Although the ink might barely be dry on the Class of 2008, here are some preliminary names to track until next year's national signing day on Feb. 4, 2009.
Matt Barkley, QB (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei)
Before the 2008 recruiting class signed, Barkley already was making headlines. This SoCal signal-caller is considered one of the top prospects in the 2009 class after winning the 2007 Gatorade California and National Player of the Year awards and the inaugural Joe Montana Quarterback of the Year award. Despite having already committed to USC, Barkley undoubtedly will be one of the most followed prospects in the 2009 class.
Shevodrick Beaver, QB (Wichita Falls, Texas/Rider)
Beaver is an early sleeper among the 2009 quarterbacks but likely will not be one for long. He is a promising dual-threat guy who, after initial glimpses, reminds us a bit of Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon.
Recruit Tracker 2009
Bryce Brown, RB (Wichita, Kan./East)
He might already be familiar as the brother of ESPN's top-rated 2008 linebacker, Arthur Brown. Bryce might be just as explosive carrying the rock as his brother was stopping ball carriers. Brown possesses the strength and power to produce between the tackles and the speed to get outside and take it the distance. Having watched his brother go through the process should help the younger Brown brace for what's coming.
Marlon Brown, WR (Memphis, Tenn./Harding Academy)
Brown is a tall receiving target in the mold of 2008 prospect DeAndre Brown (Ocean Springs, Miss.). He has soft hands, displays good speed for his size and can make acrobatic grabs.
Kevin Graf, OT (Agoura, Calif.)
Graf is a big tackle prospect. His father and brother both played in the trenches for the Trojans, and he is a physical, tenacious blocker who likely will have many programs upset he committed early.
Tom Savage, QB (Philadelphia/Cardinal O'Hara)
Philadelphia isn't exactly a high school football hotbed, but eyes are turning toward the City of Brotherly Love because of Savage. He is a big, strong-armed pocket passer with a build similar to that of Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford. He does have a bit of a quirky release that we will study more this spring.
Russell Shepard, QB/ATH (Houston/Cypress Ridge)
Shepard is a quarterback who can make plays with the ball in his hands. It has yet to be determined if he has what it takes to be a signal-caller at the college level, but it is obvious he is one of the more explosive and elusive ball carriers in the 2009 class.
Devon Kennard, DE (Phoenix/Desert Vista)
Kennard is an explosive, disruptive defensive end with very good size for a junior and the ability to go through or right past blockers. Early in the process, he seems to be a favorite among college recruiters, and it is easy to see why.
Jacobbi McDaniel, DT (Greenville, Fla./Madison County)
While not the biggest defensive tackle prospect (6-foot, 270 pounds), McDaniel is opening eyes with his explosiveness and physical nature. He is displaying the tools to be tough versus the run and menacing as a pass-rusher. While it still is early in the process, he seems to be a big target for several SEC and ACC teams.
Frankie Telfort, LB (Miami/Gulliver Prep)
Telfort should continue the tradition of fast, rangy, explosive outside linebackers we saw out of South Florida in 2008. He lacks some size at this point, but he plays bigger and more physical than his listed measurables would indicate. He should be one of top linebackers in the country next fall.