ORLANDO — There were plenty of great performances from the first day of the Florida High School Athletic Association state football championship games at the Citrus Bowl. Glades Day (Belle Glade) took the Class 1B title over Warner Christian (South Daytona) by a score of 27-20 in overtime. Then in the nightcap, American Heritage (Delray Beach) emerged with a 30-20 victory over Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) for the Class 1A title.
Here are some of the top performers from those two games:
GLADES DAY (BELLE GLADE)
Kelvin Taylor, RB, 5-10, 205, Class of 2013: An incredible physical talent. Taylor is a big-time prospect who will have every school in the country after him over the course of the next three years. Right now he dances a little too much, and doesn’t get that big body going downhill like he should every play. That said, Taylor has great feet, balance, and runs almost just like his Dad. An all-around impressive prospect who is strong in all aspects of playing the running back position – especially for a freshman in high school.
Devonte Allen, WR, 6-1, 175, Class of 2011: Allen had two catches for 57 yards, and also broke up a pass on defense. He is a talented individual who has the ability to play on either side of the ball. His straight-line speed is not elite, but Allen is a great athlete who has the ability to play big-time college football at the next level.
J.T. Thornton, WR/DB, 6-0, 170, Class of 2011: Thornton really stood out at corner with two interceptions, including the game-winner in overtime. Thornton has good size, moves well, and looks pretty good playing cornerback at the high school level – albeit against lower-level competition. A little early to say exactly where Thornton fits, but he is a solid prospect that we will be tracking over the coming months.
WARNER CHRISTIAN (SOUTH DAYTONA)
Shelton Willis, QB/ATH, 6-2, 185, Class of 2012: More of an athlete than a quarterback right now, Willis can really wing the ball around the field. He has good size, and slides around the pocket with ease. Good size and feet, but I’m not sure where Willis would fit position-wise outside of quarterback. High upside here with his ability as a football player.
Breon Allen, RB, 5-8, 160, Class of 2011: Allen is small, but he sure can play.. 10 carries and 79 yards on the night for Allen – including a 60-yard jaunt for which the undersized running darted up the middle, and simply would not be caught from behind. Allen also recorded 10 tackles (with a game-high nine solo) on the day, including several stops of highly-touted Glades Day running back Kelvin Taylor, for whom Allen gave up about 40 pounds too. His future might be on defense, but Allen will play on the next level – for that there is no doubts.
AMERICAN HERITAGE (DELRAY BEACH)
Darius Millines, WR, 6-0, 182, Class of 2010: An incredible performance from Millines, who put Stallions on his back for the majority of the night. 27 carries for 182 yards and four touchdowns for the quarterback – who projects as a wide receiver at West Virginia, where he is committed to play. Millines played with emotion, with passion, and clearly was not going to be denied in the Class 1A title game. After the game, Millines confirmed that his commitment to West Virginia is firm, and he isn’t looking at any other schools at the present time.
Greg Bryant Jr. RB/DB, 5-11, 180, Class of 2013: Despite being just a freshman, Bryant is a big, athletic football player who has the makings of a great football player. He recorded 83 yards on 12 carries on offense, and a pair of tackles as a starting cornerback on offense. With Bryant being only a freshman, there is no telling where his growth will take him in terms of position. Realistically he could end up at RB, CB, S, or OLB on the next level. Regardless of the spot he plays, there is little doubt he is an elite athlete, and a name to keep an eye on over the coming years.
Herve Coby, WR, 6-0, 170, Class of 2011: He made three receptions for 39 yards (catching the only three passes that Millines completed on the evening), and also made a great play to down the ball at the Trinity Catholic one-yard line on a punt in the first quarter – which led to safety for American Heritage one play later. Coby is skinny – but a nice-looking athlete who can play a bit. I’m not sure if he’s on the level of being at the top of the board for Florida – but he’s a prospect who will see quite a bit of attention over the next year.
Justin Haig, P, 5-8, 175, Class of 2010: Haig had great hang-time on his three punts – the best being a 59-yard effort in the fourth quarter which was downed on the Trinity Christian two-yard line. Haig reported he was receiving interest from some big-time schools – including Miami – following the game.
TRINITY CHRISTIAN (JACKSONVILLE)
Ahmad Christian, RB/DB, 5-11, 185, Class of 2011: Christian showed great explosiveness with 143 yards on just four carries – including a state championship game record 99-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to draw the Conquerors within three points. An effective player on either side of the ball, Christian probably projects better on defense – but the explosiveness he showed with the ball in his hands just confirms he is the type of athlete who can play at a high level.
Andrew Buie, RB, 5-11, 195, Class of 2011: Buie came in as the leading rusher for Trinity Christian with 181 carries for 1,767 yards, and 21 touchdowns, but was outperformed by Ahmad Christian on offense. Buie still had a very solid game with 133 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. He is a solid back who has produced at a high level in the prep ranks. He isn’t as talented as someone like Mike Bellamy in the state of Florida, but Buie is still a very strong option at the running back position for the Class of 2011.
Brandon Rogers, OL/DT, 6-3, 310, Class of 2010: Rogers is a big, thick kid who checks in as listed in terms of height and weight. He is powerfully built in the lower body, and made a couple of nice plays from his defensive tackle position on defense. He has the skill-set to play on either side of the line of scrimmage at the next level. How he has not received more attention from big-time programs is a little surprising to me, as he is a very solid looking lineman prospect – and those players aren’t exactly easy to come by in the state of Florida this year.
Banner Clark, PK, 5-10, 178, Class of 2011: Clark has a big leg, as he was hitting field goals from up to 50 yards out in warm-ups. Definitely a player to keep an eye on – both Clark and Haig displayed great leg strength during the title tilt on Friday night.