High-SchoolFlorida: Derrick Henry

Five Days of List-Mas: FL's underclass football stars

December, 13, 2011

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Whether you’re putting together a grouping of best quarterbacks or worst albums, or you’re making that special list for Santa, there’s nothing quite like a good list. So in honor of the holiday season we’re bringing you lists all week long — Merry List-Mas!

Today: The top underclassmen in high school football.

The state championships conclude this weekend, and while the Class of 2012 had its run, it’s never too early to start looking at the impressive players in the Class of 2013 and beyond. Who’s going to rule the gridiron in Florida next season? Here's an early rundown of who to watch for:

5. Sony Michel (SO), Plantation American Heritage, RB
Credentials: Appeared with Kelvin Taylor on the cover of ESPNHS in September but missed virtually his entire sophomore season due to a knee injury. One of the nation's best running back in the Class of 2014, he had 40 total touchdowns as an eighth-grader and freshman.
Taylor/Michel cover
Ren Dittfield/ESPNHSKelvin Taylor and Sony Michel appeared on the cover of ESPNHS Magazine in September 2011.

4. Greg Bryant (JR), American Heritage-Delray, RB
Credentials: Part of Florida's ridiculously loaded crop of Class of 2013 running backs, Bryant had arguably the best season of any back in the state this year while leading the Stallions to a Class 3A state title. He has offers from Florida, Alabama, LSU and about a dozen others.

3. Will Likely (JR), Glades Central, DB/RB/WR
Credentials: The 2011-12 Gatorade State Player of the Year, Likely did it all of a Glades Central team that finished 12-1. He has verbal offers from LSU, Florida, FSU, Miami, Alabama and more.

2. Kelvin Taylor (JR), Glades Day, RB
Credentials: The state's all-time leading rusher (in both yards and TDs), Taylor led Glades Day to back-to-back state titles in 2009 and 2010. He is the son of former Jaguars' great Fred Taylor.

1. Derrick Henry (JR), Yulee, RB
Credentials: A huge back at 6-3/235, Henry has rushed for more than 7,000 yards in his first three seasons — more, in fact, than Taylor (who started as an eighth-grader) had through his first three. He's also put tiny Yulee on the map. Henry has verbally committed to Georgia.

Click here to check out some of the other states in our Five Days of List-Mas.

Tomorrow: The POWERADE Florida Weekly Basketball Rankings.

Florida Football Playoff Predictions

November, 17, 2011
With the regional tournaments kicking off tomorrow night, we thought we'd give ourselves the chance to look incredibly smart — or incredibly dumb — with some championship predictions. Feel free to praise or mock our picks in the comments below. Once it's all over, we'll be sure to remind you of who we picked — that is, if we're right.

8A: Plant over Miramar
While Miramar likely has the superior team, it's hard to bet against the Panthers, who have advanced to four title games since 2006, winning three of them. Miramar did take home a title in 2009, however, and has been unstoppable this year, so it would surprise no one if the Patriots emerged as champs.

7A: Manatee over Lincoln
Class 7A is particularly loaded this year, with recent state champs St. Thomas Aquinas, Dwyer, Lakeland and Lincoln all in the mix. Among these titans, we think the battle-tested Hurricanes have the best chance to be the last team standing.

6A: Armwood over Miami Central
Since winning back-to-back state titles in 2003 and 2004, Armwood hasn't quite been able to get over the hump, notching two runner-up finishes (last year and in 2005) and a pair of trips to the semifinals. But Bill Callahan's squad is playing so well this year — the Hawks are currently ranked the nation's No. 2 team in the POWERADE FAB 50 — it's impossible to go with anyone but Armwood.

5A: Miami Norland over Godby
Glades Central and Miami Norland look to be on a crash course to meet in the regional finals, and whoever wins that (theoretical) matchup will be the favorite to go all the way.

4A: Booker T. over Bolles
The possibility of of Yulee-Bolles and Cocoa-Booker T. in the semifinals is intriguing, though Bolles would have to get past Raines — the only team that's beaten the Bulldogs this season — and Yulee's fate would rest largely in the hands of junior running back Derrick Henry. Cocoa has won three consecutive state titles, but the Tigers haven't beaten an elite opponent all season.

3A: University School over Trinity Catholic
We predict Trinity Catholic will meet Madison County in one semifinal and University School will face Berkeley Prep in the other. Then, in a rematch of the 2010 Class 2B state championship, University will avenge last year's triple-overtime loss.

2A: Glades Day over North Florida Christian
This probably isn't the best Glades Day team of the last few years, but the Gators still have the state's all-time leading rusher in Kelvin Taylor. That might be enough for a third consecutive state title.

1A: Union County over Holmes County
The Tigers complete their perfect season.

Henry, Yulee play on ESPNU tonight

September, 9, 2011
Derrick Henry, Yulee (Yulee, Fla.) is one of the most impressive stars of the 2013 classTom Hauck/ESPNHSDerrick Henry, Yulee (Yulee, Fla.) is one of the most impressive stars of the 2013 class
Derrick Henry and Yulee (0-1) cross the border to face off against Buford (Ga.) tonight on ESPNU. Our football editor, Jim McCormick, has a nice piece on Henry over on the football blog. Among other things, here's what Henry had to say:
“The goal this year is to put the Yulee Hornets on the map,” Henry said. “We have a tough schedule, but we are proud of that, we aren’t just some small town you can forget about.”
Read the full story here.