Florida High School State Championship Prospect Preview (1A-4A): Offense
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 1:07pm and the final game of part one begins Saturday at 7:07pm. 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)
FB LaMikal Kyles (Northview)
Kyles (6-0/180) is a Class of 2014 prospect that has been very productive all season long. His 1,269 yards and 19 touchdowns helped pave the way to the state championship game. On a team where they limit mistakes and play great defense, expect Kyles to be the workhorse running behind halfback Brannon Freeman, who in his own right is a force to be reckoned with.
HB Brannon Freeman (Northview)
Two outstanding players in the backfield is a dangerous weapon that can leave defenses struggling. That’s exactly what Freeman brings to his side of the table. He gets the job down in both rushing and receiving. He totaled 486 yards on 58 carries and 10 touchdowns while catching 36 passes for 492 yards. His catching ability makes him a big threat because it’s hard to prepare for an athlete like that at the prep level. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound senior will put in all his effort this year to end his high school football career with a championship ring.
Other Northview prospects of note: WR Neino Robinson (Jr.), QB Kevin Vaughan (Sr.)
RB Cedric Stokes (Trenton)
Playing the running back position, it’s hard not to argue that Stokes will be one of the main weapons on the field for the Tigers. He has consistently put up big numbers which is why he’s sitting at 1,822 yards rushing and 26 touchdowns on the season. The 5-foot-9, 175-pound force can attribute his success to his next level agility which allows him to extend plays when it seems there is nowhere to go. With great stats and a chance at the state championship, he couldn’t ask for a better senior season.
QB Stephen Smith (Trenton)
A dual-threat quarterback is a position that takes timing and great decisions in order to be successful. Smith balances his run-pass decisions almost perfectly. On the ground, he has picked up 1, 136 yards off of 91 attempts and 14 touchdowns. Through the air, he is even more impressive with 1,408 yards passing and 15 touchdowns. Smith, 5-foot-10 and 160-pounds, can keep defenses guessing and on their toes all night long. At any level of football, quarterbacks that can make plays with their feet are always tough to deal with.
Other Trenton prospects of note: WR/CB Hamp Cheevers (So.), FB Melvin Adams (Jr.)
2A—Dade Christian Crusaders vs University Christian (Dec. 7, 7:00pm)
WR Terrence Alls (Dade Christian)
The Duke commit is a big play waiting to happen for his team. At 6-foot, 165-pounds, he brings invaluable firepower to this team. Not just in the receiving game either—where he had 24 catches for 382 yards–he is also the teams punter, averaging 32.7 yards per punt.
ATH Gary Sampson (Dade Christian)
Samson (6-0/200) is their x-factor. The senior quarterback makes plays on the ground as well as in the air. He leads the team in rushing with 887 yards and 8 touchdowns. When he decided to throw the ball, he had 780 yards passing and 7 touchdowns.
Other Dade Christian prospects of note: RB Andrew Florvil (Sr.), ATH Kenny Lewis (Jr.), RB Marial Steadman (So.)
RB Jeremiah Hamlin and Hussein Howe (University Christian)
Hamlin (6-0/215) is part of a one-two punch with Hussein Howe. They both have rushed for almost 1,000 yards, with Hamlin pounding out 934 yards and 15 touchdowns, while Howe was able to gain 943 yards and 17 touchdowns of his own. The two backs are on the opposite ends of their high school careers. Hamlin, who is a senior, will be moving on to Richmond College next year as Howe will be entering his sophomore year of high school. They will create big opportunities for their quarterback to get a nice passing game going.
QB Tim Betros (University Christian)
With the dynamic running backs Betros has at his disposal, it’s easy to think that he could rely on them to get the job done. That’s partially true, but Bestros has been having a great season of his own as a signal caller throwing for 1,320 yards, 19 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. His low margin of error is what gave University Christian an opportunity to bring home another trophy.
Other University Christian prospects of note: WR Jake Stoshak (Jr.)
