Badger Sports Tampa Tournament Stars

Badger Sports continues to host talent-laden 7-on-7 tournaments in the country and the one held in Tampa this weekend was no exception. The state of Florida was represented by 11 teams from different parts of the state and the tournament culminated in the championship won by Jacksonville's Pro Impact 2 sponsored team. The talent was rich and here is what I saw.

At quarterback there was some younger talent on hand on some of the teams but four seniors stood out. The Dade/Broward County South Florida Express team had the best gunslinger on the weekend in Miami Northwestern's Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater had an excellent weekend throwing the ball deep a lot. Unfortunately it was an interception that ended the weekend on a sour note for his team, but Bridgewater was on target for most of the time out there.

Tampa Plant's Phillip Ely didn't get on track with his receivers in the few games I watched of his team, but I was really impressed that he has changed his body a great deal. Ely has really gained some weight and muscle up top and looks a lot different. It helps with his throws, no doubt. Talking to Coach Weiner from plant, who was watching, they are planning on visiting Florida in the next couple of weeks.

The quarterback combo of Fletcher's Kade Bell and Bartram Trail's Nathan Peterman were a huge part of the success of the team that won the championship. Both quarterbacks make great decisions and didn't put their team in trouble. They didn't get too greedy trying to go deep. They threw underneath and found guys wide open all day and that helped lead them to the championship. While Bell lacks ideal height at just around 6 feet, he is very accurate and athletic. Peterman is a pure drop back guy that stands 6-2, and doesn't have a gun, but is also very accurate.

The best receiver on the day in my opinion was Glade Central's Kelvin Benjamin. Benjamin is a total mismatch for defensive backs, he is just too tall (6-6) and can jump out of the gym. Some scouts were saying he wasn't explosive, but to me that is all relative and at that size, you don't have to be overly explosive. One big change in Benjamin is that a year ago he came to this tournament weigh 185 pounds, he said he clocked in at 210 pounds earlier in the week. He doesn't have the speed of Julio Jones, but he has the size to be that strong in my opinion.

I have a new favorite multi-position athlete on offense and it comes in the form of Orlando Dr. Phillip's Demetrius Hart. He goes by Dee and the "D" usually wants no part of him. He was double teamed a lot and the "Big Timers" team from Orlando tried to isolate him on one side by himself a lot. He isn't blazing fast and guys could push him to the sideline if he ran straight down the field, but get him in traffic and watch him make everyone grab for air. He is bigger than his listed height and weight, I'd say closer to 5-11, 190 and he just has moves on top of moves and unparalleled quickness. He also sees the whole field and everyone coming at him. Those are great attributes for a future 200-pounder.

Coconut Creek North Broward Prep's A.J. Sebastiano was Bridgewater's favorite target all weekend. Sebastiano who goes by "Cinco" per his No. 5 jersey, loves the deep ball and I saw him catch three corner passes for touchdowns or close in the championship game alone. Take a second and look at his highlight film on the bio page linked with his name here and you might be surprised. He is a pretty tall receiver at 6-1, and faster than most would expect.

Miami Columbus receiver Tacoi Sumler was another target for Bridgewater and was used mainly as a safety valve underneath coming from the backfield or the slot. Sumler is the fastest guy on the field no matter where he lines up and quick as anyone, but his size is a detriment and can get lost in crowds.

A real surprise on the weekend was Orlando Olympia receiver Isiah Myers. Myers is the step brother of Lo Wood, who signed with Notre Dame last year and Lo's father was the coach for the Central Florida team. Wood did a great job of putting talent on the field and coaching them up and they barely fell short against the eventual champions. Myers was a big part of their success and constantly made plays on the weekend.

The tournament MVP was Interlachen's A.C. Leonard, a Gator commitment. Leonard was a man among boys out there and has a real Herschel Walker build to him. You just look at the guy and you think defensive end and then you see him run and catch with those big strong hands and understand why he is playing tight end. I have been won over that he belongs at the tight end position. Not only will he be able to stretch defenses, this guy will be big enough to really make some noise at the line of scrimmage blocking when he has to.

The Palm Beach team had the best receiver pair in the whole tournament, better coaching and they would have gone farther. We mentioned Benjamin, but Nick O'Leary was also on the squad and the Dwyer tight end is a special player. He is huge but just runs so well and has command of his body like few others.

Another monster tight end was Ft. Meade's Brandon Fulse. Fulse was a huge target for the central Florida Big Timers all weekend and just kept making plays. He is really big but is another one that has exceptional hands to make plays with.

On defense the stud was Plant's James Wilder, but he only played on Friday and was absent on Saturday. Wilder is just an absolute beast on defense. I understand he wants to play running back and okay let him, but convince him to play linebacker as well.

Defensive end Anthony Chickillo of Tampa Alonso was Wilder's teammate and wasn't even going to participate because he is an end and not a linebacker. Chickillo moves very well for his size and runs in space like a smaller guy. He was also very impressive on the weekend.

Orlando Dr. Phillip's Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix was the best defensive back I saw all weekend. He is huge at 6-2 and 190 and flies to the ball. He can cover a lot of field and has the body of a big time safety already. He really has fun playing the game and does it very well. He lined up and played corner many times against other team's best receivers.

South Lake's Nick Waisome had three interceptions in the first game and word got out on him after that. He is scrappy and really quick, but when matched up against big receivers he can really get over-matched. He will have to add bulk to his 160 or so pounds to play big time ball on the next level, but he has the rest of the tools for it.

There were a lot of other notable players out on the fields this weekend. I didn't get a chance to see them all work out, or they just didn't make plays when I was around. Some of the notables were Miami Northwestern receiver Eli Rodgers, Ft. Lauderdale Dillard safety Wayne Lyons, Nick North, Interlachen running back Kion Wlliams, Apopka running back Tom Smith, Ocala Trinity Catholic safety Chris Johnson, Venice defensive end/tight end Clay Burton, Tampa Jefferson receiver Andre Davis, Treasure Coast defensive backs Lamarcus Brutus and Keelin Smith, Davenport Community Ridge safety Karlos Williams, and more.

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The weekend had a real Gator flavor to it as well. Kade Bell's father Kerwin Bell (Head Coach at Jacksonville University) was in attendance watching his son play. Gator Great safety Guss Scott helped from afar with the Jacksonville team that won it all. Receiver Jemalle Cornelius was watching a trio of his Ft. Meade players participate in the weekend tournament. Last but not least, defensive tackle Clint McMillan was rooting on a few central Florida players, an area that he has coached in for the last three years.

I had a chance to talk to all four of them at great lengths and all four are absolutely sterling representatives of the University of Florida.

It appears that all the years of Gator Glory are starting to pay off with Gator Greats moving on to coaching positions in the state...that can only lead to good vibes for the Gators when it comes to recruiting. It wouldn't hurt for those good vibes to start on the players above.


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