ESPN Rise GK: Southeast Elite Eight

The Southeast team at ESPN Rise's Gridiron Kings event was loaded with talent and came away with the championship. There were many performances from that bunch worthy of mention, but here were the eight players who had the best days.

ESPN Rise - Southeast Elite Eight
gerald Christian - TE - Palm Beach Dwyer (Fla.)
Christian won offensive MVP and rightly so. He made play after play and proved to be a matchup issue for many of the teams. He is a great athlete who runs great routes and has good hands. He isn't particularly big, but he makes up for that in every other area. I could see him as an H-Back type in college who will make teams work hard to be aware of where he is because he is such a good receiver.

ivan mccartney - WR - Miramar (Fla.)
McCartney made the play of the tournament, catching a slant for a touchdown to win 1st place for his team, but he made more plays than just that. He is a taller, skinnier kid who is runs crips, smooth routes and effortlessly snatches the ball out of the air. He made a lot of catches underneath and on intermediate routes. I didn't get a chance to see him get down the field too much, but he got open consistently and made a lot of catches.

Jonathan Dowling - FS - Bradenton Southeast (Fla.)
Dowling was outstanding from his free safety spot. He is incredibly rangy and does a good job reading and anticipating routes. After the Midwest team hit a couple deep balls to Kyle Prater, the Southeast countered by putting Dowling over the top of him and he responded by breaking up two passes. In college, it will be an asset for Florida to be able to put a kid with his type of size and coverage ability back there. He is thin and needs to fill out, but I see a bright future for this great athlete.

Christian green - WR - Tampa Catholic (Fla.)
This high school quarterback has been proving all this summer that he is one of the top wide receiver prospects not only in the state, but in the country. He did not make as many catches as some of the other receivers at this event, but he did show why he is so highly regarded. He has good size and the speed and quickness to go with it. He has great hands for a kid who hasn't played a ton of receiver. He makes it look easy as he just pulls the ball out of the air.

Kenny Shaw - wr - Orlando Dr. Phillips (Fla.)
There were barely enough balls to go around for all the great receivers on the southeast squad, but Shaw earned the respect of many of the defensive backs in Orlando. One top cover man said Shaw was the toughest player he faced in the two days down there, as he ate up cushion quicker than any other receiver in attendance. His quickness and route running skills together allowed him to get open. He needs to get bigger, but he has a natural ability to separate and make catches.

Matt Elam - S - Palm beach dwyer (Fla.)
Elam is an impressive kid all around. He is stocky and built like a college strong safety, but is able to run around and cover like many free safeties would. He did not get a ton of opportunities to make plays on the ball, but he was able to flash ability in coverage and although the ball did not come his way often, when it did, he made plays. He can a variety of roles in college and Florida fans should be excited about what they are getting with this kid.

Roy Finch - RB - Niceville (fla.)
I thought Finch made the most impact out of any running back there. He caught a lot of passes out of the backfield and showed explosive ability after the catch. He also moved into the slot a few times and looked good there. He is not the biggest kid, but he is great in space and his strengths should make him a change of pace and versatile player for Oklahoma.

Demarcus Milliner - CB - Millbrook Stanhope Elmore (Ala.)
Millner had a solid tournament. He was beaten once by Kyle Prater, but he was in good position and got outjumped by Prater. He made up for it by not giving up a completion for the rest of that game. Later on, he showed his outstanding speed by tracking down Dillon Baxter from behind. A kid this big running that fast was impressive to see. The sky is the limit for Milliner, he is a great athlete who could play a couple different positions, but cornerbacks his size are rare.

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