It was, by most accounts, the best year of high school football in Tampa Bay history. Three teams played for state championships. There
was a nationally televised game. James Wilder Jr. was picked as the top player in the country in the preseason by some of the recruitniks.
Recruiters needed swimming lessons to navigate the talent pool in the class of 2011. When the chips fell where they may, they turned out to be bluer than blue. Alabama, Florida State, Florida, Miami, Nebraska, Georgia and Alabama swooped in to claim our best.
1.James WilderCan argue whether he'd be a better defensive player in college, but the Florida State commit (6-2/219) is far from shabby at running back. In the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, he mixed in his signature stiff-arm and scored the winning touchdown for the East. Rushed for 1,597 yards and 22 touchdowns, and had 75 tackles and eight sacks as a senior.
2.Anthony ChickilloThis Miami commit's stock shot through the roof after an MVP performance in the Under Armour All-America Game. The defensive end (6-4/235) is currently the highest-ranked local recruit nationally, and averaged 12.3 tackles and had 18 sacks this past season.
3.Tyler MooreRunning backs love to run behind this Nebraska commit (6-6/295), and he is one of the few area players who can boast he matched up favorably against a defensive-minded Wilder.
4.Jordan PrestwoodThis converted tight end (6-6/280) is seen as a can't-miss offensive tackle recruit and has pledged to play for Florida State.
5.Ja'Juan StoryStory (6-3/190) has committed to Florida, but continued to look around after coach Urban Meyer retired. He's being recruited as an athlete and has impressed with his size and speed.
6.Ramik WilsonGeorgia commit (6-3/218) was the Dragons' defensive leader and played in a variety of spots. He tallied 90 tackles, 18 sacks his senior season.
7.Andre DavisDynamic deep threat (6-1/180) had 1,296 yards receiving, 13 TDs for the Class 3A state champs and was USF's first bay area commit.
8.Alex DixonOpposing teams knew to avoid this North Carolina recruit (6-1/185) whenever possible or they'd be burned.
9.Phillip ElyAlabama commit (6-1/186) overcame injuries and finished his senior season with 2,731 yards, 26 TDs.
10.Josh GradyGrady turned in a strong senior season, finishing with 3,061 yards and 26 TDs. The quarterback (6-1/192) has visited Iowa State and USF, and Wake Forest, Vandy and Minnesota are on his radar recently.
11.Keith LewisPatriots linebacker (6-2/215) averaged nearly 12 tackles a game in his senior year and committed to Mississippi over several Division I-A programs, including Nebraska and USF.
12.Zach DeBellGeorgia recruit's size and offensive lineman (6-7/265) made him one of the area's most recruited players; also was an Army All-American this year.
13.Chris MooreCincinnati commit (6-0/170) led the bay area with area with 1,572 receiving yards, 22 TDs.
14.Frankie WilliamsWilliams (5-10/175), who averaged 46.2 yards per return during his senior season, committed to Purdue on Saturday, but will still visit Nebraska.
15.Tony PosadaThe offensive tackle (6-6/315) is a Michigan commit, but is keeping his options open in the wake of coach Rich Rodriguez's ouster. He chose the Wolverines over USF, Rutgers, Wake Forest and Texas Tech.
16.Stevie WeatherfordThe prolific quarterback (6-3/205) threw for more than 4,000 yards and 50 TDs in his prep career, and has been offered by Cincinnati since decommitting from USF.
17.Ruben GonzalezThe WR/DB (6-3/200), who had 46 receptions for 651 yards and seven TDs as a senior, recently committed to USF.
18.Anthony HarrellWake Forest commitment (6-2/220) tallied 98 tackles and was the Tigers’ No. 2 rusher
19.Hunter JoyerThe fullback (6-0/245) committed to Florida back in June, and since Urban Meyer has left as coach, says he remains loyal to the Gators.
20.Quentin WilliamsThe Bethune-Cookman commit (6-2/195) set Florida high school records for single-season passing touchdowns (56), single-season passing yardage (4,451), career touchdown passes (109) and career passing yardage (10,384).