3A—Madison County Cowboys vs University School of NSU Suns (Dec. 8, 1:00pm)
RB Jordan Scarlett (University School)
While only a sophomore, the running back nick-named “Man Child” is a specimen that lives up to his name. He rushed for over 200 yards and 4 touchdowns against a stout Cocoa High School defense that posted four shutouts this year. Although he has the size (5-11/190) to be a downhill, between the tackle runner, he oftentimes burns opposing defenses with his speed off the edge.
WR Jordan Cunningham (University School)
Cunningham is another great South Florida talent with a plethora of offers. He is made for the big play and isn’t afraid to go across the middle. He has good size at 6-foot-2 and 175-pounds. His catching ability is very good and if a defense starts sleeping on him, they’ll end up paying for it with six points. The Suns rely on him to be their outside threat and he’s primed to have a big game this weekend.
Other University School prospects of note: WR Dionte Taylor (Sr.), QB Mike White (Sr.), OL Jordan Budwig (Sr.), WR DJ Woods (Sr.)
OL Ira Denson (Madison County)
Denson (6-4/317) is a Florida State commit that is one of the best offensive lineman in the country. He brings next-level ability that you would expect from a big-time prospect. He made a name for himself in 2011 after doing well against top level athletes during camps.
Keyon Bruton sr. 5-9/190 (Madison County)
Bruton is a beneficiary to a having one of the top lineman in the country to run behind, Ira Denson. Still, he has been able to amass 814 yards off of 113 carries and scored 12 times. He will need to continue his productive season in the championship game if they want to leave with a victory.
Other Madison County prospects of note: WR Trey Arnold (Sr.), WR Shedrick Williams (Sr.), QB DJ McKnight (Sr.)
4A—Bolles Bulldogs vs Booker T. Washington Tornadoes (Dec. 8, 7:00pm)
OT Denver Kirkland (Booker T)
Part of a special team, Kirkland still separates himself with his tremendous size and talent. His college ready 6-foot-5, 335-pound frame makes him hard for defenses to deal with. Oftentimes, he isn’t challenged during a game and is able to make good defensive ends look bad. This effort can be misleading, because when he’s challenged by another great athlete, his game rises to the occasion and he comes out the victor. With national programs battling over his services, look at his performance this weekend to do nothing but impress them.
QB Treon Harris (Booker T)
It’s natural to put great athletes in positions they can succeed and that’s exactly what the Tornadoes have done with Harris. He’s become so comfortable in the pocket that you forget about how special of an athlete his is—that is until he turns on the jets and runs for a 70 yard touchdown when there are no open receivers. He’s adamant about playing quarterback at the next level, and since he’s only a junior, he has plenty of time to prove to colleges he’s up for the task. Standing only 5-foot-11, 185-pounds, he will have to find the right system that could utilize his decision making ability and athleticism at the signal-caller position.
Other Booker T Washington prospects of note: WR Lamar Parker (Jr.), OL David Jerome (Sr.), WR Nicholas Norris (Jr.), RB Mark Walton (Fr.), RB D’Von Ballard (Jr.)
RB Aterrious Mitchell (Bolles)
Mitchell is the premier running back for Bolles. He rushed 142 times for 880 yards and 16 touchdowns this season. Averaging just over 6 yards a carry, he can really hurt teams with his speed. The senior will have the tough task of running against a stout Booker T defense. He will need to get going early to keep his team in the game.
QB Colby Peters (Bolles)
The 6-foot, 205-pound signal-caller passed for 1,112 yards and 15 touchdowns during the regular season. He was accurate as well, completing 74 out of 118 attempts. He will have his work cut out for him this year as the defense of Booker T. Washington has improved from last season when the two met up in the championship game. He will need to have a near perfect game to come out with a victory and win a second straight state title to end his high school career.
Other Bolles prospects of note: RB Dexter Carter Jr. (So.), FB Gianluca Heatherley (Sr.), OL Bubba Hoffman (Sr.), WR Austin Kirksey (Sr.)