Last year, my rankings placed Carl Lawson, a key part of Auburn’s run to the national title game, at the top, and this year another end, Myles Garrett, finds himself atop the rankings compiled by myself and my colleague, Justin Hill. We are partnering to provide a new voice, RedZone Sports (www. RedZoneSports. net), in the recruiting world. Notably, the University of Alabama has four players in the top ten and five in the top twenty-five as Nick Saban builds what could be his best class yet. Meanwhile, Auburn and Texas A&M are compiling some of the nation’s top classes while the lowly Virginia Cavaliers have two of the top ten prospects in the nation.
This class has some real standouts at the top. Garrett joins some elite ends over the last few years including Lawson, Robert Nkemdiche, and Jadeveon Clowney while Peppers and Fournette are some of the best players at their positions to come around in a long time.
- DE Myles Garrett (6’4″, 245lbs.) COMMITTED TO TEXAS A&M- Vastly underrated to this point, Garrett has a great frame and is incredibly explosive. He was dominant over the course of his senior season, but he took it to the next level in the Under Armour All American Game. A blend of last year’s top two (Lawson and Nkemdiche), Garrett could be an immediate impact player in SEC next year.
- ATH Jabrill Peppers (6’0″, 190lbs.) COMMITTED TO MICHIGAN- The Michigan commit is by far the best defensive back I have ever evaluated and one of the more explosive athletes to enter college football in a long time. Peppers could line up at just about any skill position and dominate. One of the surest prospects I’ve seen, he could make Michigan fans think… Woodson who?
- RB Leonard Fournette (6’0″, 227lbs.) COMMITTED TO LSU- Perhaps the best running back out of high school since the days of Reggie Bush and Adrian Peterson, Fournette could make Les Miles forget the loss of Jeremy Hill pretty quickly. The elite back is the whole package with fantastic size and speed, and he can break tackles, out-run defenders, and make people miss.
- CB Tony Brown (6’1″, 185lbs.) COMMITTED TO ALABAMA- At 6’1″ Brown has great length to go with his sub 4.4 track speed. The Tide commit has good ball skills and is not afraid to come up in run support.
- DE Da’Shawn Hand (6’4″, 262lbs.) COMMITTED TO ALABAMA- Saban and company recruited Hand, rated #1 overall by multiple services, as a linebacker, but I believe he is more likely to stand out as a 3-4 defensive end reminding Tide fans of Marcel Dareus. Has a good build and plays with leverage.
- S Quin Blanding (6’2″, 202lbs.) COMMITTED TO VIRGINIA- Although not quite as athletic as Peppers or Brown, Blanding is still an incredible athlete who drives the ball carriers back more than usual for a player of his size. The ball hawking safety may be the most tragic commitment of the cycle heading to lowly Virginia, but his ability to lower the boom and strong cover skills will get him noticed at the next level nonetheless.
- ATH Bo Scarborough (6’2″, 234lbs.) COMMITTED TO ALABAMA- There may be some drama with the Tide commit who is looking hard at Ole Miss and Florida State, but whoever ends up with the elite athlete is getting a dynamic playmaker with the most rock-solid stiff arm I’ve seen. Scarborough could line up at a number of spots at the next level, and his athleticism, especially for someone of his size allows him to stand out.
- OT Cameron Robinson (6’5″, 330lbs.) COMMITTED TO ALABAMA- A monster with outstanding quickness for his size, Robinson gets to the second level very well. Despite getting punked by Rashaan Evans during an all-star game practice, Robinson was a devastating loss for in-state LSU and cannot be ignored as a possible first year starter for the Tide.
- RB Racean Thomas (5’11”, 204lbs.) COMMITTED TO AUBURN- No Tre Mason? No problem. “Roc” Thomas is a perfect fit the Malzahn offense. A compact, physical runner with cutting ability and “wiggle” that makes you say “wow.” Thomas does not go down easily and will put up huge numbers for the Tigers
- DT Andrew Brown (6’4″, 295lbs.) COMMITTED TO VIRGINIA-Massive, Brown sheds blockers well and is a disruptive force in the backfield. Like Blanding, there has to be some concern about him languishing in the cellar at UVA.
- RB Joe Mixon (6’2″, 210lbs.) COMMITTED TO OKLAHOMA- With great height, Mixon brings a lot to the table as a running back. He is versatile, great out of the backfield with outstanding hands, and a natural runner.
- ATH Adoree Jackson (5’10”, 170lbs.) UNCOMMITTED- Jackson is an extremely dynamic athlete who plays with incredible “spring” in his step. Some have him pegged as a corner where he would be a standout, but he could be used on offense in a Harvin-esque role. Wants to run track so may opt to play for a school with a track program that suits him, and is likely to provide some drama down the stretch.
