Yesterday we broke down the five positions on the offensive side of things. Today we introduce, or in some cases reunite you with players that can make “it” happen and showcased it further last Sunday in Lakeland. Three of the four prospects are from the Class of 2016, while one hails from the Class of 2017. Two of the four MVP’s are from one of Pinellas County’s legacy programs, while the others come from schools that are go-to’s in Hillsborough County for programs at the next level to find playmakers to stock their rosters. Let us get a little deeper into the players that are and have the potential to be, downright ‘D”efensive.
Defensive Line: Javaris Sanders, Largo (2016)
The first of two on the defense, and the second of three Packers on the overall list of MVP’s, Sanders took this distinction from several worthy candidates. Appearing in just seven of Largo’s eleven games last season, Sanders still put up 35 tackles, 3 sacks and 2 caused fumbles. His size at 5-foot-10, 295-pounds is probably a little better suited for being inside rather than it is for being on the edge, but that just fine if you ask us. That’s approximately 20-pounds heavier than during the 2014 season and it appears to be a “healthy” gain. The “motor” he possesses along with the proper explosion from his stance is what set him ever-so-slightly ahead of some of the “bigger” names both literally and figuratively during drills that were present. Sanders’ core strength was on display as he able to move much larger guys from his path based on surprisingly good technique and even better drive. If Sanders can continue this trend during the spring and throughout the summer workout programs, then his chances of moving on somewhere at the next level have just increased greater than the humidity has in Florida over the last month.
Defensive Back: Brandon Drayton, Largo (2016)
When they created the mold of what the “prototypical” DB should look like at this stage in their development, Drayton fits somewhere in the conversation. You can’t help but wonder with great enthusiasm what lies ahead for this prospect that can also play on the offensive side of the ball as well as special teams. Standing at JUST a hair (no pun intended) under 6-foot-3 and weighing 182-pounds, Drayton’s hips, feet and vertical explosion to beat WR’s to the highest point are all rapidly improving for the 26th-ranked overall prospect on BCP’s 2015 Spring Top 49. His two interceptions, and a fumble recover show he has the capability of being active once the situation dictates, but his 45 solo tackles from his total of 60 shed light on how physical Drayton has the potential to become. Perhaps it tells us that when you look at his film from last season and the combines, then pair it with 75% of the time when he hits someone he needs no assistance, he has the necessary tools to become something special at the collegiate level.
Cornerback: Marchalo Judge, Tampa Bay Tech (2016)
It’s becoming commonplace that whenever this young man shows up to an event whether it is in-pads or not, it’s time to sit back and watch a ‘football player’ do ‘football things’. Use the cliche “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog” and he shows up like some sort of superhero ready to lay the wood to some poor, unsuspecting running back or whoever. The point is this young man, who is ranked #32 on our Spring 2015 list for 2016 brings it. At 5-foot-8 and 165-pounds we have used the comparison in previous evaluations and on the Blitz Package Podcast to Bob Sanders; and in every instance we try to find a better comparison, we fail. The University of Illinois has shown some interest, and it would be eerily ironic if Judge, who we suspect will land several more than just this one, would land in the Big Ten, the same conference that Sanders (while at Iowa) ended up growing into the player he was to become for the Colts in the NFL. Back to the here-and-now and you see that Judge’s 117 tackles shows he loves contact. He even tallied nearly 200 yards in receptions and rushing in addition to returning kicks for the Titans. Not done? He even went 1-for-1 as a QB for three yards. THIS GUY (*John Gruden voice*) is simply your favorite-football-player’s—favorite football player.
Linebacker: Steven Ogletree, Plant City (2017)
A name that was generating some buzz from nearly the very beginning of the offseason, Ogletree (ranked #11 in the BCP 2017 overall prospects list) carried the momentum of 118 tackles while being just a sophomore from the fall of 2014 into the winter and ready to attack the spring with his performances at several camps. Much has been made about Ogletree and his numerical contributions on our part and many others, but his performance on Sunday is what leads us to believe there’s potentially some greatness to be witnessed out in eastern Hillsborough County. Ogletree stands at 5-foot-11, 235-pounds which already makes him IDEAL size and when you watch his ability to route-recognize, spot-drop, then react you start to ask yourself just how long before he becomes a household name. As long as Ogletree continues to display the body control he has showcased thus far along with fine-tuning a mentality that the difference between “really good” and “great” comes from the ability to change the entire outcomes of games at that position. Making plays that turn tackles into fumbles, fumbles into turnovers, turnovers into points, then his #11-ranking could, actually WILL change and his 2015 season could be an insanely busy one for this young man.