We’re continuing to move forward towards the high school football season with our unveiling of position rankings for the 2016 season. This will be a multiday series, giving you our top five in every position. The big thing to remember about this list is that it is NOT a college prospect list, these rankings are based on presumed production for this high school season. If these rankings doesn’t mirror what’s on our Fire Rankings, that’s because they’re not supposed to. These rankings are built on what a player did last year, and what we think they’re going to do this year, based on the team’s play style, players around them, etc.
Today, we’re breaking down the top TEs, Slot Receivers, and WRs in the Bay Area.
1. Austin Eldridge, Plant City, 2018:
Eldridge’s first year in a Raider uniform looks to be a special one – the rising junior has grown into a talent for Plant City, who look to grab another playoff spot in now Robert Paxia’s first year as Head Coach. He’s gained muscle mass over the past few weeks, partially thanks to his involvement with the PC baseball team, but even in the time between the Spring E7TC and Xecutives, there was a significant improvement. He’s already a great route runner, and his hands are getting better and better. Eldridge didn’t get much playing time last season, but that will change, as he will probably become one of QB Corey King’s favorite targets. Watch for Eldridge to make a big splash in his junior season, possibly grabbing some recruiting attention.
2. Steven Witchoskey, Durant, 2017:
Another dual-sport athlete, Witchoskey has turned some heads in the recruiting world, including an official visit to Marshall this summer. Just like Eldridge, he’s a great route runner, and he’s playing for a Durant team that has a chance to make it into the playoffs for the first time since 2014. Witchoskey is also good at run blocking, which will be important if the Cougars want to get to that point. He’s part of a nucleus of seniors at Durant that will be a major factor in the final standings of 7A-9. The Cougars started the season 6-1 before dropping their last three games to find themselves on the outside looking in at the end of the season. Witchoskey finished 2015 with 127 receiving yards – watch for that total to increase.
3. Joshua Fletcher, East Lake, 2017
4. Sam Veltman, Indian Rocks Christian, 2017
5. Tre’ McKitty, IMG Academy, 2017
1. Jacquez Jones, Clearwater, 2017:
The Tennessee commit was a dynamic target for Garrison Bryant last year, and he’ll be a great target for Austin Day in 2016. He was able to run the ball with a high success rate (349 yards on 38 carries), but he won’t be needed as much with the development of Adarius Lemons. He’ll be much more valuable as a slot guy – Jones caught 51 passes for 974 yards in 2015 – good for almost 20 YPC. He’s another one who’s grown throughout the summer, and he has the ability to go over the top of taller receivers. At 5’11”, he’s not the tallest guy, but his athleticism makes up for it. Jones will probably eclipse the 1,000 yard receiving mark, something only two Pinellas wide receivers did last season. One of them was Kee Whetzel, who’s now graduated. A big season is in the cards for Jones.
2. Tarique Milton, Manatee, 2017:
This was AJ Colagiovanni’s favorite target in 2015, and for good reason. The rising senior had 855 yards on 50 receptions in 2015, and he had a fantastic Spring. Just look at his playmaking ability. Against Countryside, Milton brought three kicks/punts back for touchdowns – one was called back for a block in the back away from the play, so watch out for that. He’s got great speed, which Michigan State seems to love, and his hands are getting even better. Any secondary he faces will have a tough time containing him, and it starts with Armwood in the Kickoff Classic. Will Milton pass the 1,000 yard mark? I think he stays around 850, because of the amount of talent that he has around him. However, watch for him to have a big season in his final season as a ‘Cane.
3. Bryce Miller, East Lake, 2017
4. Derrick Wright, Northside Christian, 2017
5. J’Kobi Reddick, Cambridge Christian, 2017
1. Darius Corbett, Tampa Catholic, 2017:
Corbett was a major reason why Austin Sessums threw for 2,777 yards in 2015. Corbett combined with Nate Craig-Myers to be a one-two punch for the Crusaders in 2015, and Corbett will pair up with Ahmarean Brown to be another one-two punch in 2016. Corbett had 824 yards last year, and his YPC was one of the best in the Bay Area at 24.3. He’s a fantastic option for Sessums to throw to again, and again, we’re going to watch Tampa Catholic make a deep run in the playoffs. The Toledo commit is quick, with great hands, and he’s going to be a tough matchup for anybody. He will up his total yardage for sure, possibly to that 1,000 mark, as he’ll try to finish what Craig-Myers started
2. Daquon Green, Tampa Bay Tech, 2017
Green is going to thrive in the Tampa Bay Tech offense next year. There’s no debating it. He’s got a quarterback that can get him the ball on a consistent basis, and he will certainly increase his yardage from the 734 he had last season. But what is his ceiling? I’m not sure we know, just yet. He’s a leader among his fellow peers at Tampa Bay Tech, and from the conversations I’ve had with him, he strives for greatness. Will we see Green at the top of our receiving leaders list? It’s certainly possible after all the work we’ve seen him put in this offseason.
3. Jermaine Eskridge, Jefferson, 2018
4. Matthew Landers, St. Petersburg, 2017
5. James Robinson, Lakeland, 2017