In the three seasons we have rated prospects for Breitbart Sports, the Class of 2015 certainly appears to be the deepest—particularly in the Sunshine State. Claiming not only the #1 player in the class, the state of Florida is home to 11 of our top 25 prospects.
While little mystery surrounds the likelihood that Alabama is poised to land yet another #1 overall class, five of our top ten prospects will be announcing their school of choice on Wednesday with Auburn, Florida, and USC among schools involved in a number of top targets yet to decide where they will suit up next year.
Below are the top 25 recruits of the class:
1. DE Byron Cowart, Armwood (Seffner, FL) 6’4”, 255lbs.—For the third straight year, I have a DE at the top of my rankings. A fierce competitor, Cowart brings tremendous athleticism and violence off the edge. He has the ability to line up at linebacker or play with his hand in the dirt, but his technical ability, talent, and determination makes it likely that he will follow in the footsteps of previous #1s Carl Lawson and Myles Garrett in making a big impact for his team in year one. The elite prospect is deciding between Auburn and Florida and is likely to be a great locker room presence wherever he goes.
2. DT Trent Thompson, Westover (Albany, GA) 6’4”, 305lbs. COMMITTED TO GEORGIA—A big, strong anchor in the middle of the defensive line, Thompson really stands out as an interior presence that destroys blockers. An impressive performance throughout Army Bowl week only cemented the Georgia commit as one of the top prospects in the nation. Look for the big tackle to not only contribute early but be a top draft pick in three years.
3. CB Iman Marshall, Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, CA) 6’1”, 195lbs.—Marshall is one of the most “ready” prospects from a physical standpoint in this class. He has the ideal height, bulk, speed, fluidity, and instincts that you look for in a cover corner, and he displayed those skills during Under Armour week. Long considered a USC lean, Marshall is also considering UCLA, Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oregon, and LSU.
4. OT Martez Ivey, Apopka (Apopka, FL) 6’6”, 275lbs.—Ivey’s frame and feet have coaches drooling, and he uses his hands well and plays with natural aggression. Though he will need to add bulk to reach his full potential, his ceiling is arguably higher than anyone else in the class. He is that rare player who really may be the best tackle prospect coming out of high school in the last several years. Still, it is easier to peg Ivey as a future #1 draft pick than an early high impact player at either Auburn or Florida.
5. QB Josh Rosen, St. John Bosco (Bellflower, CA) 6’4”, 205lbs. COMMITTED TO UCLA—Rosen carries himself with a level of swagger that you have to like in your quarterback. A winner at the high school level, his tools translate nicely to the college game. He possesses good size, mobility in the pocket, and a live arm that has a unique combination of accuracy and strength. Easily the best quarterback we’ve evaluated in the three years of compiling rankings.
6. DT Kahlil McKenzie, Clayton Valley (Concord, CA) 6’4”, 325lbs. COMMITTED TO TENNESSEE—Tennessee has yet to prove they are “back” on the football field, but they sure are doing well on the recruiting trail. The big, physical defensive tackle follows in his father’s footsteps to Rocky Top and plays just a notch below Thompson in terms of the best defensive tackle in a very strong class for the position. Athletic and a force in the gap, his power stands out but he is also highly athletic though his weight may be worth watching.
7. DT Terry Beckner Jr., East St. Louis (East St. Louis, IL) 6’4”, 295lbs.—Listed as a defensive end, the big bodied Beckner is almost certain to slide inside in college where he may be more of a fit. He possesses great strength, and his athleticism for an interior player is certainly impressive for his ability to shed blocks and make plays in the backfield. A low-key personality, Beckner is a no-nonsense, hard-hat kind of player who is unlikely to be a bust at the next level. Though maybe lacking the “pizazz” of other prospects Auburn, Florida State, Missouri, or Ohio State will be getting a good one. FSU and Missouri seem to be ahead here with the Tigers, who have a great reputation for developing DL, perhaps having the edge.
8. RB Derrius Guice, Catholic (Baton Rouge,LA) 5’11,” 220lbs. COMMITTED TO LSU—One of our favorite prospects in this class, Guice had a stellar Under Armour game. Possessing a boatload of confidence, the LSU commit is incredibly tough to tackle and, to me, the best running back of this class. This is a thick back with great vision who brings great hands to his skill set, and he is sure to make a big impact for the Bayou Bengals.
