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It's a banner year in Florida for running backs, but it's a defensive tackle that stakes claim as the state's top prospect in the Rivals.com Florida Top 100. Jacobbi McDaniel, a Madison County High standout who has committed to Florida State, is the top-ranked player in the state.
"Jacobbi is a monster, and the thing you notice about him is not just the strength but how well-coached he is at this stage of his career," recruiting analyst Barry Every said.
McDaniel (6 feet 0, 270 pounds) recorded 70 tackles and 12 sacks last season. He also was dominant as an offensive lineman.
"I hear about the recognition, but I don't pay attention to that stuff," McDaniel said. "The fact is I take the field knowing that each day I have to prove myself, and more important, I want to dominate every facet of the game. My coaches treat me no different than any other player. I wouldn't have it any other way."
While McDaniel headlines this Florida class, six of the top 19 and 14 of the top 50 prospects are running backs. There are 20 backs in the top 100, and the No. 1 running back – Pensacola Escambia's Trent Richardson – checks in at No. 2 overall.
"He keeps those feet moving after contact and he looks very painful to try to tackle," Every said. "He looks like a complete back, and his running style is reminiscent of Georgia's Knowshon Moreno."
Jaamal Berry (Miami Palmetto, No. 4), Lamar Miller (Miami Killian, No. 13), Jarvis Giles (Tampa Gaither, No. 16), Chris Thompson (Madison County, No. 17) and Lonnie Pryor (Okeechobee, No. 19) are the other running backs in the top 20.
McDaniel leads a good group of defensive tackles, with five in the top 30. He is joined by Gary Brown (Quincy West Gadsden), Demonte McAllister (Tampa Alonso), Corey Gaines (Tallahassee Godby) and Luther Robinson (Ft. Pierce Westwood).
Wide receiver is a deep position as well. Andre Debose (Sanford Seminole) is No. 3 overall, and other headliners are Willie Downs (Tallahassee Godby), Nu'Keese Richardson (Pahokee), James Green (Tallahassee Leon), Rantavious Wooten (Belle Glade Glades Central) and Willie Haulstead (Titusville).
If there is one position that could be considered weak, it's the offensive line. There are only eight offensive linemen in the top 100. Only one tackle - Andrew Carter (Tallahassee Leon) - made the list. However, the state's top offensive line prospect - guard Nick Alajajian (Naples, No. 8) - could play tackle in college.
While there is a lot of talent at defensive tackle, there also is an abundance at end, led by Ryne Giddins (Seffner Armwood), Dyron Dye (Sanford Seminole), Olivier Vernon (Miami American), David Gilbert (Oakland Park Northeast), Brandon Jenkins (Tallahassee Florida High) and Ed Stinson (Homestead South Dade).
Georgia commitment Aaron Murray (Tampa Plant) is the state's top quarterback, at No. 6 overall. Two linebackers are in the top 10 – Jon Bostic (Wellington Palm Beach Central, No. 7) and Frankie Telfort (Miami Gulliver Prep, No. 9). At No. 10 is tight end Orson Charles (Tampa Plant).
McDaniel is the state's only five-star prospect, but 68 are four-star guys. Fifteen Floridians are members of the Rivals100, and 38 are in the Rivals250.
Florida State has nine commitments from prospects in the top 100. Florida and USF have six, and Miami has four.