Florida High School State Championship Prospect Preview (1A-4A): Defense
It’s that time of year again. Yes, the holidays, but also the FHSAA Football State Championship games held at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium in attraction packed Orlando, Fla. The accumulation of an entire season’s hard work led to this weekend and XOFan.com will be in attendance to bring our readers up-to-date information about the top high school prospects. In the two-part state finals–spread over the next consecutive weekends–Class 1A-4A kicks-off this Friday at 1:00pm and the final game of part one begins Saturday at 7:00pm. Class 5A-8A State Championship games take place Dec. 14-15.
As the focus of our coverage will include added exposure to athletes that will be continuing football on the next level, here are the top recruits in playing this weekend.
1A–Northview Chiefs vs Trenton Tigers (Dec. 7, 1:00pm)
DB Neiko Robinson (Northview, committed to Penn State)
A defensive back prospect, Robinson has had an outstanding senior year thus far despite missing a few games during the regular season. He racked up 82 tackles and 7 interceptions on a stiff defense. He’s one their anchors and will be the impact player on that side of the ball. The Penn State commit easily fits the label of a ball-hawk with his ability to break on the ball to get the interception. He’s not just a defensive player, either. Like most small programs, he has the opportunity to play both ways which allows him to showcase his athleticism. He has 374 yards receiving and 7 touchdowns at receiver.
Other Northview prospects of note: DE Chad Smith (Sr.), LB Corey Baggett, DB Nieno Robinson (Jr.), DB Brannon Freeman (Jr.)
Other Trenton prospects of note: LB Hunter Parrish (Sr.), LB Jacob Gamble (So.), Jacques Powell (Jr.)
2A—Dade Christian Crusaders vs University Christian (Dec. 7, 7:00pm)
DE Aaron Batten
Dade Christian’s defense has a lot of help on the edge with defensive end Aaron Batten. He racked up 51 tackles and 13 sacks. His presence is felt every play and he will be the key in getting pressure on University Christian’s quarterback. At 6-foot-3, 225-pounds, he has the size to match up with most offensive lineman at the prep level and will be able to hold his own this Friday night.
Other Dade Christian prospects of note: DT Jayvon Batten (Jr.), LB Victor Young (Jr.), LB Vince Young (Sr.), Adrian Sosa (Sr.)
DE Marquis Haynes (University Christian, committed to North Carolina)
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound defensive lineman is the leader of a solid defense. He is very productive, totaling 65 tackles and 15 sacks. He is good at stopping the run and getting into the backfield to cease plays before they have a chance to start evident in his 29 tackles for loss. The future Tar Heel has over a dozen offers from schools such as Louisville, South Florida, Iowa State, Kentucky and West Virginia.
DB Jake Stoshak (University Christian)
Playing on both sides of the ball, Stoshak is a very good player on defense. He has five interception returns for a touchdown which makes him tied at No. 1 nationally. The junior has 21 tackles and 6 interceptions on the season and will need to bring his “A” game this weekend to defeat a tough South Florida team. What’s interesting about Stoshak is he could be a better baseball prospect than football.
Other University Christian prospects of note: LB Chase Moody (Sr.), DT Jamal Fiffer (Jr.), LB Drake Warren (Sr.)
3A—Madison County Cowboys vs University School of NSU Suns (Dec. 8, 1:00pm)
DT Maquedius Bain (University School)
Although Bain has been playing on the offensive line the majority of the season to help out his team, he is projected to be a defensive tackle at the next level. He has great size at 6-foot-4, 285-pounds and is very athletic for a big man. It’s a great combination to have size and mobility like Bain does. He is light on his feet, a vocal leader on the team and excels at whichever side of the ball he’s on.
LB Skai Moore (University School)
A prospect that really started to see his recruitment take off his senior year, Moore is a playmaker. He comes up with big interceptions, clutch blocked field goals and is a tackling machine. College coaches love his 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame which helped him get 30 Division 1 offers. He leads his team in tackles with 89 total and 5 sacks.
CB Quincy Wilson (University School)
You won’t see the numbers on his stat sheet as most high school quarterbacks have decided it’s better to avoid his side of the field. Wilson has the size of the next generation cornerback, 6-foot-2 and 195-pounds. Expect him to continue to shut down his receiver during the championship game on Saturday. There is a chance that he could out grow his position and move back to safety, but until his game starts to suffer, don’t count on it. He hits like a truck when given the opportunity and is itching for a challenge. Top tier schools such as LSU and Ohio State has already offered.
Other University School prospects of note: DE Nick Internicola (Sr.), LB Jalen Battle (Sr.), DE Aubrey Duty-Tyson (Sr.), CB Richard Causey (So.)
DB Shedrick Williams (Madison County)
Rated a 3-star prospect, Williams totaled 74 tackles his senior season and shores up a strong Madison County defense. He has good size for a defensive back at 5-foot-11, 175-pound and is fast as well (4.5+ forty). On the field, he can be used in several positions, but will stay on the defensive side of the ball at the next level.
DE Brandon Crawford (Madison County)
The 6-foot-3, 228-pounder will be headed off to play college football next year, but he still has one last game to go before thinking ahead. As the leading tackler on the team, he had 91 tackles and 12 sacks on the season. He’ll need to bring that production to the championship game this Saturday to stop some of the offensive firepower that the U-School possesses.
Other Madison County prospects of note: Javarus Jones (Sr.), Chris O’Hara (Sr.), Eddrick Williams (Sr.)
4A—Bolles Bulldogs vs Booker T. Washington Tornadoes (Dec. 8, 7:00pm)
OLB Matthew Thomas (Booker T)
The top linebacker in Florida–and possibly the country–for the Class of 2013, Thomas has a lot tools at his disposal. Whether it’s his sub 4.6 forty speed, hard-hitting ability or natural instincts, he brings a lot to the table for the special Booker T. defense. He has been known for his big hits, but is able to drop in coverage extremely well for a 6-foot-4, 210-pound athlete.
DE Chad Thomas (Booker T)
While there’s no family relation to fellow teammate Matthew Thomas, the two have one thing in common: they are elite players. Thomas has the size (6-4/230) a lot of colleges are looking for in a rush-end. He is quick off the ball and puts it all on the line to make a play. One thing that doesn’t show on the field is his exceptional work ethic that happens when no one’s looking.
CB Nigel Patten (Booker T)
A 5-foot-9, 175-pound cornerback, Patten has come alive during the playoffs with at least one interception per game. In the semi-final game against Cocoa High School, he had two interceptions and returned one for a touchdown (however it was called back due to a penalty). When watching him, his size disadvantage quickly disappears through great technique and his elite burst. When looking at him lined up against a bigger receiver, you can’t help but be impressed with his lockdown ability.
S Michael Johnson (Booker T)
Part of an elite high school defense, Johnson does a great job of staying disciplined to not give up the big plays. He is heading up to Tallahassee, Fla., next year to become part of Florida State’s program, but is looking to get redemption his last year in high school against the team that kept them from a state title last year, Bolles. He also serves as the teams punter and kicker.
Other Booker T Washington prospects of note: LB Terry Jefferson (So.), DB Tyrell Everett (Jr.), DT Dimitrius Gibson (Sr.), DT Gregory Green (Sr.), DE Andre Duncombe (So.)
Other Bolles prospects of note: LB Cody Boswell (Jr.), CB Christian Bermudez (So.), FS Robert Burk (Sr.)