The greater Tampa area produces some of the top athletes in Florida year after year and many in the class of 2011 and 2012 competed this past weekend at the Badger Sports Elite 7on7 Tournament held on the campus of USF. The tournament was a stage for the elite recruits, and Team Tampa's top prospects played well, but it's was also a great opportunity for the up-and-coming players to emerge.
Team Tampa's defense was coached by former USF Bull and pro corner Glen Davis and the offense was run by Coach Ronnie Blair.
Team Tampa's offense used a two-quarterback system the entire weekend and it worked out well. Jefferson's Quentin Williams (6-1/185) and Armwood's Josh Grady (6-1/175) both played had a good showing all weekend. Williams showed a strong arm and spread the ball around really well and made some big time throws. Grady didn't have as strong of an arm but showed accuracy and understanding of the game. Both did a good job of finding Tampa's stellar receivers and the two combined to throw 15 touchdowns and just three interceptions in five games.
Tampa receiving unit was as good as they come with Andre Davis and Ja'Juan Story headlining the crew, but, Chris Moore, Ruben Gonzalez, Frankie Williams, and A.J. King made key catches and emerged as prospects over the weekend.
At running back Tampa used a rotation of Armwood's rising junior Matt Jones who is a big strong runner but was impressive catching the ball out of the backfield, and Robinson's J.J. Hubbard who made big plays all weekend and was the surprise of the tourney. Both made a lot of big plays from both the running back and slot positions all weekend.
The defense was excellent all weekend as well, making key stops, picked off a lot of passes, and did a great job of keeping the other team out of the end zone all weekend. Freedom's LB Keith Lewis and Countryside's CB Alex Dixon are known commodities and showed that they are elite prospects. While Robinson's Ruben Gonzales lined up at safety and made some key plays and interceptions. QB Josh Grady was inserted at safety, showing a great understanding of the game and was always around the ball. Sophomore Donte Fowler was a late addition, and even though he plays mostly on the line showed he could move in space as well.
In a tournament that featured nearly 250 of the best skilled position players in all of Florida, the group of players from the greater Tampa Bay area surprised many with their performance this past weekend. USFNation.com was on hand all weekend and here's who the top performers were.
Team Tampa: Stock Up
Improved their status:
Andre Davis WR 6-2/180 (Jefferson) Davis only played in one game on Saturday due to baseball and one game on Sunday, but in those two games showed why he's an elite receiver. Davis doesn't have elite speed, but runs good routes and just catches the football. Davis caught a lot of balls in two games and showed he can move the chains and score touchdowns. He has great ball skills and knows how to go up and get the ball. He's a big receiver who showed he can adjust to the ball and make the tough catches. Davis already has multiple offers from top programs, and is a coveted receiver.
Alex Dixon CB 6'1-180 (Countryside) showed why he's considered the best corner in Pinellas County over the entire weekend. At 6'1, 180 pounds he's a big corner that uses his size well against receivers. He can flip his hips to cover routes, and makes plays. He had three interceptions in five games played, and a number of pass break-ups. Dixon was already considered the best corner in Pinellas County, but after his performance, that designation should be expanded to cover a larger region. He has offers from FSU, USF, West Virginia, and a recent offer from UNC.
Keith Lewis, LB 6'1-205 (Freedom) Lewis was the vocal leader for Team Tampa's defense this past weekend, and showed why he is considered a rising prospect. Lewis has the size to play linebacker but moves like a safety, showing good speed, and the ability to move side to side and showed great pass coverage ability. He has a good understanding of the game and made numerous pass break-ups all week-end. Lewis was a bit under the radar, but his recruitment has spiked this past month and has double-digit offers from top programs like Ole Miss, USF, Nebraska, Wake Forest, UNC, and Michigan to name a few. Expect more schools to take notice now.
Chris Moore, WR, 6-2/180 (Jefferson) Andre Davis may get all the accolades but Moore's name should be included in that conversation. All weekend long Moore was a force on the offense, running great routes and creating separation from the receivers to get into open. His hands are as good as they come, as he catches everything thrown his way. He not afraid to go through traffic and he made the tough catches, jumping or sliding. He not a burner, but has enough speed to eat up chunks of yardage, which he did all weekend. After this weekend performance teams will take notice and offers should be coming down the pike.
Ruben Gonzalez WR/DB, 6'3-185 (Robinson) was one of the surprise players this past weekend. He has great size and athleticism to go with it. He lines up at receiver for Robinson but played mostly safety and a receiver during the weekend. With Davis and Story out Ruben played receiver for three games and showed he can get open and make the tough catch, and out leaped his opponent in the end zone for several scores. He hasn't played much safety but during the weekend he was great at it. Under the guidance of Coach Glen Davis, Ruben showed speed, aggressiveness, and the ability to cover top receivers. He used his size and speed to break-up the big pass play, and also ability to jump routes, as he had three interceptions over the week-end. He is a player that has flown under the radar long enough, and teams will be taking notice of him this spring.
J.J. Hubbard RB, 5'8-155 (Robinson) was another standout on the offense, and made huge plays for Team Tampa all weekend. Hubbard lacks size but makes up for it with speed, shiftiness, and elite playmaking ability. Lining up at running back or in the slot, he would catch the ball, make a cut and burst down the field for long gains. His performance over the weekend should have teas checking him out with spring evaluation right around the corner.
Matt Jones, RB, 6'3-220 (Armwood) these type of events aren't best suited for a big back like Jones, but he showed great athletic ability all weekend. He displayed great speed, and the ability to catch balls out of the backfield. He's only a sophomore, but already holds offers from Georgia and South Carolina, and is garnering interest from a number of top programs. After his performance, expect more teams to jump on and offer.
Dante Fowler, LB/DE, 6'4-220 (Saint Petersburg Catholic) Dante was a late addition to Team Tampa, and made a name for himself out on the field. He plays defensive end/tight end at SPC, but played linebacker during the week-end, and did a great job. He has great athleticism and showed he can cover as well. Time and time again he made big plays, breaking up passes and snuffing any running plays teams attempted. I've watched Fowler since he was a freshman at Lakewood, and he continues to impress me with his ability. After this weekend, other college programs will know his name as well.
Other Notable Performers:
Quentin Williams QB, 6'0-185 (Jefferson) showed why he was the Hillsborough offensive player of the year over the weekend. He displayed a very strong arm and the ability to make the big throw. His arm strength was apparent and it made it difficult for defenders to try and jump his throws and make plays on the ball. He was easily one of the top five QB's at the event.
Josh Grady QB, 6'0-175 (Armwood) – Grady was a big surprise over the weekend. He's not known to have a cannon for an arm, but showed the ability to manage the game, find the open receiver, and make the throw. In five games he had 8 TDs and two interceptions that came off of tipped passes by the WRs. Grady also showed he can play on defense and when Team Tampa was having trouble in the secondary, Grady was inserted at safety and shut opposing players down.
A.J. King WR, 6'0-160 (Armwood) King made big plays in just about every game over the weekend. Playing in the slot he showed he's a playmaker with 4 touchdown grabs and two extra point catches.
Frankie Williams WR, 5'10-170(Robinson) Williams showed why he was an All-State selection as a junior by displaying speed and the ability to make catches and score.
Ja'Juan Story WR, 6'3-188 (Nature Coast) due to a track meet he only played on one game on Sunday, and didn't get a chance to showcase his ability.
After this weekend's performance many players on Team Tampa emerged as prospects, and people took notice. Now hopefully we'll watch the offers arrive for these kids, that they deserve.Click here for more info or to share your thoughts with other USFN insiders- Get the inside scoop!