After spending a good part of the last several months traveling around the state to watch the state's best players, I'm ready to profile 70 of the state's premier players.
(note: listed height and weights are legit to the best of my ability and may not match what you may see at other sources.)
NOTE: THIS LIST IS IN NO WAY AFFILIATED WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI. RATHER, IT'S SIMPLY THE AUTHOR'S OPINION.
* in-person evaluation in game situation
# in-person evaluation in a camp setting
^ film evaluation
1. *#^ Antone Smith, RB, 5-8, 190, Pahokee
We saved the best for last. It's never easy selecting a kid as the state's top overall prospect. However, Smith has shown more reasons for it than anyone else up to this point. Up until last year, Devin Hester and Santana Moss were the two fastest players I had ever seen in pads on the field. Smith joined the mix and will likely take that honor by himself as a senior next season. Here's a kid who was running a legit10.8 as a freshman in high school! In fact, his 100m times as a freshman were better than all the seniors who signed with Florida's Big 3 that year (including Hester). He really ran wild as a sophomore, going for almost 2,000 yards and over 20 touchdowns. He was unstoppable, especially late in the season. He finished as the state runner up in the 100m and 200m (22.11) at the end of his sophomore year. An ankle injury that ended up bothering him the entire season slowed him down as a junior but he still ran for over 1,000 yards and helped Pahokee win a state championship. I remember watching him closely in that state title game. He'd come in, run for 20 yards, and then limp off. He was in obvious pain. Then for 3rd and three, he'd come back in, run for four yards, and then limp off again. He did it the entire day and proved that he's as tough as you'll find at this age. His first ten yards through the hole are as explosive as any back this state's had in many years. He's a threat to take it the distance every time he touches it. His ability to make people miss is sick. While he doesn't have the ideal height you look for in a running back, neither did Barry Sanders (5-7) or Emmitt Smith (5-9) – two future Hall of Famers who ran wild on NFL defenses for a long time. He does have some bulk and at 190 pounds now, Smith will likely be a 215-pound running back by the time he's into his third year in college. His work ethic is outstanding. Pahokee coach Leroy Foster won't even start talking about Smith's physical skills before making sure you know what type of leader and teammate Smith is. "He absolutely loves the game' Foster said. "He loves his teammates. He brings out the best in everyone around him. He's well liked by everyone, he's just a natural leader for us." If he stays healthy as a senior, there's no telling what Smith could do. Not only is making a run at 3,000 yards and another state title a realistic goal, Smith will also be a favorite to bring home some track titles. He can probably get into the 10.3 or 10.4 range on the track. Smith has taken care of business in the classroom as well. He's the absolute total package if he's healthy. He can run, block, and catch, the whole package. His running style is very similar to that of Clinton Portis. And when you factor in all the intangibles, there's no reason to believe Smith can't have the same success Portis has enjoyed over the years.
2. *#^ Matt Hardrick, OL, 6-5, 330, Orlando (Edgewater)
The state of Florida has produced some big time linemen over the past five years. Guys like Tra Thomas, Stockar McDougle, Jeff Faine, and Vernon Carey were all heavily recruited out of high school and went on to have outstanding college careers. At this age, Hardrick is as good as any of those guys. As I talked about before, the kids that are naturally big tend to lack the aggressiveness needed to be successful at the highest levels. They're told the entire time they're growing up to take it easy on the other kids so they don't get hurt. Someone must have forgotten to tell Hardrick that. He's nasty out there. He plays scrappy, like an undersized center that is sustaining his blocks even through the whistle. At the state's biggest linemen camp last summer, Hardrick was ready to begin one-on-one drills with anyone who stood in his way. Two defensive linemen who made that mistake ended up watching the rest of the camp from the sideline. Hardrick is an absolute monster on the field. He has quick feet and hands for his size. Often times kids this massive struggle to become quality pass blockers at a young age. Because of Hardrick's long arms and extremely powerful and quick punch, he never has that problem. Head coach Bill Gierke has been around a lot of great players during his career and he'll be the first to tell you that Hardrick's as good as any he's ever coached. Aaron Jones called me last January when he returned from the All-American game in Texas. He wanted to tell me that after spending a week going up against the best offensive linemen from all over the country, he realized none of them could even match up with his own teammate. "Big Matt's better than anyone on our team and anyone we played against," Jones said. The only thing stopping Hardrick from adding his name to that list I mentioned earlier is he. It's up to him now. If he keeps his weight down and gets his grades in order and doesn't have to spend the first two years in college getting those two things squared away, he can be a big-time impact player for a long time at the college level. He's got as much upside as any lineman I've ever seen at this age. Now it's up to him to make sure he puts it all together.
3. *#^ Ricky Jean-Francois, DE, 6-3, 245, Miami (Carol City)
While everyone talks about Kenny Phillips on this year's Carol City defense, Jean-Francois is quickly becoming a special player himself. He has big time written all over him. You can tell just by looking at some kids that they're going to be special on the football field. Jean-Francois is one of those kids. His best days are way ahead of him. He had a choice of either sitting behind former Carol City All-State defensive ends Maurice Charles and Eric Moncur or moving inside to play tackle. So while he weighed less than 220 pounds at the time, Jean-Francois moved inside. You could immediately see a level of toughness that would be tough to match. His feet move exceptionally well and he was always fighting, doing whatever he could to find the ball. It wasn't long before teams began double-teaming this 215-pound tackle. He was so good inside that the Carol City coaches played him more there last season. He finished the year with over 80 tackles and 10 sacks, becoming a first team All-Dade pick after the season. He'll be at defensive end this season and I can't wait to see what opposing tackles do when they must find a way to slow him down. He's now 6-3 and a rock-solid 245 pounds. He is lightning quick off the ball. He has long arms and everything you look for in a young defensive end. Jean-Francois also competes in track and won two state titles this past spring, throwing the shot put 65-7 and the discus 169-6. He'll be a heavy favorite to win it again next year as well. On the football field, wait till he is able to bulk up some more and continue learning how to play the defensive end position. Dade County has been pumping out some big time defensive ends over the last few years (Andre Wadsworth, Bryan Pata, etc) and Jean-Francois has as much upside as any of them at this age.
4. *#^ Avery Atkins, CB, 5-11, 185, Daytona Beach (Mainland)
While playing on a team that's won about as many games as any team in the state over the last two seasons, Atkins has quietly put together an incredible two-year run. He is quickly emerging as one of the state's premier defensive prospects. From an athletic standpoint, he has everything you look for in a cornerback prospect – the right size, big time straight-line speed, and the ability to change directions as well as anyone in the state this year. Atkins loves mixing it up too, which shows the ability to play strong safety as well. He loves delivering the big hit and plays the game at full throttle the entire time. Offensively, he's very explosive. Although he has played in the shadow of North Carolina-bound Vince Wilson the past couple seasons, Atkins has averaged close to 10 yards per carry on that side of the ball. As a cornerback prospect, he reminds you a lot of Antrel Rolle at this age. From an attitude and leadership standpoint, he's very similar as well. You can probably count on one hand the number of times opposing quarterbacks completed passes on his side of the field. That's part of the reason why he doesn't have the big numbers and the big image of some of the other DBs in the state right now. However, Atkins can play football as well as any of them. He's a big time athlete who comes from a winning program and someone that has a big time future ahead of him.
