Scout 2014: The Five Stars

Scout names 23 five-stars for the class of 2014 with Florida having the most with five... will be releasing rankings throughout the week for the 2014 class.  On Wednesday (3/6), Scout will be releasing new five-stars for 2014; Thursday (3/7) will be the release of the Scout 100 for 2014 and Friday (3/8) will be the full release of the Scout 300 for 2014.

Yes, Virginia, there are a lot of five stars in your state this year.

The state of Florida has five five-stars in the 2014 class, California and Texas with three apiece.  So does Virginia.

A front-loaded class in the Old Dominion State has Virginia mentioned in the same breath as the "Big Three" in 2014.

Da'Shawn Hand has been a five-star since the fall, but he's joined by fellow Virginia natives Quin Blanding and Andrew Brown.

"Blanding is comfortable in man coverage, reading a quarterback in zone coverage and also coming up to the line of scrimmage to stop the run. He has very good hip turn and the speed to cover the field sideline-to-sideline. When it comes to the run, he makes form tackles while filling the gap, and he also locates the ball carrier well in traffic and makes the tackle," said East recruiting analyst Brian Dohn.

Dohn is also high on Brown.

"Brown is disruptive, and at a high rate," Dohn said. "He is big, strong, agile and quick. He fires off the ball and gets off blocks quickly to make tackles down hill. When Brown hits a ball carrier, you can feel the thud through his film. He is 6-foot-4, 285 pounds but is light on his feet. He also plays with high energy, and has a very good work rate."

Jabrill Peppers is the fourth five-star out of the East in the class of 2014, the five-star safety the top player in New Jersey.

In the South, national recruiting analyst Chad Simmons has a pair of Louisiana natives at the top.

Another Bayou State resident is a five-star, defensive end Gerald Willis.

Out of Alabama are a pair of five-stars, cornerback Marlon Humphrey and running back Racean Thomas.

"There are tot many corners are like Humphrey. He is a 6-foot corner with loose hips, the ability to play press coverage or off the ball, and he can tackle one-on-one or make a play on the ball. He is the total package at corner," said Simmons.  "Thomas is a back that sneaks up on some. He is stronger than some expect, he is faster than many think, and he can get the tough yards inside or get to the perimeter and take it to the house. He runs with good quickness, he can change directions well, and he can catch the ball well also."

Florida leads the way with five prospects given five-stars.

Running back Sony Michel is the top player in the Sunshine State and joining him is middle linebacker Kain Daub, offensive tackle K.C. McDermott, defensive tackle Khairi Clark and running back Joseph Yearby.

"Michel is a back that looks like he is playing in slow-motion at times. He makes things look so easy. He was born to be a running back and he has vision that you cannot teach and he just has a real feel for that position. He can run well behind his pads or he can side-step a defender and make them miss in the open field. He is also a very good receiver out of the backfield," said Simmons.  "Daub looks like a college linebacker right now. At 6-feet, 3-inches tall and 240 pounds, he is an imposing figure on the second level of defense. He is a natural athlete that can move in space, he can attack downhill, and he knows how to finish with some thump. He a big inside linebacker that can play sideline to sideline. McDermott is smart, he knows the position, and he really protects the quarterback with the best of them. He has great feet and he always seems to be on balance when engaged with defensive linemen. He shows the nice punch and he can really control the guys in front of him. He is very balanced in run blocking and pass protection.

Georgia defensive end Lorenzo Carter is the 11th prospect from the Southeast with five stars.

"Carter is an elite athlete that really emerged in 2012. He helped his team win a state title and he led that defense. He has great length that he uses to keep offensive tackles off of him and he is one of the best in the country at pursuing the ball. He is quick off the ball, he covers a lot of ground with his long strides, and is so fluid because of his athleticism," said Simmons.

In the Midlands,a prospect from Texas has three with five-stars and Kansas has one.

"Tony Brown and Braden Smith top a very talented pool of prospects in the Class of 2014, all who are nipping at the heels vying for one of the top spots. La Porte (Texas) LB Hoza Scott, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound Texas A&M commit, looks like he was born and bred to play the position. Texarkana (Texas) Liberty Elyau WR/S Davion Hall, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound Baylor commit, has elite skills on either side of the ball and his highlight reel is fun to watch," said Greg Powers, national recruiting analyst.

Out West, California is home to three five-stars and Arizona has the fourth.

Receiver Michiah Quick has been a five-star since the fall, but he's now been joined by fellow two-way stars, Adoree Jackson and Juju Smith.

"Jackson is the top overall prospect in the West and will stake a claim as the nation's top corner prospect by the end of the summer as well. He's an explosive athlete with great ball skills and has shown game breaking ability on both sides of the ball. He's a physical corner in press coverage and has the speed to turn and run with the fastest receivers as well. He's also a state champion long jumper and could go 26' this spring," said Greg Biggins, national recruiting analyst. 

Smith wasn't even ranked in the initial Scout 100 back in the fall, but made a huge move after a monster junior season.

"No one saw their stock rise more than Smith this past season. The athlete was a part time receiver for a ground control offense early in the year. He was then inserted at safety and showed elite ability. Smith has the prototype size and speed of what you're looking for in a safety with the toughness and hitting ability to match. His heart is still at receiver and he's an elite prospect on that side of the ball as well but we love his upside in the secondary," said Biggins.

Quick maintains his spot as a five-star.

"Like Smith, Quick is equally talented on both sides of the ball. He has always played receiver and corner and is currently rated with the receivers but recently Quick has said he thinks he might want to play corner in college. He has a strong frame and is a very physical player but also shows some of the quickest feet in the region and plus top end speed as well. He has great hands as a pass catcher, is already an advanced route runner and has the speed to stretch any defense," said Biggins.

Arizona's top prospect is Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton offensive tackle Casey Tucker, the fourth five-star from the region and the West's top line prospect. national scouting director Scott Kennedy and national recruiting analysts Allen Trieu, Brandon Huffman, Brian Dohn, Chad Simmons, Greg Biggins, Greg Powers and Jamie Newberg contributed to this story.


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