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Florida might not have QB recruits, but the state is loaded at WR and DB in 2019 (again)

Length, speed, and aggressiveness. Yup, the state of Florida has loads of skill position talent in 2019.

John Dunmore
John Dunmore
Bud Elliott (SB Nation)

Over the weekend, talent from all over the southeast descended on the state of Florida for some 7v7 competition. On Saturday, I drove up to the IMG Academy in Bradenton for the NFA 7v7 Southeast Championship. On Sunday, I headed over the the Adidas East Championship in Homestead (very South Miami).

Because fans care about players and the colleges for which they cheer, and not as much about 7v7 teams or events, I’ll be combining my observations and scoop from both events.

The best player I saw: Georgia WR commit Jadon Haselwood

This was a tough decision, because there were a number of standout players over the weekend, but I’ll go with Jadon Haselwood, of Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove. He was by far the best player on his team. Opponents knew the 6’3 receiver prospect, who many consider the best in the nation, would be getting the ball. They doubled him. They pressed him. They played off. They held him all day. And he still made tough catches, snatching the ball repeatedly, using his body to shield defenders, and his speed to go by them. He caught the touchdown to send his team to overtime, and the winner in that overtime to send his team to the semifinals. Haselwood was exhausted. He probably played 150 plays in five hours on Sunday.

Jadon Haselwood dropped the ball in the kid’s lap after this, too.
Haselwood’s handoff

After, I spoke with him. He is still solidly committed to Georgia. “We’re (UGA) building something special,” he said. But Haselwood does want to take visits and experience the recruiting process, though he has not yet figured out all of where he’ll attend.

But he does have one official visit locked in: Oklahoma. Haselwood feels “like family” at Oklahoma and likes how they throw the football.

The best play I saw: Marcus Rosemy impersonates Odell Beckham Jr.

Unlike figuring out who was the best player, this best play decision was easy. It was Marcus Rosemy, a 2020 WR out of Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas, making a ridiculous catch against one of the better corners in his grade. It was good coverage, and an even better catch. Just watch.

Rosemy is 6’1, 180 pounds, and has big hands. He has a good understanding of setting up routes for someone his age, and he plucks the ball well. I spoke with someone who has watched him at Aquinas, and they said the only thing he needs is confidence. He is certainly coming into his own, and claims early offers from Florida, Georgia, Ohio State, and Texas. I have to think Florida State and Miami will come soon.

2019 QBs continue to disappoint

2018 was an awesome year for QB recruits. So far, 2019 appears to be a very down year nationally for the position. That trend continued this weekend, as receivers were frustrated that their quarterbacks could not get them the ball. As you’ll read about in the “Young Guns” piece (coming Wednesday), the 2020 class offers some respite.

11 other stars recruiting fans should know

The following players caught my eye in the 2019 class.

