Coming into his senior season this fall, Memphis (Tenn.) East’s Brian Kimbrow was a motivated running back.
Only 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds, Kimbrow felt he was slighted by the recruiting services, despite having Percy Harvin-like skills and game-breaking speed.
“I used everything as motivation because I felt I was being overlooked because of my size,” he said. “I know it’s my size, and I just want to prove everybody wrong.”
Kimbrow now finds himself inside the ESPNU 150, at No. 141, after rushing for more than 1,800 yards and 21 touchdowns so far this season. His East team is 7-1. He's ranked 20th at his position, athlete.
“I feel like I am improved,” he said. “I feel like I am stronger, faster and running tougher. I play to my speed level now.”
Kimbrow also says he’s dedicating his season to one of his former coaches, Jim Ropper. Ropper had to leave the team because of health issues.
“He has cancer and moved back to Louisiana to deal with it,” Kimbrow said. “I promised him that I was playing for him and for my teammates.”
Kimbrow surprised many by committing to James Franklin and Vanderbilt back on July 1. He said he can’t wait to get to Nashville because he believes he can spark the Commodores' offense.
“They are playing better and just need some playmakers,” Kimbrow said. “The lost a tough one the other day. I wish I could have suited up for them because I feel like I can make some plays right now for Vandy. I am ready to go.”
The way the numbers fall in the ESPNU 150, almost half are from the Southeast. Florida leads the way with 30 recruits, followed by Georgia with 11 and Alabama with nine. North Carolina comes in with six, while Mississippi and Louisiana check in with five and four, respectively. Tennessee has three and South Carolina has two.
These states total 70 of the 150. Comparatively, Texas has 24 and California placed 14 in the 150.
The top five prospects overall are from outside the Southern region, but 24 of the next 45 prospects are recruits from the Southeast.
Running back Keith Marshall (Raleigh, N.C./Millbrook) is the highest-rated prospect at No. 6 overall, followed by safety and new five-star selection Landon Collins (Geismar, La./Dutchtown) at No. 7, and offensive tackle D.J. Humphries (Charlotte, N.C./Mallard Creek) at No. 8. Athlete Eddie Williams (Panama City, Fla./Arnold) is the top-ranked Florida recruit at No. 9.
Collins, Humphries and Williams are the nation’s top-rated prospects at their respective positions.
Quarterback Jameis Winston (Hueytown, Ala./Hueytown) is the No. 1-ranked quarterback in the nation and he comes in at No. 11 overall. Noor Davis (Leesburg, Fla./Leesburg) and Tracy Howard (Miramar, Fla./Miramar) are the top-rated outside linebacker and cornerback in the country, respectively, coming in at No. 17 and No. 18 overall.
Noles lead the way
Florida State leads the way with 10 recruits in the ESPNU 150. Other strong Southeastern teams are Alabama, with eight ESPNU 150 prospects, and Florida, with seven. Clemson has six, and Miami, Auburn and LSU have four apiece.
Among the ESPNU 150. 104 recruits have committed, and of the remaining 46 undecided, 20 are from the South.