Our third annual countdown of the top 100 football players in Tampa Bay. Past performances — spanning the fall, spring and summer — and promise of big things to come are all taken into consideration. Today: players 81 through 90.
Position/school: DB, Jefferson
Why we ranked him: Baltrip will be a valuable weapon for the reloaded Dragons. Where? Almost anywhere. He got some carries in the spring game and looked great, he’s got a wide receiver’s hands and size, and his best position might be cornerback. He doesn’t have the same numbers as others in the 100, but we’re projecting he gets there this fall.
Position/school: OL, Pasco
When college coaches get a look at a Jamal Mention workout, they almost always tell him the same thing: great feet.
Which, for a 6-foot-6, 320-pound left tackle, is saying something.
“He jumps rope like a heavyweight boxer,” Pasco coach Tom McHugh said.
Those feet, his big frame and his high ceiling make Mention one of the top players in the 2016 class, and the next big thing to roll through Dade City.
Though known more for its skill-position athletes in years past, Pasco will be flexing some muscle in 2014, with Miami commitment Bowman Archibald, Florida commitment Andrew Ivie and Mention all playing defining roles in the trenches. “I think we are all better,” Mention said.
For Mention, it is only the beginning.
“I know that Florida, as soon as they get his transcripts, is going to offer,” McHugh said. “I know that every camp he goes to he is named MVP.
“His potential is boundless.”
Position/school: LB, Sickles
If you could take anyone off another roster for your team, who would it be? “Nick Mosco at Jesuit. That’s my boy.”
Who is the best player in Tampa Bay? “(Sickles RB) Ray Ray McCloud. No doubt about it.”
Can you tackle him? “I’ve done it before.”
What’s tougher though: tackling Ray Ray or catching a chicken? “Probably catching the chicken.”
What play do you dream about the night before a game? “A big hit. Like, a BIG hit. That’s what I like. Picks aren’t bad either.”
What’s your career highlight? “The Tampa Bay Tech game (35-8 win). It was out first district championship and I had an interception.”
What are you looking to do this fall? “I want more tackles than last year (120). I want to break 120, and a few more interceptions, and to win a state championship.”
Position/school: WR, Tampa Bay Tech
Why we ranked him: Green has only scratched the surface of his talent. He mixes a tall, sturdy frame with great hands and speed, and will be one of the most highly sought-after pass catchers of the 2017 class. The top returning target for TBT averaged 20 yards a catch to lead his team last season, but this will be the fall everyone learns his name.
Position/school: ATH, Spoto
Why we ranked him: Sometimes in the 100, it’s hard to ignore the future. Technically, Williams hasn’t done anything yet. But he has crazy good hands as a wide receiver (North Carolina and North Carolina State have offered). And at quarterback for the Spartans in the fall, we can almost promise special things.
Position/school: RB/DB, Newsome
Why we ranked him: Defensively, he is a top safety and the leading tackler returning for the Wolves. The multi-purpose talent also rushed for 358 yards last season, and we’re predicting a breakout offensive campaign in 2014. With a nose for the ball and the talent to finish, Anderson will be one of Tampa Bay’s newest stars this fall.
Position/school: LB/RB, Calvary Christian
Five things we like about Williams
1. If you’re going to tackle him, bring friends. At least two.
2. He’s a finisher. Williams is money around the goal line, an underrated quality.
3. He had 750 yards last year on a team (St. Petersburg Catholic) where he was the third choice when it came to handoffs. Not too shabby.
4. He plays linebacker violently. Seriously, check out his highlights.
5. His all-around game is solid. Good speed, can block, catches ball out of the backfield, aggressive and anticipatory. He’s got a big season coming.
Position/school: LB, Pinellas Park
Why we ranked him:After an 85-tackle season in 2013, Demint established himself as one of the area’s better linebackers. He had 10 tackles for loss, played the pass well and sticks his nose in on every play.
Position/school: RB, Springstead
Why we ranked him:Wright may not be the biggest or fastest running back, but there’s no denying his effectiveness and importance to the Eagles’ offense. Last year, Wright ran for 1,186 yards and always seemed to come up with big performances in big games (170 yards and three touchdowns against Land O’Lakes; 159 yards in a playoff win over Gainesville).
Position/school: PK, Armwood
By the numbers
98.5 Percentage of kickoffs that were touchbacks
97 Points, first on the team
57 Longest field goal, against Lennard
10 Punts, of 21, that were inside the 20
9 Field goals in 14 attempts
1 College committed to, Syracuse