All-Star games are always fun to scout prospects at because when you get so many talented players on the same field together, the best ones are very easily noticed and if a kid can stand out on that field, he's clearly a potential difference maker at the next level. Here are some of the players who caught my eye:
The four who rotated were Troy Dannehower (starter) and D.C. Jefferson from the North and David Pasquale (starter) and Anthony Sheppard for the South. Of the four, Jefferson is clearly the most talented. He's huge at about 6-6 and probably close to 250. He has an absolute cannon for an arm and showed it off again last night. Being so tall, the ball comes out high and gets there in a hurry. He just needs to continue learning how to play the position. He's a good QB's coach in college away from becoming a very good college quarterback because he already has the physical tools you look for.
North -- Albert Gary, Santaun McGee, and Bubba Brown. South -- Aaron Winchester, Carlton Jones, Derek Phillips, and Brynn Harvey.
The best one of the bunch was clearly Bubba Brown and this is the second week in a row I watched him live after seeing him single-handedly keep Osceola in the 5A title game against St. Thomas. Unfortunately, Brown had his left ankle heavily taped and that prevented him from making even more plays. He scored one of the game's three touchdowns and just looks like a real good running back prospect. He's a hair under 5-9 but he runs as hard as anyone in the state, can catch balls out of the backfield, and is a legit 4.4 kid when he's fully healthy. He was still fun to watch last night and again showed why he's a major prospect.
North -- Leroy Houston, Antonio Bell, Carlton Lewis, Rashard Hall, Carmeiris Stewart, and Josh Gehres. South -- Darrius Preston, Martavious Odoms, Derek Winter, Anthony Norton, and Marquise Law.
Tay Odoms won the offensive MVP for the game with over 100 yards receiving. Again, on a field of all-stars from around the state, he took center stage. At just 5-foot-8, everyone tries finding ways to say he's not an elite prospect but he continues to display everything that says he is. He's very explosive and showed that by catching a short pass and out-running the entire North defense -- and making it look easy. He blocks as well or better than any receiver in this year's class. On one play, he pancaked (about 3 yards into the sideline) Georgia Tech commitment Rashaad Reid. Odoms is very strong, which makes it tough to bump him off the line. He wins most jump balls, despite his height. He's just a big time playmaker whose skills were again on display on Friday night.
St. Augustine's Rashard Hall, a week after putting on a show at the 3A state game in Orlando against Naples last week, looked good again. At 6-2, he has good size and speed and could play either WR or S at the college level. Marquise Law and Antonio Bell both caught some balls and showed why they're mid to major college prospects.
North -- Clayton Berry (T), Chris Dunning (G), Jacob Barrett (G), Byran Jones (G), Josh Garvin (G), John Karakaris (T), Matt Skinner (T), and Nick Kemper (C). South -- Freddy Moran (T), C.J. Wickersham (G), Jimbo Arnold (G), Greg Shaw (T), Kevin Bustillo (C), Ian Osking (G), and Rhonne Sanderson (T).
Byran Jones was the best lineman in this game and the only major Division 1 guy on either line. He's a real powerful kid and at 6-3 and 300, he has trimmed down since the spring. You can tell the difference when he gets to the 2nd level and goes downfield to block. When it's time to block for the running game, he has the ability to just maul opposing tackles. He still needs to work on his conditioning and his technique but when those two things come together for him, he looks like he could develop into a very good guard at the college level.
North -- Earl Okine, Calvin Shaw, Johnny Butts, Marty Everett, Chris Martin, and Gary Tinsley. South -- Corey Liuget, Kenneth White, Sean Ferguson, Donnel Engram, John Williams, and Moses McCray.
Two players -- one from each side -- were big time difference makers and could make an argument for being the two most dominant players on the entire field. Corey Liuget and Earl Okine were unblockable all night. Liuget, who after checking in around 230 at our combine back in March, is up near 300 and carries it well. Once his lower body fills out, he'll probably be a 320-pound kid. He's definitely a tackle prospect all the way, even though he played mostly end in this game. He played some tackle and some tight end but made a huge impact at end. He comes off the ball with tremendous explosiveness, has an array of pass-rushing moves (impressive considering his size), and he still runs very well. At 6-4, he'll be an ideal DT prospect -- one who will have the bulk to play the gaps and one who will be quick enough to be disruptive in the opposing backfield. He proved on Friday night that he's one of the top 5 overall prospects in the entire state. Okine was nearly as impressive. At 6-7 and 245, he's very long and rangy -- long arms, long strides, etc. He has an excellent first step that was giving the South's tackles, especially Greg Shaw, problems all night. He made several plays in the backfield and looks like a real difference maker at the defensive end position. He's a terrific athlete whose size and quickness make him one of the state's top defensive line prospects.
Chris Martin played well for the North as a tackle. At 6-4 or 6-5 and about 280, he was very active because of his size and athletic ability. He looked like a major college prospect out there. The most active player for the North may have been Tinsley, who made several plays behind the line of scrimmage. He's a tough, strong kid whose size will force him to move to linebacker, where he'll play at Minnesota.
North -- Ryan Baker, Ramon Buchanan, Evan Hunt, Ben VanderMey, and Patrick Lambert. South -- Marc Thomas, William orr, Jatavious Miller, and Deontae Tate.
Buchanan was the most impressive-looking linebacker on the field in this game. His build (6-1/185-ish) and incredible explosiveness and range make you think safety when watching him play but he's extremely active near the line and has the body to add a lot of weight. His cover skills are excellent. He's a kid you could ultimately put at one of several different positions -- all 3 linebacker spots, either safety spot, and even corner. His athleticism is off the charts and he showed it again on Friday. He also made some plays on special teams.
Baker looked impressive as well. He's not as long as Buchanan (6-0/210 type) and doesn't have that speed and athleticism, but he is very physical and active near the line of scrimmage. He's always around the ball and can really light you up when he hits you. Having played running back for the last four years helps him understand the position as well. LSU is getting a good one with Baker. Miller was very active for the South and runs really well. However, his lack of size (5-11/190) makes him look more like a safety prospect. He could probably make that transition, too, because he's such a good athlete.
North -- Donovan Masline, Hakeem Johnson, John Darwin, Mark Jones, C.J. Holton, and Rashaad Reid. South -- Emmanuel Sorrin, Jerral Stewart, Jermaine Williams, C.J. Odom, Leonard Johnson, and Travis Howard.
C.J. Holton was the most impressive one for the North. His size/speed combo is very impressive and he's physically ready to play at the next level right now. He covers the field very well, is an explosive hitter, and showed why he's widely considered the state's premier safety prospect. Jones, who is a MLB prospect in baseball, showed off his impressive skills at safety for the North as well.
Howard was the most impressive player in the secondary for the South. He was playing free safety and showed a lot of range, some good ball skills, and a general awareness for being around the ball. While he played safety in this game, he'll likely be a very good corner at the college level.
North -- Phillip Warner (K/P), Donovan Masline (Return), and Antonio Bell (return). South -- David Kittinger (K/P), Darrius Preston (return), and Tay Odoms (return).
Again, the most impressive player on this unit was Tay Odoms. He had some nice returns and runs extremely hard, despite his size, on kick returns. He can make people miss, he can run people over, he has the speed to break it every time he touches it. He just looks like a natural in whatever he does on the football field.
* In other news, Michael Brewster and Etienne Sabino were among the top prospects at the game who weren't playing. Brewster had his arm in a cast while Sabino looks like he's closer to 6-4 and 240 now. Both players were sporting Ohio State gear.
The North team won the game by the score of 22-7.