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 61 through 70.
Position/school: RB, Jefferson
Who’s the best player in Tampa Bay? “I’ll give it to (Sickles RB) Ray Ray (McCloud).”
If you could steal one player off another team, who would you grab? “I think T.J. Chase at Plant City. He’s a good player, good athlete and he’s a 2016. I didn’t know he was that young.”
Everyone seems to be saying you guys lost too much talent to be a player again. Right or wrong? “Yeah, everybody’s wrong.”
What’s your summer jam? “Fight Night by Migos.”
You ran for 791 yards last year, with another 350 receiving. What is Mondreas gonna do this fall? “Personally, my goal is to rush for at least 1,000 yards, and to get at least 2,000 all-purpose yards.”
How do people describe your game? “They say I’m calm when I’m under pressure. Quick, shifty, elusive.”
What are your college hopes? “I wanna get offered by SEC teams like the Gators and LSU. My No. 1 team I wanna get offered by is LSU. Lots of people see me at Oregon, too. They are a small shifty team, too. So far, Cincinnati has shown the most interest.”
But others are coming onboard after this fall, right? “Yes, sir. This is the year.”
Position/school: QB, Land O’Lakes
Ht/Wt: 6-6, 210
By the numbers
2,345 Passing yards last season, tops in Pasco County
3,419 Yards thrown for in three seasons with Land O’Lakes and Hillsborough
22 Touchdown passes in 2013
2 300-yard games last season (302 vs. Springstead, 375 vs. River Ridge)
1.02 Percentage of pass attempts that were intercepted
17-9 Team’s record in games he has thrown a pass
78 Inches tall Pensyl is
Position/school: RB, Tarpon Springs
Why we ranked him: Ford missed the entire spring with a broken foot, but he will be ready to go in August. At full strength, Ford is a power runner capable of getting big chunks of yards. He carried the ball 200 times as a junior, more than double any other Sponger running back. He gained 1,378 yards and scored 17 touchdowns, and averaged 125 yards per game. Ford is going to carry the load again this season and opponents know it. Can they stop him?
Position/school: DB, Gaither
Why we ranked him: Every time we see Ferguson, he’s doing something interesting. He’s a lockdown corner guy, physical at the line of scrimmage and makes spectacular plays on the ball. Ferguson has the cornerback swag, but is able to back it up. FIU, Ball State, Appalachian State and others are among his suitors.
Position/school: WR, Lakewood
Why we ranked him: A Boca Ciega transfer, Biddines could have a big season, especially with Ryan Davis throwing to him. Biddines fit right in during the spring, catching a 25-yard touchdown against Ocala Vanguard. He will also spend time at defensive back, but his future is at receiver. Biddines’ speed and soft hands have college recruiters making their way to south St. Petersburg.
Position/school: LB, Plant City
Five reasons we like him
1. Some guys just have a radar for the ball. That’s Dawson.
2. He does pretty much everything well on defense: rushes the passer, stands up running backs in the hole, great in pass coverage, hits hard.
3. Did we mention how good he is in pass coverage? Dawson had three interceptions last year, and two of those were downfield on passes to wide receivers, and he averaged more than 25 yards an interception return, and he had 12 passes defended. So, yeah, we really like that.
4. Playmaker! He does stuff with the ball. Couple of blocked punts and a field goal, caused a fumble, recovered one, two picks returned for touchdowns, scored a safety and even caught a 41-yard pass. We’re wondering if anyone did everything at least once last year like Dawson did.
5. He’s going to Purdue. Dawson will fit in nicely in the Big Ten, choosing the Boilermakers over schools like Illinois, Syracuse and Florida International.
Position/school: LB, Blake
Why we ranked him: We liked Jackson last year, and when we opened up the HT 100 to advice from our readers, a few insisted we include Jackson. But that didn’t sway us; the person who sent us the link to his highlight tape did. We loved it. We loved that most of the highlights were against juggernaut Armwood. We like the way Jackson crashes the line of scrimmage, chases after quarterbacks and hits running backs. He had 47 tackles, 12 sacks, seven quarterback hurries and an interception last year, and we’re betting on an even better 2014.
Position/school: ATH, Plant
Why we ranked him: Reed set school records for catches in a game (14) and yards (240) last season, and he is one of the most versatile weapons on the Panther offense. Capable of returning kicks for scores as well, like he did in last year’s season opener against Sandy Creek, Reed led the Panthers in receiving with 49 catches and 613 yards. If he’s not new quarterback Rex Culpepper’s favorite target come fall, we’ll be surprised.
Position/school: ATH, Dixie Hollins
2013 stats: 46 catches for 823 yards and nine touchdowns. 23 carries for 205 yards.
Last season, Jacquez Hill was the Rebels’ top receiver. This season, Harrington has the spotlight to himself. Harrington will work with quarterback Tyrie Adams for a second straight year, and that could mean big numbers for both players.
“Yes, I would like to set school records for reception yards and touchdowns, but the most important thing I want to do is win,” Harrington said. “That’s my No. 1 goal. We’ve been working really hard this offseason and everyone will witness it come Friday nights.”
Harrington has not experienced much winning in his previous three years with the Rebels, who were 4-27 in that span. In return, not many college coaches have been attracted to Dixie’s game.
Harrington may not have any offers now, but he hopes to change people’s minds this fall.
“I’m strongly overlooked by colleges because of my size,” Harrington said. “After this season they won’t have a choice but to look at me.”
Position/school: RB/LB, Lakewood
Why we ranked him: Foster transferred to Lakewood only a few weeks ago after playing three years at St. Petersburg. While he could get some carries at running back, he’s being looked at as a linebacker by college scouts. Foster had 82 tackles as a junior, second best for St. Petersburg. A hard-hitting linebacker with some speed, Foster should fit right into Lakewood’s defense. He has already been offered by Mercer, Alcorn State and Fordham.