Geoff Voght, Florida Recruiting Analyst
Miami (Fla.) Central vs Gainesville (Fla.)
Miami Central won their second state title and appeared in the championship game for the third straight season as they ascend to the top of the Dade County food chain. Junior running backs Joseph Yearby and Dalvin Cook were their usual incredible selves. It was Yearby's consistent rushing that led the team to victory, but Cook provided the big play on a a reception early in the first quarter where he was off to the races. Yearby is like Frank Gore, Cook is like Darrin McFadden. Both will be ranked in the top 10 running backs in the country next year and now can walk with three state titles.
Junior offensive linemen Trevor Darling (Miami commitment) and Reginald Bain will also be heavily recruited. At 6-foot-4 Darling is an ideal offensive tackle because he of his athleticism and raw size. Darling has gotten more physical over the years and is on track to be an early producer at the next level. Bain is not a household name now, but his length (6-4) and athleticism should make him an intriguing prospect in the spring. Bain played mainly inside this year, but could slide to tackle next year.
Sophomore wide receiver DeVontae Phillips will be a national prospect, he did not get much opportunity in this game due to the running game hitting on all cylinders, but at 6-foot-1 with legit speed, he should be very heavily recruited.
Defensively Miami Central is just so fast at every level on the field. Marquez Hodge (Syracuse), Ahmad Thomas (Oklahoma), and Deatrick Nichols (junior) are probably the top prospects on that side of the ball. Hodge is always around the football and probably will be a middle linebacker at Syracuse. Thomas plays safety and may stick there (definitely has the speed), but he could grow into a weak-side linebacker where he would have plus coverage skills. Nichols was one of the few non-senior starters on the 2010 state title team, now as a junior he is on track to being a BCS recruit. He is tough as nails with man coverage skills.
Unfortunately Gainesville couldn't get much of anything going against Central but the Rockets dominated the line of scrimmage. Linebacker Keith Kelsey showed by he was one of the most underrated players at his position in the state. Kelsey has good size (6-foot-2 and 215-pounds) and looks even bigger than that. He moves well laterally and downhill. Kelsey is aggressive and physical. He finished with double digit tackles even though the Hurricanes were outmanned from the start.
Offensively, the bright spot for Gainesville was running back Raphael Webb. He outraced a very fast Central defense for an 80-yard score. That was impressive in itself. Webb, 5-foot-10 and 190-pounds, runs with a little power and determination. Junior running back Tony James and Florida-bound receiver Chris Thompson were non-factors.
Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby vs Immokalee (Fla.)
Godby defeated Immokalee 21-20. The Indians score as time expired but missed the extra-point to win by a point.
Godby has a versatile offense where the Cougars can beat you via the air or on the ground. On this day it was the rushing attack led by their talented junior quarterback J.T. Bradwell. Bradwell and Kentucky bound running back Khalid Thomas combined for 147 yards on the ground. Thomas had the game winning score from 28-yards out. Thomas's partner in the backfield is Tim Longmire, another senior standout. He helped the Cougars offensive attack is the passing game, where he completed two pass on half-back options for 54 big yards. He also caught three passes for 57-yards. Both Thomas and Longmire lack big size but they are versatile as runners and receivers out of the backfield.
One of Godby's defensive stars of the title game was junior defensive end Jacob Pugh. He finished with seven tackles, two sacks and two tackles for a loss.
Pugh, 6-foot-4 and 210-pounds, is long and rangy with excellent speed off the edge. Even against the athletic Immokalee Indians he showed out and was one of the top athletes on the field. A fault is that sometimes Pugh gets a tad aggression and would love contain. Overall though Pugh played a super game and looks to be one of the better defensive prospects from the state next season.
A sophomore standout for Godby is athlete Jaylin Hayward. Against Immokalee he lined at running back, receiver, quarterback and cornerback. He can do a little bit of everything. At 5-foot-9 and 170-pounds, he can fly. College programs have already taken notice. He currently holds [verbal] offers from Florida State, Florida, Miami and Kentucky.
