Recruiting: State of Georgia’s Best Defensive Prospects in 2014

Detric-Dukes-1


The 2014 class was really my first class that I got to sink my teeth into early and watch them develop from their sophomore season onward.  There are some great players in this class, some future All Americans and future NFL players.  Will I nail them all on this list, well I’m going to try.  Here is my 2 deep roster if I could create a class solely based on players from the 2014 class in Georgia.  I think these are the best of the best and should have productive collegiate careers if no unforeseen circumstances occur.


Defensive End:

Lorenzo Carter- Norcross High School- I’ve gone on to say many times in the past, Carter has as much potential as any player in this class. He is tremendously fluid and athletic to combine with his length coming off the edge. With that being said, I don’t see him playing his first year as a freshman because he has to put on quite a bit more muscle. He didn’t start lifting upper body weights until his junior year in high school so he is not close to reaching his physical potential.

Andrew Williams- Eagles Landing Christian Academy- Williams is one of the most physically dominant players in the state. Why Georgia never went hard after him, I’ll never know. He is big and strong and extremely quick twitch for a player his size. He’s going to continue growing and could fit into a number of defensive positions, but I feel fairly confident saying that he is going to be a player on Sundays down the road.

Dante Sawyer- North Gwinnett High School- I could argue that based off of shear production Sawyer was one of the 5-10 best players in the state. He has a tremendous motor, plays with great technique and shows up in big games. The knock on Sawyer of course is that he is closer to tapping out physically than a lot of high school players. Regardless he will likely be a thorn in our side playing for South Carolina in the future.

Keshun Freeman- Calloway High School- Probably the toughest call I’ve had to make outside of receiver was Defensive End, so I should probably mention Deshon Cooper of Columbia HS and Henry Famurwea of McEachern as well. Freeman really has terrifying athletic ability to go with his great length. He’s a little more raw than the other prospects listed, but his potential is nearly as high. He’s a big part of the reason that I say Georgia Tech did a much better job recruiting this year.


Defensive Tackle:

Dontavious Russell- Carrollton High School- Of all the guys that decommitted from UGA at one time or another in this class, I think this one hurt me the most. I’ve always considered Russell the best Defensive Tackle in the state and it sucks to see Auburn take another one right from under us. He’s an amazing athlete for his size and should be quite the player for them down the road.

Jamiyus Pittman- Colquitt County High School- I really love Pittman’s game. He might not be the biggest dude in the trenches (6’2, 280) but his game compares to my favorite UGA Defensive Lineman of the past year, Garrison Smith. He’s got those wide shoulders, but plays with a low base and great explosion. I really was hoping we could find a spot for him in this class, but it looks like
UCF is going to clean up a lot of the guys that we just didn’t have room for.

Jeremy Patterson- Wayne County High School- Patterson has Nose Tackle written all over him in my opinion. He’s just a big, thick kid, but he’s also strong as an ox. He really doesn’t face a physical equal in high school, but in time that will also be the case in college if he takes care of business in the weight room. Wisconsin did a nice job of reaching down here to find someone who can plug the trenches for them.

Elisha Shaw- Tucker High School- I really wish the best for Shaw. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be endowed with such natural physical gifts and have them potentially taken away from him in the blink of an eye. With that being said, if he ever gets cleared and then gets his school situated, opponents better watch out. At one time Shaw was one of the most dominant players in the state and no matter where he ends up, I hope that he is able to return to form one day.


Linebacker:

Detric Dukes- Tucker High School- The first time I went to watch Tucker, the name Elisha Shaw had been whispered to me as he had just destroyed the FSU summer camp, but had yet to play a high school down. And even though Shaw impressed with his gigantic size and plus athleticism, it was Dukes who was clearly the best defensive player on the field. And even though Dukes isn’t a large linebacker, he brings the wood and hits heavy as I say. He’ll be a great inside linebacker for UGA and I believe one of the future leaders of his team.

Bryson Allen-Williams- Cedar Grove High School- Allen-Williams in my opinion was the most athletic linebacker in the state in 2014. The kid can flat out run and cover some serious ground. Like Dukes, he’s not the biggest guy on the field, but he plays with a toughness and drive that makes up for it. He’ll likely be making a lot of tackles against UGA and other SEC opponents in the future.

