Hartselle Tigers (15-0) 5-A State Champ
The underclassman declaring are always the aspect that makes or breaks the strength of a particular draft. This particular group of underclassman safeties will make for an exceptionally strong safety class if the top 3 or 4 declare eligible. Reid, Whitley, Jefferson, and Elam were all outstanding as sophomores. They're on an entirely different level physically than you typically see out of sophomore safeties... specifically Nickoe Whitley.
Reid and Whitley are both explosive tacklers, but also fundamentally sound tacklers when they need to be. As I mentioned in my underclassman thread a few months ago when I started it, I don't think I've ever seen a more violent hitter than Nickoe Whitley at safety.... and I watched Kenny Easley and Ronnie Lott in college. Whitley's ability to explode into contact with precision exceeds anything I've seen. However, what makes Whitley and Reid both special young DB's is their combination of ball skills and range to compliment their ability to be explosive hitters. Their versatility to play either safety spot sets 'em apart.
Jefferson and Elam are more squatty safeties who overcome their lack of prototypical height for the position with instincts and football IQ. They both take proper angles to the ball and read their run/pass keys correctly instantly. Advanced fundamentally in their tackling to be so young.
Any one of these safeties declaring early is going to add tremendous talent and skill to the safety class in addition to their upside to keep getting even better. They'll help the Senior crop that's also strong at the top with Robert Lester. There's some kids mixed in with that Senior group that I feel like are a little overrated (T.J. McDonald) but it's offset by underrated prospects like Dexter McCoil.
It sets up to be a terrific draft for safeties, very strong. Again, the key though is the underclassman.