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. First up: players 91 through 100.
Position/school: QB, Wiregrass Ranch
Ht/Wt: 6-0, 195
2013 stats: 72-for-152, 1,128 yards, six TDs, seven INTs
Shane Bucenell went into 2013 expecting to have his breakout season, but it didn’t happen. He never found his comfort zone, he was indecisive and his numbers were below average.
So Bucenell spent the offseason fixing all those things. The strong-armed Wiregrass Ranch Bull amped up his training, hit the 7-on-7 circuit and competed against the best competition he had ever faced.
The results have pleased him.
“I feel like I’m one of the best quarterbacks in the Tampa Bay area,” said Bucenell, a third-year starter for the Bulls. “I feel like I’m a lot more comfortable. I thought going into my junior year I was going to have a big year, but this is the year. It’s going to be a breakout season.”
While his height may be keeping colleges at a distance, his arm is certainly intriguing. He played guard and center as a kid because he threw too hard, but now has found a balance between torpedo and touch. With an improved offensive line blocking for him and better weapons catching his passes, it looks like Bucenell’s 2013 prediction was merely a year too early.
Position/school: OL/DL, Gibbs
Why we ranked him: A relative newbie to football, Killens has vast potential and showed some of it in the spring game, where he was virtually unblockable. For the basketball team last year, Killens averaged four points and five rebounds, and his footwork translates well to his fall task of chasing quarterbacks. Gibbs coaches can’t stop raving about this kid.
Position/school: LB/OL, King
Ht/Wt: 6-3, 225
Best football memory? “My first pick-six in the Blake game. Curl pass, I jumped in front of it."
What grade would you give your Hudl highlights? “B-minus probably. But I grade myself pretty hard.”
If you could add any player to your team? “Deon Cain (Tampa Bay Tech athlete).”
When you go to sleep Thursday, what do you dream about doing Friday? “Either a game-winning interception or a game-winning tackle for loss.”
Favorite NFL player? “I’d say James Wilder Jr. but he just got there. Make it Reggie Wayne."
Anyone in the NFL you think you play like, stylistically? “Patrick Willis, San Francisco’s big linebacker.”
Who’s the best player in Tampa Bay? “Nate Craig (Tampa Catholic receiver).”
Position/school: DB, Dunedin
Why we ranked him: If the spring game is any indication, Williams has a big 2014 in store. He lined up as a defensive back (his best position), wide receiver, fullback, tailback and quarterback and excelled at each. New coach Matt LePain will rebuild Dunedin, which Williams led in passes defensed a year ago, around him.
Position/school: QB, Countryside
2013 stats: 41-of-68, 588 yards, four TDs, one INT
Five reasons we like him
1. He is the third Chmelik brother to play at Countryside, and they have all been good.
2. His dad calls him Budgy Budginksi, which might be the most unique nickname we’ve heard.
3. He is terrific at throwing on the run.
4. He threw only one INT in 68 pass attempts last year as a sophomore.
5. Did you see his spring game? Three touchdown passes, one running. That’s kind of what we expect in the fall.
Position/school: OL, Riverview
Why we ranked him: Roberson is a power blocker, and we didn’t see too many on tape who just destroyed potential tacklers like he did. In Riverview’s mostly wishbone attack, Roberson’s bullish style is a perfect fit.
Position/school: QB, Plant City
By the numbers
1 100-yard rushing game, against Leon
4 TD passes vs. Brandon, career high
5 Games with at least two TD passes
13 TD passes in 2013
79 Longest completion last season
Position/school: DB, King
Why we ranked him: Mann had a big offseason, excelling at various camps and combines. We got a closer look at him at IMG and he was exceptional. Will that translate to the padded stuff in the fall? We think so.
Position/school: RB, Admiral Farragut
Why we ranked him: You’ve never heard of Crum, and that’s fine. But he’s a good bet for 1,000 yards in 2014, he’s getting interest from Rutgers, and there’s a good chance he’s Pinellas County’s next special running back.
Position/school: DL, East Bay
Why we ranked him: Marques Ford is the bigger name, but Latortue has a similar game. He plays bigger than he is, and comes off a season where he had nine sacks and 22 tackles for a loss. Oh, and he can catch the ball a little, too, on offense.