A battle between county foes, both nationally ranked, saw Seffner Armwood shut out Tampa Plant for the second time in as many seasons. Check out the stars of the Hawks’ 21-0 victory Friday night:
Matt Jones, RB, Armwood – One of the main reasons the four-star running back isn’t in the ESPNU 150 is inconsistency. Jones just doesn’t “bring it” on every down like he should. On Friday there were times when he got happy feet and spent too much time trying to make a highlight-reel worthy juke instead of putting his head down and imposing his will with his 6-foot-2, 225-pound frame. He had a few impressive power runs in the first half, but he saved his best effort for closing time. With Armwood up 15-0, Jones took a handoff at the 30 and plowed through the middle of Plant’s defense for a touchdown. He showed power, speed and determination in the final 10 yards as he decided he wouldn’t be denied a trip to the end zone. When Jones wants to do that on every down, he can match up with any running back in the nation.
Eric Striker, LB/S, Armwood – Striker, an Oklahoma commit, plays with the intensity that will make him a fan favorite in Norman. That being said, his aggressive play can be a tremendous asset or it can be a major flaw. It was an asset when he lined up as a pass rusher on third downs, but it was a flaw when he committed a 15-yard penalty after over-running a play and grabbing a face mask out of desperation. Had Striker just taken himself out of the play, his teammates would have cleaned up and gotten the safety. However, the good far outweighs the bad when it comes to this prospect.
Alvin Bailey, WR/ATH, Armwood – The rising junior has been Armwood’s MVP this season, carrying the offensive load when Jones and quarterback Darryl Richardson sat out with injuries. He had about nine catches for nearly 100 yards and would have had a long touch, were he not tripped by a Plant defender on a perfectly executed [but illegal] leg sweep (of course, it wasn’t called). He will be rated as one of the top receivers in the Tampa Bay area next year, along with St. Petersburg Lakewood standout Rodney Adams. There will be a full recruiting update on Bailey later.
Antonio Crawford, ATH, Plant – Crawford wears a lot of hats for Plant. He’ll be a running back, wide receiver, return specialist and cornerback all in the same game. On a night when Plant’s offense struggled to a total that was nearly 300 yards below its average, Crawford made a crucial mistake, fumbling the ball inside the Armwood 10. That turned out to be Plant’s best scoring opportunity of the night. The Georgia Tech commit will have better days.
Paris Bostick, DB/ATH, Plant – Bostick is arguably the top junior prospect from Plant, and the 6-1, 200-pound athlete is an impressive and imposing figure in the defensive backfield. He was very good with his run defense Friday and kept his area relatively clean. During the preseason Bostick said he wanted to be a running back, but he’s primarily used in the secondary and in the long term that’s where he’ll have the best opportunity to shine.
Austin Aikens, WR, Plant – Aikens, a two-star receiver, is usually good for a big play or two each game. Armwood, however, was having none of it and did a good job of frustrating the receiver, rotating several guys to his side and playing him physical. Aikens has a lot of potential but he hasn’t emerged as a statistical force, as Plant receivers have in the past.
Jarvis McCall, DB, Armwood – The South Florida commit is just a solid all-around player. McCall primarily plays cornerback for Armwood but seems better suited for safety at the next level. He does a good job of helping against the run and running receivers off of their routes. He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes and is a reliable, consistent presence on the field.
Leon McQuay, DB, Armwood – At 6-3, McQuay has the sort of tools that make college scouts drop their notebooks. In last year’s game against Plant, McQuay picked off Philip Ely three times. This year he was more noticeable at contributing on the run defense and containing. He didn’t do anything to stand out, but he didn’t make any mistakes, either.
Maronte Gilbert, FB, Plant – He probably had the best offensive play for the Panthers – a 16-yard rumble right up the gut of the Armwood defense. Gilbert finished with 29 yards on three carries, and given how physical the game was maybe he deserved a few more touches.
Wesley Bullock, RB, Plant – Bullock is a junior scatback who can make things happen when catching the ball out of the backfield. He had a nice 16-yard reception and showed that he has big-play potential when he can get to the outside.
Wade Edwards, RB, Armwood – Edwards proved more than capable of being a key offensive player when he was the feature back earlier in the season, while Jones was out with an injury. Now in an all-purpose role, he broke the game open with a 77-yard catch-and-run that gave Armwood a 15-0 lead. He has FBS potential as a slot back and a kick returner. It wouldn’t be shocking to see a few mid-major schools take a run at him in the late weeks of recruiting.
Sheldon Lewinson, DL, Armwood – The Wake Forest commit still might be a little too small to play defensive tackle at the next level, but he’s as strong as they come and he causes headaches for any group of interior linemen that tries to stop him. He rarely allows himself to get taken out of a play and he’s more than happy to take on additional blockers so the rest of the Armwood defense can capitalize.
Cody Waldrop, OL, Armwood – Waldrop is a nasty blocker and he showed both the good and the bad side of that. He gets caught in some extracurricular activities when the play is over, but he’ll never back down from a confrontation and that will make him popular with his future teammates at South Carolina.
Kevin McCoy, OL, Armwood – The most athletic on an offensive line that features three FBS prospects (center Cameron Dees is committed to Marshall) and he knows how to use his long arms to keep his quarterback out of harm’s way. He’s a little more aggressive than most tackles, thanks to Armwood’s style of offense, but he’s still a much-improved prospect who will make an FBS program very happy in a few years.
Darryl Richardson, QB, Armwood – Just a junior, Richardson has all the physical tools teams could want in a quarterback at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds. He is very raw, however, and he can be a little erratic. On Friday he made some nice throws – one to Bailey that should have been a touchdown – and he missed a couple that could have been big plays to put more distance on the scoreboard. He’ll get better with reps, and with proper instruction during the offseason he could be special.