Having traveled the entire state of Florida, watching some of the elite performers for the future live during the spring and summer, the Miami Herald, Elite Scouting Services and Friday Football Magazine - Florida have a pre-season top 25 players to watch for in the Class of 2011.
1. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, 6-3, 175, Miami Northwestern: Easily one of the top prospects in the nation. A tremendous athlete who will not only be impressive as a quarterback, but will also turnout to be an elite receiver as well. Is considered a very good high school baseball player, too.
2. Daunte Saunders, Athlete, 6-1, 185, Deland: Quarterback, receiver, defensive back, kick returner, here is an athlete that we have watched the past two years and waited for the rest of the state to see what he brings to the table. He is very talented and will be a national recruit.
3. Mike Bellamy, RB, 5-11, 185, Punta Gorda Charlotte: Yet another three year performer that Coach Binky Waldrop has been talking about as the next great back in the state. Explosive at the line of scrimmage, he is the total package!
4. Andre Davis, WR, 6-3, 175, Tampa Jefferson: Many believe that this elite prospect, who had a good sophomore season, but an incredible spring and summer, will have Dragon fans remembering the Caldwell brothers who went on to showcase their many skills.
5. James Wilder, LB, 6-1, 210, Tampa Plant: Forget his impressive bloodlines, with his father playing for the Tampa Bay Bucs, this two way (running back) athlete has already carved out his own niche with two outstanding varsity seasons so far.
6. Tim Jernigan, DE, 6-3, 270, Lake City Columbia: Yet another impressive athlete we have been following for two years, and as he gets ready for his junior season, everyone has started to find out about this gifted athlete who has everything you are looking for at this position.
7. Marlin Lane, RB, 6-1, 190, Daytona Beach Mainland: Already headed to Clemson in two years, there may not be a more versatile back than this. Great speed, tremendous hands and the ability to lift a team on his shoulders. He is a also a great teammate.
8. Nick O’Leary, TE, 6-4, 220, Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer: From the time he put on pads at North Palm Beach Benjamin two years ago, everyone knew that golfing legend Jack Nicklaus’s grandson would be something special. Here is an athlete who is already one of the nation’s best.
9. Javorius Allen, Athlete, 6-1, 190, Tallahassee Lincoln: If you didn’t follow the Trojans during the 2008 season, maybe you had the chance to watch him in the state championship game. A gifted athlete who many believe could be a top 5 prospect by the end of the year.
10. Denzel Perryman, LB, 5-11, 213, Coral Gables: After watching him play as a ninth grader, there was little doubt that this is the next great Miami-Dade prospect. Former Cavalier standout Jon Vilma already believes that he will follow in his impressive footsteps.
11. Willie Mitchell, LB, 6-2, 215, Deltona Pine Ridge: Make no mistake that after watching him play twice as a sophomore and at three off season events, here is a football player who blends quickness and a nose for the football with the love of the game.
12. Alan Johnson, OL, 6-5, 285, Palm Bay: When head coach Dan Burke talked about this impressive prospect at the start of his sophomore season, here is one of the players that we continued to follow and watch his progress, and the coach was right on. A great future ahead!
13. Marcus Jackson, OL/DL, 6-4, 295, Vero Beach: Is there any question why the Indians have one of the top lines in the state this coming season? Here is yet another prospect that we watched at the end of his ninth grade season and charted his progress.
14. Anthony Rabasa, DE, 6-3, 220, Miami Columbus: If you watched any of the Explorers’ games last season, the one thing that you had to be impressed with was the way this sophomore made plays, used his speed, strength and overall athletic ability to help his team turn in a 10-0 regular season.
15. Lonnie Gosha, DT, 603, 245, Lake Butler Union County: When Andrew Zow spoke about some of the elite players he has been around, this is one of the first names he talked about. At a school that has had more than its share of quality players, including the head coach, add another one to that group.
16. Giovanni Francois, DE, 6-2, 220, Bradenton Southeast: Watching the Seminoles play last year, there were a number of players to keep an eye on, and while there were some emerging seniors who made plays, this is one of those quality athletes who was always around the ball all the time!
17. B.J. Dubose, DE, 6-5, 230, Oakland Park Northeast: After playing basketball his first year at the high school level, the Hurricanes turned this quality athlete loose last year, and when Donnell Bennett took over in the spring, he continued to rise into one of the top prospects in the state.
18. Tacoi Sumler, WR/DB, 5-10, 165, Miami Gulliver Prep: For the past two years, this is a two-way athlete that everyone talked about. From his days at the youth football level until last year, during the Raiders’ run to the 2A state title game, he made plays and turned heads.
19. Cortez Davis, S, 6-5, 200, Daytona Beach Mainland: While this basketball player had done much of his athletic work on the court, last year, head coach John Maronto and his staff were bowled over by how accomplished a prospect he turned into on the football field. His best days are certainly ahead of him.
20. Karlos Williams, Athlete, 6-0, 190, Davenport Ridge Community: Following in the footsteps of his two brothers, this may be the most talented of the three. Can play five different positions on both sides of the ball, and like many of the elite athletes in this state, has a chance to be a top 10 player by the end of the season.
21. Javares McRoy, WR, 5-10, 170, Lakeland: Yet another explosive athlete who we were fortunate to watch as a freshman and then again last year when he overwhelmed defensive backs with his speed, great route running and tremendous hands.
22. Mile Pace, LB, 6-0, 235, Miami Central: Another quality athlete we had the pleasure of watching through youth football, as a freshman at American High and then this spring, after sitting out his sophomore season. Great prospect who will end up as a defensive lineman when all is said and done. Colleges already know all about him.
23. Nick Waisome, DB, 5-9, 175, Groveland Southlake: His sophomore season was impressive but what he did in the off season was also impressive as he had the chance to showcase his skills in the spring as well as several 7-on-7 events. We were fortunate to have watched him five different times since the end of the year in November.
24. Chavelle Buie, RB, 5-9, 165, Cocoa: An explosive back who has thrust himself into the elite spotlight. Great explosion, tremendous vision and one of the best line from scrimmage runners in the state. Had the opportunity to further showcase his skills during a state championship run in 2008. Will only get better this year!
25. Charles Gaines, Jr., 5-9, 175, Miami Central: When the 2008 season ended, many believe that this was the best receiver in a very, very talented South Florida region. Great burst of speed, tremendous route running ability and a knack of making big catches against the best defensive secondary performers in the state. Keep an eye on his progress in 2009.
If you have a comment to make on this or anything else on recruiting, just let Larry Blustein know at LBlustein@miamiherald.com.
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