HomeTeam 100: Players 21-30



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Mon. August 12, 2013 | Times Staff

HomeTeam 100: Players 21-30

Our second annual countdown of the top 100 football players in Tampa Bay — compiled after a spring and summer of evaluating talent, and a couple of brawls between staffers.

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  • 21. Chase Litton

    Class, school: Sr., Wharton

    Position: QB

    Ht/wt: 6-5, 190

    Breakdown: The bay area’s top returning passer could find it hard to duplicate last year’s numbers — 2,732 passing yards, 23 touchdowns — after losing three of his top four receivers to graduation. Litton, however, could be better equipped to quickly bring along his inexperienced corps of pass-catchers after leading Team Tampa to a 7-on-7 national championship this summer.

  • 22. Francisco Hernandez

    Class, school: Sr., Largo

    Position: LB

    Ht/wt: 6-0, 188

    Breakdown: A ferocious hitter, Hernandez consistently made plays last season, recording 99 tackles — as well as picking off two passes and recovering two fumbles. Now the USF recruit will be asked to take even more of a leadership role with the graduation of county defensive player of the year Derrick Doss. Hernandez also could see some time on offense as a ballcarrier.

  • 23. Deiondre Porter

    Class, school: Sr., Jefferson

    Position: QB

    Ht/wt: 6-1, 180

    Breakdown: Porter will spend one more season under center before transitioning to defensive back at USF, where he committed over the summer. But Porter’s final year as quarterback could be a memorable one as the Dragons return one of the area’s deepest and most talented receiving corps (as usual). Look for him to easily outstrip last year’s stat line: 2,276 passing yards, an area-leading 27 touchdown passes, and nearly 400 yards rushing.

  • 24. Marcus Applefield

    Class, school: Sr., Weeki Wachee

    Position: OL

    Ht/wt: 6-6, 270

    Breakdown: Applefield and his Hornets debuted last year with their first fall of all-varsity competition. A solid three-win inaugural season was a building block for Weeki Wachee and its cornerstone lineman. Applefield went from an unknown commodity at a Class 4A program in Hernando County to one of the state’s top recruits. Almost two dozen offers, from USF, UCF, Kentucky and others followed.

  • 25. Josh Black

    Class, school: Sr., Sickles

    Position: DE/NG/LB

    Ht/wt: 6-2, 225

    Breakdown: When depth issues forced Black into double duty in the spring jamboree, the brawny veteran showed why he may be the Gryphons’ most priceless player. According to Sickles coaches, Black never came off the field, shining at nose guard and offensive guard (which he hadn’t previously played). “He looks like a college player right now,” Gryphons coach Brian Turner said. Turner’s dad, Billy, who won a few games in his time, likens Black to Derrick Brooks. His 2012 numbers — 70 tackles, seven sacks.

  • 26. Ray Raulerson

    Class, school: Sr., Plant

    Position: OL

    Ht/wt: 6-4, 279

    Breakdown: A Tennessee commit, Raulerson is the anchor of the area’s most talented offensive line. Panthers coach Robert Weiner says Raulerson, a three-year starter, is adept at both run and pass blocking. He’s still growing into the position too, after coming to Plant as a quarterback and tight end and nearly 60 pounds lighter. His best days in the trenches are almost surely in front of him.

  • 27. Gary Brown

    Class, school: Sr., Alonso

    Position: OL

    Ht/wt: 6-2, 293

    Breakdown: Brown may not be one of the most known blockers in Tampa Bay’s excellent 2014 class of offensive linemen, but he’s one of the toughest — and smartest (4.0 GPA). Described most often as “a beast,” Brown is a strong blocker with a knack for moving defensive linemen backward, and often onto their backsides. He has nearly 20 offers, but recently named Indiana, Iowa State, Memphis, Purdue and Nebraska as his favorites.

  • 28. Ryan Davis

    Class, school: Jr., Lakewood

    Position: QB

    Ht/wt: 6-0, 165

    Breakdown: Davis, who played at Northeast for two years before transferring late this summer, had 2,120 passing yards as a sophomore and added 719 yards rushing. There will be at least four legitimate receivers for Davis to throw to, and several more running backs to help out the offense. The Spartans were going to use several players at quarterback. But Davis’ combination of speed and arm strength allows coach Cory Moore to do more things on offense.

  • 29. Ish Witter

    Class, school: Sr., Alonso

    Position: RB

    Ht/wt: 5-8, 190

    Breakout: Projected as the primary cog in the Ravens’ offense this fall, Witter’s ceiling seems as high as his center of gravity is low. Employing his power (335-pound bench press) and burst, Witter ran for more than 900 yards last season, and appears poised for 1,000 in ‘13. He recently named Rutgers and Syracuse as his college favorites, but has more than a dozen solid offers.

  • 30. Chavez Pownell

    Class, school: Sr., Jefferson

    Position: DB

    Ht/wt: 5-11, 195

    Breakdown: Pownell might be Tampa Bay’s most underrated defensive back. He is a sure tackler, has great hands and outstanding cover skills, and was excellent in the 7-on-7 season. Last year at Jefferson he had four interceptions, 59 tackles and broke up nine passes. The Dragons will employ the speedy and sure-handed Pownell more on offense this year as well, lining him up at slot receiver.


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