Thursday, September 20, 2018

HomeTeam 100: Players 11-20

Our sixth annual countdown of the top 100 football players in Tampa Bay — consisting of athletes who attend a public or private school in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco or Hernando counties. Past performances — spanning the fall, spring and summer — and promise of big things to come are all taken into consideration. Today: players 11-20.

11. Warren Thompson, Armwood

Position: Wide receiver

Year: Senior

Height/weight: 6-5, 190

Loren Elliott | Times

WR Warren Thompson

By the numbers

2.8 Thompson's current grade-point average, though he says that number will increase after making the honor roll all of last year

3 Tattoos of Douglas firs on his left arm. Thompson saw those trees on his visit to Oregon and they helped prompt him to become a Duck

4 Rushing touchdowns he scored in his first youth league game when he was 7 years old. Thompson said that still is the most touchdowns he has ever scored in one game

5 Number he wears. Thompson said he wore it in youth league football and earned the nickname "J5Live"

15.9 Yards per catch last season

27 Thompson's rank among the nation's top players in the 2018 class, according to a composite list compiled by 247Sports

235 Amount of weight Thompson works out with reps in the bench press

HIGHLIGHTS: Warren Thompson.

12. Jordan Miner, Wiregrass Ranch

Position: Defensive back/wide receiver

Year: Senior

Height/weight: 6-1, 183

Miner knows where he is going to college. He recently announced on Spectrum Sports his commitment to Penn State. Since then, Miner has become has one of the Nittany Lions' best recruiters. He says he helped sway Plant's Judge Culpepper and four-star recruit Isheem Young, among others, to join him. With the recruiting process out of the way, Miner can focus on getting the Bulls back into the playoffs. He is used to winning. After all, Miner played for a youth league team in New Tampa that won three state titles. This season, Miner is trying to be a leader as much as a playmaker. The Bulls lost athlete Raymond Woodie III and defensive back Shamaur McDowell, who both transferred. "It's tough losing guys, but we still have a great team and do big things this season," Miner said.

HIGHLIGHTS: Jordan Miner.

Octavio Jones | Times

DB/WR Jordan Miner

13. Judge Culpepper, Plant

Position: Defensive lineman/tight end

Year: Senior

Height/weight: 6-5, 260

You are playing as a tight end and defensive lineman at Plant, but will strictly be on the defensive side at Penn State. How much will you miss playing on offense?

"Playing tight end, especially at Plant, has been an unbelievable experience. But it will not be too hard. Defensive line is the best fit for me. It's a position that has been kind of ingrained in me with my father (former Tampa Bay Buccaneer defensive tackle Brad Culpepper). We go out and hit bags and really work at it together."

Speaking of your father, how often did you watch him on Survivor?

"I watch a few times at the beginning of the season and then at the end. I'm not really into it. I think he kind of gets a raw deal on the show. They make him out to be a villain and he's nothing like that at all. I know a lot of that has to do with editing."

Who else in the family would want to be on Survivor?

That's not for me. But I think my sister (Plant sophomore basketball standout Honor Culpepper) would do well. She's really savvy."

What's something people might not know about you?

"I like to read, mostly Stephen King novels. I've read It and The Stand and some others. But I'm not reading any books right now."

HIGHLIGHTS: Judge Culpepper.

Monica Herndon | Times

DL/TE Judge Culpepper

14. Jalynn Williams, St. Petersburg

Position: Wide receiver/running back/cornerback

Year: Senior

Height/weight: 5-10, 190

Williams rushed for 399 yards and scored six touchdowns as a junior. He also caught 16 passes for 274 yards and four touchdowns. With the Green Devils breaking in a new quarterback, Williams will be a key player on offense:

It looks like you will have a big role in the offense. How much are you looking forward to your role this season?

"I'm looking forward to (it) a lot because I know in order for our team to make it back to the playoffs I have to play that big role on offense and put up some points."

You committed to Florida early. What was it about the Gators and do you think you can fit in right away?

"I grew up a Gator fan and it was always my dream school. They have offensive players that will be leaving when I get there and that will allow me to earn my stop and bring a playmaker to the team."

(Cornerback and teammate) Anthony Johnson believes he can stop any receiver, any day. He can't stop you, can he? And who talks more smack in the secondary, you or him?

"No, Anthony can't stop me. He knows that. And we both talk the same amount of trash in the secondary, so whatever side you try to hide in we're right there."

HIGHLIGHTS: Jalynn Williams.

Charlie Kaijo | Times

WR/RB/CB Jalynn Williams

15. Tyrese Spain, Hillsborough

Position: Athlete

Year: Senior

Height/weight: 5-10, 165

Three things to know about Spain:

1. Spain said he transferred to Hillsborough from Jefferson for personal reasons, but he comes from a family of Terriers. His brother, Kenneth, was a former fullback for Hillsborough, and his cousin, Keith, was a cornerback. "It's a tradition," Tyrese said. "It feels good."

2. Spain is listed as an athlete and expects to play all over the field, but if he had to chose, cornerback is his favorite position. Spain said he enjoys working with the coaches at Hillsborough, where he said the system fits his talents well.

3. In addition to football, Spain also competes in track and field, with the triple jump and long jump as his main events. At the Class 3A state championship track meet, Spain finished 11th overall in the triple jump (13.28 meters). Spain's new Hillsborough teammate, cornerback Ken Montgomery, finished fourth in the same event.

