made an instant impact when he arrived on campus at BTW and he is a prospect that will have a chance to make an instant impact at the next level. Florida State, Miami, and LSU hold the early edge at this time. FILM

Hialeah's Tony Baxter (6'4, 280) has ideal size and athleticism, what he does not have is a ton of experience. Baxter missed his junior season and a large part of his sophomore season due to injury/academics. He is going to need to have a big Spring and follow that up with a strong five games his senior season (will be ineligible due to age). Baxter is long and athletic, he could be one of the top three DTs in the state. The issue's make him a complete wildcard.

Another wide bodied DT is Carol City's Ted Celestin. At 6'0 he is close to 300 pounds and has been a two year starter for the Chief's. Celestin has a very strong base which he uses to make plays in the backfield. Celestin's lack of ideal length may hurt him with some schools, but they will be missing on a great player. Celestin also lines up at OG. FILM


Robinson could end up at either side of the ball
Chad Simmons, Scout.com

LINEBACKER

The first of two Northwestern prospects, Michael Smith made a big name for himself in 2012 with a terrific season coming off the edge including double digit sacks. At 6'2 and over 200 pounds he may be better suited to OLB where he has the speed and athleticism to play in space. Smith plays an attacking style of football that is coveted at the next level and he is attracting widespread early interest. We feel that his stock will continue to rise. FILM

DEFENSIVE BACKS

While the defensive line and linebacker spots are little thin at this time, the defensive back group is simply outstanding.

Northwestern's JoJo Robinson is one of the best receivers in Dade County, along with Darius Tice he gave the Bull's two big play weapons in 2012. We are listing him at CB because we feel that is where his ceiling resides. Earlier this year he checked in at 6'0, 174, ran a 4.41 electronic and verticalled 32 inches. Explosive athlete that would have great size at the CB spot. Robinson is committed to FSU, but is attracting interest from many schools including the hometown Canes. FILM

Miami Central's Deatrick Nichols was a freshmen starter on a big class state title team. While that alone is not entirely uncommon, it is made quite a bit better by the fact that there were 19 SENIOR starters that signed D-1 letters of intent from that team. And Central has produced many more in between. Point here is that Nichols is an experienced, talented option at CB and one of the top players in the country at his position. At 5'10.5 he is big enough, likes to play physical, and always seems to making plays on the ball. We love his game and think this is a player that will make an early impact at the next level. FILM

Booker T. Washington's Nigel Patton has similar size to Nichols (a touch shorter), but he brings a boatload of speed and athleticism to the table. He established himself as one of the state's top corners in 2012 and there is plenty of upside remaining. Patton can flat cover and has handled some of the area's big receivers. He has a chance to make a name for himself on the track as well. Patton has picked up many early offers, including FSU and Miami. FILM

Three other Dade County corners on the radar are Killian's Trumaine Washington, Norland's Raymond Attley, and Coral Reef's Marcus Leslie. Washington has a smooth back-pedal, decent size, and was a big part of the surprising defense at Killian. We like his ability to play man coverage as well as play physical on the edge. FILM

At 6'2 Attley is the tallest corner on this list and thus will be one of the players most closely watched. He will need to add strength and fill out his frame, but there is plenty of upside here down the road. Attley could be one of those names that picks up 10+ offers in the Spring. FILM Leslie will be a three year starter at Coral Reef and gets the added benefit of going up against Jacob McCrary every day in practice. He is a competitor that might be ideally suited for the nickel role at the next level. FILM

Colleges will have to go to Hialeah for the top Safeties. Champagnat Catholic's Michael Johnson has ideal size (6'2, 190) and athleticism. Johnson has a ton of range, but also the ability to play closer to the box and hit. He is one of the most physically impressive kids in Dade County and it is only a matter of time until he blows up on the trail. Johnson is very confident and versatle, both traits will help him excel at the next level. FILM

Another athletic safety is Hialeah's David Francis. At 6'1+ he has lined up at WR, CB, S, as well as OLB and he consistently produces. A lot will depend on how much size he adds to frame as he could easily grow into a WILL linebacker down the road. Francis is an excellent student.


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