With the ink dry on the letters of intent for the 2008 class, recruiting fans across the country are already turning their attention to the Class of 2009. Rivals.com recruiting analyst Barry Every takes a look at some names you need to know, and will be hearing a lot more about in the coming months.
Jacobbi McDaniel, DTGreenville (Fla.) Madison Co.Committed to Florida State
At only 6-feet and 277 pounds, McDaniel is as strong and quick as they come. During the 2007 season, he recorded 70 tackles, 30 tackles for loss and 12 sacks, while also starting on the offensive line. Not long after leading his team to the 2A Florida state championship, he had a performance to remember at the U.S. Army All-American combine. There was not one offensive lineman that challenged McDaniel that did not get beat. His technique and brute force was enough to embarrass all challengers. This first-team all-state defensive lineman is also scheduled to graduate in December and his recruiting process moved quickly in part as a result. McDaniel decided the day after Signing Day that Florida State was the place for him and gave the Seminoles a verbal commitment. Expect him to make an immediate impact at FSU.
Vontaze Burfict, OLBCorona (Calif.) Centennial
This 6-2, 235-pound monster of the gridiron totaled nearly 140 tackles in his junior year after missing his entire sophomore season due to injury. His Centennial team came up just a little short in the CIF state championship game, but Burfict showcased his ability to make plays in the backfield as well as run with receivers deep downfield. He should be a very hot commodity on the camp and combine circuit this spring. What will make him a high priority for any college is the fact that he has the size and speed to play all three linebacker positions. Look for several Pac-10 schools to battle for his signature.
Xavier Su'a Filo, OT Provo (Utah) Timpview
He used his athleticism and tenacity to blow holes and protect the passer on the way to the Utah 4A state championship for Timpview High in 2007. His size (6-4, 270) and athletic ability will allow him to play any of the five offensive line positions. At the U.S. Army Junior Combine, Su'a Filo was one of the nastiest competitors in the one-on-one drills. All defensive linemen that went up against him walked away with battle scars. He already has offers from hometown BYU and LSU, but after the spring camps and combines expect many more offers to come.
Russell Shepard, ATHHouston (Texas) Cypress Ridge
Listed as an athlete, the 6-2, 185-pound Shepard would prefer to play quarterback at the next level. He put up some big numbers as a junior, rushing for 1,525 yards and 18 touchdowns while passing for 794 yards and eight touchdowns. This achievement did not go unnoticed, as he was the unanimous selection for District 17-5A Offensive Player of the Year. Any college that is looking for someone to run the spread offense needs to look no further. Shepard possesses legit 4.4 speed and has displayed a very strong arm when called on to throw. With many colleges switching to the spread, expect Shepard to be heavily recruited.
Rueben Randle, WR Bastrop (La.) Bastrop
This past season we saw countless arguments over who was best wide receiver prospect: Julio Jones or A.J. Green. Well, if Randle had been in the Class of 2008, it would have been a three-player discussion. Randle was a first-team all-state performer in 2007 and had more than 1,000 receiving yards. He also did his fare share in helping Bastrop to the Louisiana 4A state championship. In the championship game, he had four catches for 135 yards and a touchdown. Randle possesses very good height (around 6-3) and great body control. He also has the speed to blow by defensive backs. Look for home-state LSU to be a heavy favorite, but I'm sure almost every school in the nation will be sending this prospect a written offer.
Other players to watch:Tom Savage, QB, Philadelphia (Pa.) Cardinal O'Hara; William Campbell, DT, Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech, Committed to Michigan; Justin Chaisson, DE, Las Vegas Bishop Gorman; D.J. Fluker, Foley, Ala., Committed to Alabama; Patrick Hall, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure, Committed to USC.