5. *^ Kenny Phillips, S, 6-2, 195, Miami (Carol City)
While everyone talked about linebacker Willie Williams when talking about Carol City's defense last season, Phillips was quietly becoming the best free safety in the entire state of Florida. Carol City coach Walt Frazier, who has coached several former standouts such as Williams and Santana Moss, believes Phillips is about as mentally mature as any player he's ever coached. That speaks volumes of the leadership skills and the work ethic that Phillips brings to the table day in and day out. Despite missing a few games because of a broken hand last season, Phillips still picked off seven passes. Some of them were highlight reel classics. He has the ability to break on the ball exceptionally well and he covers as much ground as just about any safety you'll find out there. He has the frame to put on a lot more weight and be the total package at free safety at the college level. He also returns kicks and punts on occasion and shows a lot of big play flair there as well. He also competes on Carol City's track team and has recorded a 6-6+ high jump. From an athletic standpoint, he's what you look for in a free safety. He has the ideal size, he can make big plays on a regular basis, and is a natural competitor out there. He's about the closest thing you'll get to a complete package at free safety just about anywhere in the nation this year.
6. *^ Fred Rouse, WR, 6-3, 195, Tallahassee (Lincoln)
There aren't many prep programs in the entire state that have produced more high-quality talent over the last several years than Lincoln. The Lincoln coaches are calling Rouse as good as any player they've had there. It's easy to see why. Rouse is blessed with the rare size/speed combination that has seemingly taken over a lot of the college game today. You see big receivers like Mike Williams and Larry Fitzgerald dominating the competition. Former Lincoln standout Cro Thorpe will be an All-American candidate this year and Rouse is every bit as talented as Thorpe was at this age. Rouse is coming off a big year after being named second team All-State as a utility guy. He can play defense, special teams, do a little bit of everything. It's not just his size and speed that make him special. His ball skills are outstanding. He often makes difficult catches look very routine because of his ability to get it at its highest point. While he doesn't have blazing straight ahead speed to run away from people, he's still pretty fast for his size. He runs track at Lincoln and competes on their 4x1 team that won a state title this past spring. His season best of 11.20 in the 100m is also very impressive for someone his size. If he wants to be and carries the right work ethic and desire level into college, Rouse can truly be as good as he wants to be at the next level.
7. *#^ Elijah Hodge, LB, 6-1, 205, Fort Lauderdale (Dillard)
A few years ago nobody wanted to talk about Abdul Hodge from Boyd Anderson as one of the state's best linebackers, despite his ability to go out and dominate every Friday night. People said he was too slow and wasn't heavy enough. Three years later, Hodge is widely considered the best linebacker in the Big 10 and has NFL scouts excited for when he comes out. As good as Abdul was as a prep linebacker, his younger brother's even better. While everyone talked about Vernon Smith as one of the state's top linebackers at Dillard last season, it was Hodge who was making all the plays. There were some games where he went over 20 in that department. From a pure linebacker standpoint, there isn't a better one in Florida. He plays with tremendous instincts. He plays a complete game, too. He fills holes and his motor is always running. At a scrimmage between Dillard teammates, Hodge acts like it's the Super Bowl. He's always full of energy on the field and is the type of kid you love to have on your side, especially in big games. While he's not the biggest or fastest guy out there, I sure hope people don't make the same mistake they did when evaluating his brother a few years ago. Elijah plays track and was a member of his former school's 4x1 relay team. He's a great athlete who loves to compete. He's a throwback. He reminds me a lot of Jonathan Vilma at this age. Hodge is the best linebacker in Florida right now and he'll be able to show it at the next level if he's able to put on weight while maintaining the speed, quickness, and athletic ability that he flashes today.
8. *#^ Demetrius Morley, DB, 6-0, 175, Miami (Killian)
When you're playing on a team that features players like Bobby Washington and JR Bryant, it can be difficult to find the spotlight. That may be something Morley stuggled with last season but he certainly has never struggled on playing the game at its highest level. Morley is blessed with tremendous athletic upside. He was on Killian's 4x1 relay team that went to the state meet in Gainesville as a sophomore when he was teaming with guys like senior Miguel Scott at the time and juniors Washington and Bryant. By the time his prep career is finished, Morley will be the fastest kid to leave Killian in quite some time. He was also the state runner up in the long jump event, going 23-9 at the state meet. He played on both sides of the ball as a junior and led the team with seven picks. Teams tried to stay away from Bryant and All-Dade corner Barry Pinder, so Morley made them pay. He was everywhere as a free safety. He may play more corner this year and can really be a playmaker on that side of the ball. He's just another great athlete from a great program and he's a kid that will continue making big plays even at the next level.
9. ^ O.J. Murdock, WR, 6-0, 185, Tampa (Middleton)
You often hear about how some kids were born to play the game of football. Here's a kid that not only has a natural gift to play wide receiver on the gridiron but also compete on the track. In addition to being one of the state's most talented football players, he's also one of the most talented runners in track. He just started competing in both sports as a freshman. Less than a year and a half later, Murdock was competing at the state track championships in Gainesville. He returned as a junior this past spring and has been timed as low as 10.68 (100m) and 21.32 (200m). As a junior last season, playing in just eight games after missing two with an ankle sprain, Murdock hauled in 33 passes for 750 yards and seven touchdowns. Keep in mind we're talking about a kid who hasn't yet gotten fully into the whole weight room thing yet. He took his sophomore year off from football because he was ineligible. He's still learning how to play the game in terms of route running and little things like that. Having a father that played receiver in the NFL (Kelvin, Patriots), Murdock has learned a lot. His best days are way ahead of him. He's a threat every time he touches the football. He has exceptional quickness in small areas and has incredible straight-ahead speed, which he often uses simply to blow past defenders. He's still working to become a complete receiver, including being more productive over the middle – like most young receivers. He also plays cornerback and returns kicks and punts. He's definitely Mr. Excitement on the field. Once he gets to college and is put through extensive training in the weight room and he's able to bulk up to around 200 pounds, he'll be blessed with lights out speed and ability. That should be fun to watch for a long time.
10. #^ Eugene Hayes, LB, 6-1, 205, Madison County
Coaching one of the most successful teams in the state, Frankie Carroll knows a thing or two about big time players. That's exactly how he describes Hayes, who is a tackling machine who had 130 of them as a junior last season. He's a pure linebacker in every sense of the word. He flies to the football, he can change directions, rush the passer, drop into coverage, the whole package. He runs really well, almost as if it's effortless for him to find the ball carrier and deliver a big blow. Instincts are what separates him too because he's not the best athlete around. He's one of those kids who doesn't have a great 40 times or anything like but he'll be the first guy to the ball on defense most of the time. If Hayes is able to maintain his speed and quickness once he bulks up enough to make an impact at the next level, watch out. He has the mind of a good middle linebacker and he has the ability to become a real difference maker at the college level.
