Here's a look at the games we were at over the weekend in the state of Florida.
Jamie Newberg, National Recruiting Analyst
Tampa Plant vs Tampa Bay Tech
Tampa Bay Tech upset Tampa Plant 14-7 in this defensive struggle. Tech was led by two-way standout senior Tajee Fullwood
. This South Florida
commitment had a roller coaster of a game. He lined up at cornerback, safety, wide receiver, punter, and returned kicks and punts. And that was in the first quarter alone. Fullwood did finish with three receptions, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a few tackles. On the other side of this he also had two fumbles and missed at least five tackles from the safety spot. This was the position I thought he was destined to play but he will need to become more consistent in run support and tackling in general. I do believe he could play receiver. He has size, speed and soft hands. But Fullwood believes he will be a cornerback in college. At 6-foot-2 he would certainly big a big one at that and those guys are hard to come by. Fullwood told me after the game he's still committed to the Bulls but wants to make his visits. He went to Orlando on Saturday for the South Carolina
game. Fullwood also wants to make official visits to Rutgers
The other big prospect for the Titans is junior quarterback Deon Cain. This 2015 recruit plays quarterback but appears to have more upside at wide receiver or even safety. He got loose on one long run in the first quarter and showcased his elite speed. He also has good quickness. As a quarterback, Cain is just raw. If he really wants to play this position in college then he has his work cut out for him. FSU, UCF and USF have all offered Cain up to this point.
Tampa Bay Tech running back Deon Thompson is a nice talent at running back. He just lacks great size. He's only 5-foot-8ish. Thompson is cat quick with super feet. He also has good speed. He had several nice runs on the late including two touchdown runs, one of which was a 28-yarder. Thompson just picked up at Florida A&M offer on Friday. Marshall and Bethune-Cookman had previously offered him. He will visit the Thundering Herd this weekend.
Lastly for the Titans is Florida International bound linebacker Fred Russ. He's a tiny linebacker that plays much bigger than his size. He stands 5-foot-10 and plays on the inside. This kid is physical and not shy of contact. He's sound against the run and is quite the linebacker surprise. Pound for pound Russ is a terrific player.
For Plant, they just couldn't get into an offensive rhythm despite having super size on the offensive front. Here they are led by bookend tackles Ray Raulerson and Jake Fruhmorgen.
Raulerson, a Tennessee commitment, may project better on the inside at guard. He's big, has good length and good feet. At times he got in a little trouble in pass pro blocking the smaller, quicker defensive end on the edge.
Fruhmorgen is a good looking junior tackle that is huge and has a terrific frame. He's a long tackle with quickness and athleticism. He can bend and move. You can see why he has a handful of impressive offers from teams like Florida, Florida State, Miami, Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Tennessee and others.
Texas-bound senior linebacker Andrew Beck from Plant had a solid but unspectacular game. He was in on a handful of tackles and had a reception from the tight end position. Beck has good size and should develop nicely in his frame once he gets to Austin. He moves well, whether it's playing the run or dropping in coverage. He's disciplined, aggressive and one of the Panther leaders.
Geoff Vogt, Florida Recruiting Analyst
Naples (Fla.) Palmetto Ridge vs Naples (Fla.) Lely
Palmetto Ridge senior running back Ron Johnson
eclipsed 100 yards for the fifth straight game as Palmetto Ridge held off Lely for a hard fought 13-10 win. A 5-foot-11, 205 pounds, Johnson has really come on as a senior and showing the type of talent that should land him at the BCS level of football. Johnson showed some toughness running inside. Lely junior linemen Marcus Brown
is a player to keep an eye on. At 6-3, 330 he lined up at left tackle where he showed every tool there is athletically. He played some defensive tackle in goal line situations and we can envision him at nose guard at the next level, like Terrance Cody (Alabama) who also came from Southwest Florida. Quarterback Karbiel Dirogene is a play-maker, but will need to change positions at the next level.
Fort Myers (Fla) vs Naples (Fla.) Barron Collier
Fort Myers is well known for running the football, but it is a new year and a new offense for the Green Wave. Junior quarterback Dylan DeGroot is having an excellent season and junior athlete James Brunson is a special athlete. Look to hear more from both going forward, particularly Brunson who is capable of playing on either side of the ball (wide receiver/cornerback). We were very impressed with Barron Collier Michigan commit Brady Pallante as he plays the game 100 miles per hour on every play. He has added more weight and is a physical presence on every play. Fort Myers won this one with a series of big plays in the second half.
Bob Redman, Managing Editor of FighinGators.com
Citra (Fla.) North Marion vs Gainesville (Fla.) Eastside
This was a hard fought defensive struggle between a very hardnosed Eastside team and a very fast and skilled North Marion squad. In the end, The Rams from Eastside bullied their way up front on defense to win a close 13-10 matchup.
The Colts played a tough brand of defense themselves led by Scout300 linebacker De'Amontae Jackson. At 6-0 and 245, Jackson is a load in the middle of the defense but can also run very well. He has offers from Miami and Florida State at this time. The 2015 prospect was in on several tackles on the evening and plays in the backfield a lot. Fellow junior linebacker Alex Williams is also a load at about 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds. They both line up as inside backers a lot and take away the middle of the field.
On offense, sophomore quarterback Caleb Seiler showed an arm, but was a little too stationary for the blitzing and aggressive Eastside defense. The Colts couldn't get anything going until the substituted receiver Jack Reed at quarterback and he was able to use his legs as well as his arm to do damage. Reed is a jackrabbit on the field and may have been the fastest player on the field which says a lot with all of the speed that was present. He threw a 40-yard touchdown bomb to sophomore speedster Freddie Swain midway through the fourth quarter to make it a three point game. Swain is raw, but explosive. The Colts got solid running from senior Cameron Mackey, but fared better when they turned to 2015 speedster James Allen and let him do his thing. Allen isn't exactly a text book runner, but he is explosive and can make big time plays with his feet.
The player of the game for me was Eastside's Barry Johnson. The 6-foot-3, 260 pound Johnson made a living in the backfield of North Marion and just wreaked havoc all over the field. To really slow down the super athletic Colt offense and have six starters suspended tells you how well the senior Johnson and his defensive mates played. Johnson has offers from several schools that are not BCS programs, but he is good enough to play at that level in my opinion. Look for a story on him soon.
Running back and fellow senior Dontez Willis was a real surprise. Standing 5-foot-8, he is well put together at 180 pounds or so. Nick named ‘Tow Truck' I got to see firsthand why. On a 30-yard gain near the end of the game, Willis hit the hole hard and got into the middle of the defense, about 20 yards down field a quartet of defenders jumped on him and he carried them the remaining 10 yards. This kid isn't blazing fast, but some small colleges and even BCS programs need to take a hard look. He played both ways and was dominant on defense often times rushing in the backfield to make a tackle from his cornerback position. He played all but a a few plays and finished near the 100 yard rushing mark to go with several tackles on defense.
A couple of Ram juniors also stood out. Keiandre McCray made the game saving interception for Eastside. He's a reliable receiver that has good size (6-foot-3), he continues to improve from film I have already seen on him and becoming more of a natural receiver. He also plays corner where he made the interception in the closing minute of the game. The other junior is Octavius Simmons. He split time at running back with Willis and looked good doing so. He is a two way threat where he played some at corner and safety on defense.