One of the most clutch performers for Immokalee has always been quarterback Tshumbi Johnson. While he struggled early, he came on late to lead Immokalee back with no time remaining. Unfortunately a botched extra point sent the Indian's home, but Johnson proved once again he can make plays when it matters. The 5-foot-11 and 170-pound Johnson could line up at quarterback, running back, wide receiver or cornerback at the next level due to his elite quickness and toughness (played much of the season with a severe shoulder injury). We like his potential at wide receiver, particularly in the slot. Tshumbi's brother, junior Dee Johnson has really developed over the past year and is now is likely to land at the BCS level. Johnson showed a tremendous amount of versatility with big plays in the run and passing game. We also love his ability to run inside and he has a lot more wiggle than many believe. Dee needs to continue to add weight and get faster.
Mackensie Alexander, J.C. Jackson, and Xavier Richardson each play wide receiver and defensive back for the Indian's. Alexander is a unanimous top five cornerback in the country, but it was on the offensive side of the ball that he made most of his plays (Godby ran the football). Alexander's combination of physicality, pure cover ability, and instincts should make him an instant impact type at the next level. Jackson is just a junior (and FSU commit). He can flat out run with anyone. Mostly a wide receiver heading into the season, he really developed at cornerback, and may play there at the next level. Richardson, a USF commit, made an interception at safety and came through with several huge catches at wide receiver, including the touchdown to potentially tie the game as time expired. He is another player that entered the season at one position (WR), but may have ended it with another (safety) being his future. Richardson has ideal size.
Deadrin Senat (6-1, 310), Mackenro Alexander (6-1, 190), and Jimmy Bayes (6-4, 190) are the top talents in the front seven on defense. Senat never leaves the field playing both defensive tackle and left tackle. He has unbelievable strength and is an explosive athlete for his size. Once an FSU commit, he is now evaluating his options. Mackenro settled into the middle linebacker position position where he will leave as the all-time leading tackler in Immokalee history. His ability to play sideline to sideline and drop into coverage is what makes him special. He has the potential to slide back to safety in college. Bayes plays defensive end and wide receiver. He has outstanding length and just needs to add weight. He looks like he will be recruited at the outside linebacker position and should land at the BCS level.
Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas vs Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln
John O'Korn started this season with many questions as he had not played much in Florida, but he ended the season by answering many of those questions with a brilliant performance in the state title game. O'Korn threw for close to 400-yards and ran for close to 100, but it was not just the total yards that was impressive, he did it at key times. O'Korn, a Houston commit, has the size, arm strength, and athleticism to be a difference maker at the next level. His toughness, both mental and physical, is extremely endearing and he left it all on the field.
Running back Fred Coppet was sensational and instrumental in St. Thomas's state championship win in 2010, but he has not always shown that game breaking ability in the time since. STA went to him early and often and he delivered some excellent runs in a very consistent manner. Coppet has 4.4 [forty] speed and should fit in a more spread type offense at the next level. Junior wide receiver Corey Holmes has all the talent and he was flat out unstoppable in the first half with three big catches in the passing game. STA is on a run with wide receivers (Leonard Hankerson, Duron Carter, Dwayne Difton, Phil Dorsett, Rashad Greene) and now Holmes is clearly in that class. It is the above mentioned Greene that is the best comparison to Holmes and it was Holmes sneaky speed that stood out the most in this one. The offensive line is littered with young talent.
St Thomas defensive linemen Joey Bosa (6-4/ 270) and Anthony Moten (6-2/ 280) were their usual disruptive selves. Bosa looked like an NFL player physically and played with a good motor. His best fit may be in the five technique in the 3-4, but he can easily play on the strong-side at defensive end or slide inside to defensive tackle on passing downs. The son of an NFL first round pick, Bosa has the bloodlines and now the skill-set (and coaching) to help immediately. Moten is just a junior and figures to be heavily recruited in the next cycle.
Lance Vigille, Al Harris, and Franklyn Richardson all enjoyed solid games for the STA defense.
Lincoln did have a few bright spots on this night. Super sophomore John Burt returned the opening kickoff for a score, showing why he will likely be the next big thing for the Trojans. He broke a tackle around mid-field and showed outstanding speed.
Senior Taj Williams stood out on both sides of the ball at receiver and cornerback. This is a big kid at 6-foot-3 and 195-pounds that made plays at cornerback. He has in on a handful of pass breakups and had some key receptions for the Trojans. He does have a good shot at playing defense at the next level. Williams unique because you don't find corners with that size.
