While much of the recruiting world focuses on the class of 2008, there has been an early emphasis from college coaches on the class of 2009.
There are a few factors which are causing programs to looking toward the future. Many of this year's classes are beginning to fill up, and the first day schools can send official written offers to 2009 prospects is Sept. 1.
With that in mind, Rivals.com has come up with a list of 100 players to watch for 2009. The group is led by another top California quarterback, Matt Barkley.
Barkley is one of many juniors with early verbal offers. The 6-foot-2, 217-pounder from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei is considered a heavy USC lean. Barkley is expected to follow in the footsteps of Mark Sanchez, Aaron Corp and other big-time QBs who have decided to play for the Trojans. In addition to his USC offer, Barkley has been offered by UCLA, Tennessee, Stanford, Cal, Florida State and many others.
The quarterback position looks absolutely loaded for 2009. Carmel, Ind., quarterback Morgan Newton, Philadelphia (Pa.) Cardinal O'Hara rifleman Tom Savage, Tampa (Fla.) Plant signal-caller Aaron Murray and Houston Cypress Ridge dual-threat Russell Shepard are just a few names you'll be hearing about in the future. More than 20 quarterbacks for 2009 have early verbal offers.
Other top offensive players to watch for in 2009 include Wichita (Kan.) East running back Bryce Brown, Durham (N.C.) Hillside running back Desmond Scott, Chesapeake (Va.) Great Bridge wide receiver Logan Heastie, tight end Morrell Presley and Salt Lake City Cottonwood Senior offensive lineman John Martinez.
On defense, end Devon Kennard of Desert Vista high in Phoenix is reminding people of Everson Griffen. Compton (Calif.) Dominguez standout Marquis Simmons and Sefner (Fla.) Armwood hitter Petey Smith lead a strong group of linebackers.
The defensive tackle position could be the deepest in the class of 2009. Biloxi, Miss., star D.J. Fluker, Greenville (Fla.) Madison tackle Jacobbi McDaniel, Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech monster William Campbell and Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney standout John Simon lead a very strong class. They are flanked by Kennard, Columbia (S.C.) Richland Northeast's Chris Bonds and Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro end Corey Adams.
Joining Simmons and Smith as linebacker notables are Douglas (Ga.) Coffee standout C.J. Mizell, Chicago (Ill.) Hubbard's Darius Moffett and Stevenson (Ala.) North Jackson's Tana Patrick.
Gadsden (Ala.) City cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and Valencia, Calif., speedster Marlon Pollard join Tallahassee (Fla.) Rickards safety JaJuan Harley in the defensive backfield.
The athlete category can't be forgotten. That group is led by Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway's Dorian Bell, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure's Patrick Hall and Cartersville, Ga., standout Donavan Tate.