Sunday, April 21, 2013
Lessons Learned: IMG SE Regional
By Corey Dowlar
BRADENTON, Fla. -- The IMG 7-on-7 Southeast Regional had many of the prominent athletes in the state of Florida on display over the weekend. In Bradenton on the campus of the IMG Academy, 14 teams from all around the state went head-to-head showing off their skills in the passing game on offense and defense.
With all the big-named rising senior participants spread out over the field, it was truly the underclassmen who stood out. Jacques Patrick (Orlando, Fla./Timber Creek), a prospect with more than 30 offers, was as advertised. Ryan Davis (St. Petersburg, Fla./Northeast) showed great quickness and agility, making opponents miss in cramped quarters on several occasions. Shawn Burgess-Becker (Coconut Creek, Fla./Monarch) displayed elite athleticism and consistent hands. Deondre Francois (Orlando, Fla./Olympia) was among the top quarterbacks. And Nate Craig (Dade City, Fla./Pasco) and Byron Cowart (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) captured some attention, though Craig is a 2016 prospect.
Though a Florida State commitment, J.C. Jackson (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee) showed up to the fields in the orange and blue of Florida. He said he's still committed to the Seminoles. Patrick donned a Florida State cap but said Florida State and Florida are equal near the top, and he's still considering everyone at this point. Jimmy Bayes (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee) wore a USF hat, the team he's committed to. And finally George Campbell (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) arrived in a Gators hat and T-shirt, but said there was not any particular reason in the choice.
Danarius Graham (Pompano Beach, Fla./Ely) doesn't have any offers yet, but played well enough to think otherwise. At 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, he showed his best ability at the cornerback spot and could have schools come in for him this spring. Shane Dixon (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy) is an intriguing athlete at 6-3, 180, but still has yet to land his first offer. He showed a comfort level at safety over wide receiver. Amani Oruwariye (Tampa, Fla./Gaither) already has Boston College, Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida and Vanderbilt offers, but he could see that increase greatly. He checks in at 6-1, 180, but could add a ton of muscle with a strong lifting program, something he's never been involved in.
Though only a rising junior, LSU commitment Kevin Toliver II (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian) had some tremendous battles with ESPN 150 wide receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead). The pair spent most of their game matched up against each other. Lane did get the best of Toliver on one vertical route, but Toliver held his own. Jackson worked at defensive back for a while covering Artavis Scott (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake). There were some verbal exchanges, but Scott got the last laugh. He split the defense beyond Jackson on a pass over the middle and ran for a 30-yard touchdown.
Tolliver stakes his claim as one of the best in the state
Besides his battles with Lane, Toliver may have been the single most impressive defensive back of the entire field. The 6-2, 185-pound corner was physical at the line of scrimmage giving receivers a hard time getting downfield and into their routes. The 2014 group of defensive backs in Florida is solid, but Toliver made a serious claim to be considered among them, or maybe even above them, by comparison.