Simmons: The Best in 2014
Joseph Yearby
National Recruiting Analyst
Posted Feb 4, 2014
Chad Simmons

It is about time to move to the 2015 class, but before we do, I look back at some of the best in 2014...

When talking 2014 class prospects, I saw a lot of great ones live and in person, most of the best in the south this past season.

Most stood out, not many disappointed, but I name the best in five different categories here:

Top Offensive Performer

It was early in the season and I was down in South Florida to see multiple games. One was Miami Central vs. American Heritage. It was a battle that featured the top three running backs in Florida and three of the best in the country.

Miami commitment Joseph Yearby ran for 238 yards on 25 carries and scored two touchdowns in this contest. He stepped up, he made crucial runs late in the game, and he showed why he is one of the best in the country.

Top Defensive Performer

In September, I was in Alabama on a Thursday night to see Lanier play Auburn. The top prospect heading into this game was Scout 100 outside linebacker Rashaan Evans.

At that time, he was a high four-star on Scout, but after seeing him live as a senior, he was elevated to a five star the next week.

Evans was all over the field that night as he was most games in 2013 and he showed he was among the best in the country. He stayed in the backfield, he had tackles for loss, and he even added two touchdowns on offense. He is a special talent.

Evans is now the No. 1 prospect in Alabama and the No. 9 prospect in the country.

He will sign with Alabama, Auburn, or UCLA Wednesday.

Best Interview

This is not an on-the-field recognition, but it is something that needs to noted.

Prospects these days have media coming at them from all angles and all hours of the day. Many prospects handled the pressure and the questions well in this class, but Alabama commitment Christian Miller really stood out here.

Many prospect don't want to give honest answers, reveal too much, and or be straight-forward in the interviews, but Miller had no problem with that.

He told it like it was, he did not dodge the questions, and he was a pleasure to cover.

Biggest Surprise

There were many surprises this season, but one that caught my eye early was Isaiah McKenzie.

The playmaker out of American Heritage in Plantation, Fla. had a spectacular 95-yard kickoff return against Miami Central back in August. He showed just what type of an impact player he is.

McKenzie is more of a slot receiver type (5-foot-8, 165 pounds) and a return specialist on the next level. Any time the ball is in his hands, he could be on the verge of something special.

He is expected to sign with Georgia, Ole Miss, or Virginia Tech Wednesday.

Best Energy

If you have not seen South Carolina commitment Dante Sawyer play, check him out when he gets to Columbia. The kid brings it.

Sawyer is a defensive end with high energy and passion on the field. He pushes his teammates constantly, he makes those around him better, and those on his team will feed off his energy.

I saw him play a couple of times in 2013 and he constantly brought it when on the field. He played four quarters hard and he is not one that takes plays off like so many do in the trenches.

Look for him to make an early impact at South Carolina.

Chad Simmons is currently a National Recruiting Analyst for FOX Sports/Scout. He started with Scout in 2003 and then moved on to another Recruiting Service from 2004-2008 before returning to Scout the first of 2009 to become South Recruiting Manager.
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OLB Rashaan Evans (profile)
CB Isaiah McKenzie (profile)
OLB Christian Miller (profile)
RB Joseph Yearby (profile)
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