Georgia commit Reggie Davis had a handful of nice plays. This is a future slot receiver with excellent speed and quickness. He's the fastest player on this speedy Lincoln team. This kid has a great burst once he gets his hands on the ball.
A sleeper among the Lincoln seniors is free safety Jameron Blount. He had one of the plays of the game in the first quarter. O'Korn was trying to go deep and Blount made an outstanding play on the ball, showing great range, speed, athleticism and ball skills in making an acrobatic interception. A fraction of a second any later and it would have been a touchdown.
Apopka (Fla.) vs Weston (Fla.) Cypress Bay
Apopka defeated Cypress Bay 53-50 in one of the most thrilling high school football games you will ever see. The Blue Darters were led by junior signal caller Zack Darlington. He accounted for 254 yards passing and 130 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Darlington, 6-foot-1 and 190-pounds, showed why he will be considered on Division 1 quarterback next season in the class of 2014. He has a strong and accurate arm. Darlington throws with velocity and touch and can make all the passes. He can also beat you with his legs, showing good speed, the ability to extend a play and run the football.
Cypress Bay senior running back Matt Dayes rushed the ball 22 times for 174-yards and scored four touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 36 yards. On this night, he was a thoroughbred. He has good size at 5-foot-10 and 200-pounds. He runs with tremendous power. In fact, most of his yards came after first contact. He has good speed and balance and made a few ‘wow' runs on the night when you thought the defense either had him stopped or pinned. Dayes was previously committed to N.C. State but has backed off his pledge.
Lightning wide receiver Alex Montgomery was equally as impressive. He caught nine passes for 199-yards and scored three touchdowns and had a key two-point conversion. Montgomery, 6-foot-1 and 195-pounds, made two spectacular touchdown receptions on virtually identical catches. Both were one-handed grabs over a defender draped all over him. Time and time again, when the Lightning needed to move the chains or need a big play in the passing game Montgomery was their go to guy. Montgomery was previously committed to Wake Forest but has opened up his recruitment.
Erin Hartigan, Midlands Field Reporter
No. 3 DeSoto vs No. 26 Allen
Texas 5A-I State Semifinal
It was under the lights of SMU's Ford Stadium amidst a crowd of nearly 20,000 Saturday night that the unbeaten Eagles of DeSoto saw their 2012 run come to a bitter 51-36 end, courtesy of the Allen Eagles and their dominant run game defense. A defense that knew it couldn't let up at any point against Oregon-bound running back Dontre Wilson- even with an ankle sprain. Wilson, who entered the game with 1,856 yards and 36 scores rushing, ran for only 39 yards and a score, while splitting out wide for 59 yards and another touchdown on seven catches.
DeSoto quarterback Desmon White completed 30 of 52 passes for 371 yards and three touchdowns; yet, still it was not enough to outscore well-oiled (and very conditioned) Allen. For a full 48, sophomore quarterback Kyler Murray and senior running back Marcus Ward applied the heat- Murray throwing for only 95 and a touchdown, but running for 100 and another two scores. Ward certainly helped set the table for all three touchdowns, racking up 228 yards on 32 handoffs.
The high-powered tandem, Coach Tom Westerberg and Co. now sit just a single win away from a state title, set to square off with Houston Lamar Saturday in a 8:00 p.m. CT kickoff at Dallas Cowboys Stadium.
Kevin Carden, West Recruiting Analyst
Oakdale (Calif.) vs. Gardena (Calif.) Serra
Serra junior athlete Adoree Jackson put on a show during the state championship game on Saturday night at the Home Depot Center. The elite cornerback/wide receiver showed off his amazing athleticism on a catch and run, in which he made several defenders miss, and finished it off with a leap over a defender into the end zone. Jackson, who will be one of the top defensive back recruits in the country next season, also added a 78-yard score on a fake punt. Junior quarterback Jalen Greene also had a solid night passing the ball and added 100-plus yards on the ground as well. Greene continues to make strides in the passing game and showed improved touch in the victory. Marques Rodgers had three rushing touchdowns for the Cavaliers.
Brian Dohn, East Recruiting Analyst
Clairton (Pa.) vs. Dunmore (Pa.)
