We were at a handful of games around the Southeast this past weekend, including games in Florida and Alabama.
Chad Simmons, National Recruiting Analyst
Ironside (Ala.) Shades Valley vs Hoover (Ala.)
This game was tight in the first half even after Shades Valley threw two interceptions two of their first three possessions on their side of the field. Hoover went to half with a 10-7 lead, but it opened things up in the third quarter. Shades Valley scored late in the game, but Hoover won 33-14 to move to the third round of the playoffs.
The top prospect in this contest is 2014 five-star Marlon Humphrey from Hoover. The top cornerback was not thrown at any in this game and Shades Valley kept the ball out of his hands on special teams too, except for once. He returned a free kick 80 yards for a score. He showed elite speed. Plenty of other Hoover prospects shined and Bradrick Shaw, a junior running back with Ole Miss and Mississippi State offers had 134 yards on the ground and two scores. He has two more touchdowns called back as well. On defense, four-star junior outside linebacker Darrell Williams had a couple of tackles for loss, an interception, and multiple pressures. Sophomore cornerback P.J. Hall had a late interception and he is a corner with good size (5-foot-11, 175 pounds) and ball skills.
Shades Valley's top performer was 2015 athlete Keith Mixon. He returned a kickoff 96 yards yards in the first half and he finished the game with 274 total yards. He is small (5-8, 169 pounds), but very elusive and quick. He was the Shades Valley offense. Five-star junior defensive tackle Daron Payne only played about half the game due to an ankle sprain. He is very strong and he pushed the pocket back, but he was not a huge factor in this game. When in the game, he faced constant double-team blocks.
Jamie Newberg, National Recruiting Analyst
Dade City (Fla.) Pasco vs Citra (Fla.) North Marion
This was a game filled with several outstanding Division 1 prospects in the classes of 2015 and 2016. Heading this group was five-star sophomore wide receiver Nate Craig
from Pasco. He's certainly bigger (6-4/205), stronger and faster than when I saw him explode in their playoff loss to Tampa Robinson one year ago. Craig only managed three receptions but that was not his fault, as the Raiders just couldn't accurately get him the ball. His first two catches were key third down conversions in the second quarter. On the first, he ran an out and got leveled by a Colts defender. On the second, Craig ran a go route and made a very nice catch with the defensive back draped all over him. This kid is so smooth, runs so well and he knows how to use his body to his advantage. Craig already holds [verbal] offers from teams like FSU, Florida
, Ohio State
and a host of others. When it's all said and done he will be able to name his school.
The big name recruit for North Marion is linebacker De'Amontae Jackson. He told me after the game that Florida State and Alabama were his two favorites and that both programs have offered. Jackson is roughly 6-foot-0 (may be a tad shorter) and that will turn into a concern with colleges who believe size (height) matters. For me, it won't because this kid that flat out play ball. I love his versatility. On Friday he lined up at outside and inside linebacker and put his hand in the dirt to play defensive tackle. Jackson also lined up over the slot. This is a physical kid who has some explosiveness for a defensive player. He gets off blocks well and is a punisher. At 240-pounds or so he plays well in space. There's no doubt he will be one of the top middle linebackers in Florida in the 2015 class.
Jackson's teammate, James Allen, is a superb looking running back. He's 6-foot-0, 187-pounds and is another member of the class of 2015. Allen has that smooth style for the position. He has good speed and deceptive power. I think his best attribute are his feet and lateral movement. I would love to see what he could do at the cornerback position. There were a few runs where he got in the open field and you can see him open up his hips, change direction and accelerate. Don't get me wrong, I like his upside on offense but he could turn himself a big corner and those guys are so hard to find. Allen told me after the game that he grew up dreaming of playing for the Gators. Florida is recruiting him along with most of the schools in the SEC, ACC, as well as USF and UCF.
Another impressive underclassmen for North Marion was sophomore wide receiver Freddie Swain. He had a huge play in the first half with a 50-yard catch and run. In fact, that's his sixth straight game with at least one reception of 50 yards or more. He has good height at 6-foot-1 or so and plenty of time to fill out his lanky frame. Heck, he's just a sophomore. He catches the ball well and shows elusiveness with the ball.
There were prospects in the senior class. Malik Johns from Pasco had a huge game. He returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Johnson lined up everywhere on offense, playing quarterback, running back and wide receiver. He also played in the secondary. He's a tough, gritty kid with speed and quickness who certainly has a future at the next level, likely as a slot wide receiver. FAU, FIU and Appalachian State have offered Johns.
Both teams got off to a bit of a slow start on offense. Wharton did a great job stopping the Dr. Phillips run at first, but DP got going in the second quarter and went into halftime with a 14-3 lead. They went on to take the 37-10 playoff win. Wharton quarterback Chase Litton was 24-42 for 165-yards, two interceptions, and no touchdowns. The Dr. Phillips defense lead by corners
, was solid and suffocating. On offense, senior receiver Roderick Proctor was 6-8 for 73-yards receiving and a touchdown. Athlete
was 2-2 for 64-yards receiving, and rushed for 22-yards and a touchdown on four carries. Dr. Phillips takes on Tampa (Fla.) Plant next week in Tampa.