9. S Derwin James, Haines City Senior (Haines City, FL) 6’2”, 200lbs. ENROLLED AT FSU—Florida State has one of the nation’s best safeties in Jalen Ramsey, and they now have another exceptional talent at the position on campus. A playmaker at wide receiver, James projects even better at safety. He has an outstanding frame and could add even more weight, but his athleticism is off the charts. The Florida native has the ability to contribute right away as both a run and pass defender. Jimbo Fisher has really reeled in a big one with this rangy, hard hitting prospect.
10. DE Cece Jefferson, Baker County Senior (Glen Saint Mary, FL) 6’2”, 265lbs.—A prospect that could play on the inside or the outside, Jefferson has an impressive physique and is highly explosive. Like Cowart, Jefferson also plays with tenacity, uses his hands with violence, and is a good “hustle player.” However, he may be a bit of a tweener and lack the “game changing” ability of other edge rushers. A long-time Florida lean, Muschamp’s departure makes him one of the more intriguing signing-day decisions between Florida, Auburn, Alabama, and Ole Miss.
11. DE Josh Sweat, Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, VA) 6’5”, 245lbs. ENROLLED AT FSU—Sweat may have been in competition for the #1 spot had an early season injury not derailed his opportunity to highlight his skills. Like Garrett from last season, Sweat brings great length and athleticism—though I’m not sure his ability quite matches the freshman sensation from Texas A&M. Nonetheless, Sweat is incredibly talented and is already on campus at FSU.
12. CB Tavarus McFadden, American Heritage (Fort Lauderdale,FL) 6’3”, 195lbs. COMMITTED TO FLORIDA STATE—Tall corners are all the rage, and McFadden certainly fits the bill. More fluid than you would expect, McFadden brings electric athleticism and the willingness to play with physicality. It’s not hard to see him as a highly sought after draft prospect in just a few years.
13. RB Damien Harris, Madison Southern (Berea, KY) 5’11”, 205lbs. COMMITTED TO ALABAMA—If we weren’t so high on Guice, Harris would certainly fit the bill as the top overall back. He’s got great size, can be a home-run threat, and he runs with great vision. Now, considering his destination, the Kentucky native could be the most likely player on this list to win the Heisman and could remind many of Mark Ingram.
14. QB Torrance Gibson, American Heritage (Fort Lauderdale, FL) 6’4”, 200lbs. COMMITTED TO OHIO STATE—Not the most refined passer in the world, Gibson nevertheless competes as a special athlete. He may remind some of a taller Nick Marshall and face questions of switching positions once he gets to the next level. Still, he’s got the skills to, if he develops, be an elite playmaker as a signal caller. If he doesn’t, he still has All-American potential as a receiver. While committed to the reigning champs, Gibson will be one to watch on NSD as he is also looking at Auburn, LSU, and Miami.
15. WR Calvin Ridley, Monarch (Pompano Beach, FL) 6’0”, 170lbs. COMMITTED TO ALABAMA—An outstanding receiver with blazing speed, Ridley may be the most dynamic offensive athlete the Tide have added in the Saban era. He’s not a big prospect in the mold of departing Amari Cooper, and he is not your “jump ball” target, but he is not a guy opposing defenses want to see in space. The polished receiver could be an immediate impact type player.
16. DT Christian Wilkins, Suffield Academy (Suffield, CT) 6’4”, 300lbs. COMMITTED TO CLEMSON—Out of Connecticut, Wilkins hasn’t exactly faced the stiffest competition, but his performance during Under Armour week silenced a lot of doubters. His size and frame are impressive, but he also brings outstanding athleticism, even lining up on the outside for his high school team.
17. LB Porter Gustin, Salem Hills (Salem, UT) 6’5”, 240lbs.—The big, physical linebacker is an elite prospect. A very intelligent player, Gustin was a Tebow-esque quarterback for his high school team. Answered a lot of questions at the Army Bowl, and, while not an elite level athlete, his more than adequate speed pairs well with his toughness, physicality, and intangibles. Set to decide between Ohio State, USC, and Arizona State on NSD.
18. RB Jacques Patrick, Timber Creek (Orlando, FL) 6’1”, 230lbs. ENROLLED AT FSU—Yet another big pick up for the already loaded Seminoles, Patrick doesn’t have elite top end speed, but this is a big back whose athleticism is off the charts for his size. A playmaker with great burst, the ability to break tackles, and outstanding potential as a receiver, the Florida native is another player who could be a Heisman candidate down the road and certainly projects better than James Wilder—the last big back the Seminoles brought in.
