Proving that high school football in the state of Florida never stops, the Class of 2019 had the chance to get in the spotlight over Christmas weekend.
With college recruiting pretty much a year round event, getting underclassmen in the spotlight is what has been going on throughout the country for years.
As Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks guided the West team – and former University of Florida standout Keiwan Ratliff guiding the East, the two talent-filled teams clashed last Saturday night in the Legends Showcase at Armwood High School outside of Tampa.
With early signing taking place last week, you can see how important these events are for college coaches – trying to get a jump on the next class.
The East squad – with players from Northeast Florida, Orange County, Osceola County, Seminole County and Southeast beat the West team, 23-6.
It was indeed a #305/#954 takeover – with Cardinal Gibbons quarterback Nik Scalzo, running back Vincent Davis and defensive end Khris Bogle all making a huge impact.
Scalzo and Davis each scored – while Bogle, who is one of the elite defensive ends in the state, had a key sacks and several tackles.
Recent Chaminade-Madonna transfer John Dunmore showed why he will be among the best receivers in Florida this coming season as he came up with six catches.
Miami Central quarterback Maurice Underwood was also impressive for the East.
Defensively, linebackers Ge’Mon Eaford (Deerfield Beach) came up with a number of key tackles – while Coconut Creek defensive back Taiwan Mullen also came up huge.
The West team, which had prospects from Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas, Bradenton/Sarasota and Southwest Florida, hung tough, but the East was stacked with prospects.
TALENT FOR THE FUTURE
While the clock has not officially started for this group of athletes, many of these talented young men have earned their way to this game by competing at a high level over the past few years.
The offense was indeed stacked – not only with Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach athletes, but prospects from up and down the east coast of the Sunshine State.
“I laugh when I hear people talk about high school football not being a year round commitment,” Charles Fishbein of Elite Scouting pointed out. “These young men who took part in this Christmas weekend game will be the same players we will be watching the next year. Great idea and a lot of elite players.
LOCALS SHINE ONCE AGAIN
You know that when it comes showcasing talent, Miami-Dade and Broward Counties will never be left out – and that was the case in this competitive game.
Area receivers are always going to be strong – and with Doral Academy standout Breion Fuller, and Frank Ladson, Jr. (South Dade), they are very solid.
The South Florida linemen have also been getting better and better – with Maurice Smith (Miami Central), Waldrick Wilson and Dontae Lucas (Miami High), who was singled out for his play. Northwestern’s Mark Fox, Jr., was invited to take part in the game, but was in Arizona with the Bulls, playing in the Geico Bowl.
LIGHTS OUT ON DEFENSE
When it comes to defensive team speed, South Florida is always quick and athletic. Secondary performers featured Tecory Couch (Chaminade-Madonna), Akeem Dent (Palm Beach Central), Jordan Battle and Jaden Davis (St. Thomas Aquinas), Mark-Anthony Richards (Wellington), top-rated Joshua Sanguinetti (University School) and South Dade emerging star safety Tyrique Stevenson.
University of Miami linebacker commit Diamante Howard (Southridge), and University of Florida defensive end commit Cameron Williams (Chaminade-Madonna) were also turning heads.
“When you have this kind of talent, you know that the action will be special,” Fishbein said. “But that’s Florida – and you will find it in every class.”
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PHOTO COURTESY OF LEGENDS SHOWCASE