Top 10 States of the 2014 College Football Recruiting Class

Tyler Donohue@@TDsTakeNational Recruiting AnalystSeptember 24, 2013

Top 10 States of the 2014 College Football Recruiting Class

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    Football is a matter of pride in every state across America. From pee wee youth fields to palatial NFL stadiums, the sport is part of our national DNA.

    Some states rise above the rest when it comes to developing an unparalleled level of competition. Aside from producing excellent football action, these locations become regional recruiting hotbeds.

    Here's a look at 10 states that have forced college coaches to rack up frequent flyer miles throughout the 2014 recruiting cycle. 

    Recruit rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

10. New Jersey

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    Number of 4-star players: 12

    Number of 5-star players: One

    Best of the bunch: Athlete Jabrill Peppers (Paramus) is the lone 5-star prospect in the state. The Michigan commit was named National Sophomore Player of the Year after the 2011 season, when he played for national powerhouse Don Bosco Prep. He has since transferred to Paramus Catholic.

    New Jersey features two of the nation's top tight ends in 4-star recruits Mike Gesicki (Manahawkin, uncommitted) and Ryan Izzo (Sparta, Florida State commit). 4-star wide receivers Adonis Jennings (Sicklerville) and Saeed Blacknall are both staying in state at Rutgers.

    Notre Dame continues to do well in the Garden State. The Fighting Irish have firm commitments from 4-star prospects Quenton Nelson (Red Bank, offensive tackle) and Andrew Trumbetti (Demarest, defensive end).


9. North Carolina

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    Number of 4-star players: 13

    Number of 5-star players: One

    Best of the bunch: Davidson Day quarterback Will Grier (Florida commit) led the nation with 69 touchdowns last season. The North Carolina Tar Heels picked up commitments from a pair of 4-star offensive standouts from Charlotte (running back Elijah Hood and offensive tackle Bentley Spain).

    Defensive tackle Lamont Gaillard (Fayetteville) is arguably the best interior lineman in the country and is headed to Georgia. The state features three premier pass-catchers in wide receiver Trevion Thompson (Durham, uncommitted), wide receiver DeAndre Thompkins (Swansboro, Penn State commit) and tight end Jeb Blazevich (Charlotte, Georgia commit)

8. Ohio

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    Number of 4-star players: 16

    Number of 5-star players: One

    Best of the bunch: The Buckeye state is brimming with top-tier defensive talent, starting with 5-star linebacker Dante Booker (Akron). He will join Urban Meyer's Ohio State squad in Columbus, along with 4-star prospects Marcelys Jones (guard, Cleveland), Parris Campbell (wide receiver, Akron), Kyle Berger (linebacker, Cleveland), Sam Hubbard (athlete, Cincinnati) and Kyle Trout (offensive tackle, Lancaster).

    Cleveland cornerback Marshon Lattimore ranks among the nation's top secondary players and has yet to announce his collegiate decision. Ohio is also home to a pair of top quarterback prospects. Toledo passer DeShone Kizer is committed to Notre Dame, while Youngstown's Chris Durkin is headed to Michigan State.

7. Alabama

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    Number of 4-star players: 15

    Number of 5-star players: One

    Best of the bunch: Alabama annually produces some of the top incoming SEC talent and this year is no different. The top seven committed players from the state will attend Alabama or Auburn. Hoover defensive back Marlon Humphrey, the team's top prospect, remains undecided and is considering offers from Florida State, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and Auburn, among others.

    Nick Saban has collected commitments from 4-star recruits Bo Scarbrough (Tuscaloosa, running back), Stephen Roberts (Opelika, cornerback), Shaun Hamilton (Montgomery, linebacker) and Keith Holcombe (Tuscaloosa, linebacker).

    4-star linebacker Tre' Williams (Mobile) is bound for Auburn, along with defensive end Justin Thornton (Mobile) and running back Racean Thomas (Oxford). Linebacker prospects Rashaan Evans (Auburn) and Ronnie Clark (Calera) rank among the region's top undecided defensive players.


6. Virginia

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    Number of 4-star players: 15

    Number of 5-star players: Three

    Best of the bunch: The Virginia Cavaliers have been very successful in holding onto local talent during this recruiting cycle. Five-star prospects Andrew Brown (defensive tackle, Chesapeake) and Quin Blanding (safety, Virginia Beach) are committed to the Cavs, along with 4-star Fork Union quarterback Corwin Cutler.