11. *#^ Spencer Adkins, LB, 6-0, 230, Naples
While playing as a defensive end last season, Adkins absolutely dominated the competition in Class 5A last season. He used a lightning quick first step to beat opposing tackles and his motor never stopped running, allowing him to make plays all over the field. He really stood out during the playoff run Naples made. Against Florida State-bound Jacky Claude, Adkins was unblockable. In fact, Claude told me after the game that Adkins was far and away the best player he had ever played against. In the state game, Adkins lived in Mainland's backfield. He finished the year with over 80 tackles and 14 quarterback sacks. Whenever Naples needed a big play defensively, he generally delivered. On the field, he was one of the most productive defensive players in the state. Then at a camp during the spring, Adkins put on a tremendous athletic display. He ran a 4.5/40, jumped 35 inches, and put up 35 reps on the 185-pound bench press. Those numbers could match up with just about any linebacker playing on Sundays right now. He also competes in track, where he's been timed as low as 11.2 in the 100m. Naples coach Bill Kramer calls Adkins the "best player we've ever had" and at least two opposing coaches called him the best player they had faced all season. The only question mark with Adkins right now and perhaps the only thing that prevents him from being the top prospect in the state right now surrounds his future position. Adkins has played defensive end and has dominated by simply running upfield. How well he plays in space is going to answer a lot of questions this fall, as he moves to linebacker – the position he'll play in college. How well can be move in space, how quickly does he go laterally, and how quickly does he find the ball are the types of questions college coaches will be wondering about as they watch him this season. From a talent, production, and athletic standpoint, however, he's as good as there is right now in Florida.
12. *#^ Neefy Moffett, LB, 6-1, 215, Palm Bay
Speaking of great high school programs, Palm Bay is another. Year in and year out, coach Dan Burke fields one of the state's best teams. Burke will be the first to tell you how excited they are at Palm Bay about Moffett. Moffett plays rush end right now and landed in on over 100 tackles as a junior last season. "I don't know how he does it but there's a lot of times when his opponent doesn't even lay a hand on him," said one opposing coach when preparing for Moffett and Palm Bay last season. He has a big time burst off the ball, especially for a kid that has a body that's ready for the college game right now. Like some other kids I profiled earlier, Moffett will have to make the transition from playing defensive end now to linebacker in college. Some kids do it with ease, while some struggle with it. Considering how athletically gifted Moffett is, it probably won't be a problem for him. He runs well, goes laterally nicely, and has the ability to make the big play. He plays fullback on offense and has two older brothers that were stars at Palm Bay before him. He's a better football player than former Palm Bay standout Joe Cohen was at this age and also a better athlete. In addition to his ability on the gridiron, Moffett finished second in the state shot put event with a throw of 54-2 ½ at the state meet.
13. *^ Bryan Evans, CB, 5-11, 170, Jacksonville (Ed White)
Remembering back to that Ed White/Jefferson game that I attended back in 2002, Dee Webb and Andre Caldwell were obviously the guys people were watching that night. A sophomore named Bryan Evans was on that same field and from an athletic standpoint was no different than Webb and Caldwell. Two years later, Evans is one of the state's top defensive prospects himself. He plays running back on offense and can play either cornerback or safety on defense. Offensively, he came up with big play after big play. Defensively, he has the size and speed combo everyone loves in today's cornerbacks. He's a track kid as well, running a sub 11.0 in the 100m. Evans will be the main guy for Ed White this season, just like Webb and Dawayne Grace were the past two seasons. Former Ed White and current University of Florida coach Dan Disch told me just before he left Ed White that Evans has as much talent as the other two and that he'd likely be the best of the three when it's all said and done. I believe it. Evans has big time written all over him.
14. *#^ Eddie Haupt, OL, 6-4, 290, Merritt Island
Sometimes you can just tell by looking at a kid if he's a player or not. That's how I first discovered Haupt. I was checking kids into a camp back in January and Haupt stood out big time. He had a huge frame and you could see the passion and the toughness just by looking at him in the face. Then I watched him run through drills that day and he displayed everything I thought he would. I then watched some tape from his junior year and he dominated. He looked like he was a man playing with children. I love offensive linemen who play on both sides of the ball because they generally play offense with a defensive mentality. Haupt is an aggressive kid at 290 pounds. He moves his feet really well, he is great at pulling and trapping, and he possesses a tremendous work ethic. It's not always easy finding a center and Haupt can play that equally well as guard. He's already big enough for the college game so you're looking at a kid who will play college ball at over 300 pounds. Combine that with his attitude, aggressiveness, and athletic ability and you have yourself a pretty good offensive lineman. Haupt is a very smart kid too, having scored over 1300 on the SAT. In the right system, he could develop into an NFL lineman someday if he wants it bad enough.
15. *#^ Jonathan Garner, QB, 6-4, 210, Daytona Beach (Mainland)
While everyone loves the quarterbacks with the big time arms and the rare athletic ability, the position still boils down to the guy who gets the job done the best. Nobody in the state compares to Garner in that aspect. He'll soon be the first four-year starting quarterback for Mainland coach John Moronto, who has been coaching prep football in Florida, Michigan, and Ohio for many years. All Garner does is complete passes and win. He has a quarterback's mind. He's a student of the game and also carries a 4.0+ GPA and a very high SAT score. It's not too often you'll see him making a mistake. In fact, he threw just three interceptions in 15 games as a junior last season. The kid doesn't make mistakes and he knows how to win games. The last time I checked, that's what matters most in today's college game. He has the prototype size you look for in a quarterback and while he might not be the most athletic kid on the field, he rarely gets sacked because of a quick release and the instinct to get the ball out quickly. One of the top receivers at a camp earlier this spring caught balls from several quarterbacks and told me that Garner was the best quarterback to throw with because of his ability to put the ball on the money every time. That's what Garner does best. Heading into the summer season, he's the state's most complete quarterback prospect in my opinion.
16. ^ Carlton Hill, QB, 6-3, 210, Monticello (Jefferson)
A lot like Mike Greco, who was profiled earlier, Hill has athletic ability that goes off the charts. The difference is that Hill plays in a passing offense that allows him to take advantage of his throwing ability. He threw for over 1,600 yards and 21 touchdowns in 10 games last season and also ran for nearly 500 more. He consistently made big plays all season. He has the frame and big arm that you look for in a quarterback but he's still very raw in his mechanics. He's not overly accurate all the time so if he remains a quarterback, he'll likely need a few years in a college system to get his mechanics down. We're talking about a kid who learns quickly. He's only been running track for a few years and already won the Class 1A state title for the 200m earlier this spring. If someone decides that quarterback won't necessarily be his best position at the next level, he has plenty of upside somewhere else. Not too many college coaches would complain about having a 6-3, 210 pound wideout with legit 22.1/200m. He was also on a state champion 4x400 relay team. Athletically, Hill is off the charts. However, he wants to be a quarterback and while he may still be a little tough around the edges, he has put up huge numbers and was a second team All-State pick as a junior. His upside, wherever you put him (he also returns kicks and punts), is off the charts.
