They are the best of the best. The players wanted by every program and destined to make a big impact at the college level and beyond.
Rivals.com has identified the first five-star prospects for the 2014 class and is unveiling them this week. Ten prospects have been awarded five-stars but are not ranked at this time, and we will profile two each day. One of today's five-stars is Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage running back Sony Michel.
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Sony Michel, RB, Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage
Attributes: 5-11, 180, 4.46 40
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Position: Running back
High school: Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage
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Scouting report: Michel is a special player that combines excellent speed, vision, patience, soft hands,and the power to be an elite prospect. He is patient setting up blocks and shows above-average cut back ability. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder can run past would-be defenders or through them, take your pick. He has the ability to turn a simple dive or off-tackle play into a 50-yard touchdown without much effort. It's tough to catch him once he gets into the secondary with his reported 4.46 speed. In addition to his linear speed, he has great quickness and change of direction. He has the ability to start and stop without gearing down, and he is a fluid, natural runner. If you need a reliable primary receiver or outlet, he is more than comfortable catching the ball out of the backfield or from the slot. He is built very well with a rocked-out upper body and powerful legs. Michel missed his sophomore year with a knee injury, but he is back to 100% percent. Outside of the knee injury, he has been very durable since he came on the scene in 2009.
Analyst's take: "Where do you start? Michel is a complete, game-changing back. He has been playing at a high level ever since he led Broward County in rushing with more than 1,800 yards as an eighth-grader. He is an every-down player and constantly has the defense's attention from the opening kickoff. Michel is a tough inside runner who can read blocks and create plays. He sees cut-back lanes well, is light on his feet, is good after initial contact and finishes runs. Michel is always leaning forward and picks and slides with ease. He is very mature and humble for his age and doesn't care about rankings, but you get a feeling he knows what it takes to be great. The fact that he has already overcome adversity without showing any signs of his game taking a hit speaks volumes to his work ethic and dedication." -- Kynon Codrington, Southeast Analyst, Rivals.com
Why he's a five-star: "Michel is an effortless runner who doesn't look like he's at full speed but rarely gets angled off when he gets to the outside. He has tremendous start-stop ability, good vision, and he is able to bounce off tackles and keep his balance even when at full speed. Michel has breakaway speed and is deceptively strong for his size. He is probably the most hyped runner coming out of Florida since Noel Devine, and despite a serious injury, he has bounced back to live up to that potential." -- Mike Farrell, National Recruiting Analyst, Rivals.com
His coach says: "I had an opportunity to coach against him when he was in eighth grade, and I saw that he was special then. Unfortunately, he went down with the injury, but he came back and worked hard. At this point the knee is a non-issue. I think he is better than he was before the injury. He is bigger, stronger, and faster than before. He squats over 500 pounds and bench-pressed 415 pounds the other day. Everything speaks for itself when describing him: He is big, fast, he can run over you or juke you, but what I find interesting is his personality and demeanor. He is a 3.8 GPA student and leads by example. He is very humble, works hard, and if you tell Sony he can't do something, he will do it. At the next level he can fit into any system. He can be a power back or line up in the slot and the catch the ball out of the backfield. " -- American Heritage head coach/athletic director Jeff Dellenbach
Odds and ends: Michel's brother, Marken, is a sophomore wide receiver at UMass. ... Both of his parents work at American Heritage. ... His coach played at Wisconsin and spent 15 seasons in the NFL with the Dolphins, Eagles, Packers, and Patriots.
NFL player comparison: LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
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