Four-star athlete Tyler Boyd acceleration and speed stood out in a blowout win as Clairton won its fourth straight PIAA Class A title. He didn't have a big impact catching the ball, but he was able to knife through the line of scrimmage and pick up yards quickly as a running back. He has elusiveness and burst, but he will need to increase his strength and size. He missed the end of the game with a left shoulder injury.
Clairton receiver Terrish Webb continued to impress and show he could be a BCS receiver. The former Kent State commit tracks the ball well and has good hand-eye coordination. He was sharp on his routes and showed why Pittsburgh has been on his lately.
Pittsburgh commit Titus Howard, who plays cornerback, did not play because of a dislocated elbow. Dunmore has an interesting prospect in 6-foot-7 junior offensive tackle James McHale, who is looking for his first offer. McHale showed good athleticism in pulling and was able to pancake a few Clairton defensive linemen, but he lost the leverage battle several times and also needs to work on playing with a stronger base.
Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep vs. Warminster (Pa.) Archbishop Wood
Cathedral Prep won the PIAA Class AAA title and four-star quarterback and Michigan State commit Damion Terry was a huge reason. Terry was impressive, be it running the ball or with his arm. He has above average arm strength and was accurate. He made good reads down the field and often found the matchup advantage, even if it didn't result in a completion. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Terry moved well in the pocket and is also a threat with his feet, but he is a thrower first and when he felt pressure, he was able to feel it and get away, but he always kept his eyes down the field.
Another Cathedral Prep standout, safety Delton Williams, ish eading to Michigan State as an athlete. Williams spent a lot of the game in run support, and at 6-2, 210 pounds, he looks and moves like a linebacker in college. He plays physical and reads the run well, and also did a nice job in coverage, but he looked markedly more comfortable against the run.
Archbishop Wood's marquee player was Rutgers commit Nick Arcidiacono,a blocking tight end who has improved plenty this season. He locks onto an opponent and drives his legs well, and spins the defender to create a running lane. He is used in pass patterns now and again, and showed good hands, but his routes will have to tighten up.
And for those looking deep into the future, plenty of college recruiters will be at AB Wood in future years to check in on 2016quarterback Tom Garlick. He needs experience, but he started and showed nice arm strength and athleticism.
Wyomissing (Pa.) Area vs. Aliquippa (Pa.)
Notre Dame commit Alex Anzalone, a four-star outside linebacker, overcame a rough start with two first-quarter fumbles but had a big impact in the second half of a come-from-behind win in the PIAA Class AA title game.
In the first half he was caught heading up field too quickly and ran himself out of plays, but he was moved from outside linebacker to inside linebacker in the second half and was a force. He pursued well, even running down 2014 running back Dravon Henry on the edge, and also made a stellar playing coverage. He moves well laterally, plays hard and is physically and mentally tough.
Henry was the standout for Aliquippa, showing great balance and acceleration. He also demonstrated creativity, jumping over a defender on one play to turn a 7-yard play into a 30-yard run. He has a good feel for running between the tackles and manipulates his body well while remaining square and getting up the field.
Wexford (Pa.) North Allegheny vs. Coatesville (Pa.)
Five-star offensive lineman Patrick Kugler ended his career with a blowout win in the PIAA Class AAAA, and he is a blocking machine despite having a torn labrum in his left shoulder. Kugler fires out quickly and gets under the defensive player, and then drives him back and doesn't stop until the play is over. He will play inside at Michigan, but he has the good kind of nasty streak to punish players.
Coatesville has a pair of 2014 players with FBS talent in linebacker Tyler Burke and cornerback Daquan Worley.
Burke, who also plays tight end, projects to a middle linebacker, but at 6-3, 215 pounds could grow into a defensive lineman. He runs straight ahead well but needs to improve his lateral movement.
Coatesville's linebackers were overwhelmed by North Allegheny's size and speed and gave up 63 points. Worley, who also plays running back, was strong in coverage. He plays physical and comes up in run support, but at 5-foot-10 is on the low end of cornerback height. As a running back, he showed good vision and accelerated through the line of scrimmage, but he did not show breakaway speed, although he did have a long touchdown run thanks to a downfield block to clear the final 30 yards.