17. *^ Maurice Wells, RB, 5-9, 180, Jacksonville (Sandalwood)
The first thing that jumps out at you when watching Wells is his ability to make the big play at any time. Every time he touches it, he has the ability to go the distance. He changes directions exceptionally well and runs with a very good burst. He's constantly making people miss and that's a big reason why he was the state's leading rusher as a junior last season. He went over 200 yards in nine of his ten regular season games as a junior. He had the best single season of any in-state running back since Frank Gore ran wild for Coral Gables High in 2000. Wells has all the tools to do it again. He's a little bigger, more experienced, and hungry than he was this time last year. He went to an out of state camp this spring and put on quite a show, displaying incredible athletic ability. He's a big play artist who could deliver another 3,000-yard season this fall.
18. #^ Jessie Hester, WR, 6-0, 165, Belle Glade (Glades Central)
For some people, it's hard to understand how Hester can be rated so highly at this point in his prep career. He's only played in nine games over the last two seasons because of injuries. He put up average numbers at the only camp he attended this spring and sat out the entire month of May because of a transfer process (leaving Wellington High School). However, he's one of those kids that has excitement written all over him. You often hear about a college coach being able to turn a tape off in 5 plays because he's seen everything he needs to see. That's the way Hester is. There aren't many guys who have the ability to hit the home run like he does. He's very explosive in the open field. In an offense that loves throwing the ball like at Glades Central, Hester will have a chance to really dominate the high school scene in Palm Beach County if he stays healthy. He's right around 6-feet and he'll be able to bulk up some before he plays at the next level. He can return kicks, run back punts, and play defense too. By watching him play, it's easy to see that Hester has a natural feel for the game as a receiver. That probably stems from the fact that his father played college ball at FSU as a receiver. From an explosive standpoint, Hester is exactly what you want in a receiver at the college level.
19. *#^ Quinton Andrews, S, 5-11, 195, Miami (Pace)
When I stood on the sidelines watching last year's Class 3A state title game between Pace and Bolles, most eyes were on the seniors, including nationally recruited safety Lovon Ponder. While Ponder was a nice prospect and made a few plays that day, he wasn't even close to being the best player on the field. That honor belonged to Andrews, who was in on about a dozen plays and had two interceptions at key times. He loves to mix it up defensively; he has a tremendous ability to break on the ball in the air, and is a huge presence in the middle of the defense. He doubles as a wide receiver, where he averaged over 20 yards a catch as a junior. He is a playmaker in every sense. He's a better football player than Ponder and former Pace standout Mo Sikes at this age. He has the right size and athletic ability. The only thing that prevents Andrews from being ranked in the top 10 right now is his lack of speed. He doesn't blow anyone away with his speed. He's able to overcome that at the prep level but it'll be a little tougher to adjust to in college. Still, he's one of the best pure football players in this entire class and he'll likely be a huge impact kid at the next level.
20. *#^ Eric Sledge, S, 6-3, 180, Apopka
It wasn't long ago when Brandon Meriweather was roaming the middle of Apopka's secondary. While Meriweather was a bigger hitter and instilled more fear into his opponents, Sledge is every bit as athletic and rangy. The first thing you notice when watching Sledge is his ability to cover people and move his feet and hips naturally. As a safety, his cover skills are excellent and so are his ball skills, obviously. He has the ability to play either position at the next level. Athletically, Sledge is very impressive. He runs really well for someone his size and also plays basketball and runs track.
21. *#^ Richard Gordon, TE, 6-4, 240, Miami Norland
One of the best physical specimens in the entire state this year, Gordon passes the look test in every sense of the phrase. He's been a two-year starter at Norland and has experience playing on both sides of the ball. He prefers to play tight end and he's probably the best prospect in the state at that position. Although he hasn't been overly productive, his physical skills are off the charts. He runs exceptionally well and can stretch opposing defenses with his pass catching ability. He's a physical kid coming off the line of scrimmage and is good in short yardage situations. Gordon also runs track and plays basketball. If he's able to play in an offense that features the tight end in the passing game, he should develop into a major weapon at the college level.
22. *#^ Jemalle Eugene, RB, 5-9, 190, Naples
Naples was home to one of the state's best backs a few years ago named Duane Coleman, who now plays at Clemson. He didn't get all the media attention as some other backs that year and the same is the case with Eugene this year. He's the real deal, like Coleman was. I watched Eugene play a couple times last year, including in the state title game. All he needs is a small crack and the next thing you know, he's five yards downfield. He has the ability to make people miss, change direction, and then run away from defenders. He had over 2,000 yards as a junior last season after suffering a knee injury as a sophomore. He's a great athlete who also participates in track (35+ on the triple jump and sub 11.2 in the 100m). Naples coach Bill Kramer will be the first to tell you how tough and competitive Eugene is.
23. * Kalvin Bailey, FB, 6-0, 240, Seffner (Armwood)
Arguably the state's top fullback prospect, Bailey is a load on the field. He played at close to 250 pounds last season and opposing defenses had many problems trying to bring him down. However, don't let his battering ram running style fool you. He has the ability to make people miss, as he showed in last year's state championship game in Class 4A. He ran for over 1,500 yards in the regular season last year and scored over 20 touchdowns. As a blocker, he's nasty. He loves mixing it up and has good technique in doing so. He's shed a few pounds from last season to become even more elusive and versatile. He's versatile enough to be a big power back in a Big 10 type of offense.
24. #^ Jon Demps, LB, 6-4, 215, Pensacola (Booker T. Washington)
Demps is one of those kids that if you put into a room with 20 NFL linebackers, nobody would be able to pick out which one he is. His physique is extremely impressive. He has long arms too. While he doesn't have great straight ahead speed or the ability to change directions like some other linebackers in the state this year, Demps comes to play. He had over 100 tackles as a junior last season and was also involved in some kick blocks. His brother, Willie, is currently a linebacker at LSU and Jon has just as much athletic ability at this age. The only difference is Jon is three inches taller. He should develop into a very good college middle linebacker someday.
25. #^ Vladimir Richard, DE, 6-4, 255, Sunrise (Piper)
Following a camp at FAU earlier this spring, two kids showed up at the end of the camp. When they first walked in, everyone in the lobby thought they were current college players at FAU and when they said they were juniors, people assumed college juniors. They were both still in high school and Richard was one of them. Physically, he's got a college body already. He's thick and has room to add more, which makes me believe he'll likely grow into a tackle at the college level. He wins with a strong bull rush and the ability to make plays all over the field. He's still learning how to play the position and he's likely going to become an interior lineman at the next level. With his strength, instincts, and initial quickness off the ball, Richard has all the tools to develop into a very good interior defensive lineman at the college level.
26. *# Gerald Williams, DE, 6-4, 230, Lauderdale Lakes (Boyd Anderson)
I remember watching Williams during his earlier days at Boyd Anderson when he was under 200 pounds. He was tall, rangy, and had a motor that never stopped running at full speed. Now Williams has filled out his frame quite nicely. He still has a chance to add a lot of weight in his lower body, which leads me to believe he'll be a 270+ pound defensive end in college someday. He plays linebacker now and is very active. He has a nose for the football, a huge motor, and he just has a knack for being around the ball on a regular basis. Although he doesn't have the longest arms for a 6-4 kid, he does have the physical makeup to develop into a down lineman at the next level. Athletically, he's what you want in a player that size. He has a strong passion for the game and has been playing it for a long time. Williams was able to dunk a basketball when he was very young and that athleticism has carried over into his high school days, as he now competes at the AAU level. Here's another kid whose best days are way ahead of him.
