10 Class of 2014 Recruits Who Vaulted Up the Rankings This Fall
Students of the game refuse to grow complacent, always improving on technique and physical attributes. The rise of a collegiate football prospect requires dedication and an avoidance of complacency, even when everyone around him provides a daily reminder of his past achievements.
While some recruits succumbed to heightened pressure or simply skated by in 2013 with college football already on their minds, others spent their senior seasons displaying steadily evolving skill sets. We take a look at 10 college-bound players who earned increased praise in 2013 and showed signs of big things to come.
*Prospect star ratings based on 247Sports' composite rankings.
4-Star RB Jeff Jones (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Washburn High School running back Jeff Jones earned honors as Mr. Football in Minnesota following a monster senior season. The 5'11", 196-pound playmaker rushed for 1,525 yards and 34 touchdowns, per 247Sports.
He added 493 receiving yards and eight touchdown catches, highlighting his versatility. Jones was a late addition to the Under Armour All-American Game, where he earned MVP honors with 72 total yards and a score.
College programs have certainly taken notice to his success. Jones committed to Minnesota in March but received offers from Michigan and Florida during the holidays.
He is expected to visit both programs in January. Jones' rating on 247Sports improved from 93 to 97 after the 2013 campaign.
3-Star QB Jalen Greene (Gardena, Calif.)
Jalen Greene spent the past three seasons orchestrating a star-studded offensive attack at Junipero Serra. Often overshadowed on the recruiting trail by teammates like 5-star cornerback Adoree' Jackson and 4-star linebacker Dwight Williams, he emerged as a prized quarterback prospect during his senior season.
The 6'3", 195-pound passer completed 134 passes for 2,544 yards, 33 touchdowns and just six interceptions, per MaxPreps. Greene proved his versatility with a team-high 1,209 yards and 14 scores on the ground.
Greene decommitted from Boise State and followed head coach Chris Peterson by pledging to Washington in mid-December. Less than a week later he received an offer from USC and committed to the hometown Trojans, providing first-year coach Steve Sarkisian with a promising player at the quarterback position and beyond.
4-Star DE Derick Roberson (San Antonio, Texas)
Defensive end Derick Roberson has never been an under-the-radar prospect, evidenced by a commitment to Texas that came before his junior season. However, he emerged as an improved competitor and one of the nation's most elite talents at the strong-side position in 2013.
The Texas Associated Press recognized Roberson as the state's Class 4A Defensive Player of the Year. He tallied 64 tackles, including 26 for loss, and 14 sacks, leading Brennan High School to a state title game appearance.
His 247Sports rating jumped from a 94 in June to a 96 after the season.
4-Star WR Adonis Jennings (Haddonfield, N.J.)
Adonis Jennings entered the 2013 season as a Rutgers commit coming off a modest junior season (38 receptions, 440 yards). His senior campaign concluded with several programs from various conferences battling for his services.
The 6'3", 185-pound receiver earned all-state honors after catching 83 passes for 1,434 yards and 14 touchdowns. He helped Timber Creek High School advance to its third straight state championship game.
Jennings decommitted from the Scarlet Knights in November and immediately had potential suitors clamoring for his visit. He ultimately picked Pittsburgh in early January, spurning offers from Arkansas, Iowa, Arizona and Clemson.
5-Star LB Christian Miller (Columbia, S.C.)
Christian Miller carried Spring Valley to an unbeaten regular season and moved into rarified territory as a top prospect. The 6'4", 220-pound linebacker earned 5-star prospect status in October when 247Sports updated its recruit ratings.
He collected 188 tackles in 13 contests as a senior. Miller made 25 stops for loss and added 24 sacks.
The Alabama commit also forced four fumbles and simply looked like a man amongst boys during every matchup. His 247Sports rating improved from 97 to 99 during the season.
4-Star S Steven Parker (Jenks, Okla.)
Steven Parker's stock rose substantially as a senior. The 6'2", 188-pound Jenks High School safety started the year as a second-tier defensive back recruit in the national spectrum, certainly talented enough to play high-level FBS football but perhaps not quite in a category with the elites.
He changed that perception with an outstanding campaign that ended with him earning a state championship, Oklahoma Player of the Year honors and a First-Team All-USA nod. He finished the fall with 72 tackles and six interceptions, per USA Today, adding 614 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.
Parker, whose 247Sports rating went from 90 to 92 during the season, still must pick his collegiate destination. He is expected to visit Auburn this month. He is also considering Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.
3-Star DE Kolin Hill (Schertz, Texas)
Samuel Clemens High School standout Kolin Hill is a late riser in the 2014 recruiting class. The 6'2", 220-pound defender didn't hold many offers prior to his season, but they steadily started arriving.
He caught attention throughout an impressive campaign that featured 96 tackles and 13 sacks, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Several schools extended scholarship offers, including Texas Tech, Boise State and Colorado.
Hill committed to Notre Dame in December shortly after receiving an offer from the Fighting Irish. He could ultimately line up at inside linebacker or along the defensive line's exterior.
4-Star WR Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn.)
Josh Malone enjoyed a breakout 2013 season that featured a statistical explosion at Station Camp High School. The 6'3", 195-pound receiver solidified his place among America's top offensive weapons as his 247Sports rating increased to 97.
During his sophomore and junior seasons, he caught a combined 51 passes for 1,112 yards and 18 touchdowns, according to 247Sports. Malone eclipsed those numbers with 71 catches for 1,404 yards and 19 scores as a senior.
The dominant effort elevated Malone's national stature and put his capabilities on display. He committed to Tennessee in December, deciding on the Volunteers from a final group that featured Georgia, Clemson and Florida State.
5-Star DT Gerald Willis (New Oreans, La.)
Gerald Willis was one of three prospects upgraded to 5-star status when 247Sports reconfigured its national rankings midseason. Based on his body of work as a senior, the honor was well-deserved.
The 6'3", 275-pound defensive tackle helped lead Edna Karr High School to a district title, tallying 107 tackles and 15 sacks, according to The Plaquemine Post South. It was his second straight year with 100 or more total tackles.
Willis committed to Florida during the Under Armour All-American Game. He chose the Gators over LSU and Texas A&M.
3-Star ATH Desmon White (DeSoto, Texas)
Desmon White didn't hold a single FBS offer when the 2013 season kicked off. Despite a dominant junior campaign, his size (5'5.5", 148 pounds) presented a major obstacle in his pursuit of a college football career.
The DeSoto High School quarterback completed 68 percent of his passes as a senior, accumulating nearly 3,600 yards and 37 touchdowns, per MaxPreps. White also rushed for 1,500 yards and 16 scores as his squad won a district title.
North Texas was the first team to pull the trigger on an offer, and he committed to the team in October. White flipped his pledge to TCU about three weeks later. He is expected to play receiver for the Horned Frogs.