    Woodbridge defensive end Da'Shawn Hand, arguably the top uncommitted recruit in the country, is weighing offers from Florida, Alabama, Michigan, USC and LSU. Woodberry Forest linebacker Greer Martini is headed to Notre Dame, while Norfolk defensive end Jalyn Holmes will be an Ohio State Buckeye. 4-star Virginia Beach prospects Jamil Kamara (athlete) and Derrick Nnadi (defensive tackle) remain uncommitted.

5. Louisiana

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    Number of 4-star players: 16

    Number of 5-star players: Four

    Best of the bunch: Louisiana is loaded with offensive difference-makers this year, headlined by offensive tackle Cameron Robinson (West Monroe, Alabama commit) and running back Leonard Fournette (New Orleans, uncommitted). Both players are considered the No. 1 prospects at their position.

    The state also features three of the top wide receivers in the country. Speedy Noil and Malachi Dupre are uncommitted New Orleans products, while Lake Charles resident Trey Quinn (LSU commit) could threaten the all-time national receiving yardage record.

    Dupre is hardly alone as a top prospect from defending national champion John Curtis Christian. Teammates Kenny Young (linebacker), Mattrell McGraw (safety) and Terrence Alexander (cornerback) are each uncommitted 4-star recruits.


4. Georgia

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    Number of 4-star players: 33

    Number of 5-star players: Three

    Best of the bunch: Defensive end Lorenzo Carter (Norcross) and linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville) are ferocious 5-star recruits who have yet to announce commitments. The Georgia Bulldogs landed three of the state's top players in running back Nick Chubb (Cedartown), defensive tackle Dontavius Russell (Carrollton) and cornerback Malkom Parrish (Quitman).

    Clemson commit Deshaun Watson (Gainesville) broke the all-time state passing yardage record as a junior. He'll be joined on the Tigers by fellow Georgia 4-star standouts Korie Rogers (cornerback, Buford), Milan Richard (tight end, Savannah), Adam Choice (athlete, Thomasville) and Demarre Kitt (wide receiver, Tyrone).

3. California

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    Number of 4-star players: 36

    Number of 5-star players: Four

    Best of the bunch: California covers such a sprawling space of land across the west coast, so it's no surprise we've become accustomed to top talent emerging in every corner of the giant state. This year, the excitement starts with 5-star running backs Joe Mixon (Oakley, uncommitted) and Royce Freeman (Imperial, Oregon commit).

    Jack-of-all-trades athletes Adoree' Jackson (Gardena) and John Smith (Long Beach) are each 5-star prospects who are considering offers from across the country. Stanford was able to land two of the state's top players with commitments from quarterback Keller Chryst (Palo Alto) and defensive end Nifae Lealao (Sacramento).

    4-star passers Brad Kaaya (West Hills, Miami commit), K.J. Carta-Samuels (San Jose, Vanderbilt commit), Morgan Mahalak (Greenbrae, Oregon commit), and Jalen Green (Gardena, Boise State commit) should have a chance to shine at the next level.


2. Texas

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    Number of 4-star players: 39

    Number of 5-star players: Three

    Best of the bunch: Texas earned its reputation as a state filled with high school football fanatics long ago, glorified in the film Friday Night Lights and its ensuing television series. The Lone Star State will send dozens of seniors to BCS programs next season.

    5-star defensive end Myles Garrett (Arlington) is among the top remaining uncommitted players, along with 5-star cornerback  Tony Brown (Beaumont). Mount Pleasant wide receiver KD Cannon (Baylor commit) is considered an elite target in the passing game, while Austin standout Varshaun Nixon (Texas A&M commit) is a 4-star running back recruit.

    Denton quarterback Jerrod Heard will stay close to home as a Texas Longhorn. Meanwhile, fellow star passer Daid Blough is bound for Purdue.

1. Florida

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    Number of 4-star players: 38 

    Number of 5-star players: Three 

    Best of the bunch: Florida is loaded on an annual basis, featuring some of the most exciting prospects in the country. Uncommitted offensive lineman David Sharpe (Jacksonville) ranks among the nation's top tackles, while Miami commit Travonte Valentine (Hialeah) is a ferocious 4-star defensive tackle.

    Miami Central continues to produce top-tier talent, highlighted by the star running back duo of Dalvin Cook (Florida commit) and Joseph Yearby (Miami commit). One of their key blockers is Trevor Darling (Miami commit), a 4-star offensive tackle.

    Florida also features several premier passers, including Auburn commit Sean White (Fort Lauderdale), Wisconsin commit D.J. Gillins (Jacksonville) and Penn State commit Michael O'Connor (Bradenton).