Highest-Ranked College Football Recruit at Every Position in Every AQ Conference

Alex SimsCorrespondent IIIJanuary 30, 2014

Highest-Ranked College Football Recruit at Every Position in Every AQ Conference

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    As national signing day on Feb. 5 approaches, most teams have their 2014 recruiting classes all but sealed up.

    Most of the work is now done, as coaches apply the final finishing touches on their incoming groups.

    We'll break down the hauls at each position for each automatic-qualifying conference, giving a preview at what All-Conference and All-American teams might look like in a few years.

    From running back Leonard Fournette at LSU to athlete Jabrill Peppers at Michigan, check out where all of the top recruits at each position are headed going into the inaugural College Football Playoff season.

    Note: Notre Dame, entering partial ACC membership in 2014, was counted as a member of the ACC. Rutgers and Maryland, which will join the Big Ten next year, were counted with that conference.

    All player ratings and rankings based on the 247Sports composite ratings.

Pro-Style Quarterback

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    Texas A&M QB Kyle Allen
    Texas A&M QB Kyle AllenEric Gay/Associated Press

    ACC: Brad Kaaya, Miami (4-star)

    Big Ten: Clayton Thorson, Northwestern (4-star)

    Big 12: Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State (4-star)

    Pac-12: Keller Chryst, Stanford (4-star)

    Stanford's passing game hasn't been lethal with Kevin Hogan under center, but Keller Chryst could end up as the next Andrew Luck for the Cardinal.

    He is the No. 3 pro-style quarterback in this class. Standing at 6'4", 220 pounds, he has the size, arm and mobility necessary to excel at the next level and beyond.

    SEC: Kyle AllenTexas A&M (5-star)

    Don't let the "pro-style" tag fool you: Kyle Allen has the tools to be the next Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M. 

    He isn't quite as quick as the Heisman Trophy winner whom he is vying to replace, but he is a more polished passer at this point in his career. He will face tough competition for Manziel's job, but don't be surprised if the early enrollee claims the starting job in College Station.

    The SEC boasts several other top pro-style QBs, including Florida's Will Grier, Auburn's Sean White Alabama's David Cornwell and Georgia's Jacob Park.

Dual-Threat Quarterback

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    Oregon QB Morgan Mahalak
    Oregon QB Morgan MahalakKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    ACC: Deshaun Watson, Clemson (4-star)

    The No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the nation, Deshaun Watson is already enrolled at Clemson and is vying to replace Tajh Boyd. 

    He's going to face a stiff test in obtaining that job. If he does win it, he'll allow the Tigers offense to stay dynamic while also adding the top-end speed that Boyd lacked.

    Big Ten: D.J. Gillins, Wisconsin (4-star)

    Big 12: Jerrod Heard, Texas (4-star)

    Pac-12: Morgan Mahalak, Oregon (4-star)

    Morgan Mahalak won't be in a battle for a starting job when he arrives on campus at Oregon. 

    But with Marcus Mariota coming back, Mahalak will be in an ideal situation where he can study behind one of the best in the game.

    He showed the skill set at the Under Armour All-America Game that will set him up for smashing success with the Ducks.

    SEC: Brandon Harris, LSU (4-star)

Offensive Tackle

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    Credit: 247Sports

    ACC: KC McDermottMiami (4-star)

    As early as next season, KC McDermott could be blocking for Duke Johnson along Miami (Fla.)'s offensive front.

    The No. 3 tackle in the country, he has the physical ability—at 6'6", 300 pounds—to see the field right away. He is also already enrolled, which could make the transition much easier.

    Big Ten: Jamarco JonesOhio State (4-star)

    Big 12: Alex DaltonOklahoma (3-star)

    Pac-12: Casey TuckerStanford (4-star)

    SEC: Cameron Robinson, Alabama (5-star)

    The No. 1 offensive tackle and No. 4 overall prospect in the nation, Cameron Robinson seems destined to be the next great offensive lineman at Alabama.

    He is gigantic, measuring in at 6'7", 335 pounds.

    With a little polishing from the 'Bama staff, he looks to be a household name along the offensive front for years to come.

