Safeties … the old cliché goes that they’re the quarterbacks of the defense. While it is a cliché, it also is true. Some outstanding safeties have left the SEC to go on to have huge careers in the NFL. It’s a hard-hitting, instinctive position. And no good SEC team will win without a good one back there.
Here are the top five 2014 safety signees for SEC schools, coming from the high school ranks. Keep in mind that some of these kids could also slide over to corner when in college, and there may be elite cornerbacks who could slide over to safety.
Editor’s note: Saturday Down South’s references to ratings follow the 247Sports.com composite rankings.
1. Jamal Adams—LSU commit
- Hebron (Carrollton, Texas),
- The skinny: Adams is the No. 2 safety in the nation behind Virginia signee Quin Blanding, and both Texas and Texas A&M let him escape the Lonestar State. He was one of LSU’s big-time announcements on live TV during all-star week in January, and he and Paris make quite a dynamic duo.
2. Edward Paris—LSU commit
- Timberview (Texas), 6-1/200
- The skinny: So, LSU has a hard-hitting instinctive, ball-hawking defensive back coming in? What’s new, right? Paris is a baller. He was born to play safety. He’s another great example of how LSU can go into talent-rich Texas and pluck elite talent.
3. Laurence ‘Hootie’ Jones–Alabama commit
- Neville (Monroe, La.), 6-2/220
- The skinny: Hootie went back and forth in December. First he was undeclared, then picked Alabama, then stepped back, then went back to Alabama. The Crimson Tide are happy to have him solidly back in their camp.
4. Todd Kelly—Tennessee commit
- Webb School (Knoxville, Tenn.), 6-2/200
- The skinny: With Kelly and Cortez McDowell, Tennessee easily has one of the best pair of safeties in this class. First of all, Kelly is just the type of in-state product the Volunteers needed to keep home—so that’s a plus. Also, this is another one of those smart kids you want quarterbacking your secondary.
5. C.J. Hampton—Ole Miss commit
- Meridian (Meridian, Miss.), 6-2/200
- The skinny: Hampton wavered a bit with Ole Miss late in the recruiting cycle, decommitting for a few days before coming back on board with the Rebels. He has come on strong since the beginning the summer, turning heads along the way. Alabama wanted him bad, and Nick Saban coaches the DBs–so you know this kid is a good one.
Top 5 signees broken down by position:
- Dual-Threat Quarterbacks
- Pro-Style Quarterbacks
- Running Backs
- All-Purpose Running Backs
- Wide Receivers
- Tight Ends
- Offensive Tackles
- Offensive Guards
- Offensive Centers
- Weak-Side Defensive Ends
- Strong-Side Defensive Ends
- Defensive Tackles
- Inside Linebackers
- Outside Linebackers