Our second annual countdown of the top 100 football players in Tampa Bay — compiled after a spring and summer of evaluating talent, and a couple of brawls between staffers.
Class, school: Sr., Plant
Ht/wt: 6-1, 160
Breakdown: As one of the area’s most sought-after defensive backs, Wilkins has more than a dozen scholarship offers — including USF, UCF and Rutgers — heading into the fall. Wilkins has the quick feet, long arms and instincts necessary to play man-to-man or in zone coverage. He’ll team with fellow HomeTeam 100 pick Derrick Baity (No. 96) to form a formidable pass defense.
Class, school: Jr., Tampa Bay Tech
Ht/wt: 6-1, 180
Breakdown: Cain vaulted onto the recruiting radar in June with a standout performance as a wide receiver at FSU, and while his future may be on the outside, his present is under center. The junior had his moments as a sophomore, posting pedestrian numbers (10-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio, 53 percent completion percentage) amidst flashes of brilliance.
Class, school: Sr., Alonso
Ht/wt: 6-4, 210
Breakdown: Mosley is a wide receiver in a tight end’s body — a combo of a big, strong frame with soft hands and athleticism. Last year he was one of Tampa Bay’s best pass catchers, hauling in 37 for 585 yards and five touchdowns, and will be counted on this fall to help break in a new quarterback. Kentucky, Louisville and Syracuse are among his college suitors.
Class, school: Sr., Largo
Ht/wt: 6-0, 180
Breakdown: Harvey, who has 10 college offers, caught a touchdown pass nearly every third reception last season (eight scores, 29 catches) and has been a varsity contributor since his freshman year. But his contributions to the Packers go beyond his receiving, as he is a devastating blocker and doubles as a hard-hitting safety.
Class, school: Sr., Hernando
Ht/wt: 6-0, 215
Breakdown: Jackson has developed into one of Tampa Bay’s hardest hitters and top two-way players, rushing for 1,200 yards and racking up more than 250 tackles in his high school career. The Leopards’ depth at running back will let Jackson focus more on defense this year, freeing him up to wreak havoc across the North Suncoast.
Class, school: Sr., Wharton
Ht/wt: 6-4, 195
Breakdown: After the graduation of blue-chip defensive back and UF signee Vernon Hargreaves and all-Suncoast linebacker Rocky Enos, the Wildcats will turn to Joseph to anchor their revamped defense. He was nearly unblockable in the spring game against Tampa Bay Tech and has only gotten bigger and stronger over the summer. Joseph currently holds offers from USF and Western Kentucky but could easily pick up more during the fall.
Class, school: Sr., East Lake
Ht/wt: 5-10, 180
Breakdown: A two-year starter, Abraham has blended smarts, instincts and athletically divine DNA to become one of the area’s best cover cornerbacks. Last year he had 67 tackles and tied for the team lead in interceptions with four. The USF commit has the most experience of any returner in the secondary and will be counted on to provide plays – and leadership – on a unit that should continue to make strides.
Class, school: Jr., Clearwater Central Catholic
Ht/wt: 6-4, 275
Breakdown: Atterbury should be the leader of a big, strong CCC offensive line, and he is only getting better. You don’t see tackles pull much, but Atterbury can, as the first few plays on his highlight video attest. Good speed for a big guy — with a frame that is still filling out — Atterbury could end up being the best offensive lineman the Marauders have ever produced.
Class, school: Jr., Hillsborough
Ht/wt: 6-5, 210
Breakdown: Already tabbed “the best quarterback in the state” by longtime Terriers coach Earl Garcia, Lawson (1,459 yards, 12 touchdowns, 14 interceptions in 2012) will shoulder the burden of leading one of the youngest and least-experienced teams in the area. He seems prepared for the job, boasting the athleticism, smarts and precocious leadership skills to make sure there’s not much drop-off at Hillsborough. He already has offers from USF and Mississippi State. With a big fall, his mailbox will get even more crowded.
Class, school: Sr., Largo
Ht/wt: 5-11, 160
Breakdown: After recording 21 tackles and three interceptions last season, Hudson opened some eyes among college coaches and now has 15 offers. In the spring, he showed off his skills in the return game, scoring a touchdown on the opening kickoff against Countryside.