2014: Southwest Florida Top Offense

Southwest Florida had 31 prospects sign National Letters of Intent last Wednesday and that number has continued to go up over the last decade.

Six current college offensive players from this area are:

Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson (South Fort Myers)

Ace Sanders, WR, South Carolina (Manatee)

Mario Pender, RB, Florida State (Island Coast)

Trey Burton, TE, Florida (Venice)

Jeff Heuerman, TE, Ohio State (Barron Collier)

Dallas Crawford, RB, Miami (South Fort Myers)

PHOTO GALLERY

QUARTERBACK

Southwest Florida went through a decade without signing a D-1 QB, but one has signed each of the past two years: Kurt Benkert (East Carolina) and Kenneth Mouton (Navy). This year attention turns to Naples QB Kilton Anderson and East Lee County's Winfred Ward.

Anderson was thrust into a starting role as a sophomore right before the playoffs in 2011 and he won two games leading the Golden Eagle's to the quarterfinals of the 6A playoffs. As a junior he took Naples one step further going to the semi's before losing to eventual state champion Miami Central. At 6'2 Anderson is a terrific athlete with a live arm. He plays in a run based attack, but takes advantage of his opportunities in the passing game. He has looked great at several camps and 7on7's. More than a few BCS schools have taken notice. FILM

Ward led East Lee County to their first district title and playoff berth in school history. He possesses a cannon for an arm and a cool, calm demeanor. Ward possesses a lot of upside in the right offense and he should have more responsibility in 2013. A capable runner, Ward should start to get looks this Spring. FILM


Hicks has been a consistent big play threat for Palmetto
Geoff Vogt, Scout.com

RUNNING BACK

Palmetto's Josh Hicks has already made an early commitment to Rutgers. The 5'10, 190 pound Hicks bounced back from an early season injury to have a great junior season. Hicks has the speed to make big plays and the vision to the opportunities. He has started to work at CB and that too could be a future home. Hicks was excellent across the board at the UnderArmour combine in Tampa. FILM

Immokalee's Dernest Johnson is a rock of consistency and he continues to add weight to his frame. At 5'10, 200 he has the size to run inside and the athleticism to play in space. Johnson holds BCS offers and has excelled in the wide open offense at Immokalee. He has added enough weight that his hard running style might be best suited for a more downhill running game. His brother, Tshumbi, signed with Cincinnati for the 2013 class. FILM

Southeast's Courtney Allen has been a superstar since his Pop Warner days and he has not missed a beat in high school. While he is short (5'7), he is a thick, explosive RB that possesses excellent vision. He is also tough as nails. Allen is an excellent receiver out of the backfield. FILM

Lehigh's Guillermo Hernandez possesses similar size and skill-set to Johnson as he also is 5'10, 200. Hernandez has a punishing running style and clocked a 4.46 40 a year ago. He is a three down back with great hands and also a stand-out on the baseball field.

Palmetto Ridge's Ron Johnson is slightly bigger (5'11, 210) version, he is asked to carry a big load of the offense. He could easily be 215 by the start of next season. There is some question to just how fast he is, but he shows flashes of being a big play back. Johnson has the size that schools covet. FILM

Breon Brown is a bit of a wildcard. He entered high school with all the accolades and has shown flashes of being a big-time back. He has all the tools to be great and should be a good fit in spread type offenses. Brown will also get looks as a defensive player, likely corner. FILM

Trevon Walters is following a recent line of Ben Axon, Mike Blakely, and Leon Allen at Manatee. All of those backs signed with D-1 schools and Walters is a blend of each of those players. He possesses good size (5'10, 190) and vision, while being very consistent. He will carry more of the load in 2014, but must hold off freshmen superstar Johnie Lang. FILM

Booker's Marlon Mack will be recruited on both sides of the football. A spread type running back, he also doubles as an excellent DB. At 5-11 he has good length and seems to always be around the ball. How big will he get? That will probably be the factor that determines what side of the ball he ends up on. FILM


Jackson is starting to get as many looks at CB as WR
Geoff Vogt, Scout.com

WIDE RECEIVER

Receivers do not get much more talented than Dwight Reynolds. The 6'1 Charlotte star can do it all----and he does, doubling as an outstanding CB. Reynolds has been making big plays for two years and the sky appears to be the limit. Reynolds is excellent with the ball in his hands and is the type that could make an instant impact.

Ryeshene Bronson has made an early verbal commitment to Florida and at 6'3 he is a special talent because of his speed and athleticism. Bronson is a potential big play weapon who just needs to add size to his frame to reach his ceiling. Already a three year starter, Bronson is poised for a huge senior season with better QB play. FILM

Yet another Big 3 commitment is Immokalee's J.C. Jackson. The 5-11, 185 pound Jackson has elite straight line speed and has been a varsity starter since he was a freshmen. He is starting to play more cornerback and a number of universities like him better at that spot. The interesting thing is that Jackson tries to keep weight off, he has a frame to carry well over 200 pounds down the road. Could Immokalee produce another top CB? We will keep him at WR for now because that is where he is more experienced. FILM

Ida Baker's Trayvon Clarke continues to get better every day and at 6'1+ he has the size to play outside at the next level. A former soccer player, Clarke has excellent feet, hands, and concentration and should get a number of BCS offers. Clarke should benefit from having his QB back for another season and Baker is one of the teams to watch in 2013. We love the way he can put his foot in the ground and explode. FILM

Marquel Hines plays on the outside for Manatee, but he projects to the slot where he can use his quickness to his advantage. At 5-8 he lacks ideal size, but does have a thick frame and Hines came up big in some key moments during Manatee's run to a national championship. FILM

TIGHT END

Southwest Florida has been on a nice run at the Tight End position with Johnny Garcia (WF), Jeff Heuerman (Ohio State), and Mike Heuerman (Notre Dame). Estero's Nick Nataro will try to follow in their shoes at the BCS level. At 6'4, 230 he is another big target that often plays spread out as a wide receiver. He possesses excellent hands and should be an excellent blocker down the road. Nataro has shown that he is a red-zone weapon. FILM

OFFENSIVE LINE

Like most of the state of Florida, the offensive line is the weakest position and that is no different in Southwest Florida. However next year has four D-1 candidates after having two sign at that level a year ago. South Fort Myers Montrell Frei (6'4, 300) has improved every year on the offensive linemen and he is now the undisputed leader of the 'Pack line. He projects inside to guard where he can carry upwards of 320 down the road. FILM

Ida Baker's Levi Walton (6'3, 270) may be recruited on both lines, but he appears to be a safer bet on the offensive line at this point. Walton is still very young looking and it is likely that he still has some growth left in him. Athletic. FILM


Fightin Gators Top Stories