Top-ranked CB Kevin Toliver
The 2015 recruiting class comes into focus as a whirlwind year lies ahead for its top prospects. Most of these players have been on the radars of collegiate coaching staffs since their sophomore and freshman seasons, but the process will hit another level in the coming months as teams aim to assemble their next freshman class early.
As we shift the spotlight to a new crop of recruits, here's a look at some of the elements that make this group special.
DE CeCe Jefferson
Every recruiting class is uniquely top-heavy at certain positions. Early indications show it's a great time to be in the market for help along the defensive front.
Of the top 30 prospects in 247Sports' composite rankings, 11 are defensive linemen. The group features a wealth of talent at tackle and end, most of whom remain uncommitted at this point.
Alabama standout Daron Payne weights more than 300 pounds but is clocked at 4.80 seconds in the 40-yard dash. The top-rated defensive tackle is already caught in a tug-of-war between the Crimson Tide and Auburn.
The depth at defensive end is equally impressive. Illinois product Terry Beckner Jr. headlines a group of edge rushers brimming with star quality.
The nationwide chase is already well underway for these disruptive defenders who can provide an immediate impact.
5-star California QB Josh Rosen
Led by a collection of California quarterbacks, this class is ripe for potential when it comes to finding program-changing passers. Five-star Southern California duo Josh Rosen (Bellflower) and Ricky Town (Ventura) top the list and would've graded out favorably compared to most to the top 2014 prospects at the position.
Rosen is being pursued by programs throughout the nation, though nearby UCLA hope an advantage in proximity helps make his decision easier. Town originally committed to Alabama but flipped to USC in January.
Torrance Gibson is a sensational dual-threat playmaker from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The 6'4", 200-pound American Heritage quarterback is a 5-star target for Miami, Clemson, Ohio State, LSU, Auburn and Florida.
Texas state champion Kyler Murray will remind many of Seattle Seahawks star Russell Wilson because of his stature (5'11", 170 pounds) and playing style. The 4-star prospect is the son of former Texas A&M quarterback Kevin Murray, so it's no surprise the Aggies are a strong contender for his services.
The depth of this quarterback class certainly seems to exceed what we saw in the past recruiting cycle.
Georgia DE Mekhi Brown
We watched Louisiana emerge as a state seeping with an abundance of talent during the 2014 recruiting cycle. This time around, it's Georgia's turn to step into the spotlight.
Hyatt, a product of North Gwinnett High School (Suwanee), verbally committed to Clemson on national signing day 2014. Thompson, from Westover High School (Albany), spent time on campus at Florida State and Auburn last fall.
This crop of prospects puts pressure on Mark Richt to secure in-state talent as his SEC foes cross borders in an effort to claim Georgia's finest. Mekhi Brown, a 5-star defensive end from Columbus, already committed to Alabama.
Preston Williams, one of the nation's premier wide receivers, pledged to Tennessee in September. The 6'5" pass target stars at Lovejoy High School (Hampton).
The Bulldogs were able to corral a commitment from 5-star prospect Terry Godwin (Hogansville). The 6'0", 165-pound Callaway High School speedster is the nation's second-ranked athlete and created a pact with Georgia in January after unofficial visits to Auburn, Ole Miss and North Carolina.
More than ever, elite cornerbacks are a hot commodity in college football. Dynamic passing games and fast-paced spread offenses create a dire need for stars in the secondary.
This class features several difference-makers at defensive back, highlighted by No. 1 overall prospect Kevin Toliver. The 6'2", 185-pound Jacksonville, Fla. star steals the spotlight with incredible coverage skills and instincts that can't be coached.
Toliver is committed to LSU, but several of his 2015 peers remain on the open market.
Kendall Sheffield (Missouri City, Texas), Iman Marshall (Long Beach, Calif.) and Minkah Fitzpatrick (Jersey City, N.J.) warrant 5-star statuses and still haven't verbally pledged to any programs despite nationwide attention.
Cornerbacks will come off the market quickly, so it's imperative for teams to secure commitments in a timely fashion. Incredible talent is there for the taking in 2015.
Texas safety Deionte Thompson
Unsurprisingly, Nick Saban is already busy assembling another monster class in Tuscaloosa. Alabama has landed the nation's No. 1 recruiting haul in each of the past four years, per 247Sports' composite rankings.
The Crimson Tide collected commitments from 5-star defensive end Mekhi Brown and defensive tackle Jonathan Ledbetter, both Georgia products. Saban continues to plunder rival states, evidenced further when he picked up a pledge from 4-star Atlanta offensive guard Dallas Warmack.
Alabama pairs Warmack with Tuscaloosa guard Lester Cotton along the future offensive interior. They give Saban two of America's top 20 players at the position, per 247Sports' composite rankings.
Saban found his running back of the future within the state. Desherrius Flowers (Mobile) ranks fourth nationally among ball-carriers.
Alabama also dipped back into Louisiana for 4-star receiver Daylon Charlot.
The Tide carry plenty of recruiting momentum into the coming months.