Offensive Guard

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    DT Damien Mama
    DT Damien MamaCredit: 247Sports

    ACC: Steven Moss, Virginia (4-star)

    Big Ten: Demetrius Knox, Ohio State (4-star)

    Big 12: Natrell Curtis, Oklahoma (4-star)

    Natrell Curtis is a very recent commitment for Oklahoma, and he'll shore up the interior of the Sooners offensive front.

    However, he might not end up as the top Big 12-bound guard. Braden Smith, a 4-star from Olathe, Kan., could be joining Gary Patterson's club at TCU.

    He'll decide between the Horned Frogs, Texas A&M and Auburn.

    Pac-12: Viane Talamaivao, USC (4-star)

    Right now, the top offensive guard for the Pac-12 is Viane Talamaivao, who is committed to USC. However, he'll likely be booted off this list by a future teammate, No. 1 tackle Damien Mama.

    The unanimous destination for Mama, as forecast by the 4-star recruit's 247Sports crystal ball, is Southern Cal.

    He is one of several recruits who could end up with the Trojans after national signing day, in what could be a fantastic finish for Steve Sarkisian's first class in Los Angeles.

    SEC: Roderick Taylor, Ole Miss (4-star)


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    Alabama C JC Hassenauer
    Alabama C JC HassenauerCredit: 247Sports

    ACC: Alec EberleFlorida State (3-star)

    Big Ten: Brian Allen, Michigan State (4-star)

    One of three 4-star centers, Brian Allen ranks No. 3 in the nation at his position.

    The Hinsdale, Ill., native will be heading up to Michigan State to join the Spartans' power-based offense. He was a U.S. Army All-American.

    Big 12: Dalton Risner, Kansas State (3-star)

    Pac-12: Drew ClarksonOregon State (3-star)

    SEC: JC Hassenauer, Alabama (4-star)

    Alabama holds commitments from the No. 1 and No. 2 centers in the nation and two of the three 4-stars at the position.

    In addition to top center JC Hassenauer, the Crimson Tide also claim a verbal commitment from the No. 2 center Joshua Casher.

    You can never have too many offensive linemen.

Wide Receiver

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    Texas A&M WR Speedy Noil
    Texas A&M WR Speedy NoilCredit: 247Sports

    ACC: Travis Rudolph, Florida State (4-star)

    Florida State already has the top ACC commitment in Travis Rudolph. The 4-star picked FSU live during the Under Armour All-America Game.

    One of his fellow UA All-Americans, 5-star Ermon Lane, could be joining him in Tallahassee.

    The onetime Florida commit could follow friend 5-star Dalvin Cook in switching from the Gators to the Seminoles.

    Big Ten: Drake HarrisMichigan (4-star)

    Big 12: KD Cannon, Baylor (5-star)

    One of the top prospects heading to the Big 12 Conference, 5-star receiver KD Cannon will fit in perfectly in the Baylor offense.

    The Bears will be replacing top deep threat Tevin Reese and a few other playmakers, and Cannon will be in the race for playing time in that receiving corps.

    Pac-12: Jalen BrownOregon (4-star)

    SEC: Speedy NoilTexas A&M (5-star)

Tight End

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    USC TE Bryce Dixon
    USC TE Bryce DixonCredit: 247Sports

    ACC: Nic WeisharNotre Dame (4-star)

    Big Ten: Mike Gesicki, Penn State (4-star)

    Mike Gesicki will be joining a crowded tight end group when he heads to Penn State, but he has the athleticism to compete for time early.

    With new coach James Franklin making the team his own, there will be plenty of position battles, and Gesicki will fight for a role in the PSU offense.

    Big 12: Carson MeierOklahoma (3-star)

    Pac-12: Dalton Schultz, Stanford (4-star)

    The No. 1 tight end in the country, Dalton Schultz is poised to become a star in the Stanford power offense.

    With an outstanding quarterback in Keller Chryst coming in as well, the Cardinal offense is built for future success.

    The USC offense could be set up for similar prosperity with 4-star Bryce Dixon, the No. 2 tight end prospect, heading to Los Angeles.

