High-SchoolFlorida: Greg Bryant

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 Rankings: Week 16

December, 12, 2011
Congrats to the champs!

Bolles did it again, winning its fourth state title in six years by capturing the Class 4A crown. In 3A, Greg Bryant proved unstoppable, running for 243 yards and three touchdowns as American Heritage-Delray capped an impressive playoff run that included wins over University School, Berkeley Prep and Madison County — three of the top four teams in the bracket. In 2A, North Florida Christian concluded a dominant campaign in which the Eagles went undefeated and outscored opponents 163-27 over their last three games. And in 1A, it was Jefferson County that stormed through the bracket to emerge victorious.

Four more state championship games remain this weekend: In Class 8A, it'll be Plant vs. Miramar, as we predicted. Manatee, one of our projected state champs, is in the 7A finals to face a First Coast team that took down Lakeland this past weekend. In 6A, our predicted matchup of Armwood vs. Miami Central has come to pass. And in 5A, our projected winner Miami Norland returns to the state championship game to face Wakulla.

If you're keeping score at home, we did better with our big school predictions, correctly picking six out of the eight eventual state finalists a month ago. We'll see which of those teams wins it all this weekend.

How does all this affect our state rankings? Click here to find out. Eight of Florida's top teams are now ranked in the national POWERADE FAB 50 ESPNHS Team Rankings.

Florida Football Playoff Primer

December, 2, 2011
Tonight kicks off the regional finals (8A-5A) and state semifinals (4A-1A), and there's no shortage of intriguing matchups. But for our money, these are the three best games on the docket this week:

1. Glades Central vs. Miami Norland
(Class 5A regional finals)
The Glades Central Raiders and Norland Vikings are not just two of the state's top teams (No. 6 and No. 3, respectively, in the latest Florida Weekly Rankings) — they're both rated among the nation's top 40 teams in the POWERADE FAB 50. GC features Gatorade Player of the Year William Likely, while Norland counters with Miami recruit Randy "Duke" Johnson. Mark Tennis and Doug Huff have more on this matchup.

2. Dwyer vs. St. Thomas Aquinas
(Class 7A regional finals)
Just a few weeks ago, it seemed like Aquinas had taken a step back as a program. Rated the nation's No. 2 team early in the season, the Raiders lost a pair of contests to Miramar and upstart Cooper City. Rumors of the Raiders' demise appear to have been greatly exaggerated, however, as Aquinas has rolled through the first two rounds of the Class 7A playoffs. Dwyer, meanwhile, has won 11 straight games after falling to Glades Central in the opener, and let's not forget that the Panthers have advanced to the state finals each of the last two seasons, winning it all in 2009.

3. Berkeley Prep vs. American Heritage-Delray
(Class 3A state semifinals)
Led by senior All-American Nelson Agholor, Berkeley Prep (12-0) has put together the best season in school history. But American Heritage-Delray, behind junior running back Greg Bryant, has steamrolled opponents since an early loss to Glades Central, including a 31-20 takedown of previously undefeated University School last week. Read more about the matchup from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Tampa Tribune.