Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Notes on the final 2014 ESPN JC 50
By Gerry Hamilton
The Class of 2014 is almost in the books, and that includes the junior college ranks as well. While there aren’t major changes in the final 2014 ESPN Junior College 50, there are some noteworthy moves.
No longer in the 2014 class The big move in the final rankings was the news of previously No. 7-ranked Tee Shepard (Fresno, Calif./Holmes Community College) announcing that he will return to junior college for one more season and be a part of the 2015 class. While Shepard has dropped out of the 2014 rankings, the 6-foot-1, 193-pound cornerback will again be one of the top junior college prospects a year from now with programs such as Oklahoma, Utah, Washington and many others still in hot pursuit.
Into the top 50 South Carolina commit Darrius Caldwell (Atlanta/Pearl River Community College) makes his debut at No. 36. The 6-foot-5, 245–pounder possesses good height at the defensive end position, with the frame to add additional muscle mass. His ability to hold ground, set the edge and power rush the passer makes him a versatile end prospect.
Texas Tech got a big commitment recently in 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive tackle Dominique Robertson (Riverside, Calif./Riverside Community College), who checks in at No. 50 in the final rankings. Robertson not only has ideal size but also the arm length desired for an offensive lineman. More than his height and wingspan, the former Kansas State pledge features a strong lower body with the leg drive to generate push in the run game. Along with his ability to kick step in pass protection,that makes him one of the top line prospects coming out of the junior college ranks.
Auburn, Tennessee make a splash Both Auburn and Tennessee made the most of opportunities in the junior college ranks in the 2014 class. The Tigers signed the top-ranked prospect in impact wide receiver D'haquille Williams (Laplace, La./Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College), as well as potential impact defensive players in No. 6 overall and defensive tackle DaVonte Lambert (Waynesboro, Ga./Georgia Military College) and No. 14 overall and outside linebacker Derrick Moncrief (Prattville, Ala./Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College). Offensive lineman Xavier Dampeer (Mendenhall, Miss./Copiah-Lincoln Community College) has also signed and could factor into the rotation, while defensive tackle Devaroe Lawrence (Milledgeville, Ga./Georgia Military College) is another juco prospect committed to Gus Malzahn and the Tigers.
Like Auburn, Tennessee signed a number of potential impact players from the junior college level. No. 2 overall LaVon Pearson (Newport News, Va./Feather River College) has signed and is expected to push for a starting spot at wide receiver. The same is expected for offensive tackle and No. 26-ranked Dontavius Blair (Anniston, Ala./Garden City Community College), who like Pearson has already signed and enrolled. Defensive tackle and No. 40 overall Owen Williams (Macon, Ga./Butler Community College) is another who has signed with the Vols and will be available for spring practice.
Fellow SEC program Ole Miss also scored big in this junior college class, having already signed three of the top 22 prospects led by offensive tackle Fahn Cooper (Crystal Lake, Ill./College of Dupage). Inside linebacker Christian Russell (Raeford, N.C./East Mississippi Community College) is expected to push for playing time quickly.
Behind the numbers
Twenty-seven of the ESPN JC 50 have already signed and enrolled at colleges.
Twenty-one of the ESPN JC 50 have signed or committed to SEC schools.
Nine of the ESPN JC 50 hail from the state of Georgia, including three of the top six prospects. Oklahoma State signee Tyreek Hill (Pearson, Ga./Garden City Community College) is considered the fastest junior college prospect in the country.