27. #^ Jamar Chaney, LB, 6-0, 215, Port St. Lucie (Centennial)
While he primarily plays with his hand down, Chaney has plenty of experience at linebacker. He has tremendous short-range quickness and he closes on the ball exceptionally well. He's what you look for athletically and is coming off a big junior season. He finished with over 80 tackles. He's very competitive, as he wants to win every single drill at every camp he goes to. He's got a good mind for the game and he's a very coachable kid. His coach believes he's the best player in the school's history. If he's able to put on some more weight, maintain his excellent speed and quickness, and continue learning how to play in space, he should develop into a real difference maker at the college level.
28. #^ Kendrick Stewart, DT, 6-1, 285, Lakeland
The biggest linemen camp in the state takes place every summer in Lakeland. Stewart dominated the camp a year ago. He then dominated the competition during the season last fall. He's a huge, wide body tackle prospect that wins because he plays with good leverage and has incredible strength. He was one of the state's best weightlifters this past season (bench pressing well over 400 pounds). He's a major handful for opposing offenses and he's in better shape now than he was a year ago. A tough inside guy, Stewart is one of those rare defensive tackles that has the size, toughness, and quickness to make an impact at the next level.
29. *#^ Chris Barney, OL, 6-5, 335, Miami Northwestern
A huge and talented offensive lineman, Barney is an absolute mauler on the field. He engulfs opposing defensive linemen and really gets after it. He has an aggressiveness to him that is generally lacking from linemen his size. He moves his feet really well for someone his size and has the ability to get downfield and block. At a camp in April, he was constantly calling out what appeared to be the best defensive linemen at the camp. He matched up really well every time. Barney has the natural tools to be as good as he wants to be. The sky really is the limit because he's so talented. However, he needs to get more focused on taking his game to another level on more of a regular basis. If he's able to that, the sky is the limit. It's up to him now and that's not the case for most kids.
30. *#^ Ronnie Wilson, OL, 6-4, 330, Pompano Beach (Ely)
When watching a lineman that is naturally as big as Wilson, you always immediately look at a few things. The first thing is how aggressive the kid is. Wilson loves getting after it. At camps, he'll call out the best defensive linemen. During games, he's always working to finish his blocks. Another thing to look for is how quickly his feet move. Wilson gets a high grade in that area as well. Another thing to watch for is how well he gets downfield while carrying all that weight. Not only will Wilson get downfield, he's always looking for someone to knock on his back. He has a lot of strength and should become a very good offensive guard at the next level. His grades are solid and he even plans on graduating early.
31. ^ Bruce Johnson, CB, 5-11, 170, Live Oak (Suwannee)
Although I haven't gotten a chance to watch him live on a football field yet, I did get a chance to watch Johnson compete at a track meet his sophomore year. It was the 110m hurdles event and I noticed that Johnson was as competitive as anyone on the track that day. He hates to lose and that attitude obviously carries over to the football field. He plays on both sides of the ball and has been a playmaker for the last two seasons. Suwannee has former defensive backs playing at each of the three major Florida schools (Kelly Jennings at UM, Kyler Hall at FSU, and Jarvis Herring at Florida) and Johnson isn't far behind them in natural ability. He can also return punts and kicks. He'll also be a key member again for Suwannee's track team as a senior.
32. *#^ Jarrett Brown, QB, 6-3, 195, Palm Beach Lakes
Here's a quarterback with the prototypes you look for at that position. He has the 6-3 body, a big arm, and the athletic ability to go with it. Brown will be entering year four as the starter and he threw for just under 2,000 yards as a junior last season. He throws a nice ball and looks like a natural throwing it. Although he can get better in big games, Brown has the physical tools you look for in a quarterback. He's also one of the top basketball players in the area on a team that's one of the best in the area.
33. #^ Courtney Harris, DE, 6-3, 220, Jupiter
"We need to figure out a way to get him blocked," were the first words uttered by an opposing coach when asked about Harris. He has the right physical build and has a big motor to match it. His quick first step allows him to win most one-on-one matchups outside. He finished last season, his first as a starter, with over 70 tackles and six sacks. He's since added about 15 pounds of muscle and is ready to go again this fall. Harris also competes in basketball.
34. *^Quentin Taylor, LB, 6-1, 200, Apopka
With two of the state's best prospects on its defense, Apopka should be pretty stingy on that side of the ball this year. Taylor is the real deal in the middle. He flies around and makes plays all the time. Linebackers who also play running back on offense generally find ways to make more plays. Taylor goes both ways and is a throwback. He might not be the biggest or strongest kid on the field, but he's everywhere. He uses his hands to shed blockers as well as any LB in the state and he closes on the ball really well. He can also play in coverage pretty well.
35. #^ Ray Herring, S, 5-10, 190, Melbourne (Holy Trinity)
Another kid who can make plays from nearly every skilled position on the field, Herring has been a major playmaker for the last two seasons. He can do it on offense, defense, and special teams. Athletically, he's what you look for. He's a track kid with big numbers and he's coming off an All-State season. While he may not get the major attention of other kids in his area because of the size of his school, Herring has major upside and a lot of major college coaches have already caught on to his abilities.
36. * Brian Ellis, TE, 6-3, 230, Daytona Beach (Mainland)
While it's rare for tight ends to have a chance to make a major impact at the high school level because of their lack of involvement in the passing game, one thing that's not hard to do is look at a kid and see how athletic he is. That's all you have to do when you go watch Mainland. Ellis has shown off that athletic ability a lot over the last few years. He caught two key third down passes in their win over Naples in the Class 5A state title game with linebackers draped on him. He scooped up a fumble against Madison County in their spring jamboree and went 85 yards for a touchdown with it. The playmaking ability is there. Football isn't all Ellis knows, as he's a standout performer on the Bucs basketball court as well.
37. *^ Marvin Sapp, LB, 6-0, 210, Jacksonville (Sandalwood)
One thing you can't teach is instincts. When a kid has them, especially a linebacker on defense, it's a huge plus. Sapp had over 140 tackles as a junior last season as he helped lead his former school, Bolles, into the state title game against Pace. He was one of the best players on the field that day. While he's not the biggest or fastest guy out there, he usually gets there first because of having the natural ability to be where he needs to be at the right time. He's built like a tank and moves his feet really well and can change directions really well. Once he gets to college and continues learning how to become a faster player, he's going to become that much more dangerous to opposing offenses.
38. ^ Briceton Wilson, RB, 6-0, 205, Crawfordville (Wakulla)
Entering into his fourth season as a varsity starter, Wilson is a natural running the football. He's gained over 3,500 yards and has scored over 50 touchdowns over the last two seasons combined. While he doesn't have blazing speed, he finds holes quickly and has nice running instincts. He has the ability to make people miss too. Wilson can also play safety on defense but his best days are ahead of him offensively. He's also an All-Area candidate in basketball.
