Everyone knows how good Sickles running back Ray Ray McCloud III, East Lake receiver George Campbell and Armwood defensive end Byron Cowart are. These are the lesser-known guys we expect to take their turns in the spotlight this upcoming season. You can thank us in December.
WR/DB Tyree Austin, Sr., Pasco: Despite being only 5 feet 11, 165 pounds, Austin (top breaking up a pass intended for Land O'Lakes' Ethan Weilant) has a knack for finding the ball. He should be one of the Pirates' top receiving threats, and he is harassing as a defensive back. Coach Tom McHugh says Austin's size might keep recruiters at bay, but they are making a mistake.
QB Garrison Bryant, Jr., Clearwater: Bryant transferred from East Lake last year and started for the Tornadoes. He played well in the second half of the season and could carry that momentum into 2014. The Tornadoes were impressive in the spring and hung with Hillsborough in the preseason game. Expect Bryant and the Tornadoes to be vastly improved this season.
RB Donnie Crum, So., Admiral Farragut: Crum didn't see much action last year because he was stuck behind Cortavious Givens. He will see plenty of action this season and should be a 1,000-yard back. He scored a touchdown in the preseason win over Moore Haven. His speed overcomes a lack of size (5-10, 178), and he can catch passes out of the backfield. AFA coaches have been raving about him since the spring.
WR Daniel Davis, Sr., Tarpon Springs: If the preseason is any indication, the Gibbs transfer will be exciting. He had 114 yards receiving, added 58 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns against Anclote last week. One of those touchdowns was a 94-yard kickoff return.
LB/DL Steven Delaine, Sr., Hernando: Delaine showed real progress last year with 55 tackles, include eight behind the line of scrimmage. He was terrific in the spring, and he'll be the main cog in the Leopards defense. Don't be surprised if the 6-foot, 240-pounder leads Hernando County in tackles.
RB Clarence Farria, Jr., Ridgewood: With defenses geared up to stop starting tailback Glass Wilson, Farria could benefit. He was one of a few players in Tampa Bay last season who had more than 300 yards receiving (374) and rushing (331), so his versatility will be a plus.
QB Argi Radani and WR Andrew Gordon, Srs., Dunedin: This duo could have some fun, and neither played their positions for Dunedin last year. Radani joined Dunedin after playing eight-man football at Clearwater Academy. Gordon, who is 6 feet 7, played offensive line in 2013. They hooked up for a pair of touchdowns in last week's jamboree against Largo and Pinellas Park. Expect them to do that many more times this season.
WR Darrian McNeil, So., Armwood: The quarterback of the future for the Hawks might need to be the receiver of the present. Now that leading 2013 receiver Trevor Laurent has transferred out, it could be up to McNeil to pick up additional yards in the passing game.
RB Chris Schwarz, Jr., River Ridge: The Royal Knights will feed him the rock, and we expect Schwarz, who is coming back from an injury, to run for close to 1,000 yards. He should have an improved passing game to keep defenses honest.
DB V'Onte Williams-McRoy, Sr., Wharton: Williams-McRoy is a complete unknown after missing the past two seasons. But in the offseason, he flashed what he is capable of doing, showing great anticipation and an ability to get to passes. Coach David Mitchell said if he can pick up the playbook, he could be terrific.
QB Terence Williams, Jr., Spoto: Already a receiver prospect with a pair of Division I-A offers, Williams will step under center … and into the slot … and out wide … and in the backfield as a multi-dimensional threat. In a possible pass-happy attack this year at Spoto, Williams could be prolific enough to lead the county in passing or receiving.
RB/LB Tykese Keaton-Baldwin, Jr., Plant: If you ask coach Robert Weiner, this 5-foot-9, 175-pounder could be one of the best athletes on his squad. With Andrew Beck now at Texas, Keaton-Baldwin will be tapped to help hold together a young linebacker corps while also lending a hand in the run game. In last week's preseason game against Armwood, Patrick Brooks and Keaton-Baldwin propelled the Panthers' run-heavy offense, and Keaton-Baldwin broke tackle after tackle on his 15-yard winning touchdown. We think he has a lot more of those in him.