Pool play for the IMG 7v7 National Championships has concluded, and one team appears to be considerably ahead of the rest. The South Florida Express squad, comprised primarily of players from Dade and Broward counties, is perhaps the best 7-on-7 team I have ever seen. Express scored close to 200 points in its four pool-play games, while allowing less than 50. It was total domination in a format that typically does not allow for massive blowouts.
Its roster, and particularly its offense, is an embarrassment of riches. Ermon Lane, the nation's top receiver, is out wide. So is Torrance Gibson, a quarterback for American Heritage who could be a five star in the class of 2015 as a receiver. Fellow 2015 member Devante Phillips, of Miami Central, is also a threat. All are elite recruits.
In the slot is Sam Bruce, the nephew of NFL great Isaac Bruce. He just finished his freshman year of high school. Joining him is Travis Rudolph, who holds offers from Florida, Miami and Florida State. Oh, and Sony Michel, the No. 2 running back in the country, is also a talent.
Distributing the ball is Sean White, an accurate passer with a good arm who is seeing his recruitment take off of late.
There are some teams in the field capable of not being blown out by SFE, but the only way they lose a game is if they lose focus.
Ermon Lane still seems focused on Miami, Florida and Alabama. The five-star expects to attend Florida's Friday Night Lights camp in July, and should visit Alabama as well. Lane has tentative plans to get to Florida State, but the Seminoles do not seem strongly in the hunt. Lane has always maintained that he would sign on National Signing Day, which is seven months away.
I was told by a source that Sony Michel, who is committed to Georgia, is recruiting extremely hard for the school. I plan to catch up with Michel on Sunday to ask about his top recruiting targets.
Travis Rudolph recently visited Auburn, Alabama, Vanderbilt and Georgia. Rudolph noted that Auburn runs a similar offense to the one he runs in high school (a Wing-T), except it does so from the shotgun. Rudolph plans to visit Ohio State and Florida State after Nike's The Opening showcase. Rudolph has been a fan of Urban Meyer since his days at Florida. He expected to have his list trimmed down before his senior year.
I spoke with Chris Lammons, a cornerback out of Plantation (Fla.). He recently tripped to Tennessee and really enjoyed the visit, citing the family atmosphere and fans showing a lot of love. Lammons has a top five of Alabama, South Carolina, Miami, Florida and Tennessee, in no specific order. He's feeling some family pressure to stay in Florida, but says he is not afraid to leave if a school away from home is the best fit. Lammons plans to visit South Carolina, Alabama and Florida (again) this summer after The Opening in Portland.
Cornerback Quincy Wilson, of University School in Ft. Lauderdale, is very competitive and focused on taking home the title. Wilson recently visited Ohio State and really enjoyed the trip, citing his relationship with Urban Meyer and how coach Coombs uses his defensive backs. Wilson is well-known for maintaining that he's a cornerback, even as many believe he is a safety. Wilson also enjoyed his trip to Notre Dame, citing the benefit of a Notre Dame education. Wilson has a list of 13 schools, and as that implies, he's nowhere close to making a decision. Wilson will visit USC and UCLA next week before heading to The Opening. Later, he'll visit Alabama and LSU. And later still, he'll check out South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.
The group from Tennessee and Alabama provided a lot of entertainment on the day. Running back/athlete Bo Scarbrough, a five-star phenom from Tuscaloosa and an Alabama commitment, showed that he was physically superior to almost everyone on the field. Scarbrough is very close with cousin Cyontai Lewis, a tight end committed to the Florida Gators. Scarbrough jokingly denied taking a visit to Gainesville on Friday, but multiple sources confirmed the trip. Scarbrough indicated that Lewis is trying to get him to join up at Florida, as Lewis does not have an offer from Alabama. Scarbrough talks with the Florida coaches twice a week, specifically coach Brian White, and plans to be at Florida on July 26 for the Friday Night Lights camp. Scarbrough said that he expects Alabama to offer Lewis when he visits Alabama. He plans to major in criminal justice.
Lewis doesn't seem too receptive to an offer from Alabama, noting that the Tide has seen him for an entire year and hasn't offered, while Florida saw him just once before offering. Lewis said that Scarbrough likes Florida a lot. He indicated that he likes how Florida uses its tight ends, as opposed to having them mostly block (a comment that seemed like a comparison to Alabama). Lewis indicated that he "might" go to the Alabama camp in July.
Racean "Roc" Thomas, of Oxford (Ala.), was one of the most impressive prospects at the event. He has extremely quick feet and a great build. Thomas said that he has no leaders, but does like Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Oregon, Florida State, and Florida, which has not yet offered. He said that Lewis told coach Muschamp to watch his film, and he thinks they could offer. While his offer list is varied as to the types of offenses the schools run, he does not have a preference. Thomas recently missed an Auburn camp, but did speak highly of the school. He plans to visit Oregon after attending The Opening.
Receiver Markell Pack confirmed that he is still committed to Florida State, but it's "50-50" with Ole Miss. Pack said that Ole Miss is "like a big family. Everyone just takes you in once you get down there." Pack admitted that it was tough to hold off on switching to Ole Miss during his recent visit, but that it wasn't "that close." Pack says he does plan to visit Florida State some time over the summer, but is unsure when that will happen. He wore Florida State shorts on the day, but also had an Ole Miss wrist band. I'm also told that Pack described coach Hugh Freeze "as a father figure" to another reporter.
Kendall Gant, of Lakeland (Fla.) Lake Gibson, indicated that he enjoyed his recent visit to Florida State. He said that he clicked with new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, and continued to talk with coach Odell Haggins, with whom he has a long-time relationship. Gant said that Florida State is "up there," but he hasn't visited other schools to compare just yet. He'll visit USC on Monday. Gant said that he has the best relationships with coaches at Florida State, Kentucky and UCF. Gant also wants to visit Ohio State and Kentucky. He believes he will commit by the end of the summer.
Jeff Holland, a 2015 linebacker from Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian, was excited to play. He loved his visit to Ohio State, particularly meeting Urban Meyer and seeing the campus. Holland said that the trip was very fun, and said that the coaches made him feel like family. Holland's second-best trip? Tennessee, because the Volunteers "showed [Holland] a lot of love." He was also very complimentary of Tennessee's facilities, calling them "state of the art," and of the Volunteers' coaches. Holland also noted that Tennessee's fans are crazy, saying he added 500 new Twitter followers from the school. Some recruits don't like that attention, but Holland says he loves it.