39. ^ Chris Singleton, CB, 5-11, 185, Ft. Myers (Dunbar)
A big time athlete that really jumps out at you when you watch him. He has a college body already and can run exceptionally well. He has the physical ability to mix it up at the line of scrimmage and has the foot speed to run with just about any receiver. He doubles as a WR on offense and also returns kicks and punts. He's a kid who never leaves the field and he's constantly making plays. Cover guys aren't easy to find, especially when they're 5-11 and can run as well as Singleton. His 100m time as a sophomore at the state meet was about the same as that of Antone Smith. Singleton's the real deal and people will begin to notice a lot more over the next couple months.
40. ^ Rod Owens, WR, 6-0, 175, Jacksonville (Wolfson)
A big time playmaker in every sense of the word. Owens made big plays all last season. He finished the year with 53 catches for over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging over 20 yards a catch. He goes double duty on defense as well. He runs nice routes for his age and is a natural fit in a passing offense. He moves really well in and out of traffic and has deceptive speed, often running away from defenders. Owens also competes in track and was one of the state's best performers this past spring. He won three separate state titles in the 110m hurldles (14.03), 300m hurdles (38.14), and long jump (23-5) events.
41. *#^ Jeffrey Owens, DT, 6-1, 265, Plantation
A strong inside penetrator, Owens is what college coaches are looking for in one-gap tackle prospects. He uses his hands well and moves his feet pretty well naturally. He was unblockable for the most part in Broward County as a junior last season and returns this season stronger than ever. While he doesn't have the biggest frame in the world or the best quickness coming off the ball, Owens is a handful to handle on that side of the ball. He also throws the shot put (52 feet was his best throw as a junior) and is coming off a junior season that ended in 14 quarterback sacks and over 80 tackles.
42. #^ Paul Ohara, RB, 5-11, 215, Cross City (Dixie County)
In a year where a pair of running backs under 5-10 headlines the position, O'Hara is a big time version of a big back. While he doesn't have the numbers or the big play flair of Wells or Smith, O'Hara is the real deal. He's averaged close to 10 yards per carry over the last two seasons. While he doesn't have blazing speed, he rarely gets caught from behind. He can make people miss or break tackles by running through them. He goes between the tackles as well as any back in the state this year. He also plays on defense, where he could become a real difference maker at the college level. He finished his junior season with just under 2,000 yards and 27 total touchdowns.
43. #^ Mike Moore, FS, 6-2, 185, Coconut Creek (North Broward Prep)
You'd have a hard time finding a player with better athletic numbers than Mike Moore if you looked everywhere in the state. He can run, explode, jump, do all those things really well. On the field, he produces. He was an All-State receiver in a pass happy offense last season but many feel he may be better suited to play free safety at the college level. Because of his natural athletic ability, he has a lot of range to cover a lot of ground. He would have nice ball skills on that side of the ball and he's physical enough where he's not afraid to mix it up. Moore is a smart player who carries a tremendous work ethic with him. While he plays at a very small school in Broward County, he's gone to several camps already this year with the idea to prove to people that competition isn't a factor. He's proven his point so far and now he's emerging as one of the state's top prospects.
44. *^ Guesly Dervil, CB, 5-11, 175, Jacksonville (Ed White)
Ed White might as well be nicknamed DB High. They've sent as many high quality players to major college programs over the past five years as anyone in the state. Jamal Fudge and Eric Sampson are at Clemson, brother Guerlin is at NC State, while Dawayne Grace and Dee Webb are playing with the Florida Gators. When I went to watch Bryan Evans at Ed White, Dervil made several standout plays. He made plenty of big plays on both sides of the ball last season and has the right size you look for in a Div. 1 cornerback prospect. While he may not be as talented as Evans, Dervil has plenty of upside and has as much talent as most of his former teammates mentioned earlier.
45. #^ Albert McClellan, LB, 6-2, 210, Lakeland (Kathleen)
A prep defensive end, McClellan is virtually unblockable at this age. He uses outstanding quickness and moves to consistently defeat opposing tackles. The younger brother of a Junior College All-American wide receiver who many believe will be in the NFL in a few years, Albert has a strong passion for the game. He's coming off a season in which he had over 80 tackles and more than a dozen sacks. He loves to hit and make contact. On two occasions last year he took on a lead blocker (fullback) that resulted in the opponent having to leave the game because of the blow McClellan delivered. He has the bloodlines, the playmaking ability, the athletic skills, and more to be an ideal college linebacker. The biggest thing for him will be making the adjustment to playing in space. If he's able to do that successfully, he can be as good as he wants to be.
46. *#^ Dustin Forston, LB, 6-0, 210, Miami Northwestern
Total domination. That's the easiest word to describe the way Forston ended last season. He was unblockable coming off the edge of Northwestern's defense last season. His first step is really quick, he closes on the quarterback exceptionally well, and he loves to chase. Despite playing hurt a couple games, Forston still finished the season with 21 sacks and even more tackles for loss. He has a great attitude to go with it. He's all about the team, he loves to work, he loves to compete. He's the type of kid you want on your team, every team has to have some Dustin Forstons on it if it wants to be successful. The reason he's not rated higher is because he's going to have to make the transition from playing defensive end to playing linebacker in college. A lot of kids struggle with it but for someone like Forston, who has so much ability and puts so much time and effort into being a better player, that shouldn't be too big of an adjustment for him.
47. * Gerrod Sinclair, S, 6-0, 210, Jacksonville (Mandarin)
A big time hitter playing free safety for Mandarin, Sinclair is just another in the long line of major college prospects at Mandarin in recent years. Marcus Thomas and Tony Carter had a lot of media attention over the last two seasons and Sinclair is every bit as talented as those two. He covers a lot of ground for someone his size and knows how to deliver the big hits. He makes receivers think twice about coming across the middle. Sinclair, who also runs track, also has excellent ball skills. He can even play some receiver, having caught eight interceptions as a junior.
48. #^ Mike Greco, QB, 6-3, 205, Fort Lauderdale (Cardinal Gibbons)
Perhaps the most interesting prospect in the entire state to evaluate, Greco has the frame you like in a quarterback. He's tall enough to see downfield in every offensive system and has a fairly quick release to avoid pressure. However, from an athletic standpoint, Greco goes off the charts. He was timed at sub 4.4/40 at two separate camps that I saw him at this spring, he has a 34-inch vertical jump, and has blazing quickness as his shuttle time has been as low as 3.90. Athletically, you couldn't ask for a whole lot more. His arm is strong enough. Physically, everything is there if you're looking at a quarterback prospect. Now comes the tough part. Greco plays in an offense that doesn't throw the ball a whole lot. Even when he did throw it, he only completed 40-percent of his passes and had a 1-3 TD-INT ratio last season. I watched him throw next to some of the state's top quarterbacks at a couple camps and he looked very solid. One receiver at one of those camps said Greco threw the best ball. Because so much of today's college game for a quarterback is being accurate and just getting the ball into the hands of your playmakers, you hesitate to rank Greco as high as his physical numbers might indicate. Sure, he could play WR or DB at the next level but he's never played those positions before and has no interest in doing that. He'll be a college quarterback. He could thrive in the right system. His development over the next several months will be really fun to watch.
