Top 10 Uncommitted 2014 College Football Recruits in the Midwest
States such as California, Texas and Florida generate a wealth of gridiron talent every year. Alabama and Georgia are not far behind.
But we shouldn't forget the Midwest. Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and neighboring states routinely produce a great number of tough football players. The 2014 class features many standouts from the region, and several remain uncommitted.
An offensive lineman with toughness does a great job of representing Kansas, while a pair of linebackers from Illinois are terrors on defense. Also, two recruits from Missouri make the cut.
Daniel Cage, DT
At 6'3" and 295 pounds, Daniel Cage is a dominant defensive tackle against running plays. The Ohio native has outstanding strength to play big at the point of attack.
Cage flashes great explosiveness at the snap to quickly engage with blockers. He can powerfully anchor to make a mess in the middle, plus he possesses the ability to walk his opponent deep into the backfield as a rusher. Cage needs to improve his technique, but his ability to beat up guards for four quarters will be assets for a college defense.
Louisville and Michigan State are the favorites to land the 4-star prospect, per 247Sports.
Erick Smith, S
A 4-star recruit, Erick Smith is a talented safety prospect from Cleveland. He has solid agility, but he works better when moving in a straight line.
Smith, who is 6'1" and 185 pounds, has great range on the third level. He does a great job of reading routes, and he also is not easily manipulated by quarterbacks on passing plays. Smith displays adequate quickness out of transition to close on underneath routes. The instinctive defender also exhibits good ball skills to track and pluck passes from the top of the defense.
He is expected to sign with Ohio State, according to 247Sports.
Brian Wallace, OT
Brian Wallace is one of the most naturally gifted offensive tackles in the nation. With his 6'6", 305-pound frame, he has terrific athleticism in space.
Wallace comes off the ball quickly at the snap to set up deep in the pocket on passing plays. He rarely gets beat to his post, plus he does an impressive job of staying square as long as he can. The 4-star talent can dance with rushers by using his quick feet to adjust to their movements.
Wallace has above-average strength at the point of attack. He will be used on traps and pulls on running plays in college due to his agility.
Iowa, Alabama, Arkansas and Nebraska appear to be his top schools, via 247Sports.
Parrker Westphal, CB
Parrker Westphal is one of the top cornerbacks in the Midwest. He has deceptive strength in his 6'0", 186-pound frame.
Westphal's instincts and awareness are his best playing traits. He uses his strength to re-route receivers at the line but has the vision to locate other threats coming into his zone.
The 4-star cornerback has no issues in quickly peeling off his man to pick up another receiver trespassing on the perimeter. He drives hard to close on balls due to his good explosiveness out of transition.
Northwestern, Michigan and Vanderbilt are on his mind, says 247Sports.
Roderick Johnson, OT
Now a better run-blocker than pass-protector, Roderick Johnson is a 4-star offensive tackle with fantastic potential. At 6'7" and 330 pounds, he looks great on the hoof.
Johnson has solid athleticism, but his strength is what separates him from other blockers. He has heavy hands, evidenced by his ability to quickly grab defensive tackles to dictate their movements in the trenches.
Johnson does an adequate job of rolling his hips through contact, and that helps him generate a push at the point of attack. He can protect quarterbacks due to his powerful punch, but his technique needs improvement.
Florida State seems to be his leader, per 247Sports.
Nyles Morgan, LB
At 6'2.5" and 230 pounds, Nyles Morgan is an excellent linebacker prospect who can dominate games. He is at his best when attacking from the middle of the defense.
Morgan has great instincts to quickly read his keys and shoot alleys. He fills with force, as it is tough for blockers to move him off a spot. Morgan delivers a powerful strike at the point of attack before using his strength to shed blocks to make tackles.
He also shows the lateral quickness and range to reach running backs on the edges of the box. Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Notre Dame are among his top schools, according to 247Sports.
Malik McDowell, DT
Malik McDowell is a 4-star defensive lineman who is 6'7" and 290 pounds. He has spent most of his career playing defensive end, but he is on track to grow into a defensive tackle at the next level.
McDowell also has the size and skills to play the 5-technique defensive end position in a 3-4 scheme.
He displays solid quickness at the snap to surge upfield. McDowell also has above-average athleticism in pursuit, as he can redirect and use his short-area quickness to close on the ball.
He plays big at the point of attack, evidenced by his ability to anchor versus running plays or bully his way through blockers to get to the quarterback. McDowell is expected to sign with Michigan, per 247Sports.
Marshon Lattimore, ATH
Among the most versatile players in the country, Marshon Lattimore can play an array of positions. Whether he's at quarterback, receiver, running back, safety, cornerback or returning on special teams, the 4-star recruit simply makes plays.
Lattimore, who is 6'0" and 175 pounds, is a quicker-than-fast athlete who has great movement skills. He can explode with the ball in his hands on offense, but he also has the ability to shoot out of transition in the secondary. Lattimore has outstanding instincts at every position he plays, plus he has good strength to surprise opponents at the point of attack.
He is expected to sign with Ohio State, according to 247Sports.
Braden Smith, OL
Whichever school signs Braden Smith will instantly become tougher once it receives his signed National Letter of Intent. At 6'6" and 290 pounds, he is the type of player a team wants in the trenches.
Smith has great strength at the point of attack to dominate defensive linemen. He works hard every snap to help control the line of scrimmage. Smith displays solid pull/trap ability after coming out of his stance with good quickness. He can reach linebackers on the second level, plus he flashes the ability to hit moving targets in space.
TCU, Texas A&M and Alabama are among his top schools, says 247Sports.
Clifton Garrett, LB
A 5-star prospect, Clifton Garrett is a physical linebacker with explosive ability. He has become an adequate defender versus passing plays but attacking the line of scrimmage to stop the run will always be his strength.
Garrett, who is 6'2" and 228 pounds, has terrific anticipation skills and awareness. He fires downhill to fill gaps, as he is not afraid to challenge blockers. Garrett delivers powerful strikes at the point of attack to shed blocks, plus he's a thumper when it comes to hitting running backs.
LSU, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Florida are his top schools, according to 247Sports.
2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map
Several of the top uncommitted recruits from the Midwest can be found on the 2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map. Use this interactive tool as a great resource for obtaining information on the best prospects in America!