We were at a handful of games around the Southeast this past weekend, including games in Florida and Georgia. St. Thomas Aquinas defensive tackle prospect Anthony Moten was one of a handful of recruits that had a great game.
Chad Simmons, National Recruiting Analyst
Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern vs Acworth (Ga.) North Cobb
This was built up to be a big game and it lived up to the hype. Even though North Cobb was at home with only one loss this season, the Warriors were the underdog and they upset No. 2 ranked McEachern to even their records at 6-1. 2015 quarterback Tyler Queen, an Auburn commitment led the Warriors with over 300 yards of total offense. He threw two interceptions in the first half, but came back with a couple of touchdowns in the second half. He made some crucial runs and crucial throws down the stretch. The four-star signal caller is the son of the head coach Shane Queen and it showed in this game. One of the McEachern players said, "He [Tyler] is a coach on the field."
North Carolina commitment struggled a bit offensively at wide receiver dropping a couple of passes, but the three-star safety picked a pass off in the fourth quarter, and that was big. Don't sleep on J'vonte Herrod, a senior running back for North Cobb. He is a strong back with good balance and he moved the chains for the Warriors on many occasions Friday night. Look for his recruitment to pick up.
McEachern has a stronger roster when talking Division 1 prospects and the star for the Indians on offense was Ty Clemons. He plays quarterback and he had a couple of long runs in the fourth quarter that gave McEachern a chance in this game. He will likely play wide receiver or defensive back on the next level. On defense, sophomore Julian Rochester, a 6-foot-5, 290 pound tackle could become a national recruit in the near future. He was in the backfield often, he had almost half a dozen tackles for loss, and he is a name you will hear a lot more about soon. The top juniors for McEachern are running back Taj Griffin and offensive tackle Chuma Edoga. Griffin was really held in check against the swarming North Cobb defense, but Edoga was impressive. He is light on his feet, solid as a run blocker, and strong in pass protection. Both are Scout 100 prospects.
Jamie Newberg, National Recruiting Analyst
Weston (Fla.) Cypress Bay vs Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas
It was another dominating performance for St. Thomas Aquinas, as the Raiders dominated Cypress Bay and showed a national TV audience on FOXSports 1 that they are truly one of the elite high school football programs in the country.
St. Thomas Aquinas had two stars for the game in running back Mardre London and defensive end Anthony Moten. London ran wild in the first quarter, setting the tone and scoring the game's first touchdown from 31-yards out. He's got good size (6-1/205) and runs with patience, power, vision and speed. When it comes to backs from Florida he's certainly should be considered an elite recruit. London has recently visited Wisconsin, Nebraska and Michigan State and tripped to Illinois this past weekend.
Meanwhile, Moten made a serious case for being considered the state's No. 1 ranked defensive tackle prospect with a stunning and dominating performance in the trenches. Playing end in their 3-4 scheme he was simply unblockable. Cypress Bay tried everything and flat out just couldn't block him. This former Florida Gator commitment was the quickest player off the ball. He showed a great get off, strength, quickness and made a ton of plays behind and down the line of scrimmage. It was truly a great performance by one of Florida's top defensive line prospects.
Staying on this side of the ball, Nick Bosa is going to be a special talent for St. Thomas Aquinas. Only a sophomore, Bosa is already 6-foot-3, 245-pounds. He's the younger brother of Ohio State freshman Joey Bosa. At the same stage Nick is more athletic. This Bosa is physical and fast.
Another underclassman that shows promise is outside linebacker Christopher Hart. Hart, 6-foot-3, 225-pounds, sometimes puts his hand down when they go to a four-man front. Hart can rush the passer and play in space. He's a BCS recruit.
The Raiders are blessed at the receiver position. On this night, no one really went off because they were so strong in the run game. Notre Dame commitment Corey Holmes only caught two short passes. Junior bluechipper Devante Peete got behind the Lightning secondary once on a long post pattern down to the one yard line. Peete is enormous, standing close to 6-foot-5. He's deceptively fast and making great strides as a player this season. Another 2015 recruit will be Jawaun Harris. He was the most active among this trio on this night. While he did have one drop Harris made several nice catches and did some damage after the reception. He also showed he's dangerous on punt returns. Harris is having a fine season and will have plenty of college options next year.