  1. Brendan Gant, S, Lakeland (Fla.) Kathleen: What makes a great defender? Mentally, it is instincts and relentlessness. But physically, it is the ability to “play up” with great size. By that I mean, a linebacker who can play the position while being defensive end size, a corner with safety size, or in the case of Gant, the ability to play safety despite having linebacker size. The 6’2, 190-pound Alabama commitment covered well on Sunday, and he has room to grow. He is still open to taking visits.
  2. John Dunmore, WR, Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna: Dunmore is just so smooth that defensive backs underestimate his speed. He gets in and out of his breaks, he makes tough catches and has excellent body control. Dunmore was open a lot more than he got the ball, too. Florida State is in a good spot with Dunmore, as he visited recently and called the Seminoles his “dream school.”
  3. Tyrique Stevenson, DB, Homestead (Fla.) South Dade: Stevenson is a phenomenal talent. He has the height at 6’0, he’s thick at 190 pounds, and he is so fast twitch. He is raw technique wise as a corner, yet shows good instincts for the position. Stevenson could be a major asset in college, capable of moving all over the field and blitzing as well. Stevenson has been to Miami a bunch of times, and will visit Southern powers this spring. I didn’t get the sense that he is close to making a decision.
  4. Isaiah Washington, WR, Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian: Washington made several tough catches for the eventual champion Rat Pak squad. He is currently rated the No. 120 receiver nationally, and the No. 126 player in Florida, which just goes to show how early it is in the rankings process. The 6’3, 190-pound Washington holds offers from Purdue and Boston College. I expect him to gain more offers and for his recruitment to change.
  5. Te’Cory Couch, CB, Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna: The Tennessee cornerback commitment made play after play during the final stretch on Sunday, helping to keep his team alive. Couch is quick and instinctive. Couch is still taking visits, though he remains committed to Tennessee.
  6. Frank Ladson, WR, Homestead (Fla.) South Dade: Ladson is a skinny 6’4 with an easy top gear who can go up and get the ball with the best of them. He is not the best high school receiver in the country, but he might have the highest receiver ceiling as a prospect because of what he could become once he fills out. Clemson is in a good position with Ladson, though in-state schools like FSU and Miami will try to change that.
  7. Marcus LaFrance, S, Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas: I think the 6’2 LaFrance will eventually make his money playing safety, since he has a lot of room to fill out. Given his length,I was impressed by how well LaFrance covered playing corner on Saturday. LaFrance wants to visit Texas and Louisville. He would like an offer from Auburn and FSU.
  8. Marcus Crowley, ATH, Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian: The Miami commitment is one of the most interesting players in the class. He is listed as a running back, can also play linebacker, but he is so good catching the football, sensing open space, and beating defenders that I’d be tempted to play him at H-Back. Linebackers, even the good ones, can’t cover him. Crowley isn’t huge, nor is he a freak athlete, but he has so many good qualities of a versatile, winning football player.
  9. Jack Kiser, LB, Royal Center (In) Pioneer: Kiser plays QB in high school, but he is a solid 6’2, 200, and moved well at linebacker. He already holds offers from Iowa and Michigan State, and wants to add offers from Notre Dame and Stanford.
  10. Tamauzia Brown, ATH, Newton (Texas): Brown is listed as a cornerback on most of the recruiting sites, Brown looked nice at receiver on Sunday. He is a legit 6’1 with excellent burst and change of direction, and those skills translate at cornerback as well. He already has offers from Arkansas and Baylor, and it won’t surprise me if the bigger schools in Texas, Oklahoma, and the SEC jump in soon. Newton is a town of less than 3,000 people, so it makes sense that Brown’s offers might lag behind his talents a bit.
  11. Jarvis Brownlee Jr., CB, Miami (Fla.) Carol City: Brownlee Jr. is a physical, aggressive cornerback who is picking up steam on the recruiting trail. I think he’s intriguing at corner, where he worked Sunday, but also as a nickel safety since he will probably be 6’0, 190 in college. Toledo and FIU are his best offers to date. I believe Brownlee can play in the upper half of the Power 5.

Miami the beneficiary of Adidas tournament

With the Adidas tournament being in Miami, many of the teams took the opportunity to swing by the campus of the Hurricanes on the previous day. Players from Jacksonville, Ft. Lauderdale, and Orlando did so, as well as players from state’s like Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, and some Midwestern states. Here’s a photo of Pro Impact, Jacksonville’s elite 7v7 team visiting the Hurricanes, courtesy of elite 2020 CB Miles Brooks.

Five-star running back recruit Tre Sanders, of the IMG Academy visited Miami for the second time this year. A Hurricanes’ source told me he believes Miami is more in it for Sanders than some outsiders think. Sanders, by the way, was elite on the day but his team’s QB could not get him the ball.

Florida pulling out of Dade County?

There was a good bit of speculation on the sidelines as to whether the Gators will be de-emphasizing Dade County compared to previous years. I’ve certainly heard this a few times so far this year, as the Gators lost several staffers with connections in Dade County. Florida had put increased effort into the county in recent years under the prior staff, but failed to land the elite of its elite prospects.

We’ll see if this happens, but I do expect Florida to continue to recruit Broward and Palm Beach counties, where they have been strong. I also expect Florida to focus strong on Orlando and Jacksonville, both of which are within a two-hour drive of campus.

Big men on the road

I spoke with several linemen, who for obvious reasons don’t participate in 7v7. They do, however, hang out on the sidelines and support their teammates.

I spoke with IMG four-star offensive lineman Deyavie Hammond, who decommitted from Alabama early in 2018. Hammond is a massive 6’4 and 320 pounds, with interest from many top schools.

He told me that he is still friendly with Alabama, despite the decommitment. “I still speak with coach (Mike) Locksley,” he said of the Alabama co-offensive coordinator.

Hammond plans to visit LSU with fellow offensive lineman Charles Turner. He also wants to visit Florida, since he has not been since the staff transition. Turner also wants to visit UF. He is aware of Florida’s strong tradition at his former school, Lakeland High.

Hammond said that he does not have a top list, but that if he had to make a list of top schools, the only school he knows would make it is Florida State, where he visited for junior day. I found this interesting, as FSU is not a school I’ve previously heard associated with Hammond.

Other scoop and observations

Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby defender Cortez Andrews is listed as a safety by some recruiting sites, but he is absolutely a linebacker at the college level due to his frame and build. I think he’ll be a good one. Alabama is thought to be in a good position. .Jahleel Billingsley, a tight end of Chicago had some really nice catches. He just picked up an Ohio State offer and is one to watch.