The class of 2011 includes a strong crop of safeties and cornerbacks. Eleven of them rank among the top 100 players in the nation. The best of all is 6-2, 210-pound Karlos Williams of Davenport, Fla., who is committed to Florida State. He is the No. 9 player in the nation.
But Williams may not be the best defensive back in Florida. Wayne Lyons, a 6-0, 185-pounder from Fort Lauderdale, is the No. 16 player in the nation. Lyons, an A student, was the defensive player of the San Antonio combine in January. No wide receiver in the camp could beat him.
The most exciting player in the nation is 5-9, 175-pound DeAnthony Thomas of Los Angeles, Calif., Crenshaw, who is committed to USC. He has great instincts and has been timed in 10.6 seconds for 100 meters. Very versatile, he played running back, wide receiver, cornerback and kick returner last season. He is the No. 24 player in the nation.
Florida State also has a commitment from 6-4, 190-pound Cortez Davis of Daytona Beach, Fla., the No. 42 player in the country. He also is an outstanding basketball player. A cornerback in high school, he will be converted to safety in college.
Alabama has a commitment from 6-2, 200-pound Hosean Clinton-Dix of Orlando, Fla., the No. 54 player in the nation. He has great instincts and hitting ability.
The No. 1 player in Oklahoma and the No. 72 player in the nation is 6-1, 170-pound Josh Turner of Oklahoma City. Very versatile, he plays quarterback, cornerback and wide receiver.
The No. 1 player in Massachusetts and the No. 74 player in the nation is Albert Louis-Jean of Brocton, a 6-1, 180-pounder who is committed to Miami.
The No. 79 player in the country is 6-1, 190-pound Ron Tanner of Columbus, Ohio, who comes from the same high school as Archie Griffin and likely will follow the former two-time Heisman Trophy winner to Ohio State.
Doran Grant of Akron, Ohio, is a 5-11, 180-pounder who has great skills as a cover corner. He is the No. 89 player in the nation.
The No. 92 player in the nation is 6-2, 200-pound Enrique Florence of Valley, Ala., a fearless performer who is one of the hardest hitters of all.
Virginia Tech has a commitment from 6-3, 193-pound Ronny Vandyke of Lorton, Va., who is the No. 97 player in the nation. He missed almost all of his junior year with an injury but he was outstanding as a sophomore. He is a great run stopper and cover man.
Other defensive backs to watch are 6-0, 185-pound Poppa Saunders of Deland, Fla., 5-10, 175-pound Nick Waisome of Groveland, Fla., 6-0, 180-pound Darius Jennings of Baltimore, Md., 6-3, 190-pound Dondi Kirby of Monroeville, Pa., 6-0, 175-pound Jabriel Washington of Jackson, Tenn., and 5-11, 175-pound Dominique Terrell of Manassas, Va.
Saunders, the player of the year in central Florida, is committed to Florida. Washington is committed to Alabama. Terrell is one of the best cover corners in the Atlantic Coast area.