Manatee's success starts on the defensive line with four potential D-1 prospects. Senior's Derrick Calloway(DT) and Blake Keller(DE) dominated all afternoon. Calloway was tough to move off the ball and when he was single teamed he was in the backfield instantly. At 6-1 and over 300 pounds he is a great example of how deep the position is in 2013 inside the state of Florida as in other years he is a top 4 DT in the state. Arkansas and USF seem to be the two schools recruiting Calloway the hardest. Keller is commmitted to UCF and made the most impact plays defensively. He blocked two punts (the second he scooped and scored) and seemed to beat the OT every time on the outside. Showed explosiveness in space and that he can get after the QB. Tough against the run. At 6'2, 215 he may slide back to LB at the next level.
Junior DeMarcus Christmas(DT) did not make as many plays as Calloway, but he has a good chance of being even more heavily recruited. At close to 6'4, 280 pounds he has near ideal size to go with plus athleticism. In other words he has all the tools, he just needs reps and experience to hone the finer points of the game. He flashed that talent with a couple of impact plays. Senior Marquis Dawsey(DE) is another quality, experienced defensive linemen that is getting D-1 looks. At 5'11, 230, he will slide back to MLB in college.
Junior LB Raland Brewer has great size and an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Darius White. He looks like one of the top juniors on this loaded team at 6'1, 210. Senior Willie Smith patrols a talented secondary with two interceptions and several big hits. He is starting to attract more attention on the recruiting trail.
Offensively the Hurricanes moved the ball on one of the top defenses in Florida known as the 'Dark Side'. After an early fumble, quarterback Cord Sandberg played brilliantly. The 6-2 Mississippi State commitment made 3-4 perfect throws, showed great anticipation, and picked up yards with his feet (and made plays). He is a great fit in a spread type system and has improved every year (at least looks to have) as a starter. His arm strength was a little better. Sandberg brought Manatee back (four titles between '83-'92) last year with a state title and he has Manatee as the heavy favorites to repeat after Sunday's performance.
Junior running back Trevon Walters had a big day in both phases of the game. He ran for 78 yards and had 87 yards receiving in this wide open offense. Manatee has a rich tradition at RB, particularly recently with Ben Axon, Mike Blakely, and Leon Allen over the past six years. Walters could be next. Sophomore Joseph Robinson will probably see his opportunities increase throughout the season, he has great speed.
Manatee has a plethora of weapons on the outside led by Anthony Lauro(Sr), Ja'Quan Pollock(Sr), and Marquel Hines(Jr). Lauro plays some RB and can make plays from a variety of spots. Both Pollock and Hines bring deep speed and elusiveness to the equation. Hines had the big day on Sunday with 76 yards on four catches. Senior offensive linemen Thor Miller played LT, but will have to move inside at the next level.
Senior running back Alex Lee(5-9, 165) was one of two bright spots on the offensive side of the ball. He ran for 154 yards on just 10 carries and provided a huge spark each time he touched it. Lee is best suited for a spread type season that will utilize his versatility. Wide Receiver Sean Avant made the best play of the game with an acrobatic TD grab for the Patriot's only score. Miramar is rich in WR tradition (Stedmon Bailey, Ivan McCartney, Malcolm Lewis) and Avant is the top prospect in the senior class and he holds more than five D-1 offers.
Manatee's defense might just be that good because there is plenty of talent on offense for Miramar. Nicholas Jeanty(QB- Jr), Cameron Rigby(RB- Jr), Khalil Webster(WR- Sr), Geonte Smith(WR- Jr), and Leeward Brown(OL-soph) all have next level talent. Jeanty had some good moments, Rigby might be an ideal CB down the road, and the massive Brown has a world of potential.
Linebacker Jermaine Grace(6-1, 200) led the 'Dark Side' defense and the final score is not indicative of how well the defense played. Grace is terrific in space because of his athleticism and has added some size since last year. Several BCS schools are in hot pursuit.
Several youngsters in the secondary have a good chance to develop. Andre Godfrey(Jr), Tyrek Cole(Soph), and Deonta Fair(Soph) patrol what is always a top secondary. In fact former Miramar stand-outs Marrell Jackson(Hawaii) and Tracy Howard(Miami) each played as true freshmen Saturday.