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.
Also in this series:
Class, school: Jr., Dixie Hollins
Ht/wt: 6-1, 165
Breakdown: In a winless 2012 season filled with injuries, Smith was one of the few bright spots for the Rebels. As a sophomore he had 29 catches for 479 yards and three touchdowns for a team that had trouble finding the end zone. Smith’s speed and sure hands make him extra valuable to the Rebels. He will continue to play defensive back as well as return kickoffs (he had two for TDs last season).
Class, school: Sr., Admiral Farragut
Ht/wt: 5-11 215
Breakdown:Givens was one of Tampa Bay’s most promising running backs as a sophomore, but a torn ACL slowed his progress last year. In limited carries, Givens had little impact. But he is a tireless offseason conditioner, and promises a comeback in 2013. Tennessee and Virginia are among the believers, and a good many others are waiting to see what the talented Blue Jacket does this fall.
Class, school:Sr., Fivay
Ht/wt: 5-11, 200
Breakdown:Sutton was one of the North Suncoast’s breakout players as a junior. He was Pasco County’s No. 3 rusher with 1,100 yards and 16 touchdowns for a team that narrowly missed a second straight playoff appearance. Fivay jumps to Class 6A this fall, but with another year of experience and the graduation of one of the area’s top passing attacks, don’t be surprised if Sutton earns Division I looks and becomes one of Tampa Bay’s leading rushers.
Class, school:Sr., Plant
Ht/wt: 6-0, 182
Breakdown:It would be difficult for a quarterback to step into a better situation: the Panthers will have one of the best offensive lines in the state, a deep corps of skill position players and, as always, a top-notch coaching staff. Brown has shown he’s more than capable of guiding this juggernaut, playing well in spot duty last season. He excelled in the spring and summer camp circuit (he nabbed an offer from Georgia State) and seems to be building toward a special senior year.
Class, school:Sr., Lakewood
Ht/wt: 5-11, 173
Breakdown:Jackson led Northeast with five interceptions last year and added 40 tackles. He was a member of Team Tampa this summer, where he impressed early before being slowed by injuries. Colleges have been sniffing around, and Jackson’s nose for the ball could make him one of the area’s top defensive playmakers this fall for his new school.
Class, school:Sr., Plant City
Ht/wt: 6-1, 223
Breakdown:Building on the momentum he seized in the Raiders’ one-half spring shutout of Durant (two sacks in first six plays), Broome has shined in ensuing summer camps, Raiders assistant Greg Meyer says. He and classmate Sedrick King should form one of the area’s most dominant DE tandems.
Class, school:Sr., Hillsborough
Ht/wt: 6-2, 325
Breakdown:As one of two returning starters for the Terriers, along with junior quarterback Dwayne Lawson, Carter will be counted on to anchor one of the area’s most inexperienced teams. Carter will protect Lawson’s blindside and give some of Hillsborough’s young — but talented — running backs some room to run. A UMass commit, Carter will rarely face anyone as big and strong as him this season.
Class, school: Sr., Gibbs
Ht/wt: 6-1, 160
Breakdown:Also a track athlete, President is blazing fast and will be a main weapon in Gibbs’ passing game. He teamed up with new quarterback Brevet Killett to catch five passes for 128 yards and a 33-yard TD in the spring game against Northeast. He also had a 40-yard interception return for a TD in that game.
Class, school:Sr., Pasco
Ht/wt: 6-6, 255
Breakdown: Scaife is one of the Pirates’ biggest boys — and one of the North Suncoast’s most versatile talents. He played tackle last fall during Pasco’s run to the Class 5A region final but shifted to tight end this spring to create mismatches with his speed. The move has already resulted in scholarship offers from FIU, Middle Tennessee State and Western Kentucky, and could pay off for the Pirates in their new, challenging district.
Class, school:Jr., Plant
Ht/wt: 5-11, 185
Breakdown:Brooks is quick, shifty and packs some punch. In limited duty (38 carries) as a sophomore, he scored touchdowns against Armwood and Jefferson, and as the main option in the backfield this season behind an offensive line filled with top-shelf college prospects, we’d go as far as to say he could lead the county in rushing. Really.