Southeast proving to be a hot spot for top 2023 safeties

The states in the Southeast lead the rest of the nation when it comes to 2023 safeties – in quantity and quality. The numbers back that up: Four of the top five safeties are from Alabama and Georgia. Add in the state of Florida and the numbers get even more impressive.


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Before we take a look at the top five safeties in the Southeast we should acknowledge that the area’s talent is especially deep at the position, including four-stars Michael Daugherty, Jaden Robinson and fringe four-stars in Robert Billings, King Mack and Jayden Davis.

Daugherty is heavily targeted, and holds more than 40 offers. The Grayson (Ga.) prospect has had a heavy SEC lean of late, with visits to LSU and Auburn. Robinson is the thumper in the secondary for Lake City’s (Fla.) Columbia High School. Recent visits have been taken to Louisville, Florida and Florida State.

Top five safeties in Alabama, Georgia and Florida 

One of the top 25 players in the 2023 class, Caleb Downs is in that area of a five-star prospect. Putting fear into the hearts of Georgia players, Downs is fast and physical, and he can play against both the pass and run. The stat columns against 7A teams speak volumes, with 77 stops (57 solo) and five picks with 11 passes broken up.

Wherever the ball is, Downs is there. His physicality, mixed in with film study and instincts for the game, separate him from others. March visits have been made to Florida, Florida State, Georgia and Clemson. Downs can punch his ticket to any program in the country.


Entering Rivals’ latest position rankings as the third-best safety in his class, Sylvester Smith is a missile in the secondary for Alabama’s Munford High School. A two-way player for the Lions, Smith shines on defense as a sideline-to-sideline player. Smith is nearing 30 offers, with his latest coming from Jackson State and LSU.


When Dakaari Nelson is on the field he brings a different level of athleticism to the game. Big and fast, Nelson can cover deep and get in the box mixing it up. Registering eight picks in 2021, he has a nose for the ball and a feel for the game. With his athletic ability he could be a next-level safety or outside linebacker/rover.

Nelson has a top 11 of Tennessee, Auburn, Arkansas, Clemson, Oklahoma, Penn State, UCF, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Oregon and Florida State.


Seeing a safety with Terrance Love’s size is intimidating for both running backs and receivers, but especially receivers. Roaming the field for Langston Hughes (Ga.), Love was a tone setter against 6A Georgia offenses with 58 stops and three picks.

Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri and Minnesota are among the most recent offers for Love, getting him to 38.


American Heritage (Fla.) is truly loaded with next-level superstars, and Daemon Fagan is one of them. The Rivals250 prospect is at the 30-offer milestone, and he still received an offer from Michigan after announcing his top eight.

The list includes Miami, NC State, Penn State, Ohio State, Georgia, Florida State, LSU and UCF.

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