Pitt bound quarterback Wade Freebeck had a pretty good overall night. He has begun to find his rhythm in the St. Thomas Aquinas offense. While he did miss on a throw or two, he did make a handful of nice passes. This kid has good size and a lot of tools and you can see that he does have a future on Saturdays.
Unfortunately for Cypress Bay, they really couldn't get much going. They have been besieged by injuries but they showed a lot of fight and character in their loss to the Raiders. Cornerback Deion Hallmon played some offense and made a play or two. This former Rutgers commitment has good speed, quickness and ball skills. Defensive back Marquese Dudley-Gordon is a likely future safety who is not afraid to stick his nose in the mix. He now favors Iowa State, Pitt and Cincinnati. The Lightning do have two junior bookend defensive ends in Anthony Bennett and Danny Thomas. Thomas had a pretty good night, making plays on both sides of the ball. He also played tight end. Both Thomas and Bennett could project as outside linebackers in college.
Geoff Vogt, Florida Recruiting Analyst
Deerfield Beach (Fla.) vs Coconut Creek (Fla.) Monarch
What a terrific game Friday night between two undefeated teams in a key district contest. Monarch jumped out early to a 14-0 lead behind an interception from top junior Calvin Ridley and a big play from their other superstar junior Shawn Burgess-Becker. Both athletes will be among the country's best for the 2015 cycle. However, Deerfield Beach was the more athletic, more physical team and that started to show in the 2nd quarter. Running backs Brandon Powell (Miami commit) and Aaron McNeil are big plays waiting to happen, but it was their tough running inside that made the difference in the game. Senior quarterback Danarious Graham did not have his best night, but he made two to three jaw-dropping plays and showed why he is a considered one of the top quarterbacks, in terms of tools in the state. Powell won the game with a nine yard run in OT. Both teams should be safely in the playoffs.
Bob Redman, Managing Editor of FighinGators.com
Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy vs Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian
IMG Academy has their stars in their first year program. The top guy to watch is running back Bo Scarborough who we have already eyeballed this season. Scarborough had a rough time early in the contest and wasn't getting much from his offensive line. He is a guy that is patient too with his terrific size at 6-foot-2 and 234 pounds. The Alabama
commit who was visiting Notre Dame this weekend following the game showed off his terrific acceleration when he scored for the first time in the start of the third quarter and took a screen on the left side 38 yards for a touchdown. He seemed to be the focus for the offense early in the game and ran the ball on the first five plays of the contest, however, he was stuffed for a five-yard loss on the first play and then a two-yard loss on play two. On 3rd and 17, he raced 18 yards for a first down, and then another couple of negative plays. Scarborough, who is also considering Ole Miss
and Florida got his game untracked in the third quarter and added a 10 yard touchdown run finishing with 85 yards on 13 carries.
Penn State commitment Michael O'Connor wasn't much of a factor until late as Trinity was all over the field on defense. When it got crunch time, the Ascenders turned to O'Connor and he helped lead a couple of touchdown drives late in the game completing 13 of 19 passes for 179 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. O'Connor has the tools to be a big timer and showed well in two-minute style offense.
Upstaging Scarborough on the night was sophomore trinity running back Jalin Buie. The 2016 prospect is short on stature but not on athletic ability. With two years to grow, he raced 22 times for 190 yards and two touchdowns including an 80 yard electrifying run on the first play of a drive in the fourth quarter. As good a night as Buie had, 2014 prospect and receiver Isaiah Ford added another all-star caliber game. While Buie scored first, Ford took a couple of end around runs and the team on his back in the third quarter and raced for two touchdowns to give the Conquerors a 20-9 lead. He also had a pivotal interception of O'Connor.
Defensively a pair of 2015 linebackers Jeffery Holland and Victor Alexander helped make it difficult for IMG to do much of anything until the game got late. Holland has elite size for a junior and plays the game fast and ferocious. He also had a big catch for a first down on fourth down. It was his defense in the game that made a huge difference and he teamed with Alexander on the game's first play to stop Scarborough for a five yard loss. Cornerback and LSU commit Kevin Toliver is as good as a cornerback as you will find. The class of 2015 prospect is physically mature for his age, he runs like a deer, and is ultra-athletic and shut down his receiver all night. Toliver also played quarterback where he is asked to run the ball and amassed 50 yards on 11 carries on the night. Behind the strong defensive play and big offensive plays from Ford and Buie, Trinity Christian won the game 27-24 against the previously unbeaten IMG Academy.