Preview: New Jersey Pylon 7V7

John Reid

Dozens upon dozens of prospects will display their talents during the two-day event in North Jersey.

With spring arriving in the northeast the 7-on-7 circuit is also upon us, and the talen-stacked Pylon Elite 7-on-7 with teams from eight states, including a ridiculously loaded Thoroughbreds team out of the Virginia Beach, Va., area.

The event features 24 teams in pool play Saturday and single elimination Sunday at Bruin Stadium in North Bergen, N.J.

A few of the top uncommitted prospects from the Garden State are scheduled to play as Hadddonfield (N.J.) Paul VI receiver Irvin Charles, and the four-star tandem of Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep quarterback Brandon Wimbush and Minkah Fitzpatrick are expected.


On offense, the Thoroughbreds have two of the top playmakers in Virginia – teammates from Virginia Beach (Va.) Ocean Lakes – 2015 wide receivers Jaason Lewis, who is committed to UCLA and Quincy Watts, who is closing in on double-digit scholarship offers.

Another player to keep an eye on at receiver is 2015 Nokesville (Va.) Patriot's Nick Matthews. Matthews is a smaller slot receiver with good quickness and soft hands. He has flown under the recruiting radar, but look for the change with a strong spring.

At quarterback, the Thoroughbreds have one of the most underrated players in the Virginia Beach area – Bishop Sullivan's Blake LaRussa. Last season, he threw for nearly 3,800 yards and 52 touchdowns and rushed for over 400 yards and six touchdowns, while leading his team to a state championship.

Underclassmen to watch on offense include 2016 Glen Allen (Va.) wide receiver Cole Blackmon, 2017 Virginia Beach (Va.) Landstown wide receiver Tahj Capehart and 2018 Virginia Beach (Va.) Ocean Lakes quarterback Tyler DeSue.

Blackmon had a strong sophomore season and has been turning heads this spring, while Capehart was one of the top playmakers for Landstown last fall and already has an offer from Old Dominion. However, the most intriguing is likely DeSue, who is still in eighth-grade. Despite his age, he is expected to compete for the starting quarterback job at Ocean Lakes this fall.

Defensively, the Thoroughbreds are loaded. Leading the way at linebacker is 2015 Jahvoni Simmons from Ocean Lakes, who is a Scout 100 member and the No. 2 middle linebacker in the country. Simmons claims offers from across the nation including Alabama, Clemson, North Carolina, Ohio State, Tennessee and Virginia Tech.

Playing beside him will be Trevon Hill, who normally lines up at defensive end, but will play linebacker during 7-on-7. The Virginia Beach (Va.) Salem star has around 10 offers and is one of top defensive prospects in Virginia.

Although the Thoroughbreds have talent all over the field, it is safe to say that the secondary is their strength. 2015 Ocean Lakes cornerback T.J. Griffin and 2015 safety Jahque Alleyne both have seen their recruitment gain momentum recently. 2015 Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside cornerback Jamez Brickhouse will also be roaming the secondary. All three are Division I prospects and some of the top defensive backs in Virginia's 2015 class.

Not to be outdone are the 2016 team members. Four-star Ocean Lakes cornerback Levonta Taylor and Hampton (Va.) Phoebus's Robbie Robinson are two of the top rising junior cornerbacks in the country. Both have several scholarship offers.

Others to watch are 2016 Ridgeway (Va.) Magna Vista safety Traveon Redd, 2016 Landstown safety Jermaine Troutman and 2016 Ocean Lakes safety Anthony Womack. All three are attracting a lot of college interest.


Next Level Greats from South Jersey will send three teams, and NLG4 is the one to watch. Charles, Palmyra (N.J.) High class of 2016 receiver Kelvin Harmon, class of 2017 Camden (N.J.) High cornerback/quarterback Elvis Hines (Temple offer), Malvern (Pa.) Prep quarterback Alex Hornibrook, Buena (N.J.) High linebacker Neal Nelson, Camden (N.J.) High safety Chris Pascall and Mullica Hill (N.J.) Clearview linebacker Sterling Sheffield.


The Philaldelphia-based Play Makers are also loaded with talent, and it is led by Fitzpatrick, Wimbush and four-star cornerback John Reid of Philadelphia St Joseph's Prep. The squad also features a pair of St. Joseph's running backs in Olamide Zaccheus and class of 2017 standout DeAndre Swift.

Philadelphia Imhotep tight end Naseir Upshur (2016) and receiver D.J. Moore, Coatesville (Pa) High tight end Amir Ealey and safety Jazzee Stocker, Bethlehem (Pa.) Catholic receiver Freddie Simmons and St. Peter's Prep linebacker Jordan Fox each hold offers.

Harrisburg-base Eastern PA Swag is led by Lower Dauphin quarterback Tommy Klock and class of 2016 quarterback Mike Shuster of Camp Hill (Pa.) High. Central Dauphin East defensive back Quintin Smith is another to watch in the group.


Perfect Performance, which features players from Maryland and Washington, D.C., has Gonzaga quarterback Nick Johns leading its "Red" team while class of2016 quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. of Potomac (Md.) The Bullis School will also play for the team. Rockville (Md.) Wootton receiver Trevon Diggs (2016) already has a handful of BCS offers.

MD Elite out of Maryland features one of the state's top receivers in the 2016 class in receiver Tino Ellis of Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha

Upper Marlboro (Md.) Wide tight end/defensive end Trevor Brown leads Baltimore-based Flex Yellow.


Rochester (N.Y.) has a pair of organizations heading south as receiver JoJo Gause, who is heading for a post-graduate season at New Berlin (N.Y.) Milford Academy, will play for the NLB Bats.

Meanwhile, the CTC1 team features Aquinas Institute class of 2016 linebacker Jamir Jones, the brother of Notre Dame's Jarron Jones. He holds an offer from Old Dominion and is on the radar of many others. Class of 2016 Henrietta (N.Y.) Rush's Todd LaRocca ,who is 6-2, 180 pounds, will play quarterback.

Long Island-based PST Elite is led by Bellmore (N.Y.) Mepham quarterback Tyler Davis (FCS offers) and Long Beach (N.Y) receiver/cornerback Chris Parler.


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