Sixteen for ’16

Happy New Year everyone. Now that 2015 is in the rearview, let’s get 2016 started off with 16 guys–from the ’17 class–for 2016 that you should keep an eye on. It’s never too early to start looking ahead to when the pads come on, and some of these names are names that you’ll know–while others might not have been on your radar–until now. The Class of 2017’s prospects have us feeling some type of way throughout ALL six counties within the coverage area and we figured this list would get things started off right. Enjoy.

QB Justin Hall (6-3/195) – Sunlake
1,729 passing yards for the Seahawks this season with 17 touchdowns to just three interceptions. Hall also dialed up five rushing touchdowns totaling 109 yards in that category for the 6A-6 runners-up. Hall possesses a strong arm and shows composure in the big situations. Hall will be the unequivocal leader of the offense for the ‘Hawks next season and look for him to carry the momentum from this season.

QB Augusto “AJ” Colagiovanni (6-0/195) – Manatee
2,500 yards passing with twenty-two touchdowns and seven interceptions to go with eleven touchdowns in the rushing game totaling 457 yards for the ‘Canes signal-caller. Colagiovanni is an aggressive runner, but can drop throws in the bucket when his feet are set in the pocket. A strong arm that doesn’t lose much velocity–if any at all–when leaving the pocket adds even more dimension to his game.

QB Darrian McNeal (5-10/175) – Armwood
2,935 total yards rushing and passing combined for McNeal as he led the Hawks to yet another state title game in Orlando. What’s more impressive is the vast majority of those yards came in the first halves of games since Armwood was blowing through their competition this season. McNeal accounted for 36 touchdowns and just four interceptions. 99-percent of his highlights will come via his explosive plays from running, but his arm is not to be taken lightly either.

QB Austin Sessums (6-1/180) – Tampa Catholic
2,777 passing yards with thirty-two touchdowns and eight interceptions for Sessums this season and he was the Class 3A runner-up in the Player of the Year voting. Sessums is very athletic and can run, too–but it’s his strong arm and his accuracy that are his calling cards and you can expect him to toss it around the yard next season for the Crusaders with dynamic playmakers surrounding him.

RB Adarius Lemons (6-2/185) – Clearwater
Simply put–Lemons IS the prototypical running back–from frame to style. Lemons rushed for 1,054 yards on 135 carries with eleven touchdowns for the Tornadoes. He also caught nine passes for 38 yards and a touchdown. His burst is exceptional, but his speed is like a freight-train–once he’s rolling–you ain’t catching him with those long strides in the open field.

WR Matt Landers (6-5/180) – Admiral Farragut
Ideal frame on this wide receiver for the Blue Jackets to pair with natural athleticism. Landers caught 34 passes for 1,038 yards and fifteen touchdowns for Farragut this season and will be one of the most dynamic pass catchers in Pinellas next season if he continues to develop his game the way he has. He obviously has the size advantage to high-point the ball over most DB’s and he’s deadly when he gets the ball quickly and look to gain yards after the catch with his speed.

WR Darius Corbett (6-1/175) – Tampa Catholic
825 yards receiving catching thirty-four passes and nine touchdowns for Tampa Catholic this season as part of a bevy of offensive weapons for the Crusaders. Corbett is a true playmaker and deep threat from the wideout position and will burn you in press coverage with his speed–or if you try and back off–he’ll just catch it and make plays with his feet in space.

ATH De’Vonta Smith (5-11/185) – Brooksville Central
Mr. Do-it-all for the Bears up on the Suncoast and a true ATH in every sense of the word playing both sides of the ball effectively. Smith rushed for 2,193 yards no 272 carries and nineteen touchdowns as well as played some QB completing 5-of-13 for 126 yards a touchdown. His defensive stats are just as impressive with 95 tackles (77 solo), 3 sacks, 2 INT’s, 10 passes deflected, 2 caused fumbles and a blocked field goal.

LB Matthew Robinson (6-1/170) – Nature Coast Tech
Although the Sharks were blessed to have a talent like Florida’s Mr. Football, Deshawn Smith, they’ve got plenty of talent in other parts of the roster as well. Robinson’s 142 tackles this season gives him 255 over the past two seasons. Robinson hit double-digits in tackles eight times this season and even went for 20+ twice against Southeast and Clay. Robinson hits hard and pursues the ball anywhere-and-everywhere on the field.

LB/SS Dakota Trice (5-11/190) – Brandon
130 tackles this season for Trice to go with two interceptions, three pass deflections and a caused fumble for the Eagles this season. Trice went for double-digit tackles eight times this season. For that–Trice was named First Team All Western Conference. Trice’s field awareness is exceptional–seemingly in the right place to make plays at any moment and his nose for finding the ball make him an enticing watch for next season.

LB Jonathan Locke (6-2/175) – Southeast
The ‘Noles experienced the playoffs after going 1-9 last season, and it was Locke’s contributions on defense that helped this turnaround get completed. Locke tallied 116 tackles–63 solo–with 16 tfl’s, three interceptions, three caused fumbles and four passes deflected. Locke had six double-digit tackle games and that reflects his swarm-to-the-ball mentality. You want to watch what an “active” linebacker looks like, then “Locke” into this young man next season.

SS Jake Berg (5-11/160) – River Ridge
The Royal Knights have plenty of talent on their roster returning, and Berg is one of those. He totaled 123 tackles last season–17 tackles for loss–three sacks, nineteen passes deflected, two fumbles caused and recovered. Berg finished the season with eight games of double-digit tackles and that reflects his aggressive style from the position and his willingness to come down to the LOS and make a stick.

DE Paul Taylor (6-5/225) – Tampa Bay Tech
Super long and a major problem for slow-to-react offensive lineman with his ability to get around the edge quickly. Taylor put up excellent numbers for the Titans this season racking up 55 tackles from the defensive end position. He also added 5.5 sacks, nine QB hurries, an interception, two passes deflected, a caused fumble and a blocked field goal. Keep your eyes peeled for this prospect next season.

DT Marquis Bell (6-2/273) – Boca Ciega
He’s got a chance to be the “bell” of the ball in the trenches for the Pirates next season. He’s obviously got a big frame to work with, and with that big body comes a good takeoff from his stance and a physical style of play that’s a prerequisite for the position.

OT Tyler Knight (6-5/270) – Northside Christian
He came to us as a tight end, but with his size and and athletic ability–why not put him at the tackle position and let him flourish–and that’s what we expect him to do next season.

OT Zachary Hauschild (6-6/285) – Clearwater
Somebody’s got to clear holes for Adarius Lemons and protect Austin Day (QB) and at the size this young man checks-in he’s got the ability to become one of Pinellas’ top tackles. Hauschild’s an aggressive blocker whether it’s in the run game or the passing game and is extremely athletic for his size.