Korie Rogers- Buford High School- Rogers will be a great linebacker at Clemson with his combination of size and power. The most impressive part of his game is likely the tenacity that he attacks blocks with, but he also can get lateral and track down the running game on the sidelines. He might face a slight learning curve going away from the University of Buford, but he’ll be fine once he gets his feet wet.

Raekwon McMillan- Liberty County High School- McMillan was physically, college ready about 2 years ago. At 6’2 and 245 pounds he has battled maintaining a good weight number for about that same amount of time which is part of the reason he is number 4 on this list. However, if he can play around 235-240 pounds of good weight in college, he’ll be a real thumper up there in the Big 10.

Johnathon Thomas- Collins Hill High School- Thomas might have the most physical potential of anyone in the group. At a long 6’3 and lean 215 pounds he is really going to grow into something if he gets squared away in the weight room. Then you go and watch him run and I dare to say that he might have the highest potential of anyone in this group. There is a reason that Oklahoma was coming all the way out here to check up on him. It sounds like he might have to go the JUCO or Prep route so remember the name.

Daniel Crochet- St. Pius X Catholic School- I’ve talked to quite a few coaches over the past two years, coaches who have played St. Pius a couple of times. Every time I ask them about their opponent, this was the name that popped up, even with Nick Ruffin and Nick Glass on the roster at one time. Crochet really reads the running game well and can shoot between gaps or chase down the run laterally. In terms of his football career it was a shame to see him go to Cornell, but it’s hard to argue with the overall life decision.


Cornerback:

Wesley Green- Martin Luther King Jr. High School- When I started looking at the 2014 class back in 2012, in became pretty clear that this was going to be the most unusually deep position in the state. And from the very beginning Green was on the top of the stack. I’m not saying arguments can’t be made for other players, but Green has the best instincts and ball awareness of anyone in this class. He needs to do some work in the weight room, but he’s got the potential to be an All-SEC type corner.

Kendarius Webster- Stockbridge High School- As far as looking the part and projecting, Webster is going to be a good looking corner on the outside. He’s long, he’s ripped, and he’s got enough height to match up with just about every receiver. Athletically he’s extremely gifted and really improved on his ability to take the ball away as a senior.

Dominick Sanders- Tucker High School- Sanders played a little Corner, a little Slot back, a little receiver, a little safety and a little returner. So technically I should make him an athlete, but to make the numbers work here I’m going to consider him a collegiate Corner. Most of yall know my thoughts on Sanders. He is immensely talented and has terrific football/playmaker instincts. He needs some polish, but UGA stole one in the 11th hour.

Jahmmir Taylor- Banneker High School- Who? Yea, I did it. Jahmmir Taylor, look him up. He really doesn’t have much tape at Corner, but at 6’0 I think it’s a more natural fit at the next level with his athleticism. Hips, burst, top end speed, confidence, he’s really got it all. You can teach technique, but you can’t teach the natural ability that Taylor has.


Safety:

Tavon Ross- Bleckley County High School- Everyone’s favorite 11th hour offer, Ross has to be #1 on this list. I’ve never seen anything like his senior highlight tape. I’m not saying he’s the best player I’ve ever seen because he has to work out some technique things, but his natural football ability and instincts are off the charts. The best compliment I can give him is that he makes the game look easy.

DJ Smith- Walton High School- Smith reminds me a lot of Brendan Langley in physical stature and athleticism. Both have that long corner frame that could translate to either corner or safety and Smith can run with just about anyone. I really wish South Carolina would find a different state to recruit.

Malkom Parrish- Brooks County High School- I know most people think Parrish is a corner because of his size, but to me his game looks more like that of a safety. He reads the game extremely well from the back end and can support the run from a deep half or deep third position. He has the physicality to come up and get his man on the ground and has the ability to read a Quarterback’s eyes and possibly undercut a route or two.

Bingo Morton- Langston Hughes High School- I dwelled over this last spot for way too long. I probably looked over at least 10-15 players for this last spot and I settled on Morton. What put Morton over the top was his ball skills and ability to create turnovers in the passing game. He’s not the greatest tackler, looks like a corner out there at times, but if he’s going to get me 5 interceptions a season then I’ll live with it.


