Texas Trio: Safeties

The state of Texas is full of play-making safeties, the best of whom is still on the market.

1) LaDarrell McNeil, Dallas A Maceo Smith (undecided)

McNeil fits everything you look for in a safety. He's fast, comes downhill hard and is a wonderful hitter. He could project to either safety spot at the next level. McNeil has prototypical height and length, and once he fills out, he'll be a monster in the box. McNeil has offers from Arizona, Baylor, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Syracuse, TCU, Tennessee and Texas A&M, and wherever he goes, he'll lend tremendous scheme versatility.

2) Kenneth Marshall, South Houston (Oklahoma State)

It's all the rage in college football to shift bigger cornerbacks who can run to free safety, where they can use their increased range to make plays all over the defensive backfield. At 6-foot and 190 pounds, Marshall could play cornerback at Oklahoma State, though he best fits as a cover safety. His ability to match up with slot receivers will allow the Cowboys to keep him on the field as a three-down player, even against spread teams.

3) Nick Baratti, Klein Oak (Notre Dame)

Barratti might project as a quarterback at the next level, where his mobility and physical running style would pay off for a Notre Dame team rebuilding around the spread. But he already has the build, the speed and the mentality to be a standout safety. He has the speed to defend deep, and closes on the ball incredibly well. He'll also be able to make plays in run support.

Watch out for …

The state is loaded with high-level safety prospects, from TCU commitment Edward Pope of Carthage, Baylor commitment Kiante Griffin, Waco's Will Hines and San Antonio East Central safety Nick Coleman. All are talented enough to play major roles for BCS conference teams in the future.

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