Despite all the talent that’s located throughout central and west-central Florida, numerous players go unnoticed. Here are some names that fans and college coaches should know moving forward.
By Brian Smith @fbscout_florida
There are so many under-recruited players within Tampa, Lakeland, Kissimmee, Orlando, Haines City, Riverview, and St. Petersburg, just to name a handful of cities. The following are but a sampling of the deserving athletes that should garner more recruiting attention.
No particular order for the following players.
Reggie Virgil, WR, 6-3, 165, Mount Dora (Mount Dora Christian Academy)
Long, wiry, quick, and twitchy; those are attributes college coaches seek with perimeter players. That also pretty describes Virgil. He’s a developing player that needs to pack on some weight in the coming years, but he possesses the athleticism to make plays.
Whether it’s a slip screen, quick slant or dig route, Virgil is the type of athlete that can make plays after the ball reaches his hands. That’s definitely what college coaches want.
How good can this young man be? Well, that’s up to Virgil. He is probably a young man that needs 15-20 pounds of muscle by the time he begins his second semester of his freshman year of college, at the least. The frame is there, however, so he should develop into a really good player.
Zack Menard, OT, 6-5, 300, Tampa (Hillsborough)
A player that’s transitioned from being a contributor to a bona fide D1 offensive tackle, Menard is a player that still does not receive the recognition he deserves. There are numerous offensive tackles I’ve watched at Under Armour, IMG, etc. that were not as good as Menard.
Perhaps that trend will change with another off season for Menard and a full season in pads ahead of him. This young man is flat out a power five football player. Great kick step, strong, and a growing level of confidence allow Menard to overwhelm most defensive ends.
Now the question becomes, does Menard take the final step this fall and physically dominate on almost every snap? He possesses the tools. College coaches need to go to Hillsborough for a loaded roster of prospects to begin with, and Menard is definitely one of those prospects.
Reggie Bush, Jr., RB, 5-8, 170, Plant City
After seeing Bush play live, he caught my attention. He’s slippery and active with the ball in his hands. With Bush’s physical abilities, he’s not much fun for a linebacker in space.
The other factor for Bush would be versatility. He could be a young man that plays slot wide receiver at the next level, or, Bush could transition to defense and be a slot cornerback.
Regardless of the position, Bush’s ability to make plays with his feet provide an opportunity for college coaches to evaluate his skills and find a place for him on a respective college roster. Reggie is an athlete striving to gain strength, as the following video shows.
Hunter Moss, OL, 6-5, 290, Orlando (Foundation Academy)
Foundation Academy is one of the fastest rising programs in the Orlando area. A talented roster is balanced throughout, but one of the best players on the roster has yet to receive an offer. He’s a powerful young man, and he’s a smart football player.
Moss is a powerful young man that will take on defenders directly ahead and bury them, and he’s especially good at making adjustments after the snap. Whether it’s redirecting a blitzing linebacker or helping an offensive guard with a stunt from the defensive tackle, Moss possesses the intellect to make adjustments on the fly; that’s key for an offensive lineman.
The best thing about Moss would be his future. He’s moving to center this next fall. College programs always need a player that can make line calls and snap the football effortlessly. Moss fits the protocol.
Victor Black, DE, 6-3, 220, Seffner (Seffner Christian)
After accounting for 68 total tackles and 12.5 sacks this past fall, one would think that Black would be a more well known name. He lives on the edge of Tampa, so how hard could it be to gain recognition? Not so fast. He’s not a name that’s going to come up on recruiting lists like one might expect after a dynamic junior season.
Blessed with a really good first step, Black shows his athleticism well as soon as the ball is snapped. When he reaches the ball carrier, Black’s ability to power through the opposition with great technique and power is evident.
While no place near a finished product, this is the type of player that Virginia Tech, Indiana, West Virginia, Cincinnati, USF, and UCF have made into really good college players for years on end. Curious to see which schools come after Black by the end of the 2021 season.
This young man needs to be on the radar. The recruiting radar. Here’s a look at his junior film.
There are numerous players like the ones above throughout Florida. It’s up to college coaches to actually make the phone calls and complete their own evaluations. Too many coaches take shortcuts.
This is especially true with the smaller programs, whether it’s a small public or private institution, far too many D1 prospects are overlooked because it’s not a big school. That’s unfortunate.
It’s also odd that a player like Menard is barely on the recruiting radar and only holds a couple of offers. He’s at a tradition-rich program in Tampa (Hillsborough). Bottom line, all of these young men and those like them must keep grinding.
Take a day off, that may be the day that another prospect passes you by. On the other hand, any particular under-the-radar prospect can blow up with one great performance. Who’s next to step out of the shadows and become a major prospect after going relatively unnoticed for far too long?