If there is one word that best describes the top prospects in Hillsborough county this year, it's "versatility." These young men have a chance to be some of the most dynamic talents to come out of a talent rich area. They are proof positive that the top of the 2015 class will be even better than the class of 2014.
1. Dwayne Lawson, QB, Hillsborough HS, 6'5" 210lbs @Lawson9D
When you first hear 6'5" 210lbs and athletic at the prep level, you think defensive end, tight end, and wide receiver. Your eyes get big at the prospects of working with such a talent and molding him into the next Julius Peppers, Jimmy Graham, or Calvin Johnson. You pray that he is motivated to work hard and dedicated to his craft so that you can invent great ways to implement him into your defense or offense. When you realize that he is a quarterback your thoughts go from him helping you win games to him leading you to championships. That is why Lawson is tops in the county. It's hard to argue the impact that a QB can have on the game, especially when they can kill you with their arm or their legs. Lawson has Cam Newton-like ability and playing in the toughest district in county last season only fortifies his ability to be great at the next level.
2. Deon Cain, Ath, Tampa Bay Tech HS, 6'2" 190lbs @ImOnMyWay_5
In short, Cain is the most versatile athlete in the county, which is a fancy way of saying who knows where he will play in college. He is a dynamic duel-threat quarterback for the Titans and could fit perfectly in offenses like Auburn's or Arizona's. His 7 on 7 and camp work at receiver has him receiving offers from top college programs. There has been talk that he could be an NFL caliber defensive back. The one thing for sure is that there will be a fight for his services in 2015. Whomever lands Cain will have to figure out the best fit for him and he will have to embrace that. His senior year should be fun to watch at Tech will no doubt put all of his talents on display. I predict that his versatility will have #5 lined up everywhere next year.
3. Ray Ray McCloud, RB, Sickles HS, 5'9" 175lbs @RM3_legendz19xx
Ray Ray is the most dangerous weapon in Hillsborough county. He can kill your team running the ball, receiving the ball, returning kicks and on occasion throwing. McCloud has been a one-man wrecking show at Sickles for the past two seasons and any game plan created to beat the Gryphons must first read "Tackle #34" which is much easier said than done. Defenses have been keying "34" since his youth league days. Many evaluators believe that his highest ceiling is at defensive back but it seems like a shame to waste such a talented offensive weapon. Even if he does make the switch to defensive back in college, he will still be a dynamic kick and punt returner. His competitive spirit makes it hard to believe he won't be success at whatever position he plays.
4. Byron Cowart, DE, Armwood HS, 6'4" 250lbs @ByronHawkStar99
He's big, he's fast, he's strong, he's nasty. Perfect attributes for a defensive end. His size and athleticism gives him the ability to be a pass rusher or a run stopper. He would fit perfectly as a 4-3 strong side end, as a 9-tech pass rusher, 3-tech, 3-4 4-tech or even a 3-4 outside linebacker. That type of physical prowess is why many recruiting websites have him as one of the top overall national recruits. When you are good enough to bring head coaches and top recruiters to your doorstep it says a lot about your promise at the next level. He's impossible to block one on one and most double teams have a hard time stifling him. He is a grown man playing against kids. If he continues this trajectory he will definitely be playing on Sundays.
5. Scott Patchan, DE, Freedom HS, 6'6" 225lbs @scott_patchan
He's not just quick, he is really quick; that's what makes his first step off the line so lethal. He's not just long, he is very long; and it feels like he engulfs quarterbacks and ball carriers. His freakish size, abnormal athleticism, are traits that would make anyone a big-time recruit, but what sets Patchan apart is his relentlessness. He seems to love the hunt and never tires of pursuing. It doesn't matter how long he goes without a sack, he refuses to concede defeat. That type of persistence makes him an ideal pass rusher either as a 9-tech or a 3-4 outside linebacker. Top 25 programs are relentlessly pursuing him in hopes of bolstering their pass rush.
Coming soon position rankings for c/o 2015