    SEC: Jeb BlazevichGeorgia (4-star)

Running Back

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    Florida State RB Dalvin Cook
    Florida State RB Dalvin CookKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    ACC: Dalvin CookFlorida State (5-star)

    It was a huge win for Florida State and a disheartening loss for Florida when 5-star Dalvin Cook switched his commitment from the Gators to the Seminoles.

    The No. 2 back in the nation will be heading into a good situation in Tallahassee, as FSU will need to replace running backs Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr.

    Don't be surprised if he is splitting carries with returner Karlos Williams from Day 1.

    Big Ten:  Jeff JonesMinnesota (4-star)

    Big 12: Donald Catalon, Texas (4-star)

    Pac-12: Royce FreemanOregon (4-star)

    SEC: Leonard Fournette, LSU (5-star)

    The top player in the country, 5-star running back Leonard Fournette left LSU fans on edge throughout the recruiting process, but ultimately the New Orleans native elected to stay home.

    With Jeremy Hill being among several departing LSU running backs, the Tigers backfield will be wide open. Fournette, thought to be the next Adrian Peterson, might be the starter right away in Baton Rouge. 

    He is just one of many blue-chip running backs headed to the SEC. Georgia's 5-star duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel and Auburn's Roc Thomas could make an immediate impact as well.

    Four of the class' five 5-stars will join the SEC.

All-Purpose Back

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    Oklahoma APB Joe Mixon
    Oklahoma APB Joe MixonSoobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

    ACC: Jae'lon Oglesby, Clemson (3-star)

    Big Ten: Justin Jackson, Northwestern (4-star)

    Big 12: Joe Mixon, Oklahoma (5-star)

    Oklahoma will enter the 2014 season with very high expectations after beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

    All-purpose back Joe Mixon could be a big part of that run.

    There will be oen time up for grabs in the backfield, and Mixon has the skills needed to win carries right away. The Oakley, Calif., native impressed at the Army All-American Bowl.

    Pac-12: Christian McCaffrey, Stanford (4-star)

    SEC: Derrell Scott, Tennessee (4-star)

    A big late addition to the Tennessee class, Derrell Scott is one of several exciting playmakers who will be heading to Knoxville this year.

    He joins 4-star athlete Jalen Hurd and 4-star receiver Josh Malone as the future of the Volunteers offense.

    Also, keep an eye on Texas A&M's 4-star all-purpose back Varshaun Nixon.

Weak-Side Defensive End

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    Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett (left)
    Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett (left)Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    ACC: Chad Thomas, Miami (5-star)

    Chad Thomas is the crown jewel of a solid Miami class that should set the Hurricanes up to make a run at Florida State in the ACC.

    Miami already has another touted defensive end enrolled and waiting for Thomas join him: 4-star Trent Harris.

    FSU countered by pulling in 4-star Lorenzo Featherston out of Greensboro, N.C. 

    Big Ten: Jalyn Holmes, Ohio State (4-star)

    Big 12: Jordan Brailford, Oklahoma State (3-star)

    Pac-12: Connor Humphreys, Arizona State (4-star)

    SEC: Myles Garrett, Texas A&M (5-star)

    Texas A&M 5-star Myles Garrett flew a bit under the radar compared to fellow defensive ends Da'Shawn Hand and Lorenzo Carter.

    However, as all three are likely headed to the SEC, Garrett came out on top of them.

    After an incredible performance at the Under Armour All-America Game, Garrett became the No. 2 overall prospect in the nation.

Defensive Tackle

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    Florida DT Gerald Willis
    Florida DT Gerald WillisKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    ACC: Andrew Brown, Virginia (5-star)

    The top defensive tackle in the nation, Chesapeake, Va., 5-star Andrew Brown made a tough call by turning down an impressive list of suitors to stay at home and go to Virginia.

    He'll be joined by a strong class around him, as the Cavaliers will look to climb out of the ACC cellar.

    Big Ten: Bryan Mone, Michigan (4-star)

    Big 12: DJ Williams, Kansas (3-star)

    Pac-12: Ainuu Taua, UCLA (4-star)

    SEC: Gerald Willis, Florida (4-star)

    Florida's defensive line class is stacked—and it's highlighted by a trio of 4-star defensive tackles.

