There are several things that stand out about the 53 2014 prospects from Florida included on the ESPN Watch List.
Right away it’s easy to see that Florida State has gotten off to a good head start in recruiting for its 2014 class. The commitments of running back Joseph Yearby (Miami/Miami Central) and wide receivers Jake McCrary (Miami/Coral Reef) and J.C. Jackson (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee) give the Seminoles three future game-changers on offense.
Looking deeper into the class of 2014, there should be a good group of quarterback prospects in the state. Quinton Flowers (Miami/Miami Jackson) might be the state’s most exciting player at the position since Teddy Bridgewater. The questions about Flowers’ size (6-foot, 170 pounds) are legitimate, but no one can question how dynamic he is with the ball in his hands.
Another quarterback worth keeping an eye on is Nico Pierre (Miami/Coral Reef). At 6-3, 220, there will be no questions about his stature. He’s the only pocket-passing quarterback on the list and has already drawn comparisons to West Virginia's Geno Smith.
Three years ago there was little doubt that running back Sony Michel (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage) was going to be the top player in the class of 2014. He was a dominating presence on the field as an eighth- and ninth-grader. However Michel tore his ACL at the beginning of the 2011 season, and many people wondered if he would ever be the same player.
After nearly nine months that included surgery, rehab and treatment, Michel made a surprising return to competition at a Florida State football camp and looked amazing. Michel has added more weight to his frame, standing slightly above 5-10 and weighing 200 pounds, while maintaining the speed and vision that once put him at the top of the recruiting board for every major program in the southeast.
So far the strength of linemen in Florida appears to lean toward the offensive side. K.C. McDermott (Wellington, Fla./Palm Beach Central) leads an excellent group of offensive tackle prospects that includes Mason Cole (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) and Trevor Darling (Miami/Miami Central), who already has committed to Miami.
As for the defensive line, expect more players to emerge next summer, but Travonte Valentine (Palm Bay, Fla./Bayside), a Florida commit, Chad Thomas (Miami/Booker T. Washington) and Demarcus Christmas (Bradenton, Fla./Manatee) are a good place to start. LSU commit Kain Daub (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) might also grow into a defensive lineman when it’s all said and done.
The secondary prospects will have some work to do to catch up to the dynamic class of 2013 group, but expect Quincy Wilson (Davie, Fla./University School) and Kyle Gibson (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) to establish their places at the top of the class.