Throughout the course of the recruiting process, watching players and evaluating their potential is something that we have done for over four decades.
While we understanding a number of football prospects could easily be listed in the group of 25, but these are the athletes we have watched in camps, combines, practices, games, 7-on-7s and other sports.
Having the opportunity to see over 100 live games a year certainly provides a forum that most analysts do not have the luxury of seeing. Add that to the countless BCS and Division 1 college coaches and area high school coaches we have the pleasure of talking with, and you have a starting list for the Class of 2013.
Keep in mind, these lists will change a number of times in the next 12 months, so if an athlete is not on the initial offering of athletes, they will more than have a chance to impress.
The list is also compiled and done with football prospects in mind. Running a fast 40 or bench pressing 400 pounds does not guarantee a college scholarship or add up to football skill level!
Have players you want us to watch for the Class of 2013, drop Larry Blustein an e-mail at Floridakids1@aol.com.
1. Matthew Thomas, OLB, 6-4, 210, Miami Booker T. Washington: No brainer, here. This gifted prospect may be one of the best in the country. He can play defensive end, linebacker and strong safety and never skips a talent beat. Overwhelms any offensive lineman or tight end he goes against. Will only get better, and that is scary!
2. Jamal Carter, S, 6-1, 190, Southridge: While injuries have cut into this major splash at the high school level, this was a prospect who was going to be a star long before he ever got to high school. This is the year the nation understands why they have been waiting for this gifted football prospect to mature and stay healthy. That time has arrived.
3. Daryl Chestnut, RB, 5-10, 180, Christopher Columbus: Here is the “Cadillac” of running backs in this state. A football player who can take it the distance against anyone – and he will never be caught. Combines blazing speed with a knack of hitting the holes. Will be used much more this year.
4. Denver Kirkland, OL, 6-4, 300, Booker T. Washington: This three-year starter has everything you look for in a line prospect who will compete at the BCS level – and beyond. Great footwork, athleticism and the ability to open holes and keep them that way. Big, big time player.
5. Stacy Thomas, DE, 6-2, 225, Gulliver Prep: How does a football prospect with so much size, athletic ability and game-changing talent get lost in any shuffle? Ask any player or coach who went against him last season, and all are upset that he has one more year left. Will be heavily recruited for his ability to blow up plays – often.
6. George Williams, LB, 6-1, 220, Hialeah: Easily one of the most physical and gifted prospects in South Florida, this three-year starter can cover sideline-to-sideline and continues to drop in pass coverage with the best. Will be an every down player at the next level, which is great news for college coaches. Play maker!
7. Gerald Wright, OL, 6-4, 270, Northwestern: It can already be said that if everyone returns for the Bulls, they will have the No. 1 offensive line in the state, and certainly at the center of that group is this amazing prospect who has tremendous feet and drive blocks with the best. BCS for sure. After that, it’s up to how hard he works.
8. Lorenzo Woodley, RB, 6-0, 200, Christopher Columbus: From his freshman days at rival Belen Jesuit to where he has come know, this is one of those big backs who has frame to carry 225 pounds and beat people up. Also amazing quickness, but his major positive is his durability, which has everyone watching - especially FSU, which he committed to.
9. Xavier Hines, DB, 6-0, 190, Belen Jesuit: When all is said and done, this could be one of the state’s premier secondary performers. He is not just lightning quick, but has football instincts that traces back several years. This is the kind of player who changes outcomes of games, and the Wolverines are overjoyed.
10. Charles Williams, QB, 6-2, 180, Champagnat Catholic: Another athlete that college coaches and opposing high school coaches have been raving about. Is one of those big time athletes who has speed, football smarts and can move the chains with his arm or legs. A true difference maker.
11. Leroy Clark, DB, 5-11, 180, Miami Archbishop Carroll: In any other part of the state, when a prospect had the year that this quality athlete did, which included 13 interceptions and several huge plays, there would be no questioning his ability. Welcome to South Florida, where there are several big time prospects. But fair warning, this is a big, big time football talent – at any level!
