Seven players who shined in last week’s private school spring games.
1. Ryan Green, St. Petersburg Catholic: The rising junior solidified his status as the county’s top returning running back by rushing for more than 200 yards and scoring three touchdowns, including runs of 76 and 79 yards. He should get plenty of work in the fall with an offense focused on the running game.
2. Brent O’Neal, Canterbury: Running behind a young offensive line that included two freshman starters, O’Neal still found room for big gains, rushing for 236 of his team’s 364 rushing yards and scoring three times in a 42-21 win over Southwest Florida Christian.
3. Patrick Tomlin, Northside Christian: Mustangs coach Andre Dobson believes his lineman has Division I-A potential. Tomlin showed it on both sides of the ball. He blocked a field goal that was returned for a touchdown at the end of the half, a play that turned out to be pivotal in Northside’s 26-22 win over Central Florida Christian.
4. Kristian Craig, Keswick Christian: Jayln Coleman is the top returning rusher, but the Crusaders want to lighten his workload to keep him healthy. Craig emerged as an attractive second option with 152 yards on 13 carries in Keswick’s 25-22 win over Sarasota Out-of-Door.
5. Allen Barnes, Calvary Christian: A dual-threat quarterback, Barnes got plenty of opportunities to use his athleticism out of the shotgun. He completed all six of his passes for 139 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for another in a 28-0 win over Seffner Christian.
6. Garrett Schulte, Shorecrest: Coach Phil Hayford prefers to have a well-stocked running game and Schulte showed off his big-play capability with touchdown runs of 68 and 70 yards. Schulte will likely team with Alex Drexler to give the Chargers a 1-2 punch.
7. Ty Bates, Indian Rocks Christian: The passing game has all the pieces with two quarterbacks and a Division I-A recruit at receiver. But the Golden Eagles still are searching for some balance, and Bates could provide it after running for tough yards in the middle and scoring once in a 38-34 loss to St. Petersburg Catholic.
The emergence of Pinellas Park wide receiver/linebacker Jeremi Powell as a top flight recruit has helped other teammates get exposure. And no one has benefitted more than wide receiver/defensive back Iman Smith.
The rising senior had five catches for 74 yards last season but he has impressed schools with his highlight tape.
Last week, he picked up offers from Bethune-Cookman, Samford, Temple and Youngstown State. He already had offers from Ball State, Bowling Green, Florida A&M and Western Michigan.