There’s a lot to be excited about in Bradenton. No, we’re not talking about Manatee, but we’re talking about Braden River, who has burst onto the scene in Manatee County football. Head Coach Curt Bradley has certainly solidified the Pirates as the team to beat down south, especially after their deep playoff run in 2015. They’re primed to do it again – already off to a 4-0 start, and it looks like they may enter the playoffs with a perfect record.
BCP caught up with Bradley to talk about a number of prospects and to tell you just what you want to know about the prospects that are making waves at Braden River.
Raymond Thomas, 2017 ATH-O:
“Raymond is really your do-it-all offensive weapon for us,” Bradley said. “He can run the ball well, he catches the ball well, he can return punts and kicks, he’s just very dynamic. He’s got great vision and explosiveness, and he’s a very tough football player.” According to Bradley, Thomas has verbal offers from South Dakota and Northern Iowa (to name two). “He’s got quite a bit of FCS offers, but we’re really looking for that FBS offer to come in.”
Deqwunn McCobb, 2017 DT:
“He’s a big guy at 6’3”, 300 lbs., and he is very explosive, even from the nose position, where we’ve had him all year. He moves very well and can play the run or the pass, but he’s very good at stopping the run game,” Bradley said. Last year was his first year on varsity for the Pirates, and he’s still learning and getting better and better. Braden River only allowed 85 total yards rushing against Leesburg last Friday.
Tyrone Collins, 2018 DB:
“Collins length and speed has been big. He ran a 4.43 40 at the University of Florida camp, he’s got great ball skills, he can play both the run and the pass, and he’s been able to play both corner and safety throughout the year,” Bradley said. He has quite a few verbal offers on the table, including Michigan, Missouri, USF, Boston College, and a few other Division One schools.
Taylor Upshaw, 2018 DE:
“Taylor has a ton of upside for us. He’s homeschooled, so he kind of came out of nowhere for us, and he had never played a down of football before the season started. There’s a lot of raw talent with him, and he does a lot of great things naturally. His father is Regan Upshaw, who was drafted in the first round by the Bucs, so he’s certainly a gifted athlete.” Again, Upshaw was a big reason why Leesburg was only able to rush for 85 yards, and he’ll be an interesting prospect to watch as we move through the spring.
Deshawn Fenwick, 2018 RB/WR:
“If I had to say I was excited about anyone of our new guys, I’m excited about Fenwick the most. He’s already had a much larger role than he did last season, and he’s going to have the ball in his hands for a good bit of time. I feel like his recruiting is really going to take off in the spring,” Bradley said. “Deshawn has a good ability to catch the ball well, and he’s got the ability to make a big impact.”
Brendan Bengtsson, 2018 C:
“Brendan has already been a major part of our offensive plans this year, and what I really like about him is his ability to play anywhere along the offensive line. He’s not just a center. He went to the USF camp in the offseason, and they really seemed to like them. His versatility will be good for us,” Bradley said. Bengtsson will be a big part of Fenwick and Thomas’ success, especially if the Pirates want to go on another deep playoff run in 2016.