Over the past two decades, the University of South Florida Sling & Shoot 7-on-7 event – as well as the Lineman Challenge – is a place where careers have been launched.
Because it is the longest running and the first of its kind in the nation, the Tampa-based, two-day showcase of some quality talent, slanted with many programs from the Gulf Coast, it has long been forum for many programs in southern Florida to come and compete.
In the past, this is an event that has featured South Florida teams such as Coral Reef, Monarch, Coral Springs, Blanche Ely – as well as Miami Central and recent programs such as tournament champion Miami Westminster Christian and last year’s winner, Hallandale.
“The opportunity to come up here and play against teams that we never see during the course of a year makes this an important event for us to attend,” said Douglas head coach Willis May. “This is the third year we came up and had a great time and were challenged by some impressive programs.”
USF has always invited the best programs in Florida to come out and compete. From the beginning nearly 20 years, coaches brought in high school teams from the Tampa Bay area, but also sprinkled in some out of area powers.
Piper and head coach David Coleman came up to take part in the 7-on-7 event as well as the lineman challenge, and the competition that they had to go up against was not easy.
“This is a showcase event for a reason,” said Coleman, who has brought his Bengals to several offseason events this summer. “Down south when we play against teams we will see some very good programs, but up here, you still get those quality athletes that can play.”
The Bengals showcased some 2017 prospects in the 7-on-7 portion of the event. Players such as defensive backs Bryand Rincher, Sydney Audiger and Kaory Simmons, standout receivers Raevon Clarke, Tyler Adderly and Ja’Quez Geffrard and athlete Rashawn Fraser. There is also 2020 quarterback prospect Derohn King.
Douglas once again competed very hard with standout athletes turning heads all weekend. Prospects such as 2017 athletes Da’Quan Bailey-Brown (WR), Matthew Cabey (DB), Jamal Polycarpe (CB) and Trent Baldeo to name a few.
There are also 2018 prospects such as quarterback Tyler Goodman, running back Riley Allison, receiver Tai Lehtio, defensive backs Joey Mondelli and Bradley Vilsaint.
With Miami Central, Carol City, Northwestern and Boyd Anderson being among the best Class 6A programs in the state, the USF event brought in teams such as athletic as Daytona Beach Mainland, Naples and Seffner Armwood, who South Florida schools know very well.
In addition, you had schools such as Bradenton Braden River and Southeast, coached by former Western and Coral Springs head coach Rashad West. There were also impressive programs such as Dunedin, Clearwater, Clearwater Countryside, Seminole, Winter Park, Ocala West Port, Bushnell South Sumter and Orlando Edgewater with former Florida Gator QB Chris Leak, who is trying to turn that program back around.
The event also showcased linemen like locals Corey Gaynor and Nick Weber from Douglas, and Miami Christopher Columbus standout Robert Perez among others.
Piper not only brought senior offensive linemen Ronnie Joseph, Joel Robinson and Gesco Camille, but also seniors Josh Pierre-Louis and Jacolby Davis, 2019 standout Fabian Allen and 2020 future star Paul Oliver all competed on the defensive line.
As USF head coach Willie Taggart and his coaching staff worked the event, they had the chance to watch marquee prospects from across the state like Tarpon Springs East Lake, Fort Myers Dunbar, Naples Barron Collier, North Port, Sebring, Sanford Seminole, South Fort Myers, Orlando University School, Orlando Jones and Ocala Punta Gorda Charlotte.
There were also locals such as Tampa Middleton, Tampa Sickles, Riverview Spoto and Strawberry Crest.