One of the cool things about ranking high school football players is seeing where they are four years later.
Let’s look at my top 10 prospects from the 2012 graduation class. That was considered one of the greatest recruiting classes in Arizona high school football history.
If none of them redshirted, they’d be heading into their senior season.
Some did, some transferred, some are still clinging to hope of making it big, some have already have experienced greatness and in the pros.
THE 2012 CLASS:
No. 10 Avery Moss, Tempe Corona del Sol, DE/TE, 6-3, 285
Moss ran into trouble at Nebraska, where he was reportedly banned from the Lincoln campus in 2014 for two 2013 misdemeanor charges. He was expected to start at defensive end last year, which would have been his redshirt sophomore season. He reportedly spent the year working at a car dealership in Lincoln, before following his former Nebraska coach, Bo Pelini, to Youngstown State, where he is listed on the roster.
No. 9 Blake Martinez, Oro Valley Canyon del Oro, LB, 6-2, 247
Martinez’s big motor never stopped once he hit Stanford. He put on about 17 pounds of muscle from the 230 pounds he played at in high school. He didn’t do a redshirt year, and now, entering his senior season, Martinez is on the Butkus Award and Nagurski Trophy watch lists. He had a team-best 102 tackles last season for the Cardinal.
No. 8 Kendyl Taylor, Chandler Hamilton, WR/RB, 5-10, 205
An all-state receiver his senior year, Taylor is now at Northern Arizona, after transferring from Washington, where he caught 32 passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns in the two seasons he played in the Pac-12. Taylor played running back and receiver in 2012, his true freshman year, but reportedly was asked by to redshirt his sophomore year at Washington. The Arizona Daily Sun reported in the spring that Taylor will be used at running back and receiver by the Lumberjacks.
No. 7 Reggie Daniels, Hamilton, DB, 6-1, 205
Daniels is looking for more good things at Oregon, entering his redshirt junior season, after starting all 15 games last season at free safety. He led the team in solo tackles with 62 and had nine tackles in both the Rose Bowl and the National Championship game. It was his first college season as a starter. Coach Steve Belles predicted big things for Daniels when he was at Hamilton. It’s coming true.
No. 6 Josh Weeks, Show Low, WR, 6-3, 215
One of the most prolific small-schools receivers in Arizona prep history, Weeks is just starting his college career at BYU. He was a grayshirt at BYU in 2012, before serving a two-year church mission in Kennewick, Wash. He had a setback in April with surgery for a broken bone in his foot, but he has rehabbed well, and he could have an impact this season for the Cougars as a big target with speed.
No. 5 Zach Hoffpauir, Peoria Centennial, S, 6-0, 195
Hoffpauir, twice chosen All-Arizona in football, has already begun his pro baseball career in the minor leagues for the Diamondbacks after being chosen in the 22nd round. He was a standout in both football and baseball at Stanford, which will miss his toughness and leadership, qualities that made him one of the greatest athletes ever to come out of Arizona. ASU football coach Todd Graham moaned losing Hoffpauir on signing day in 2012, knowing what a great kid Hoffpauir was in the short time he had to recruit him.
No. 4 D.J. Foster, Scottsdale Saguaro, RB/WR, 5-11, 195
Arizona State coach Todd Graham was ecstatic over Foster’s signing on National Signing Day in 2012, already making big plans for him. Now, Foster is transitioning from running back to wide receiver as he enters a senior season that has a little Heisman Trophy chatter, even with a position change. Watch for imaginative offensive coordinator Mike Norvell to find ways to get the ball into the shifty player’s hands as much as possible.
PROFILE: D.J. Foster
No. 3 Connor Brewer, Scottsdale Chaparral, QB, 6-2, 215
He has his college degree in communications, but he has yet to throw a college pass. That could come this season at Virginia, after transferring from the University of Arizona, where he did not throw a pass and his only run resulted in a touchdown in mop-up duty last season. Brewer began his college career at Texas, but he found the position stocked, and transferred to UA, where he wasn’t able to win the job last year from freshman Anu Solomon. He announced in April on social media that he would transfer to Northern Arizona, but an opening at QB came up at Virginia, which appealed more to Brewer. Can he finally get that shot? He still has two years of eligibility left to show that he can lead a major college offense.
No. 2 Andrus Peat, Corona del Sol, OL, 6-7, 313
He already is starting his NFL career, after leaving college a year early to pursue his football dream. The Outland Trophy semifinalist at Stanford last season, Peat, the son of former NFL offensive lineman Todd Peat, was taken by the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the NFL draft as the 13th overall player. He has a strong chance to start this season.
No. 1 Davonte’ Neal, Scottsdale Chaparral, DB/WR, 5-10, 173
For the third time in his college career, Neal is starting over, this time as a cornerback at the University of Arizona. Neal never came on as the go-to receiver many recruiting experts believed he would be after being Gatorade Arizona Football Player of the Year his last two seasons at Chaparral. Neal started out fielding punts at Notre Dame, which got to the national championship game in his first year. He transferred to UA, sat out a year, and after catching 27 passes for 214 yards and two TDs last season, asked coach Rich Rodriguez for the position switch. He has two more years of eligibility left to prove that he can be that dynamic impact college football player.
Reach Obert at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-460-1710. Follow him at twitter.com/azc_obert.
PHOTOS: Arizonans on Pac-12 rosters – 2015