If you watched Tampa Plant get crushed by Manatee Friday night on national television, you probably wonder why James Wilder is rated as the No. 1 player in the nation, even in the Tampa area. But, trust me, Wilder is the real deal.
The 6-2, 220-pounder with 4.5 speed is one of the three best running backs in the country and the best linebacker. He recently committed to Florida State, the school's biggest recruiting coup in years, the best since Urban Meyer arrived at Florida. He is a difference-maker on offense and defense. Whichever position he chooses to play in college, he will be a standout.
So who are the top players in the country by position?
Offensively, Georgia-bound Christian LeMay of Charlotte, N.C., is the best pro-style quarterback while Ohio State-bound Braxton Miller of Huber Heights, Ohio, is the best spread quarterback with great ability to run or pass.
Jarvis Landry of Lutcher, La., who is committed to LSU, is the leading wide receiver. Jay Rome of Valdosta, Ga., heads the list of tight ends.
Notre Dame-bound Matt Hegarty of Aztec, N.M., is the best interior lineman. Cyrus Kouandjio of Hyattsville, Md., a 6-7, 290-pounder who is rated as the No. 3 player in the nation, is the best tackle. He is uncommitted but said to be leaning to Alabama, which recruited his older brother.
The other running backs are Aaron Green of San Antonio, Texas, and LSU-bound Kenny Hilliard of Patterson, La.
Defensively, 6-6, 240-pound Jadeveon Clowney of Rock Hill, N.C., is the best defensive end and the No. 2 prospect in the nation. Clowney is a great talent and figures to be fighting for the No. 1 spot at the end of the season. He is the best pass rusher in the country, has an NFL body and reminds me of NFL star Mario Williams.
Clowney is a borderline student at best. However, he won't have any trouble getting into a college because great players never have trouble. He is considering Clemson, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, USC, Tennessee, South Carolina and LSU.
Anthony Johnson of New Orleans, La., who is committed to LSU, is the best defensive tackle. Stephone Anthony of Wadesboro, N.C., the No. 4 player in the nation, is the leading outside linebacker. Michigan State-bound Lawrence Thomas of Detroit is the best inside linebacker.
In the secondary, Florida State-bound Karlos Williams of Davenport, Fla., is the best safety. It is the year of safeties in high school football and Washington is best of all. Alabama-bound Jabriel Washington of Jackson, Tenn., is the best cornerback.