UnsignedPreps Showcase wrapup
Overall MVP: Deon Cain, Tampa Bay Tech. He was just silly. Went up against the best defensive backs and with a variety of moves simply proved to be unstoppable. Looks bigger every time you see him, and has terrific hands. Too big for the smaller defensive backs, too fast for the bigger ones, runs fantastic routes. Easy to see what the colleges like. I think Blake's Shavar Manuel was one more 1-on-1 victory against big offensive lineman Tyree St. Louis away from stealing this award though.
Quarterbacks MVP: Chris Oladokun, Alonso. Three some of the nicest balls in the 1-on-1s, looks better every time you see him. Wasn't much doubt he was the best QB out there. Palmetto's Jack Allison is a tall kid with a big arm that just needs some polish. He'll probably be one of the QBs that UnsignedPreps takes on their 7-on-7 all-star team. Wiregrass Ranch's Shane Bucenell also showed off a strong arm.
Running backs MVP: Richard Graham, Nature Coast Tech. I thought if any Shark running back would shine Saturday, it would be DeShawn Smith, but he didn't show. That left the door open for the recent Hernando transfer to shine. His performance prompted a coach there to say "Looks like Nature Coast might have a running back controversey." I'll have to see more of Graham to declare that battle even, because Smith is probably going to be one of the best running backs in Tampa Bay next season. But we'll see.
Wide receivers MVP: Nate Craig, Tampa Catholic. Too big, too strong, too fast. He had a good day, with one or two amazing catches in a field that was deep. Bentlee Sanders, another Tampa Catholic player, shined as well. Whoever the Crusaders quarterback is in the fall, well, congratulations.
Defensive back MVP: Nate Ferguson, Gaither. Ferguson beat out alot of top prospects for this, due in part to his spectacular interception (see video) and his overall coverage on guys like Cain, Ray Ray McCloud and Bentlee Sanders. Super aggressive cover guy with the speed to make up for his mistakes. Plant's Derrick Baity, Pinellas Park's Rashaan Watson, Lakewood's Sekendric Biddines, and even McCloud were in the mix got this,
Linebacker MVP: Jaye Miner, Wiregrass Ranch. I didn't get a good look at the linebackers, though I thought Admiral Farragut's Isadore Wood and Pinellas Park's Kal-El Williams did well in coverage against smaller, quicker receivers considering their bowling ball builds.
Offensive line MVP: Tyree St. Louis, IMG. Everyone wanted a crack at St. Louis, the former Tampa Bay Tech standout, in 1-on-1s so that tells you all you need to know. He was the biggest, baddest and most tested man out there, but took on all comers. Nature Coast Tech's Christian Pellage did well considering the advantage defensive ends have in 1-on-1s, even fighting Manuel to a draw on one occasion. Gulf's Chance Belloise looks like he might be something as well.
Defensive line MVP: The coaches wimped out and didn't name one, citing the whole group, including East Bay's Marques Ford, Tampa Catholic's Malik Barrow, Plant's Kyle Henderson and Blake's Shavar Manuel. If I was picking, it would probably be Manuel, because he put a charge in the camp and took on Pellage and St. Louis, two of the best offensive linemen in the country, at least three times each which great success four of those 1-on-1s. But Barrow would be just a hair behind, and Henderson was in beastmode as well. This may have been the best all-around group at the event.
10 GUYS THAT DESERVED MORE LOVE
Kenyatta Anderson, DB, Boca Ciega: I thought he was the best "unknown" player out there. Was eager to jump in with recruits like Ferguson and McCloud to cover the best guys, showing a ton of guts and confidence and lack of fear. I saw lot of other guys not quite so eager to take their turns. Cain made an unbelievable 1-handed catch while covered by Anderson and Craig made a highlight reel catch while falling to the ground, but you can't blame the Pirate for that. He didn't quite finish off any big plays, but he was right there a number of times. Covered the best, and I thought did the best job on the biggest name guys of anyone there. Really impressive.
Derrick Baity, DB, Plant: Loved up to his billing, showing well against the very best. Big and physical with very good speed, another guy eager to jump in there with the big boys.
Jamari Hurst, WR, Lakewood: Little dude that can fly. He ran some nice routes, super quick out of his break and had a variety of impressive catches from over the shoulder to snagging a ball away from his body with his hands, caught everything I saw thrown his way. Would have liked to see him up against some of the studs, but we may see alot of Hurst this offseason. Format is well-suited for him.
Issac Levay, WR/DB, Sickles: Nice size, glides in coverage and ran nice routes. Showed a really good pair of hands and very confident and effective in pass coverage. Remember this name.
DeDarallo Blue, DB, Armwood: Took on the bigger, stronger Nate Craig on one route and won the battle. Quick and physical, pretty much blanketed everyone he covered.
Anthony Quintana, WR, Sickles: Another of the smaller wide receivers that went unnoticed, largely because he was running routes opposite of the main event guys. Favored the shorter routes, made nice cuts to make lots of space and caught everything thrown his way.
Chris Angulo, DB, East Bay: He's already one of the best cover guys in the area, and he only cemented that with his performance Saturday. Very nice work, made a really nice over the shoulder interception after making up some distance in coverage.
Malik Barrow, DE, Tampa Catholic: Wow. Just wow. Only a sophomore, he's going to be one of the top guys in the 2016 class.
Bentlee Sanders, WR/DB, Tampa Catholic: Covered well and has very good hands. His takedown of a receiver at the line of scrimmage shows (seriously, watch the video) he is stronger than he looks and enjoys physical coverage. Did not shy away from the big boys either.
Sekendric Biddines, WR/DB, Lakewood: I liked him at Under Armour, and I liked him Saturday. Looked and played bigger than he did at the Trop, seems to be coming into his own.
Times preps columnist John C. Cotey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JohnnyHomeTeam.