Tampa Plant's James Wilder delivered the signature play of state championship weekend when he trucked three Manatee defenders on his way to the endzone. The 6'2, 220 pound athlete could easily play OLB or DE on defense, but he appears to be the 'hammer' that many schools are looking for at RB. Wilder is the son of former Tampa Bay Buccaneer James and is arguably the top overall athlete in the state.
Charlotte's Mike Bellamy has a simple nickname, "speedy", the 5'10, 180 pound RB is a bolt of lightning that actually has a second gear of game speed, he simply does not get caught from behind. Bellamy runs tougher inside than he is given credit for and has started to add some pounds to his frame. We expect him to play in the 190 range as a senior. Bellamy is one of the state's most explosive weapon with the ball in his hands.
A cross between Bellamy and Wilder is Marlin Lane. The 5'11, 205 pound Lane has incredible quickness for a big back and some of the lightest feet we have seen. Lane can pound the ball inside or take it to the outside and outrun DBs. The Clemson commit suffered a knee injury late in the year and will need some time to get back in form.
Chevelle Buie has now led Cocoa to back to back state titles, the 5'8, 170 pound play-maker actually made Glades Central look slow in last years title game. Buie does not possess feature back size, but he is a player that needs to be accounted for by defenses and easily could be a change of pace type that gets 10 touches a game. Although Cocoa does not go to the air much, Buie has shown that he is a complete back with quality hands. One back that does not have to worry about size is Dr. Phillips HaSean Clinton Dix, the 6'1, 205 pounder is a terrific RB, but some view him as a potential S or LB down the road. Staying in the Orlando Area is Apopka's Tom Smith, the 195 pounder is one of the state's most complete backs and has been very productive on the field.
There are slew of smaller, quicker type weapons in the state led by Northwestern's Jerron Seymour. The 5'6 speedster is an elite play-maker and plays bigger than his size would indicate. Demetrius Hart has been shredding Central Florida defenses for three years, Hart can do it all, he is probably ideally suited for a spread type offense. Palmetto's Marquis Green was a former DB, but he established himself as a legit runner in 2009 and big things are expected of him as a senior. Douglas's Orville Reynolds is small in stature, but can run like the wind and plays tough. Gulliver's Cedric Walker could fit as a change of pace type or transition to another position.
Manatee's Mike Blakely has added plenty of size, now 5'9, 185-190, Blakely has great burst and showed he can carry the load as a junior. FSU received an early verbal from First Coast's Eric Beverly, Beverly lacks ideal height at 5'9, but is a stocky 190 pounds and seems to be a good fit in Jimbo Fisher's system. Park Vista's Tre Mason shredded Palm Beach County defenses in 2009, and has the type of quickness that stands out-even against fast opponents. Miami Central's Devonte Freeman has had to wait his turn behind Brandon Gainer, but is ready to explode in the feature back roll as a senior, the versatile weapon has speed and size.
Florida Air Academy's J.J. Keels put up some impressive numbers at the UA combine, his production matches that on the field, he is a player to keep an eye on. Moving up the coast, the Jacksonville area has a few RBs: Palatka's Kion Williams, Trinity Christian's Andrew Buie, and Fletchers Mitchell Hester. Each of the backs are in the 5'10, 185 range and project to be feature back types. In the panhandle, Port St. Joe's Calvin Pryor has the type of elite size at 6'1, 190 to carry the load and has attracted plenty of interest on the recruiting trail. Pine Forest's Louchiez Purifoy should see his opportunity rise as a senior, at 6'0, he has some speed and versatility. Jefferson County's DeVondrick Nealy is a play-maker with the ball in his hands.
Steward Butler was previously at Lakeland, but played at Oviedo as a junior, he is the total package and very productive on the field. Olympia's Jarius Pace fought some transfer issues as a junior, he produced when he had the chance.