Ask any hardcore football fan and they’ll tell you they love linebacker play. In recent years, the game of football has finessed itself into a padded version of flag football where-by quarterbacks and wide receivers rule the day. However, there are still some out there that can appreciate the physicality of the game and what it represents in the grand scheme of things.
Toughness is a word Parkview Baptist HS, Louisiana linebacker Dante Harris wears like a backpack as he patrols the field every Friday night. Unafraid to mix it up, Harris has GPS on all ball carries on the field and will arrive at their location with some intentions. Harris is not your drag down, spin around tackler. When he comes, he’s bringing entire Schutt pack with him and that’s helmet along with shoulder pads. There are many frames on Harris’ film displaying him hugging QBs, RBs and WRs as he buries them into the unforgiving gridiron sod. Harris has a knack for diagnosing the play, defeating blocks and achieving his goal which is intimately introducing himself to offensive personnel seeking unauthorized passage across the line of scrimmage.
You’ve heard all of the stereotypes on football players. Get a guy in a big body and the automatic thinking is that all that time getting big left him little time to be smart. It takes a small mind to think that way but let’s be honest, there have been some who have made that type of thinking worthwhile. That’s not the case with this up and coming prospect out of Gulf Coast HS in Naples, FL.
Often times in the wonderful world of recruiting, the emphasis is on comparing a current player to one who had success in the past. Many times, those comparisons can be forced as “analysts”, reporters and bloggers feel it is absolutely necessary to engage in this practice to validate a recruit’s existence. However, coaches can be found doing this as well. A successful player can become an instrument of security as the blanket is to Lionus on the famed cartoon Peanuts.
You will often hear the term “broke his ankles” when hearing about a play that happened in the open field. There are some athletes on the gridiron that are uniquely talented in the area of juking defenders out of their socks and figuratively breaking their ankles. 2017 American Heritage Plantation, FL WR Laress Nelson is one of those athletes.
Change of direction is Nelson’s thing. Any defensive back looking to stay in front of him has their work cut out for them. Failing to stay in front of him likely means you are giving up a catch to the shifty prospect and then that’s where the fun really starts. Once Nelson has the ball in his hands, he is as hard as anyone to get a hand on. Forget about making the tackle, pulling his flag would be a tough task if that was the game being played.
You may have seen my article in entitled “Recruiting, Like Beauty Contests, Has A Lot to Do With Looks“. Yes, we live in a sporting world where size is king and athletic freaks are the craze at least until we are thoroughly convinced that they can’t play the game. Not being able to play the game is not a problem possessed by 2017 American Heritage cornerback Will Allen Jr.
Allen is not out of the mold of the 6′ corners that people like to talk about. Rather Allen is more about being where the ball is going to be and making the opposing team pay for it. We more commonly call this, a playmaker. Allen is a member of the new GridironStuds Recruiting App that has been heavily talked about over the last few weeks. Hundreds of high school football prospects have downloaded the app and created a profile. Allen Jr. is one that stands out. Viewing his highlight video from the app, you quickly see his playmaking skills. Before you hit the 2 minute mark in his highlights you have already witnessed the 2017 prospect use his 37 inch vert to go up high and bat down a pass, jump a curl route almost taking it to the house and smoothly rip the ball out of a RBs hands for a forced fumble.
Travel the state of Florida looking for talent on the high school gridiron and you will soon become overwhelmed. With that being the case, it is very easy to overlook talent that would smack you in the face in many other cities and states.
In Riviera Beach Florida lies Suncoast High School, a school that has produced talent over the years, the most notable being the NFL’s all time kick returner Devin Hester. Of late, the Chargers have been seeking a return to their glory days and in 2015 they did make the playoffs. A big part of their success last season literally lied in the hands of their talented class of 2017 WR Leonard Woods. Take a look at Woods tape and you will find a young man constantly find his way behind the defense. I discovered Woods when he downloaded the new GridironStuds Recruiting App and added his highlight video. It was a joy watching Woods dupe defenses left and right. His niftiness doesn’t just manifest itself in route running but also after the catch where he can slip tackles, shake defenders and get the ball across the goal line.