Everyone knows how good Sickles’ Ray Ray McCloud III, East Lake’s George Campbell and Armwood’s Byron Cowart are. These are the lesser known guys we expect to take their turns in the spotlight this season. You can thank us in December.
WR/DB Tyree Austin, Sr., Pasco: While not the biggest player on the field (5-foot-11, 165 pounds), Austin has a knack for finding the ball. He should be one of the Pirates’ top receiving threats, and he is harassing as a defensive back. Coach Tom McHugh says Austin’s size may be keeping recruiters at bay, but they are making a mistake.
QB Garrison Bryant, Jr., Clearwater: Bryant transferred from East Lake last year and started for the Tornadoes. He played well in the second half of the season and could carry that momentum into 2014. The Tornadoes were impressive in the spring and hung with Hillsborough in the preseason game. Expect Bryant and the Tornadoes to be vastly improved this season.
RB Donnie Crum, So., Admiral Farragut: Crum didn’t see much action last year because he was stuck behind Cortavious Givens. He will see plenty of action this season and should be a 1,000-plus yard back. He scored a touchdown in the Blue Jackets’ preseason win over Moore Haven. His speed overcomes a lack of size (5-10, 178), and he is able to catch passes out of the backfield. AFA coaches have been raving about him since the spring.
WR Daniel Davis, Sr., Tarpon Springs: If preseason is any indication, the Gibbs transfer is going to be exciting. He had 114 yards receiving, added 58 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns against Anclote last week. One of those touchdowns was a 94-yard kickoff return.
LB/DL Steven Delaine, Sr., Hernando: Delaine showed real progress last year with 55 tackles, include eight behind the line of scrimmage. He was terrific in the spring, and he’ll be the main cog in the Leopard defense. Don’t be surprised if the 6-foot, 240-pounder leads Hernando County in tackles.
RB Clarence Farria, Jr., Ridgewood: With defenses geared up to stop starting tailback Glass Wilson, Farria could benefit. He was one of a few players in Tampa Bay last season who had more than 300 yards receiving (374) and rushing (331), so his versatility will be a plus.
QB Argi Radani and WR Andrew Gordon, Srs., Dunedin: This duo could have some fun, and neither played their positions for Dunedin last year. Radani joined Dunedin after playing eight-man football at Clearwater Academy. Gordon, who is 6 feet 7, played offensive line in 2013. They hooked up for a pair of touchdowns in last week’s jamboree against Largo and Pinellas Park. Expect them to do that many more times this season.
RB/LB Tykese Keaton-Baldwin, Jr., Plant: If you ask coach Robert Weiner, this 5-foot-9, 175-pound Panther could be one of the best athletes on his squad. With Andrew Beck now at Texas, Keaton-Baldwin will be tapped to help hold together a young linebacker corp while also lending a hand in the run game. In last week’s preseason game against Armwood, Patrick Brooks and Keaton-Baldwin propelled the Panthers’ run-heavy offense, and Keaton-Baldwin broke tackle after tackle on his 15-yard winning touchdown run. We think he’s got a lot more of those in him.
WR Darrian McNeil, So., Armwood: The quarterback of the future for the Hawks may need to be the wide receiver of the present. Now that leading 2013 receiver Trevor Laurent has transferred out, it could be up to McNeil to pick up the additional yards in the passing game.
RB Chris Schwarz, Jr., River Ridge: The Royal Knights will feed him the rock, and we expect Schwarz, who is coming back from an injury, to run for close to 1,000 yards. He should have an improved passing game to keep defenses honest.
DB V’Onte Williams-McRoy, Sr., Wharton: Williams-McRoy is a complete unknown after missing the past two seasons, but he flashed in the offseason what he is capable of doing, showing great anticipation and ability to get to passes. Coach David Mitchell said if he can pick up the playbook, he could be terrific.
QB Terence Williams, Jr., Spoto: Already a wide receiver prospect with a pair of Division I offers, Williams will step under center …and in the slot …and out wide …and in the backfield, as a multi-dimensional threat. In a possible pass-happy attack this year at Spoto, Williams could be prolific enough to lead the county in passing or receiving.