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Florida's Toliver highlights next year's recruits

AP - Sports

Kevin Toliver didn't pay all that much attention to national signing day on Wednesday, save for noticing a few of the LSU signees.

The Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville, Fla.) junior will have plenty of time over the next year to prepare for what's evolved into an annual holiday for college football fans - especially since he'll be one of the top presents.

With this year's signing day already in the rearview mirror, the focus for many coaches has already turned toward next year's crop of blue-chip recruits.

Near the top of that list is Toliver, a soft-spoken cornerback who has let his game do the talking since first arriving on the varsity scene as a freshman. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Toliver is the top-ranked recruit by 247Sports, and he has the second-highest composite ranking when that website is combined with the Scout and ESPN recruiting rankings.

In short, great things are projected for Toliver, who started receiving scholarship offers during the spring after his freshman season nearly two years ago.

''He's extremely hard working, extremely dedicated to this game,'' Trinity Christian coach Verlon Dorminey said. ''Not only does he have that, but he also has the physical gifts. He's the real deal, and he deserves all of the attention.''

Dorminey has plenty of experience coaching top recruits, having led Trinity Christian for the entirety of his 24-year career as a head coach. With Toliver, as well as a roster loaded with seven other juniors who have been offered Football Bowl Subdivision scholarships, the Conquerors won the state championship last season - with Toliver grabbing three interceptions despite rarely being tested.

''He shuts that side of the field down,'' Dorminey said. ''That makes it so much more simple for us in what we can do with schemes.''

Unlike many of the top recruits, some who wait to make their college choices until signing day, Toliver said he's solidly committed to LSU. The Tigers offered him a scholarship during a summer camp following his freshman season, and the decision was an easy one for the Louisiana native who moved to Florida while in elementary school.

North Carolina, Florida State, Florida, USC, UCLA and Ohio State are just a few of the other colleges who have offered the 18-year-old a scholarship, and he plans on taking ''every visit possible'' over the next year while enjoying the recruiting process as much as possible.

''I'm just going to enjoy the ride,'' Toliver said. ''It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing.''

While many college coaches were busy over the last few weeks securing commitments and signatures from this year's class, that hasn't stopped them from already focusing on next season. In fact, Toliver said he spent time with eight college coaches just a few weeks ago - a small example of the constant stream of sales pitches from coaches and information-seeking recruiting reporters.

''Basically, all of the colleges are saying the same thing,'' Toliver said. ''Everybody says they want you, and that you can come in and start. But at the end of the day, it depends on your relationship with the coaches.''

While Toliver is one of the top recruits for next year, here is a look at a few of the other highly ranked players that might soon come to a college near you:

TIM SETTLE, DT, MANASSAS, VA.: Ranked the top overall prospect by Scout, the Stonewall Jackson High School product is reported to have interest from nearly every top FBS school in the country - including Florida State, Alabama, USC to name a few. Settle is listed as 6-foot-3, 305 pounds.

MITCH HYATT, OT, SUWANEE, GA.: The North Gwinnett High School standout has the highest overall composite ranking of the three recruiting services, ranking fourth by both Scout and ESPN while coming in at second by 247Sports. Hyatt is listed at 6-foot-6, 265 pounds and has committed to Clemson.

TRENTON THOMPSON, DT, ALBANY, GA.: Thompson comes in at 6-foot-3, 289 pounds and is ranked as high as fourth by the recruiting services. The Westover High School product has interest from most of the top college in the southeast (Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, Florida State to name a few), as well as from as far away as Michigan State.

RICKY TOWN, QB, VENTURA, CALIF.: One of the top quarterbacks in next year's class, the St. Bonaventure High School standout comes in as high as fifth in the recruiting rankings. The 6-foot-4, 204-pound signal caller is listed as a USC commitment.

MARTEZ IVEY, OT, APOPKA, FLA.: The 6-foot-6, 280-pound Ivey is listed in the top 10 by all three recruiting services, and his list of scholarship offers reflects his talent. The Apopka High School talent has interest from all the usual parties, as well as Nebraska, Oklahoma and Wisconsin - just to name a few of the many - and has yet to commit.

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