- QB Keller Chryst (6’3″, 215lbs.) COMMITTED TO STANFORD- When Chryst suits up for the Cardinal, there will be more than just the colors of his uniform and his position that will make fans recall Andrew Luck. His ball is explosive coming out of his hands and his deep ball is very pretty. Chryst possesses impressive mobility and is intuitive, plays the game fast, and sees things before they happen.
- WR Malachi Dupre (6’3″, 195lbs.) UNCOMMITTED- A big target set to decide between Alabama, LSU, Florida State, and UCLA, Dupre is dangerous for a player of his size and a slightly better prospect than either of last year’s top two (Ricky Seals-Jones or Laquon Treadwell).
- RB Elijah Hood (6’0″, 220lbs.) SIGNED WITH NORTH CAROLINA- Hood gets downhill in a hurry and with authority. He has great power, size, and ability to break tackles. Look for the elite back to make an immediate impact as a freshman.
- RB Sony Michel (5’11”, 205lbs.) COMMITTED TO GEORGIA- Possessing great balance, tacklers literally bounce off Michel. He has great vision, strong, legs, good hands, and solid speed.
- LB Rashaan Evans (6’3″, 220lbs.) UNCOMMITTED- One of the top battles remaining in this cycle, Evans had a stellar senior season but has had one of the best post-seasons of any prospects in the class, dominating the AL-MS All Star game and putting together a great performance during the week of practice prior to the Under Armour game, humiliating Cameron Robinson on a play that went viral. The elite rusher who can play the run and drop into coverage will decide between Auburn, Alabama, and UCLA.
- OT Damian Prince (6’5″, 292lbs.) UNCOMMITTED- The big tackle gets off the ball well and possesses great athleticism. With arm length the primary draw back, Prince will decide between Florida, Maryland, and South Carolina.
- S John “Juju” Smith (6’1″, 207lbs.) UNCOMMITTED- This is a big, physical safety who has All-American written all over him. Despite having the physique a small linebacker, Smith excels in pass coverage. The Californian is looking at Alabama, USC, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Oregon.
- WR Ermon Lane (6’2″, 197lbs.) UNCOMMITTED- Corners do not want to find themselves in a position to go up for a jump ball against Lane, who was a standout in the Under Armour All American game. Lane is explosive and recently decommitted from Florida with rumors that he may follow friend Dalvin Cook to Florida State.
- LB Tre Williams (6’2″, 230lbs.) COMMITTED TO AUBURN- The Tigers could have used Williams throughout the season, a big backer with great hips that allow him to really make strong adjustments in coverage and the physicality to come up and play the run. He may be the most complete linebacker in this class and is a natural field general.
- QB Kyle Allen (6’4″, 195lbs.) SIGNED WITH TEXAS A&M- The Aggie signee has good size and great frame to add needed weight. He is not a runner but has enough mobility to keep himself alive in the pocket. He sees his receivers well and throws with nice accuracy, but tends to throw behind receivers. His confident presence could help him be an immediate replacement for the more dynamic Manziel.
- S Ronnie Clark (6’3″, 205lbs.) COMMITTED TO ALABAMA- Clark has great athleticism but may be a bit of a tweener. However, he has tremendous potential to be an impact player on defense and could really be something to watch.
- LB Raekwon McMillan (6’3″, 235lbs.) SIGNED WITH OHIO STATE- McMillan is a classic Big Ten linebacker who will help ease the defensive woes of the Buckeyes and the loss of Shazier. He plays the run physically, but he could struggle in pass coverage which could be helped with an extra semester on campus before the fall.
- CB Marlon Humphrey (6’0″, 168lbs.) UNCOMMITTED- Humphrey is very fast and likely to run track in college as well. He also brings an added dimension as a phenomenal return man. Still, he needs to add weight and physicality, but his decision between Alabama and Florida State will be one to watch.
Breitbart Sports contributor Cole Muzio and Justin Hill have formed RedZone Sports (www. RedZoneSports.Net) to cover college football recruiting in 2014 and provide the “Inside the RedZone” feature exclusively to Breitbart Sports.
Muzio anchored Breitbart Sports’ coverage of National Signing Day last year and was heralded after he had a 90% accuracy rate, which far outpaced prominent recruiting sites like Rivals.com and ESPN, and has established himself as a person to watch when it comes to recruiting analysis. Follow Cole Muzio on Twitter @ColeMuzio.