HIGHLIGHTS: Tyrese Spain.

Scott Purks | Special to the Times

ATH Tyrese Spain

16. Mychael Hamilton, Mitchell

Position: Running back/linebacker

Year: Senior

Height/weight: 6-0, 195

Since taking over as the Mustangs' featured back two years ago, Hamilton has put up big numbers, rushing for 1,244 yards in 2015 and 1,254 yards in 2016. He also is adept at reaching the end zone with 20 rushing touchdowns each of the past two years. His performance is a big reason the Mustangs are two-time defending district champions and won a playoff game for the first time last season.

HIGHLIGHTS: Mychael Hamilton.

Lance Rothstein | Special to the Times

RB/LB Mychael Hamilton

17. Jonathan King, Tampa Bay Tech

Position: Defensive lineman

Year: Senior

Height/weight: 6-3, 245

Three questions for King, who led the Titans with six sacks last season:

You recently committed to Oregon. What was it about the Ducks?

"Well, they have my major (physical therapy) and I can get my degree in three and a half years. And I've also liked Oregon since I was a little kid. When they had the NCAA (video) game I always picked Oregon. I've always liked their scheme. I never thought I'd have the opportunity to go there but it happened. It's the same coaching staff from USF that's always been behind me. And I'm getting to know some of the other commits who are from around here. It's a good little bunch."

You want to major in physical therapy?

"I just want to be in the medical field. I've always wanted to do that. And since I'm a big dude I might get a job over somebody who has experience. Dudes like me aren't usually in the medical field so that should be a plus. And everybody in my family is either a nurse or in the medical field, so it just runs in my family."

Last spring you lost your mother (Cassandra, brain aneurysm). Was it a difficult season to get through?

"I don't know how to explain it. It's hard. For the most part there is a whole lot of motivation. I try to use it to keep pushing forward. When times are toughest I keep pushing through. I'm not really sad about it because the way our relationship was there are no regrets. It's not like I was a bad kid or we had a bad relationship. We had a good relationship always. After I got over that hump I was fine with it."

HIGHLIGHTS: Jonathan King.

Charlie Kaijo | Times

DL Jonathan King

18. Jaquaze Sorrells, Largo

Position: Defensive lineman

Year: Junior

Height/weight: 6-3, 250

Sorrells recently got into bowling. His high score so far is 150.

"I just really love the sport," he said.

But the Largo defensive lineman is known more for knocking down quarterbacks and running backs than bowling pins.

As a sophomore last season, Sorrells developed into the pass rushing specialist many predicted he would become and finished with 47 tackles and a team-leading eight sacks.

The numbers are impressive considering he did not start playing on the defensive line until high school. After posting modest numbers as a freshman (37 tackles, two sacks), Sorrells turned into more of a force this past season.

He also got the attention of college programs. Sorrells already has committed to Florida, his dream school. He is a four-star recruit who is ranked as one of the top 25 players in the nation for the 2019 class.

"I'm not really surprised at my success because Coach (Marcus) Paschal really believed in me and told me everything he will do for me and it has happened," Sorrells said.

Still, there is room for improvement.

Sorrells said he needs to work on his hand placement, counter moves and dominating on every down. Former Largo standout Adarius Rayner, who played at Indiana, is on staff and is helping Sorrells on the technical parts of the game.

"I want to get 15-20 sacks this year and help my team get into the playoffs," Sorrells said.

HIGHLIGHTS: Jaquaze Sorrells.

Douglas R. Clifford | Times

DL Jaquaze Sorrells

19. James Miller, Armwood

Position: Linebacker

Year: Senior

Height/weight: 6-2, 230

A force in the middle, Miller led the Hawks last season with 69 tackles and had three sacks and a blocked punt. He teams with Caleb Sutherland, Ricardo Watson and Tampa Catholic transfer De'shard Hughes on one of the most experienced — and talented — linebacking units in the area. In June, Miller narrowed his college choices to eight schools, including LSU, Louisville, Oregon, USF and West Virginia.

HIGHLIGHTS: James Miller.

Charlie Kaijo | Times

LB James Miller

20. Jordan McCloud, Plant

Position: Quarterback

Year: Senior

Height/weight: 6-1, 180

Three things to know about McCloud.

1. He is ultra-competitive with his older brother, former Sickles and current Clemson standout Ray-Ray McCloud. "We see who can eat the most, who can eat the fastest, things like that." Oddly enough, the two are more supportive than competitive when it comes to football. "We don't talk about football too much. When we do, we're trying to encourage and make each other better."

2. McCloud considers himself a dual-threat quarterback. That is one of the reasons he transferred from Sickles to Plant. Because the offense is tailored to his strengths, McCloud believes he can throw for more than 3,200 yards and rush for 800 this season. He said colleges also consider him a multidimensional quarterback. One school he will not end up at is Clemson. "I want to make a name for myself."

3. McCloud knows how to play the flute, an instrument he picked up in elementary school. He also knows the keys on the piano but is not as skilled at that.

HIGHLIGHTS: Jordan McCloud.

Monica Herndon | Times

QB Jordan McCloud

Compiled by staff writers Rodney Page and Bob Putnam, and correspondents Kelly Parsons and Scott Purks.

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