Athletes:

Donquell Greene- Burke County High School- “The Human Highlight” as his hudl page proclaims is not a misnomer. The kid is straight up electric. Do I care that he is 5’8 or whatever, absolutely not, he is always one snap away from putting a 6 on the scoreboard. He reminds me a little bit of Ace Sanders without seeing him a great deal at receiver.

Stanton Truitt- Monroe Area High School- I really wish Auburn would stop coming to our state to find Running-backs. They always find a nice one and Truitt will likely continue that trend. He has a slightly upright running style, but he’s got some top end speed to hit the homerun and can break a few tackles to get there.

 

Clinton Burkes (ManOnFire)

11 comments
SanDiegoDawg
SanDiegoDawg

Great article. Excellent insight.

Why CTG did not like Williams we will never know.

Bulldawg Bob2
Bulldawg Bob2

Good write up @ManOnFire. Enjoyed it thoroughly as I did your write up on the offensive recruits for 2014 from the state.


Axlrodes
Axlrodes

Once again, why the hell is uga not hiring MOF's services.

He was on guys early that the staff didn't seem to notice til christmas

GaSoldier
GaSoldier

Makes me want Andrew Williams and Ross even more

Rescue Dawg
Rescue Dawg

Where is James Brown? His grades are the only thing he lacks. Spectacular football player and person. Averaged over 11 ypc at rb. Excellent wr/hands and has pro potential at db/wr.

If he applies himself at the next level his ceiling is very high

Sheepdawg
Sheepdawg

IMHO we miss on way too many Georgia guys every year. Auburn, Clemson are out recruiting us in our house. Hopefully our new defensive staff can change that statistic

Bulldawg Bob2
Bulldawg Bob2

@Sheepdawg  I'm not sure how you come to the conclusion that Georgia misses out on way too many guys from the state of Georgia each year. UGA is right in line with the other major programs when it comes to the percentage of top 20 to top 50 high school football recruits they sign from the home state. When a program can take on average 18 to 25 players per year, it isn't going to be able to sign every single top 20 in-state recruit. I'm not going to bore you with statistics and numbers, but do yourself a favor and go look at the data yourself. Look at the states of California, Florida, Texas, and then Georgia and look to see how many of the top 20 rated recruits within that state as well as the top 50 stay in-state to go to school versus those that leave to go out of state. I think you might be surprised to find that it is on average that only about 50% of in-state guys stay in-state.

Georgia could do better. I am not saying they couldn't, but in doing better, that means signing a couple of more top 20 to top 50 in-state guys each year or doing a better job of evaluating talent especially along the o-line.

Georgia has a top 8 class and maybe a top 5 class after NSD if things go right for 2014. Where is Clemson's class ranked? Where was Clemson ranked last year versus UGA? How about 2012 or 2011? Not trying to be a jerk, but just saying.

brannon042
brannon042

@Sheepdawg Its unrealistic for us to go out and sign every Georgia recruit. 247's rankings have right at 175 recruits from our state that are a 3 star or higher. Also, we lead for the top player in the state (Lorenzo Carter), have the top running back in the state (Chubb), top cornerback (Malkom Parrish), top 2 offensive lineman (Dyson Sims, Kendall Baker), and top reciever in the state (S. Williams). On top of that we have two top players from North Carolina (Lamont Galliard, Jeb Blazevich), the top quarterback out of South Carolina (Jacob Park), and several top players out of Florida (Sony Michael, Isiah Wynn, Keyon Brown, Gilbert Johnson, Shaq Jones, and possibly Isaiah McKenzie.) All that adds up to a top 10 class and potentially top 5 class. This is a pretty dang good group of guys and I wouldn't trade them for anybody. 


Sidenote: I didn't mean for this to come off as aggressive, just got a little too passionate about it haha. Go Dawgs!

ManOnFire
ManOnFire

@Sheepdawg  It really becomes a numbers game at the end of the day.  UGA can't take every kid within the boarders and some will naturally fall to Auburn, Clemson, etc.  Not to mention that those schools are quite good recruiters as well.  Could we do better, absolutely, but I don't think recruiting the state on the whole is as big of a problem as a lot of people like to make it out to be.