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Way of LeBron: 10 hometown hero college football stars

Phil Sears/Associated Press
Miami running back Duke Johnson didn't travel far from home to attend college.

LeBron James made a whole bunch of folks in Northeast Ohio happy on Friday with his decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.


14 for '14 series:
CFB 24/7 counts down the 14 college football players or coaches to watch in varying categories in 2014.

» Top small-school prospects
» Impact freshmen in college football
» Top rivalries in college football
» Top personalities in college football
» Best uniforms in college football
» Best stadiums in college football
» Biggest hitters in college football
» Hot coordinators in college football
» Best recruiters in college football
» Hot-seat coaches in college football
» Best coaches in college football
» Best names in college football
» Heaviest players in college football
» Smallest players in college football
» Top celebrity college football fans
» Top Heisman Trophy candidates
» Most explosive athletes in college football
» Most versatile players in college football
» Most freakish athletes in college football
» Scariest players in college football
» Fastest players in college football
» Toughest players in college football
» Smartest players in college football
» Most physical players in college football
» College football players with best intangibles

A big reason for his decision, James said, is that he can return to his home area: He went to high school in nearby Akron and he said "what's most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio."

» Gridiron Breakdown: LeBron James vs. Johnny Manziel

On a smaller scale (much smaller), here is a look at 10 current stars, listed alphabetically, that made some folks happy when they decided to play college football at home.

WR Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh

High school: Clairton
Buzz: Boyd (6-foot-2, 190 pounds) might have been the nation's best true freshman wide receiver last season. His high school is located in a suburb south of Pittsburgh. (Clairton was the setting for the 1978 movie "The Deer Hunter.")

OT La'el Collins, LSU

High school: Baton Rouge Redemptorist
Buzz: Collins (6-5, 315), a senior, is one of the nation's top four or five offensive tackles. He was a three-time all-state pick in high school.

WR Stefon Diggs, Maryland

High school: Our Lady of Good Counsel, in Olney, Md.
Buzz: His high school is about 20 miles from Maryland's campus in College Park. Diggs (6-0, 195), a junior, missed the second half of last season with a broken leg. When he's healthy, he's an explosive player who can score from anywhere. His return to full health is vital to the Terps' offense this season.

RB Duke Johnson, Miami

High school: Miami Norland
Buzz: Johnson (5-9, 206), a junior, is one of the nation's most explosive running backs. He helped Norland -- which is in north Miami-Dade County -- to a state title in 2011 by scoring 36 total TDs.

WR DeVante Parker, Louisville

High school: Louisville Ballard
Buzz: Parker (6-3, 208) is a senior; his high school is about a 15-minute drive from the Louisville campus.

LB Denzel Perryman, Miami

High school: Coral Gables
Buzz: Perryman (6-0, 242), a senior, grew up a few miles from UM's campus in Coral Gables, a suburb of Miami.

NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks digs deep into the game tape to evaluate college football's most talented players.

» Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson
» Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor
» Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
» Leonard Williams, DL, USC
» Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
» Wisconsin's Gordon vs. Georgia's Gurley

LB Hayes Pullard, USC

High school: Los Angeles Crenshaw
Buzz: Pullard (6-1, 235) will be a four-year starter for the Trojans. Crenshaw's campus is about 10 minutes from USC's (depending on L.A. traffic, of course).

G Alex Redmond, UCLA

High school: Los Alamitos
Buzz: Redmond (6-5, 300), a sophomore who could be the best guard in the Pac-12 this season, went to high school in suburban L.A. His high school is in Orange County, south of L.A., and is about 35 miles from UCLA's campus.

C Isaac Seumalo, Oregon State

High school: Corvallis
Buzz: Seumalo (6-4, 297) is a junior who is one of the best centers on the West Coast. He was quite familiar with Oregon State's campus before he signed with the school because his dad is the Beavers' defensive line coach. (His last name is pronounced "Say-u-mah-low.")

NT Danny Shelton, Washington

High school: Auburn
Buzz: Shelton (6-2, 332), a senior, might be the nation's best nose tackle. He went to high school in a Seattle suburb.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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