12. Jesus Wilson, WR, 5-10, 165, Christopher Columbus: Another exceptional talent, who has speed, athletic ability and the talent to break games open with catches or on special teams. This one-time youth football standout has brought his game to the next level – in a huge way.
13. Treyvon Williams, OLB, 6-1, 220, Norland: With all the talent the Vikings have had over the past few years, it’s easy to see why a prospect like this could be overlooked. But go back and watch the success this team had and you will see this quality football talent making plays, all over the field.
14. Terrance Alls, WR, 6-0, 175, Dade Christian: When college coaches came to the school last year to watch D1 prospects Ryan Janvion (Wake Forest) and Bilal Marshall (Purdue), they were also treated to one of the best players this program has ever had. Speed, athletic ability and enough talent to dictate play on offense, defense and on special teams. Tremendously talented.
15. Paul James, DE, 6-3, 235, Dr. Krop: Just think, this could have been yet another piece to Norland’s championship puzzle, but he opted to head to nearby Dr. Krop as a sophomore. Despite numerous injures, this is a player that every college coach simply loves. Has unlimited potential.
16. Anthony Walker, OLB/S, 6-1, 200, Monsignor Pace: How many prospect, like this, have to impress enough high school and college coaches to be considered one of the best in the state? Yet, here is a prospect that doesn’t get the publicity he deserves. He may be a safety now, but his body screams linebacker. No matter where this quick, athletic player lines up, he will bring plenty of positive along with him.
17. Artie Burns, DB, 6-1, 175, Northwestern: Here is a two-year varsity performer who is perhaps known more for what he’s been able to accomplish as a nationally-rated runner on the track, but do not sell his abilities short. This is a very aggressive and talented athlete who is picking things up all the time.
18. Troy McCullom, DB, 6-0, 180, North Miami: In a program that has struggled through the years, here is the first BCS level players the Pioneers have been able to produce in a while. He is a very quick, aggressive and athletic player who can play corner or safety.
19. Bo Ellis, RB, 5-9, 185, Gulliver Prep: In a year the Raiders lost Chestnut to Columbus, here was a player who stepped, showed that he can play this game at a high level and made life easy on this program. Hits the hole quick and get those tough yards as well as being able to hit the home run with a long play.
20. Devondre Powell, DB, 5-10, 170, Jackson: While most of the offensive players were getting the attention, and for good reason, the secondary the Generals had was not too bad, either. This is one of the most aggressive and athletic prospects in the secondary. His exposure in the off season will only elevate his many talents.
21. Wendell Dunn, LB/S, 6-0, 190, Palmetto: Ever since he came to high school, this was a player that everyone has waited to mature and live up to his potential. A quick, safety with range and the ability cover, he will have a new coaching staff for that final season, and that may add up to a lot of positives.
22. Michael Johnson, DB, 5-9, 175, Booker T. Washington: Talk to high school coaches who played against him, and all will tell you how they avoid coming into his area. Speak with college coaches who are recruiting him, and they smile. This is the next great Tornado player in the secondary.
23. Jerrol Mobley, OL, 6-4, 315, Hialeah: One of the most physical and athletic big men in a class that will produce a number of top-flight prospects. Greet feet, tremendous strength and the skill level to play a number of positions up front. One of the big time recruits to keep an eye on.
24. Troy Cook, QB, 6-2, 200, Palmetto: While his stats may not bear it out, this is the most technically sound and experienced quarterbacks in South Florida. His work in the off season has more than paved the way for the success he has achieved. New coach and more of a chance to spotlight his many, many skills.
25. Isaac McDonald, DE/OLB, 6-6, 200, Champagnat Catholic: Over the past two years, there has been much written and said about this big time football talent who has coaches watching his every move. An outside linebacker who will more than likely get the chance to play defensive end at the next level. An extremely athletic and quick football player who will get it done at any level.