    Gerald Willis, the No. 2 DT in the country, is the most highly touted of the bunch, and he'll be joined by No. 4 defensive tackle Thomas Holley and No. 16 Khairi Clark.

    Elsewhere in the SEC, Alabama will bring in Arkansas 4-star Josh Frazier, while Arkansas will welcome 4-star Bijhon Jackson, also from Arkansas.

Strong-Side Defensive End

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    Alabama DE Da'Shawn Hand
    Alabama DE Da'Shawn HandCredit: 247Sports

    ACC: Kentavius Street, North Carolina State (4-star)

    Big Ten: Jesse Aniebonam, Maryland (4-star)

    As of right now, new Big Ten member Maryland will be bringing in the league's best strong-side defensive end, Jesse Aniebonam. The product of high school powerhouse Good Counsel ranks eighth at the position.

    However, defending conference champion Michigan State could best that in its pursuit of 5-star Malik McDowell. The Detroit native and No. 3 SDE is viewed to be an MSU-lean by his 247Sports crystal ball

    Big 12: Derick Roberson, Texas (4-star)

    Pac-12: Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, UCLA (3-star)

    Similar to the Big Ten, the current top commit at this position is likely to change.

    Just replace UMD and Aniebonam with UCLA and 3-star Jacob Tuioti-Mariner.

    Then enter Stanford and 5-star Solomon Thomas. The Cardinal appear to be the favorite to land the No. 2 SDE in the country.

    If that comes true, he will be the top prospect in a very good Stanford class.

    SEC: Da'Shawn Hand, Alabama (5-star)

Inside Linebacker

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    Ohio State LB Raekwon McMillan
    Ohio State LB Raekwon McMillanCredit: 247Sports

    ACC: Nyles Morgan, Notre Dame (4-star)

    Notre Dame's strength has been on defense under Brian Kelly, so it's no surprise that the Fighting Irish attracted one of the nation's best linebackers.

    Nyles Morgan, a 4-star out of Crete, Ill., could compete for playing time immediately in an ND defense that will be reloading.

    Right behind him on this list is Florida State 4-star Kain Daub, the country's No. 4 inside linebacker.

    Big Ten: Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State (5-star)

    There's no question that Ohio State needs help on defense. If any further proof is needed beyond the team's struggles on that side of the ball last season, just look at its 2014 recruiting class.

    OSU's four highest-rated recruits all play defense, and the group is led by 5-star inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan. Head coach Urban Meyer flexed his recruiting muscle, snatching the Hinesville, Ga., native from the heart of SEC country.

    Could McMillan be OSU's next Ryan Shazier?

    Big 12: James David, Baylor (4-star)

    Pac-12: Zach Whitley, UCLA (4-star)

    SEC: Tre' Williams, Auburn (5-star)

Outside Linebacker

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    LB Rashaan Evans
    LB Rashaan EvansCredit: 247Sports

    ACC: Jacob Pugh, Florida State (4-star)

    Big Ten: Dante Booker, Ohio State (4-star)

    Two 4-star outside linebackers will join McMillan, the 5-star on the inside. The first is Dante Booker, the No. 4 outside linebacker for 2014. 

    Along with Booker will be Kyle Berger, a product of St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland. Meyer appears to be setting up for a complete overhaul of his defense, as he has plucked a blue-chip prospect at just about every position on the defense.

    Big 12: Edwin Freeman, Texas (4-star)

    Pac-12: Derik Calhoun, Arizona State (4-star)

    SEC: Clifton Garrett, LSU (5-star)

    Clifton Garrett looks like the type of linebacker who could thrive on the nasty LSU defense. The No. 2 outside linebacker in the country, he will likely figure into the mix somehow for the Tigers. 

    Meanwhile, the only other 5-star outside linebacker, Auburn native Rashaan Evans, is likely headed to the SEC as well. He'll decide between Auburn, Alabama and UCLA.


