Another recruiting cycle is now coming to an end, which means the final ESPN 300 is now in place for the 2014 class. There have been lots of ups and downs and more movement possibly than we have ever had before. The high school playoffs and all-star season have now concluded and have provided our staff with a final conclusion as we head toward national signing day on Feb. 4. We don't know if there has been a year in which each of the top three prospects in the ESPN 300 could legitimately be the No. 1 overall player. RB Leonard Fournette (New Orleans, La./St. Augustine) is 1A, CB Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Catholic) is 1B and OT Cam Robinson (West Monroe, La.) is 1C, and quite honestly you could shuffle them all up and feel good about the high probability of success for all.
As is always the case, recruiting is a marathon, not a sprint. So is the evaluation process. We take a slow and steady approach over time and do our best not to make quick judgments on prospects when it is early on in the process. We want to let things unfold and then live with it after it has been scrutinized over time. This is our process and we take it seriously. We hope you have enjoyed this class as much as we have. It's a good one. Below are some movers and shakers within the final edition of the ESPN 300. Enjoy!
Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen) New into top 10
This new ranking was only a matter of time, as we wanted to see how Brown stacked up against some other top corners and wide receivers at a padded, full-contact event. Brown more than delivered during the week of the Under Armour All-America Game. He is a rare blend of size, speed, strength, explosiveness and instincts. More importantly, he is a competitor who is very hard on himself. He has a high probability for success at the next level and beyond.
Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C./Friendship Collegiate) New five-star
Tabor recently made news for quickly changing his commitment from Arizona to Florida, but it's his ability on the field that has him moving up to five-star prospect in this final ESPN 300. This is a defensive prospect with the size (6-foot-1, 188 pounds) to play safety, but he is athletic enough to stay at cornerback. He runs well for his size, and with his height and length, he can match up with bigger receivers. He can also be physical and is a good open-field tackler and can come up to set the edge on run support. This is a big, versatile and athletic perimeter player we feel deserving of a bump up and that fifth star.
Bo Scarbrough (Bradenton, Fla./IMG) New five-star
Scarborough earned his fifth star and top-15 ranking based off of freakish athleticism alone. We found ourselves debating what to do with him from a positional standpoint, but when it comes right down to it who cares what position he plays? He's that good. He could legitimately be an impact player at more than one position on both sides of the ball. There are very few prospects you can say that about.