49. *#^ Conredge Collins, FB, 5-11, 220, Miami (Pace)
Collins has been running wild on opposing defenses over the last two years at Pace. He has the right build to be an ideal college football, although he wants to play tailback. While he doesn't change directions as smoothly as some of the state's top tailbacks and doesn't have the straight ahead speed some would like, he's always falling forward and is an absolute load to bring down, whether it's in the open field or between the tackles. As a fullback prospect, he has the rare blend of ability to catch, run, and block like the best college fullbacks do so well.
50. *#^ Antuan Lewis, DT, 6-4, 320, Tampa (Jefferson)
As I mentioned earlier, finding impact defensive tackles at the prep level isn't an easy thing to do. College coaches will tell you the same – finding quality defensive tackles to recruit is even harder. I remember driving to Jacksonville a few years ago to watch a showdown between Ed White and Jefferson. There were probably 20 future Division 1 players on the field that night, including seniors Andre Caldwell and Dee Webb. I remember seeing a young defensive tackle for Jefferson that couldn't be blocked when he was in the game. He'd come in for two plays, make two nice plays then get tired and come off the field for a couple. Fast forward two years and I saw Lewis again this spring. Now in better shape, he's still a dominating force in the middle of Jefferson's defense. He plays with naturally light feet and is a classic two-gap tackle who is very difficult to block. Although he still isn't in the physical shape to dominate every down, he has the potential to someday. He has natural ability that some kids playing in the NFL don't have. It's up to him now.
51. *#^ Simon Codrington, OL, 6-7, 265, South Miami
I love it when players can pick out a certain play from a few years back and take several minutes explaining exactly what happened. Codrington is one of those guys. You can tell he has a real passion for the game, something he probably got from his father, who played college ball at Eastern Kentucky after a standout prep career in south Florida. Codrington, who played on South Miami's basketball team that reached the Class 6A title game last season, plays on both sides of the football. His best position, however, is at left tackle. He has the quick feet, long arms, and big wingspan you look for in a left tackle prospect. He's still learning the game too. His best days are way ahead of him and he'll have another season to begin preparing for what should be a successful college career.
52. * Eddie Brown, WR, 6-1, 210, Jacksonville (Arlington Country Day)
When I took a trip into Jacksonville this spring, I hadn't even planned on stopping by Country Day. While at another school, I was told about a receiver over there. As a junior last season, Brown had over 1,000 yards receiving before being named first team All-State. When I got to the school, I saw a big, talented, and athletic receiver who had a knack for making big plays. He's tough to handle at the line of scrimmage because of his size and he knows how to get open in opposing defenses. He never leaves the field either, as he plays on special teams and defense as well. As a receiver, his best days are ahead of him and he's quickly emerging as one of the state's premier wide receiver prospects.
53. ^ Mike Ford, RB, 6-0, 200, Sarasota
I like football players – guys that just know how to play and make it enjoyable when you watch them. Mike Ford is one of those guys. He never leaves the field. Whether it's running the ball, defending the pass, or on special teams, Ford is always making plays. He averaged 120 yards a game last season and really went off on opposing defenses at the end of the season. Ford brings a lot of instincts, toughness, and competitiveness to the table. Oh, and speed too. On the track, Ford has been timed at sub 11.0 in the 100m. He'll continue making plays this season and then someone will be getting a fast, instinctive, and productive back for the next level.
54. #^ Harrison Beck, QB, 6-1, 205, Clearwater (Countryside)
Here is a kid who is all about football. You often hear the phrase "he eats, sleeps, and breathes football". Well, here's a kid that applies to. He walks around with a football in his hands. He's often watching tapes of NFL quarterbacks while his friends are out and about. He has a mind and passion for the position. Although his physical skills and size are somewhat limited, he can throw a nice ball. He threw for over 2,000 yards and 22 touchdowns as a junior as he led his team into the second round of the state playoffs. He's a good student in the classroom and is a kid who loves watching film to improve his game.
55. *#^ Dorian Munroe, WR, 6-0, 180, Miami (Coral Reef)
Munroe began making serious noise last season in Dade County when he had over 70 tackles and eight picks on the defensive side of the ball. Area coaches put him on the All-County first team with Trevor Ford and ahead of JR Bryant. Athletically, Munroe is what you want. He has good straight-line speed, excellent agility, jumps over 30 inches, and runs track. Offensively, however, is where his future likely lies. Perhaps his best attribute on defense was his ball skills. As a receiver, he's a little more natural and knows how to come up with big plays. He was playing tailback out of the team needs this spring and didn't look as comfortable, although he averaged seven yards per carry there last season. Whatever position he ends up playing, someone will be getting a kid that knows how to make plays and a kid that stacks up pretty nicely from an athletic standpoint. He's also a full qualifier already.
56. * Terrance Finley, OL, 6-4, 330, Jacksonville (Ed White)
Ed White was home to nationally recruited OL Lucky Lunford, who is now at Florida State, a few years back. College coaches who went by Ed White this spring saw a young Lunford on the field in Terrance Finley. With a similar build, Finley mauls the opposition from his guard position. He's a powerful kid that can also play on the defensive side of the ball. With a lot of mass and good footwork for someone his size, Finley is going to fit in really well with someone's offensive line at the next level.
57. ^ Dedrick Davis, S, 5-10, 190, Auburndale
You name the position and Davis probably plays it. Davis is one of those kids who don't make you wait long when watching the tape to see big plays start happening. Offensively last season, Davis had close to 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns. On defense, he had over 50 tackles and two picks. He's a physical player that loves mixing it up at the line of scrimmage. He covers a lot of ground, knocks the socks off opposing receivers and backs, and has a knack for making big plays on special teams. Davis also runs track and he's a kid that will find a way to make an impact wherever you put him. His coach thinks he's best suited to be a strong safety at the next level. And he'll probably be a real good one.
58. *#^ Johnny Holmes, LB, 6-2, 215, Rockledge
With as much natural talent as former Rockledge standout Mel Mitchell, who is now an NFL safety, Holmes is coming off a monster junior season. The first thing you look for when watching linebackers at this level is their ability to make plays. Both times I saw Holmes play, he was involved in the first play of the game defensively. In addition to having a nose for the ball, the ability to change directions really well, and close on the ball, his motor never stops running. Those are some of the reasons why he had over 100 tackles, 14 sacks, and four picks as a junior last season. He comes from one of the state's most successful programs so he'll head to the next level with a strong work ethic and well-schooled on how to play the position. His best days are way ahead of him.
59. *#^ Leron King, LB, 6-1, 205, Miami Northwestern
Dropping back to throw the ball against Northwestern's defense might not be the safest thing to do this season. Dustin Forston, a first team All-State defensive end from last season, is on one side and King's on the other. They both use tremendously quick first steps to get upfield and disrupt opposing offenses. King had 18 quarterback sacks last season and hopes to get even more this year. Athletically, he's what you want in a linebacker. He runs well, closes exceptionally well, changes direction fluidly, and chases. His motor never stops running. King also competes on Northwestern's track team and finished seventh in the state in the shot put event, tossing it 50-6. Imagine that – a kid who weighed under 200 at the time legitimately throwing it more than 50 feet. King's the real deal. The only reason he's not rated higher is because of questions that come up as to whether or not he'll be able to successfully make the transition from defensive end to linebacker in college. Otherwise, he's the real deal and then some.
