An early look at the Class of 2014

With members of the Class of 2013 sending in their Letters of Intent this past Wednesday, let's take a quick look ahead to the top prospects in the Class of 2014.

Because these prospects are just finishing their junior years, there is a lot of room for growth on the field. But these players are some of the most intriguing ones to keep an eye on as watch lists get compiled by various recruiting services over the next few months.

After initially going through the vast amount of prospects, it appears that this class is a little weak at quarterback but very strong at running back. And once again, defenders head the list.

Here are some of the best players that recruiting fans should keep an eye on in the Class of 2014.

DE Da'Shawn Hand, Woodbridge High School (Woodbridge, VA)

As was the case this past cycle with Ole Miss signee Robert Nkemdiche, a defensive player is the top-rated recruit right now.

The 6-4, 245-pounder is the Nkemdiche/Jadeveon Clowney of the Class of 2014. He has good initial burst off of the ball and already holds offers from major powers such as Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan, Florida and Florida State.

In his junior season, Hand recorded 110 tackles, including a whopping 40 for loss, 16 sacks and three fumble recoveries. But perhaps most impressive is that he talks as often about Academic Progress Rates as he does about the X's and O's of football.

Over the course of the next year, we will be hearing a lot about Da'Shawn Hand.

DT Andrew Brown, Oscar Frommel Smith High School (Chesapeake, VA)

Yet another player from the state of Virginia sits atop the list.

The 6-4, 285-pounder finished his junior campaign with 82 tackles, including 12 for loss, and he also forced four fumbles.

Brown has offers from major powers such as Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Ohio State and Virginia Tech. He also has garnered interest from Notre Dame and South Carolina.

RB Sony Michel, American Heritage High School (Plantation, FLA)

The 5-11, 194-pounder has very good vision, patience, and speed along with deceptive power and good inside toughness. His brother, Marken, is a wide receiver at UMass.

Michel's top schools include Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Miami (FL), Notre Dame and USC.

RB Leonard Fournette, St. Augustine High School (New Orleans, LA)

Fournette rushed for 2,136 yards and 31 touchdowns, averaging 11.2 yards per carry, during his junior campaign. The 6-1, 232-pounder added 15 receptions for 313 yards and three touchdowns and also returned three kicks for scores.

QB Keller Chryst, Palo Alto High School (Palo Alto, CA)

Chryst is the top-rated pro-style quarterback in this class and the top player in the state of California.

The 6-4, 225-pound dropback signal-caller has an offer from USC.

ILB Raekwon McMillan, Liberty County High School (Hinesville, GA)

The 6-2, 234-pounder is probably the best overall player in the state of Georgia and the best overall inside linebacker for the class of 2014.

McMillan holds offers from top programs such as Georgia, Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Florida, Florida State and Notre Dame.

CB Marlon Humphrey, Hoover High School (Hoover, AL)

The 6-foot, 179-pounder is the likely top player in the state of Alabama for 2014.

The son of Bobby Humphrey, the former outstanding tailback at Alabama, the cornerback chatted with Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban on Wednesday, and it would appear that 'Bama and South Carolina are early favorites to land the junior, who recently set three new state indoor track records.

RB Bo Scarbrough, Northridge High School (Tuscaloosa, AL)

Scarbrough has already given a verbal commitment to Alabama, which isn't a surprise considering Nick Saban's program is turning into Tailback U.

The 6-2, 215-pounder has very good size, good vision and shiftiness as well as breakaway speed. He also is a solid pass-catcher out of the backfield.

Other notable prospects: OT Cameron Robinson (West Monroe, LA), S John Smith (Long Beach, CA) and WR Ermon Lane (Homestead, FL)

Note: Over the next couple of weeks at the NFP I will take a look at more top players, position by position, in the Class of 2014.

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