Our third annual countdown of the top 100 football players in Tampa Bay. Past performances — spanning the fall, spring and summer — and promise of big things to come are all taken into consideration. Today: players 51 through 60.
Position/school: ATH, Gibbs
Why we ranked him: Hubbard-Smith is on his fourth team in as many years (Lakewood, then Northeast, then back to Lakewood). Once considered a quarterback prospect for Lakewood (before Ryan Davis appeared), Hubbard-Smith said he will have a chance under center for the Gladiators, who have no clear-cut starter at QB, and could see time in the secondary. Last season he was a “shut down (defensive back) …he’s a monster,” according to Lakewood coach Cory Moore. Now Moore will have to figure out how to defend him. Wherever he ends up on the field, Hubbard-Smith gives Gibbs another quality athlete.
Position/school: DB, East Lake
Why we ranked him: Despite putting up solid numbers last season (81 tackles, three broken passes, fumble recovery), Strnad was overshadowed in the Eagles’ secondary by Devin Abraham, a USF signee who was the Times’ Pinellas County defensive player of the year. With Abraham gone, Strnad takes over as a leader and has gotten the attention of colleges with 18 offers, all coming in the past four months.
Position/school: OL, East Lake
Why we ranked him: After playing guard last season, Santos moves over to left tackle to fill the void created by the graduation of Mason Cole, a four-star recruit who could start as a freshman at Michigan. Santos is more than capable of making the switch after a solid performance last season; he helped the Eagles average more than 40 points per game. His versatility was a big reason he rocketed up the recruiting charts this spring, with offers from six schools, including UCF, Kentucky, Nebraska and Ole Miss.
Position/school: OL, Hudson
For a team with plans to run, run and run, Stover is a dream come true.
He’s a towering 6 feet 5 and 300 pounds. He is a strong blocker with nifty feet.
And he is mean.
“He is a nasty sucker, I can tell you that,” said coach Mark Kantor, who has seen Stover react to getting cut and chopped with fierce indignation. “He takes it personally. He wants to get back out there and knock your block off.”
Kantor hopes to see that fierceness on every play this fall, when Stover will anchor a line that already returns starters Corey Molina, Chris Campos and Kameron DeWitt.
“Grayson came in as a freshman and he had some skills as far as footwork and size, and as we’ve coached him he’s gotten better and better every day,” said Kantor, citing Stover’s work in the weight room.
Last year, that offensive line helped pave the way to 2,352 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns, the Cobras’ best rushing performance since 2007.
This year, new running backs will have to step in to keep the momentum going. With quarterback Joey Caruso also back, Kantor has high hopes for his offense.
“Grayson will be an integral part,” he said. “Going into this year, knowing we have four back up front, we’re going to run a little bit more behind him.”
Stover has attracted college interest, and 247Sports ranks him No. 199 in the state.Stover should become a big name this fall.
“Great things are going to happen for this kid,” Kantor said. “If he stays healthy and has a full, complete year, you’ll see major colleges in here taking a look.”
Position/school: QB, Cambridge Christian
They’re chasing the QB, his name’s Garrett Young
But he’s too fleet of foot, and the ball, it is flung
Downfield to a teammate, who catches it right in stride
No surprise. Young’s passes are complete half the time
His stats, they are gaudy, and records he’s amassing
Let’s start with last year and the 1,861 yards passing
He’s quick with the two-step, maybe not quite like a dancer
But his 645 rushing yards were enough to lead all the Lancers
And the end zone? Well, why not just build a revolving door
Because last year the touchdown maker produced 34
He ran for 100 yards twice, and had four 200-yard games
Which is why this list could not possibly exclude his name
First name is Garrett, and his last name is Young
And if he duplicates last season, it should be on the tip of your tongue.
Position/school: ATH, Alonso
Who is your role model in football? “Champ Bailey, Richard Sherman, Deion Sanders, Peyton Manning, Randy Moss. There’s a lot more.”
What NFL player do you try to emulate? “It would be (Seattle cornerback) Richard Sherman.”
What was your most memorable game last season? “I’d say Bloomingdale (a 24-21 loss). I balled out that game. I had two picks, a couple fumbles and a touchdown.”
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not playing football? “Working out. Or eating.”
What’s your favorite thing about playing defensive back? “Lock down those wide receivers, let them know that I’m here.”
What’s the best part about going to Alonso? “The teachers show respect. They’re lovable. The football is a good program.”
Position/school: QB, Dixie Hollins
Why we ranked him: Adams started all 10 games last season and threw all over the field. He averaged nearly 28 pass attempts per game, and compiled 2,477 yards and 25 touchdowns. Now a senior, he will be the focal point of the Rebels’ offense. “Tyrie is a good football player,” coach Shannon Brooks said. “He’s going to make plays. Anything we do on offense is going to be because of him.”
Position/school: LB, Hillsborough
Why we ranked him:The Terriers will return six starters on defense, but Florida Atlantic commit Al-Shaair will be the one to watch. As a first-year starter in 2013, the linebacker led Hillsborough with 110 tackles — an average of 11 per game — and 8.5 sacks. Even as a sophomore last season, Al-Shaair was a leader in more ways than one, mirroring standout quarterback Dwayne Lawson. “He’s kind of the head of our defense as Dwayne is our offense,” coach Earl Garcia said.
Position/school: DB/WR, Boca Ciega
Why we ranked him: Anderson didn’t play for Bogie last season, so putting him on this list requires a leap of faith, but one we’re confident making. Whenever we’ve seen the Pirate senior this offseason, he has been superb, especially in pass coverage. If he’s as physical in pads as he is out of them, and plays the ball as aggressively, too, he should be considered one of the top corners by the end of the season. New coach Max Smith will also use him as an offensive weapon: as a running back, he had some big impressive runs in the spring and lined up in the slot as well. Anderson has offers from Rutgers, Marshall and Toledo, with more to come.
Position/school: RB, Carrollwood Day
By the numbers
7 100-yard games last year
8.7 Yards per carry
16 Carries vs. Canterbury last season, a career high
215 Yards vs. Canterbury last season, a career high
3 Touchdowns, vs. Canterbury last season, a career high
1,663 Our fearless prediction for how many yards Parker runs for in 2014