19. WR Terry Godwin, Callaway (Hogansville, GA) 6’0”, 170lbs. COMMITTED TO GEORGIA—There are a number of smallish receivers that don’t have much separation and Godwin is certainly in that mix. A fast, dynamic playmaker, the Georgia commit can do it all—even throw. Even more impressive, many feel he projects best on the other side of the ball. Though a long-time commit, he spent all day Saturday with the Auburn staff and could provide some drama on NSD.
20. DE Kyle Phillips, Hillsboro (Nashville, TN) 6’4”, 250lbs. COMMITTED TO TENNESSEE—A dominant performance in the Army Bowl certainly raised the profile of the Volunteer who pairs with McKenzie as the most dominant pair of position mates headed to the same school. A tenacious pass rusher, he also has the bulk to play the run and was a huge pick up for Butch Jones and company during the All Star game.
21. CB Kevin Tolliver II, Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville, FL) 6’2”, 185lbs. COMMITTED TO LSU—While a group of smaller receivers are certainly close, Tolliver joins Marshall, McFadden, and others as tall, impressive corners. His outstanding length does not negate the fact that he is also a very fast, athletic corner with fluid hips that should allow him to blanket some of the SEC’s top receivers from Day One. Additionally, some time in a college weight program should allow him to add the bulk needed to compete with some bigger bodied receivers as well as provide some support in the run game.
22. WR George Campbell, East Lake (Tarpon Springs, FL) 6’4”, 185lbs. COMMITTED TO FLORIDA STATE—While there’s a very strong group of smaller receivers, the lengthy Campbell breaks the mold while potentially having the best straight away speed of the group. While not as elusive as the others, Campbell also lacks refinement as a receiver. However, this could end up being a better version of projected first rounder Sammie Coates.
23. OT Maea Teuhema, Keller (Keller, TX) 6’5”, 340lbs. COMMITTED TO LSU—I’m not sure that I’m crazy about projecting a likely guard this high, but Teuhema is a massive road grader who simply cannot be ignored. A huge fan of his potential, he certainly has some work to do, but there should be no issue with his ability to push around DTs early and often.
24. QB Deondre Francois, IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL) 6’1”, 195lbs. COMMITTED TO FLORIDA STATE—A beneficiary of a strong week at the Under Armour game, Francois has ice in his veins. He has a great arm, and he also is an athletic signal caller with the potential to be a big time producer at the next level. Said to be also considering the Noles’s rival, he could make FSU’s class even stronger should he hold to his commitment.
25. DE Canton Kaumatule, Ponahou (Honolulu, HI) 6’7”, 290lbs. COMMITTED TO OREGON—Like Arik Armstead, Kaumatule is a physical freak who will produce big results for the Ducks. He needs to develop his quickness and bend, and he may play on the inside or outside, but this is the guy you want off the bus first and his frame and raw ability make him one of the more intriguing prospects.
Others to Watch: DT Daylon Mack, Gladewater (Gladewater, TX) 6’0”, 330lbs.; LB Malik Jefferson, Poteet (Mesquitte, TX) 6’3”, 215lbs.ENROLLED AT TEXAS; DE Keisean Lucier-South, Lutheran-Orange County (Orange, CA) 6’5”, 225lbs. COMMITTED TO UCLA; RB Soso Jamabo, Plano West (Plano, TX) 6’3,” 210lbs, WR Christian Kirk, Saguaro (Scottsdale, AZ) 5’10”, 191lbs. ENROLLED AT TEXAS A&M, WR Tyron Johnson, Warren Easton (New Orleans, LA) 6’1”, 190lbs. COMMITTED TO LSU; OT Drew Richmond, Memphis University School (Memphis, TN) 6’5”, 310lbs.; RB Ronald Jones II, McKinney North (McKinney, TX) 6’0”, 180lbs COMMITTED TO USC; LB Osa Masina, Brighton (Salt Lake City, UT) 6’4”, 230lbs. COMMITTED TO USC; and DE Jalen Dalton, West Forsyth (Clemmons, NC) 6’5”, 230lbs. COMMITTED TO NORTH CAROLINA.
*** Justin Hill contributed to these rankings and evaluations