Defensive backs have never been in higher demand. Today's sophisticated passing offenses keep most defenses in nickel and dime packages for most of the game. Luckily, the 2014 class boasts a ton of excellent prospects in the secondary.
The future is bright for the nation's top defensive backs. Many of them will go on to have special careers. However, the trick is to not only predict which defensive backs have the best futures, but to also be fearless with every forecast.
Having fun is also an objective.
Hall has great speed, cuts sharply when running routes and can really race by defenders after the catch. He will stick to his commitment to Baylor, where his offensive skills on the perimeter will fit better in the Bears high-octane spread offense.
Hall will play safety in Waco only when the Bears are trying to stop end-of-half Hail Mary attempts.
It's one thing to make a prediction and state an opinion, but it's more fun to look back and assess after years have passed. When people look back on the 2014 defensive back recruiting class, 4-star prospect Koa Farmer will be the "Mr. Underrated" of the group.
The California commit is 6'1" and 200 pounds, and can play both free and strong safety. Farmer also flashes great ball skills, can hold his own versus slot receivers and likes to help support the run.
He'll be an All-Pac-12 safety for the Bears.
A 5-star prospect, Jalen Tabor is a 6'1", 182-pound cornerback who is great in press-man coverage. He has long arms, solid cover skills and solid quickness.
However, Tabor is only adequately smooth out of transition. Plus, he has the ball skills of a safety. He will spend his first two years in college at cornerback, but as his junior season arrives, Tabor will weigh more than 200 pounds and will be moved to the seams in the secondary.
Ole Miss has a commitment from 4-star safety C.J. Hampton, who is an athletic and instinctive defensive back on the third level.
At 6'1" and 195 pounds, Hampton can play both safety positions. He has excellent range, great ball skills and squeezes the line of scrimmage quickly to fill alleys versus running plays. The Rebels are excited for his arrival, but Hampton is not going to play in Oxford.
He will de-commit from Ole Miss, and he will sign with Alabama. Hampton is going to be a great safety in the SEC, but it will be in Tuscaloosa.
At 5'9" and 175 pounds, Nick Harvey is not the biggest defender in the country. However, he is one of the smartest and most instinctive players one will see on the trail this year.
Harvey, a 4-star prospect, is committed to Texas A&M. He can play safety and cornerback, and stirs up memories of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Ronde Barber.
Harvey's intelligence, character and work ethic will quickly gain the respect of his teammates, who will vote him as one of their defensive captains as a sophomore in College Station.
Jamal Adams has a tough decision to make in regards to choosing a school. However, the 5-star recruit is going to make things easy for the defensive coaches at whatever program he chooses to play for.
Adams, who is 6'0" and 199 pounds, has exceptional speed, athleticism, intelligence and instincts. The Texas native is so athletic that he can play free safety, strong safety, outside linebacker and even cornerback.
Adams is going to need to make sure he knows his assignments from all four of those positions, as he will start at least one game at all of them before he leaves college.
Quin Blanding is a 5-star safety who is the headliner for Virginia's recruiting class. He's an in-state recruit for the Cavaliers who is 6'2" and 200 pounds.
Blanding has outstanding instincts, vision, ball skills, range and quickness out of his backpedal on the third level. He's menace to quarterbacks, as he rarely gets manipulated by their eyes and has a good knack for reading routes.
Blanding is a future captain for UVA, and he will lead the ACC in interceptions twice before he departs Charlottesville.
With his terrific athleticism, speed and quickness, 5-star cornerback Adoree' Jackson could be a great running back or receiver on offense.
He's nearly 5'10" and weighs 182 pounds. However, Jackson has deceptive strength, explodes upfield with the ball and has natural instincts. He'll spend his first year in college trying to make a name for himself on offense.
However, Jackson and his coaches will realize his vast potential as a cornerback, and that is where he will play going forward.
At 6'0" and 188 pounds, Tony Brown is an elite 5-star cornerback. He has great skills in coverage, is smart and has the speed of a sprinter.
However, Brown's body will add on additional mass, which will lead to a move to safety. He will be a game-changer at the position, as his athleticism, explosiveness, instincts and ability to play in the box will be great assets.
He's a 5-star cornerback now, but Brown will be an All-American safety later.
Jabrill Peppers is the headliner for Michigan's recruiting class, as he is a 5-star recruit who hails from New Jersey. The 6'1", 205-pounder has fantastic athleticism, agility, intelligence, instincts and work ethic.
Peppers will play defensive back in Ann Arbor, but head coach Brady Hoke will use him on offense sparingly to provide a spark for the Wolverines. Peppers will see time as a running back and receiver, and he will score 10 offensive touchdowns before the conclusion of his career for Big Blue.
He'll be a more productive two-way threat than former Michigan great Charles Woodson.
The nation's top defensive back recruits can be found on the 2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map! Use this mobile-ready tool as a key resource for recruiting information!