60. * Richard Clark, OL, 6-3, 275, Daytona Beach (Seabreeze)
While Xavier Lee was shattering local and state records all last season, one player on that offense that was often lost in the shuffle was Lee's best blocker, Richard Clark. With a frame that college coaches like, Clark was outstanding. Entering into his third season as the starter, Clark has only given up one sack in two years of protecting Lee, who led an offense that threw the ball as much as any team in the state. Clark has an aggressive streak in him and moves his feet well, especially for a kid his size. He can play on both sides of the ball when needed. A smart player that never takes a play off, Clark is an ideal interior offensive line prospect.
61. ^ LaGarrette Blount, RB, 6-1, 215, Perry (Taylor County)
After bulldozing his way for over 1,000 yards as a sophomore, Blount wanted to become more of a complete back. He decided to get with a personal trainer and after an intense summer of 03 that included parachute drills, Blount was able to get his speed down to where he wanted it. Unfortunately, a thigh bruise slowed him for most of last season and prevented him from gaining the burst he wanted. That didn't stop him though, as he still ran for over 1,000 yards again last season. His powerful lower body and running style make him a real handful to bring down in the open field. He still hasn't shown the ability to hit the home run at any time but he's been very impressive the last few years and whenever he's at full speed, watch out.
62. *#^ Antonio Turner, FB, 6-1, 225, Orlando (Edgewater)
I had the opportunity to watch Edgewater three times last fall, including in the state championship game against Carol City. While most eyes were on seniors Kenny Ingram and Aaron Jones, a young fullback pounded out yards upon yards every time. At 6-1 and 225, Turner has ideal size for a young college football prospect. He's a tough, hard-nosed player who plays the game with a lot of passion. He's not flashy. He runs straight ahead and breaks tackles and moves piles. He likes to mix it up as a blocker too. He ran for over 700 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior and will likely surpass that this season. Simply put, and his coach will be the first to tell you, Turner is the type of kid you want on your football team.
63. #^ Oscar Gonzalez, OT, 6-6, 285, Hialeah
The first thing you look for when watching kids that have a size advantage over the competition is how aggressive they are. Kids that were always bigger than their peers were often told to take it easy and to be extra careful. That tends to lead to a lot of the bigger kids lacking the right level of aggressiveness. That's no problem for Gonzalez, who has a rare blend of toughness, size, aggressiveness, and athletic ability. He's spent the last two seasons playing defensive line and just switched to right tackle, the position he'll likely play in college, this spring. He gets his aggressiveness from playing defense growing up and also wrestling. In fact, he was an All-Dade wrestler who finished 26-6 as a junior. He'll likely make a run at the state meet in Lakeland as a senior next year. Athletically, he's what you want. He runs like a 240-pound tight end and can jump about 35 inches on the vert. While many people aren't talking about him yet, he's the type of a kid a lot of college coaches would love to have in their program. He still doesn't know what he's doing half the time as an O-Lineman so his best days are way ahead of him. With the right coaching at the next level, the sky really is the limit for this talented kid.
64. #^ Darrell Lake, DE, 6-1, 235, Lakeland (Kathleen)
Although slightly undersized at (a legit) 6-1, Lake beats his opposition with a tremendously quick first step up field. Because of his overall quickness, he's tough to handle for opposing tackles. His motor is always running, which allows him to make a lot of plays. As a junior last season, he had over 60 tackles and 13 quarterback sacks. Athletically, he's what you want. He can change directions really well because of having great agility. Lake also plays varsity basketball. While some coaches will overlook him because of his lack of height, you're looking at a kid who loves the game, has dominated from the time he started playing back in ninth grade, and someone who is on par athletically with most defensive end prospects in the state this year.
65. #^ Alex Thompson, QB, 6-2, 195, Gainesville (Buchholz)
One of several solid quarterback prospects in the state this season, Thompson is coming off a big junior campaign. He threw for almost 1,500 yards and garnered All-Area honors. Thompson is a smart kid in the pocket who doesn't make a lot of mistakes. He has more athletic ability than you might think and has the ability to take off and beat you with his legs at times too. He's a student of the game who is yet another future Division 1 quarterback from the Gainesville area.
66. #^ Kimbrick Baker, WR, 5-11, 165, Miramar
Of all the top pass catchers in Broward County last season, nobody was more explosive than Baker. He averaged 20 yards per catch on each of his 33 receptions, seven of which went for scores. He's the ideal slot receiver because of his quickness coming off the line of scrimmage. While he doesn't have blazing straight ahead speed, he has plenty of quickness and he runs nice routes and has a natural feel for the passing game. That's easy to see when watching his tape. At the MSL Combine at UM in April, Baker had several jaw-dropping catches as he showed why he's a major college prospect. Baker is a track kid as well.
67. *#^ Chris Chancellor, CB, 5-9, 155, Miami Edison
Big things often come in small packages and that's the case here with Chancellor. Although he's often the smallest guy on the field, Chancellor usually comes up big with his play. Edison coaches put him on the opposing team's best receiver all through 2003 and Chancellor delivered all season. He finished the year with five picks and almost 30 breakups. Although he doesn't have blazing speed or overly quick feet, he does play with good instincts and he's a physical kid despite his size. He likes to mix it up. A standout on Edison's track team, Chancellor will be one of Dade County's best cornerbacks this season.
68. *# Vernon Jackson, DT, 6-1, 260, Orlando (Evans)
I remember going to watch the jamboree in Orlando last spring that featured six different schools. Evans standout Brandon Siler was the main attraction for Evans that night but he wasn't the only one making noise. In fact, the best defensive player on the field that night was a young defensive tackle named Vernon Jackson. He was a little small but he knew how to get underneath people and create a new line of scrimmage. He was getting penetration all night. A year later, Jackson is a legit 6-1 and 260 and recently finished 10th in the state weight-lifting meet. He changes directions really well and plays with a big motor. He's a classic one-gap player who has the ability to penetrate the middle. He's already a full qualifier too.
69. * Matt Grothe, QB, 6-0, 195, Lakeland (Lake Gibson)
While everyone is still enamored with the height and arm strength of today's quarterback prospects, two attributes remain as important as any – the ability to make plays and the ability to win. When Grothe takes the field, you can be sure those two things are going to happen. He constantly made big plays all last season, especially when his team needed him the most. He thrives under pressure and that was a reason why he helped lead his team into the Class 4A state title game. While he may not be the biggest guy in the world, he still knows how to play the game and knows how to win. Someone will find that out when he's doing the same types of things at the college level.
70. #^ Artis Warthen, LB, 6-3, 195, Miramar
While he isn't the biggest guy on the field right now, Warthen has lots of physical upside. He has a body that will allow him to add a lot of weight and more muscular development at the next level. A tough, hard-working kid, his best days are ahead of him. He had over 80 tackles as a junior last season and will likely go over 100 this year. He runs well from sideline to sideline and has good cover skills, almost like a safety playing linebacker. He'll need a year or two in a college weightroom before he's ready to compete at the major college level, but he'll be there at some point. A full qualifier already, Warthen's father attended Vanderbilt.
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