Quarterback Cord Sandberg(2013) is a returning starter after a stand-out sophomore campaign. The southpaw is an athlete(also baseball prospect) with a very accurate arm. He has plenty of touch, but needs to develop his arm strength over the next two years. Sandberg can make plays with his feet, he did all night in this one, and also is accurate out of the pocket which makes him an excellent fit in this open offense. He is on many BCS schools radar at this time.
It appears that Leon Allen will take over at running back and he is a bigger version of Blakely. We were impressed with him even though he did not have a lot of room to operate. At 5'10+, 210+ he is a big back that runs hard and fights for yards. Allen missed his junior season, thus needs to put together a good senior campaign. If he does that, plenty of schools will be interested. Potential BCS back.
Manatee is a little weaker at wide receiver after Bundrage and Ace Sanders have departed the past two years. Anthony Lauro is the top weapon. The junior is just a player, he has a great understanding of the position, and runs good routes. Anthony Gordon and Ja'Quan Pollock showed the ability to make plays. Gordon's size(6'5) will definitely give him a long look in December.
Leading the defense was middle linebacker Darius White. White was active all night and displayed plus lateral agility, particularly for his 6'1, 225 body. Physical. He looks like the top linebacker in Southwest Florida.
Clint Heaven is back in action after missing time as a junior and he looked terrific. Playing Safety, he delivered several knock-out shots and was smooth in coverage. Heaven looked good enough to perhaps play cornerback at the next level. Heaven holds multiple BCS offers, but his stock could really rise this year.
After losing Pompey and Drakkar Wilson at defensive tackle you would figure that Manatee would take a step back at that position. That is likely not the case however as Derrick Calloway and DeMarcus Christmas apppear more than capable of taking over. Calloway is built right at 6'1, 300 and has all the athleticism. He uses his hands really well while really coming on late in the game. Christmas is very raw and just a sophomore, but at 6'2, 260 he has the athletic tools. He is one to watch over the next couple of years.
Providing the pass rush will be Marquis Dawsey. He got injured in the middle of this one, but is a proven talent that will only get better. He might be an OLB at the next level.
Overall this team is certainly capable of putting a run together in the playoffs. There is plenty of talent and if the OL improves and Allen develops, this offense will be virtually unstoppable. The defense is already great.