In our past blog we wrote about the cornerbacks in the state of Florida. This time we will go over the safeties. There are no Derwin James type safeties in the 2016 class but overall it is still a very good year. The 2016 safeties class is led by Jamel Cook. He is by far the most gifted of all the safeties listed this year. Not too far behind are players like Saivion Smith and Romelo Finley. We will break down the entire safety class and what to expect from these prospects at the next level.
1-Jamel Cook-Miami Central-6’4-180-(Committed to Florida State)-Cook has lined up at cornerback most of his high school career. Put him at safety and let him line up on the hash. He has great size and length for a safety in college. He has very good cover skills, especially when he keeps the football in front of him. While Cook can play cornerback in college it is safety where he will excel.
2-Saivion Smith-IMG Academy-6’1-180-(Committed to LSU)-Smith came out of the gate as the front runner at safety. He is a very good prospect but Cook has more upside in college. Smith could play some cornerback as well but his more natural position is free safety.
3-Romelo Finley-Niceville-6’1-205-Finley has kind of flown under the radar. He plays in a part of Florida that gets overlooked by most recruiting experts. We feel that Finley is one of the top safeties not only in Florida but nationwide. He can drop into coverage or come up and play the run.
4-Alexy Jean Baptiste-Coconut Creek-6’3-205-(Committed to Arkansas)-When we look at Baptiste, we see a prospect that is similar to Eric Striker who plays at University of Oklahoma. Where Alexy is most effective is off the edge blitzing. He has the type of length to give offensive lineman problems. He has the speed and quickness to fire off the edge. He can play in coverage and that is a big reason why so many like him as a safety or possibly even an outside linebacker.
5-James Pierre-Deerfield Beach-6’2-165-(Committed to North Carolina)-Pierre played with Aaron Robinson to give Deerfield Beach one of the better secondary’s not only in Broward County but Florida. He gives you a player with a nice blend of speed and quickness. He is a little undersized at 165 pounds but once in a college weight program should have no problems adding weight.
6-Devin Studstill-Palm Beach Gardens-6’1-185-(Committed to Notre Dame)-Studstill father was very good in college. Devin has been very good in high school. He displays nice coverage skills and if you want can play him close to the line of scrimmage. He can act as another linebacker on the field on run downs. Devin can give you a physical presence in your secondary.
7-Deon Edwards-Lake Minneola-6’0-195-(Committed to Arkansas)-Here is one of our favorite players. Edwards gets overlooked because he plays at Lake Minneola High School. He has very good coverage skills. He is also very physical. We feel if Edwards continues to add weight, he could eventually end up as a WILL Backer in college.
8-Cedrick Wright-Gulliver Prep-5’9-180-(Committed to Miami)-Wright may not be the biggest or fastest player on the list but he can flat out play. He plays much bigger then his size suggest. He will come up and play the run. He also can drop back into coverage and stay with most receivers and backs in space.
9-Devin Gil-Flanagan-6′-210-(Committed to Michigan)-Gil was a player that often got overlooked by his teammate Devin Bush. Watch him live and it was Gil that made a ton of plays on Flanagan team. He is another safety whose frame tells us he will continue to add weight. He will either be a big in-the box safety or move to outside linebacker. His strength is playing the run.
10-Spencer Perry-IMG Academy-6’3-205-(Committed to Notre Dame)-Perry is another over-sized safety. With more and more teams going to spread offenses, Perry game may be more suited to playing linebacker as well. He is best close to the line of scrimmage.
11-Simeon Smiley-Pensacola Catholic-6’0-190-(Committed to Purdue)-Smiley is another player in the Panhandle area that has been overlooked. He has the size and range to play either safety spot in at Purdue. They are a team that needed to add some athletic ability and speed to their secondary and that is exactly what Smiley brings to the table.
12-Devon Clarke-Osceola-6’3-190-(Committed to Syracuse)-Clarke teamed with Carlos Becker to have one of the best secondaries in Central Florida. His size (6’3) and length should be a big help to Syracuse secondary. He also has pretty good speed for a taller safety. He is a bit thin but we expect him to get bigger at the next level.
13-Christopher McWilliams-Southwest-5’11-165-(Committed to Florida)-McWilliams could end up at cornerback, safety or nickel in college. His versatility is a big reason why we like him so much. Go to a Southwest football game the past two years and he was one of their best players on the team regardless of position.
Best of the rest…..
*Scoop Bradshaw-Tampa Plant-5’11-170-(Committed to Syracuse)-Bradshaw was a prospect we first saw last summer. He displayed the ability to go into coverage and play against pretty much any receiver he faced. He has solid coverage skills. The question with him is will he be willing to come up and play the run in college.
*Lukas Masterson-Gulf Coast-6’2-180-(Committed to Wake)-Masterson is going to be a player we expect to play right away. He already has the size and his football IQ is pretty impressive. Look for Wake to get him on the field early on special teams and it won’t be long before he is in the two deep.
*Qwuantrezz Knight-Eastern Michigan-6’0-190-(Committed to E. Michigan)-Another player who has flown under the radar. Eastern Michigan got a good one in Knight who plays with some confidence. He has the size to come up and lay the boom on a receiver. He is a physical safety who does not mind contact.
*Davonte Lawrence-Raines-6’0-190-(Committed to Bethune Cookman)-Lawrence is the type of player who goes off to an FCS program and ends up in the NFL. He has very good size for a safety. He is also a very good athlete. He can play safety or linebacker in college.
*Harvey Clayton-Coral Reef-6’2-190-Clayton started off as a quarterback in high school. His most natural position will most likely be safety. He could eventually grow into a linebacker. To think he has not even gotten many D1 offers is quite surprising. He could be a player we look back at in a couple of years and ask WHY. Why did he not receive more attention coming out of high school?
*Justin Thomas-Chaminade-6’2-190-(Committed to Army)-Thomas was one of the first players you would notice when you watched Chaminade play. He is a solid athlete who has the size to play right away in college. His frame should allow him to carry another 15-20 pounds.
*Val Mayes-Norland-6’1-175-Physically there are not many players who are as impressive looking as Mayes. He has been overlooked the past two years because some of his defensive mates at Norland. He looks like a linebacker playing safety. He lacks great top end speed but more than makes up for it with his size.
*Cycoby Burch-Oakridge-6’1-180-(Committed to UMASS)-UMASS was on the Central Florida prospect hard. Their hard work paid off as they landed a hidden gem from Oakridge High School. Burch is a solid athlete that should help right away in college.
*Hunter Orem-Lake Gibson-6’0-185-(Committed to FIU)-Orem is another player who started his career at quarterback. He is one of our players on the WATCH LIST. He is much underrated and we expect him to make an impact in college. He will have to learn how to play on defense but we don’t expect him to take long to transition over to that side of the football.
*JoJo Louis-Braden River-6’0-190-(Committed to FIU)-JoJo is a prospect we had the chance to watch at UCF summer camp. He gives you a player who is active around the field. He will drop into coverage and make plays in the passing game.
*Randle Jones-Miami Beach-6’0-180-(Committed to Temple)-Jones has made his mark on offense in high school. It is on defense in college where we expect Jones to play. He is an explosive player that can do some impressive things with the football when it is under his arm. He should contribute right away on special teams.
*Terence Williams-Spoto-6’1-190-If not for some potential academic pitfalls, Williams would be rated much higher on this list. If he goes the Juco route we would not be surprised to see him have a high grade coming out.