Across central Florida, West Florida, and even down in the Sarasota area, there are some really good wide receivers that deserve more attention. Here’s a look at a few more players that should be receiving attention from fans and recruiters alike.
By Brian Smith @fbscout_florida
One of the best things about covering Florida high school football would be the plethora of wide receivers capable of playing college football. The Sunshine State is loaded!
The 2021 season will not be any different, and keep in mind that there are numerous other wide receivers worthy of being inside this article. With that, keep in mind that it’s not your typical year for wide receivers as several players are going under the radar.
With COVID-19 still in play, college coaches have not been on the road in over a year. It’s dramatically hurt the chances of many players to be recruited, including some of the young men below.
With one more spring practice period and full season ahead for the 2021 prospects, many of the wide receivers from this area are expected to take their game to the next level. As we inch towards Florida high school spring football, there are numerous talented wide receivers to think about. Some of them are definitely under the radar in some form or fashion.
Further, some of these players are just beginning to come into their own. Look for each of the below listed prospects to eventually end up playing FBS football at some point. The talent is there, and their skills do not lie.
List in no particular order.
Jaydn Girard, WR, 6-2, 175, Tampa (Jesuit) – 2022
This young man really produced during his junior season. Girard racked up 30 receptions for 671 yards and 11 touchdowns. That’s a whopping 22.4 yards per catch average with a long of 69 yards.
Girard has good size, quickness, and really good hands. He’s also adept at making a defender miss after the catch. Pittsburgh and Rhode Island offered Girard thus far, and he is likely to receive many more offers. Girard can play major college football. As for 2021, that’s going to be really interesting for Girard and Jesuit.
Girard played with a really good team in 2020, including signal caller and area player of the year, Joseph Pesansky, at quarterback. Pesansky has moved on, but Girard is still a threat to score anytime he touches the football.
It will be interesting to see how the Jesuit coaching staff utilizes Girard moving forward. Will we see him move around to different positions, or perhaps take some reverses or direct snaps? Look for his role to expand, as Girard needs to have his hands on the football as often as possible for Jesuit to have another great season in 2021.
Jayden Gibson, WR, 6-6, 185, Winter Garden (West Orange)
This young man was a relative unknown at one point as well. Amongst this list, however, Gibson has earned the most acclaim. Gibson is a great example of what can happen when a receiver continues to work hard and bet on himself. Gibson now has offers from Miami, Florida State, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, UCF, Penn State, Louisville, Indiana, and Kentucky among others.
Again, he was totally under the radar not all that long ago. With a junior season that saw Gibson begin to make big play after big play, college coaches took notice and his recruitment exploded. Statistically, Gibson blew past defenders to the tune of 32 receptions, 774 yards, and nine touchdowns. That’s an astounding 24.2 yards per catch average.
With other top-notch skill players around him at West Orange, Gibson will be in contention for Orlando player of the year as a senior. Explosive and very long, he’s a special talent that’s just finally receiving his just due.
Jaron Glover, WR, 6-3, 185, Sarasota (Riverview) – 2022
After accumulating 27 receptions for 468 yards and six touchdowns as a Junior, Glover is definitely a player that’s developing into one of the better players in the greater Sarasota-Bradenton area.
A long and lean frame has added muscle since last season, and Glover has steadily improved during the last year. A deep threat, Glover also possesses the ability to run underneath routes and make defenders miss and score.
What makes Glover a recruit coveted by schools from around the country is his total skill set, including a great attitude. Glover has earned offers from programs like West Virginia, Indiana, Michigan State, USF, Coastal Carolina, and Wake Forest.
Ja’Keem Jackson, WR, 6-1, 170, Kissimmee (Osceola) – 2023
A player that made an impact in big moments last season, Jackson is beginning to develop into a well rounded offensive threat. What he did thus far is good, and there’s plenty more room for growth.
Jackson is explosive off the line of scrimmage, quick in space, and does a nice job of making contested catches down the sideline. He catches the football well away from his body, and he’s physical for a player his size.
Now that Jackson will be a junior, it’s time for him to take his skills to the next level. With 15 receptions for 286 yards for a 19.1 yards per catch average and five touchdowns, Jackson made his presence felt during his sophomore campaign.
Jackson needs to add a little more weight and strength, but it’s just as much if not more about his ability to understand coverages, hand technique versus press coverage, and understanding of route concepts to really make a leap into his junior season. That’s all a part of becoming an elite offensive threat.
Jackson scored twice during the state playoffs versus Edgewater, and that’s a talented defense to go up against. Those types of performances will be needed from Jackson for Osceola to make another run into the Florida playoffs and for Jackson’s recruitment to truly start rolling.
Kenneth Fleming, WR, 6-5, 185, Tampa (Wharton) – 2022
Every now and then there’s an unknown that shocks people. Not every player slowly grinds to the top like Gibson. Fleming could just be that young man that comes out of no place and makes a major impact in 2021.
Hard to find a player with his total skill set, but it’s a unique situation for Fleming. He’s the underdog. That is if you’ve never seen him play. After watching him with my own eyes, there’s no doubt he is legit and few cornerbacks can match up with him during a jump ball situation or quick slant.. He still has to make up for lost time, however.
He’s transferring into Wharton from Steinbrenner after not playing the past two seasons. If you want the ultimate under the radar player, it’s Fleming. He has a chance to rewrite his script during his senior year with his imposing 6-5 frame and wingspan, not to mention his ‘shake’ after the catch. This is not your typical big wide receiver with so-so athleticism. He can move.
Let’s see if Fleming can make it happen, at a new school no less, and go on to college and play some football. All the physical tools are there. It’s up to him to reach the college level after a big 2021 season.