The Armwood football team, which went 13-1 and was a Class 4A state semifinalist last season, is No. 2 in the RivalsHigh online preseason top 100 national rankings. Trinity (Euless, Texas), holds the top spot.
Of Armwood, RivalsHigh writes: "The Hawks hope to fly high this season as they switch to the spread attack on offense. The strength of the team will once again be defense. They feature one of the best front fours in the country with Ryne Giddins, Alton Bailey, Theo Jackson and David Tinsley."
This is believed to be Armwood's highest ranking in a national poll. Additionally, the Hawks are No. 1 in the South region. In that grouping, Plant checks in at No. 14.
In the past five years, the Armwood program has won a state-best 66 games. The current squad features four players ranked by Rivals.com among the top 100 seniors in Florida: Giddins (15th), linebacker Petey Smith (74th), quarterback Mywan Jackson (80th) and safety Angelo Hadley (90th).
Jones headed back to Wharton
It's official: former Florida Gator great and NFL standout James Jones will again be a member of the Wharton coaching staff.
Jones was the head coach at his alma mater, Pompano Beach Ely, last fall but decided against returning for another season. Before landing at Ely, he was on the Wharton staff under current Wildcats coach David Mitchell.
Jones led Ely to a 6-5 record last fall. The Tigers lost to eventual Class 5A state champion St. Thomas Aquinas 13-12 in the region quarterfinals. When Jones stepped down, Mitchell said Jones had an open invitation to return to Wharton.
Three months later, he has accepted it.
Jones' son, Jairus, is a standout senior safety for the Wildcats who has scholarship offers from several major programs, notably defending national championship LSU.
"That was one of the main reasons" for coming back to Tampa, Jones said Monday.
Givens earns MVP honors
Plant baseball player Mychal Givens continued to increase his stock as one of the top high school baseball players in the nation Sunday, earning the MVP award in today's Under Armour All-American Game at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Givens, who started at shortstop, was 2-for-3 with three RBIs, leading the Baseball Factory team to a 5-4 win over Team One.
Givens gave his team an early 2-0 lead with a bases-loaded, two-run double in the second. He added an RBI single in the fourth. He also pitched a scoreless inning in relief, striking out two.
This month, Givens won the Jackie Robinson Award, given to the nation's top rising high school senior baseball player, and played in the Aflac All-American Game.