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For Class of 2014, Plantation American Heritage RB Sony Michel is 'special'

This can be considered the Year of the Wide Receiver in the state of Florida, with the pass-catchers taking the most spots of any position in the Orlando Sentinel’s first release of the 2014 Florida Top 100 college football prospect rankings.

Running backs, however, are among the most elite prospects in this year’s recruiting class. There just aren’t as many standout rushers as last year.

The 2013 recruiting class was dominated by running backs, with 18 rushers represented the final Florida Top 100. This year’s version has just eight running backs, but there are some star-caliber players near the top.

Plantation American Heritage running back Sony Michel leads the way, and there is one word one of the state’s most experienced recruiting analysts has for Michel.

“Special” is what Miami-based observer Larry Blustein calls Michel.

Coaches and recruiting types have been watching Michel (5-11, 205) run circles around upperclassmen since he was an eighth-grade phenom, and now it’s Michel’s time to shine. In four seasons on the Heritage varsity, Michel has racked up 4,819 yards and he missed his entire sophomore season with a torn ACL. His best season was as an eighth-grader when he had 1,825 yards and 18 touchdowns. Coming back from his ACL injury last year he had 1,264 yards and 18 touchdowns. He has 58 rushing touchdowns in his career.

Michel is also quite versatile as a pass-catcher out of the backfield, and he’s one of the state’s best return men. He has not committed to a college and said earlier this spring he is focusing on Miami, Georgia, Notre Dame, Alabama and Florida State, but he was also at Florida’s spring game last week.

Some might argue two guys at Miami Central are equally talented, if not better. The first argument, however, is which running back is better of the Miami Central duo of Dalvin Cook (5-11, 190) and Joseph Yearby (5-9, 190).

We’re giving Cook the nod because of his versatility and quickness, but any high-school coach in the state would love to have either. If college coaches play their cards right, they could get both of them together at the next level.

Cook is currently committed to Florida, while Yearby, who had been committed to Florida State, is now pledged to Miami. Both, however, have said they would love to play college football together.

So of the top four players in state this year, three of them are running backs, with only five other running backs making the cut in this round of the Sentinel’s Florida Top 100.

That brings us back to the receivers and there are some dandies in this bunch. Overall, 18 receivers make the list and the top few are difficult to separate among Homestead’s Ermon Lane (6-3, 190), Tarpon Springs East Lake’s Tay Scott (5-10, 175) and Fort Myers Dunbar’s Ryshene Bronson (6-3, 180), a UF commit. There are 10 receivers in the Top 50, including Orlando locals Roderick Proctor of Dr. Phillips at No. 46 and Lake Nona’s Ryan Sousa at No. 48.

The other top position players on the list offensively are quarterback Quinton “Winky” Flowers (6-1, 200) of Miami Jackson; offensive tackle David Sharpe (6-6, 290) of Jacksonville Providence; offensive guard Mason Cole (6-4, 285), a Michigan commit, of Tarpon Springs East Lake; and tight end Moral Stephens of Perry Taylor County.

Defensively it’s tackle Khairi Clark (6-3, 325) of Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna; defensive end Chad Thomas (6-4, 230) of Miami Booker T. Washington; linebacker Kain Daub (6-3, 234), an FSU commit, of Jacksonville Sandalwood; Cross City Dixie County cornerback Duke Dawson (5-11, 190), a UF commit and cousin of 2013 UF signee and Dr. Phillips safety Marcell Harris; safety Trey Marshall of Lake City Columbia; and the top athlete is Daytona Beach Seabreeze CB-RB-WR Charles Nelson (5-9, 168).

 

 

Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at chays@tribune.com. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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