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: Jr., Freedom
Ht/wt: 6-6, 230
Breakdown: Patchan was primed for a big season in 2012 before tweaking his back following his best game of the season, a six-tackle, 2.5-sack outing against Steinbrenner in Week 4. He never recovered enough to play again, but is healthy as 2013 kicks off. Patchan considers himself a speed rusher, and his lean frame lends itself to quickness. But he has also powered up to be more effective against the run. USF and Miami have offered, getting in early under Patchan’s high ceiling.
Class, school: Sr., Dunedin
Ht/wt: 6-2, 220
Breakdown: Allen is an underrated linebacker who seems to be flying just a notch below the radar of a lot of colleges. Big schools like Florida have expressed interest in the past, and Allen’s ability to bang heads in the middle of the field and his speed to get to the outside as well make him well-suited to head up a defense. The Falcons’ leading tackler last year will also be showing off his offensive skills this year at fullback and tight end.
Class, school: Jr., Berkeley Prep
Ht/wt: 6-2, 192
Breakdown: Mayes might be the most promising quarterback in the 2015 class. He completed more than 50 percent of his passes in each of the last five games in 2012, on the way to 1,251 yards and 11 touchdowns. With big targets like Jared Shimberg and Jacob Mathis to throw to, those numbers should improve. Mayes also ran for 314 yards. He holds an offer from UMass and impressed at a number of BCS school camps this summer.
Class, school: Jr., Largo
Ht/wt: 6-3, 198
Breakdown: Is there anything Hale can’t do? If he concentrated solely on basketball, analysts say he’d be one of the top 10 players in the 2015 class. But college football teams will be paying very close attention this fall as he takes over the quarterback job at Largo after starting on the defensive line last year. Hale has been lauded since his freshman year. If he lives up to expectations, he will be Tampa Bay’s most recruited two-sport athlete in recent memory.
Class, school: Sr., Anclote
Ht/wt: 6-0, 210
Breakdown: Barrett used his bruising body as a battering ram to lead Pasco County with 1,400 rushing yards as a junior. His 14 touchdowns often came by plowing through holes that didn’t exist, and he dominated both sides of the ball in the Class 5A, District 6 tiebreaker to lead the Sharks to their first playoff appearance. Anclote will emerge as one of the favorites in its new district (Class 5A, District 7), if Barrett can navigate a revamped offensive line with a standout senior season.
Class, school: Sr., Countryside
Ht/wt: 6-4, 265
Breakdown: Negron is the latest in a long line of standout Cougar linemen. He starts his second season at left tackle, earning the prestige afforded to the bodyguard for the most important position: the quarterback. Negron also is valuable for his experience. He is Countryside’s only returner on offense who started every game last season.
Class, school: Sr., Newsome
Ht/wt: 6-3, 170
Breakdown: Arguably the Wolves’ best two-way player not named Will Worth last season, Wade caught 15 passes (for 255 yards) and recorded 77 tackles and three picks at safety. A Class 4A region qualifier last spring in the 100 meters, Wade’s length and speed should again make him a force at free safety and wideout.
Class, school: Sr., Lakewood
Ht/wt: 6-3, 190
Breakdown: Bonner was one of the unheralded stars of a very good Lakewood defense last year, but college scouts noticed. The rangy Bonner, who is very good in pass coverage as a safety and also patrols the line of scrimmage like a missile, has picked up 10 offers from schools ranging from Iowa State to Florida Atlantic. He should be the hammer in the middle of a Spartan defense that is exceptionally deep.
Class, school: Sr., Pinellas Park
Ht/wt: 5-10, 178
Breakdown: Pinellas Park’s depth in the backfield will allow it to play Johnson all over, making him one of the area’s most dangerous offensive weapons. Last year, he had 527 yards rushing and 250 receiving, but could flourish as a slot receiver. Defensively he was one of the best cover guys around, picking off eight passes. Already college qualified, Johnson should net some bigger offers in the fall to go with Ohio and Wofford.
Class, school:Sr., Robinson
Ht/wt: 5-10, 205
Breakdown: An International Baccalaureate student and team captain, Guyton was named the Knights’ defensive MVP last season (team-best 99 tackles, 2.5 sacks). Equipped with brains and bloodlines, he’s the nephew of USF women’s basketball icon Wanda Guyton. Like his aunt, he’ll likely ascend to the Division I level.