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    USC target CB Adoree' Jackson
    USC target CB Adoree' JacksonCredit: 247Sports

    ACC: Nick Watkins, Notre Dame (4-star)

    Big Ten: Damon Webb, Ohio State (4-star)

    Big 12: Chris Hardeman, Oklahoma State (3-star) 

    Pac-12: Arrion Springs, Oregon (4-star)

    Oregon commit Arrion Springs is currently the top corner commit for the Pac-12, and he'll benefit greatly from playing alongside All-Amerian Ifo Ekpre-Olomu in Eugene next year.

    However, there's a chance he won't start the year as the Pac-12's top incoming corner.

    That distinction could go to 5-star Adoree' Jackson, the No. 1 corner in the country. Jackson's destination remains a mystery, but his 247Sports crystal ball gives favor to USC.

    SEC: Tony Brown, Alabama (5-star)

    Alabama loaded up at cornerback with the commitment of two 5-stars in Tony Brown and Marlon Humphrey, the second- and third-ranked corners in the country, respectively.

    The SEC has another 5-star corner, Florida's Jalen Tabor, along with several 4-star verbals.

    Auburn alone has three 4-star cornerbacks in its class.


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    Virginia S Quin Blanding
    Virginia S Quin BlandingCredit: 247Sports

    ACC: Quin Blanding, Virginia (5-star)

    The highlight of Virginia's impressive class is 5-star safety Quin Blanding. The Virginia Beach native was always regarded as one of the class' top safeties, and he hasn't disappointed.

    He had a strong performance in the Under Armour All-America Game, solidifying his position atop all other high school safeties. 

    It'll be a shock if he doesn't find some sort of role on the UVA defense right away.

    Big Ten: Erick Smith, Ohio State (4-star)

    Big 12: John Bonney, Texas (4-star)

    Pac-12: Jaleel Wadood, UCLA (4-star)

    SEC: Jamal Adams, LSU (5-star)

    No LSU defense is complete without several studs in the defensive backfield.

    Like Patrick Peterson, LaRon Landry and Eric Reid before them, blue-chip prospects Jamal Adams and Edward Paris will join that famed secondary. Adams, a 5-star, and Paris, a 4-star, are the No. 2 and 3 safeties in the country, respectively. 

    The enormous turnover to the NFL forces the Tigers to field defensive backs early in their careers.

    That won't be any different this season, so don't be surprised if either Adams, Paris or both find a spot on the LSU defense.


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    Michigan ATH Jabrill Peppers
    Michigan ATH Jabrill PeppersKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    ACC: Treon Harris, Florida State (4-star)

    Big Ten: Jabrill Peppers, Michigan (5-star)

    It's impossible to talk about the 2014 recruiting class without mentioning one of its most highly anticipated prospects, Michigan 5-star Jabrill Peppers.

    He is a talented corner with elite return skills—the type of player who puts opposing fans on edge every time he touches the ball.

    He could play in all three phases for the Wolverines from Day 1.

    Big 12: Davion Hall, Baylor (4-star)

    Pac-12: Austin Roberts, UCLA (4-star)

    UCLA 4-star Austin Roberts is currently the top athlete prospect in the Pac-12 but could be as low as third when signing day is over.

    USC is in hot pursuit of 5-star John "Juju" Smith, while 4-star Budda Baker will most likely be headed to this conference as well.

    Smith's crystal ball predicts that he'll be a Trojan. Baker, a former Oregon commit, is likely to either join Bellevue, Wash., native Myles Jack at UCLA or stay in-state and join Chris Peterson in his first year at Washington.

    SEC: Bo Scarbrough, Alabama (5-star)


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    Michigan State P Jake Hartbarger
    Michigan State P Jake HartbargerCredit: 247Sports

    ACC: Corbin Daly, North Carolina (3-star)

    The No. 2 punter in the 2014 class, Corbin Daly originally committed to Mack Brown at Texas.

    However, upon Brown's departure, he switched his commitment to UNC.

    Big Ten: Jake Hartbarger, Michigan State (3-star)

    Jake Hartbarger is the No. 1 punter in the nation. Thanks to some elite leg strength, he was named an Under Armour All-American. 

    Big 12: Zach Sinor, Oklahoma State (2-star)

    Pac-12: Tristan Vizcaino, Washington (3-star)

    SEC: Cole Hedlund, Arkansas (3-star)