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Tampa Bay Top Talents

By PETE YOUNG

© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 29, 2001


SCHOOL: St. Petersburg Catholic

POSITION: Quarterback/kick returner

SIZE: 5-11, 175

PAST PERFORMANCES: As a junior in the regular season, Davis threw for 1,446 yards, completing 74 of 137 passes (54.0 percent) with 11 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He also was Pinellas County's second-leading rusher with 1,396 yards on 133 carries (10.5 average) and 16 touchdowns. He led the Barons to the second round of the playoffs and was chosen first-team All-Suncoast by the Times. Davis has sub-4.4 speed in the 40, great balance and the ability to make sharp cuts at full throttle, a la Michael Vick and Peter Warrick. Some colleges are recruiting him as a quarterback, others as a wide receiver. He was named one of the Top 25 players in the nation by USA Today, and SuperPrep placed him on its top 50 list. Davis captured the state title in the long jump last spring and has thrown down some impressive dunks for the basketball team. Coincidentally, another Chris Davis is a senior wide receiver at Gibbs. Both attended Madeira Beach Middle School, played youth football together and are friends.

ACADEMICS: 2.6 GPA (core classes), 860 SAT

OTHER SPORTS: Basketball, track

FAVORITE COLLEGES: More than 50 schools have offered scholarships, but Davis said he has no favorites yet. "I like the Florida schools, and I visited Boston College."

COACH'S COMMENT: "The best thing about Chris is how humble he is. He is just a humble, nice, friendly young man. He is a pleasure to coach, a total team player. He has God-given talent, and he makes the most of it." -- Dan Mancuso.

IN HIS OWN WORDS: "It feels good. I just try not to let it get to my head. I don't let it get to my head. I just concentrate on what I have to do." -- on the attention he has received from college coaches and recruiting services.

2. ELIJAH DUKES

SCHOOL: Hillsborough

POSITION: Linebacker, running back

SIZE: 6-3, 230

PAST PERFORMANCE: Dukes plays all sports. He throws a 95 mph fastball and has been described by major-league scouts as having "light tower power." Last season, he rushed 66times for 749yards (11.3 average) and scored 11 touchdowns (or once every six times he carried the ball). Dukes also proved last season he rushes the passer better than any other area linebacker.

ACADEMICS: 2.3 GPA, achieved required SAT score

OTHER SPORTS: Basketball, baseball, track

FAVORITE COLLEGES: Miami, Alabama, Georgia, Syracuse

COACH'S COMMENT: "Elijah can play more positions and do more things than any football player that I've ever coached. He could play every position on the field and could punt and do the placekicking if we needed him to. I'm not kidding. He has that much talent. I've had players with less talent end up playing in the NFL." -- Earl Garcia

IN HIS OWN WORDS: "My favorite play is the "F-trap,' which is a straight-ahead running play. I like to get the ball and run it right up the middle because that's where all the action is. But I also like playing linebacker because I love to hit people. I love to get that quarterback."

3. ROSHAWN MARSHALL

SCHOOL: Tarpon Springs

POSITION: Defensive back/wide receiver

SIZE: 5-11, 180

PAST PERFORMANCES: A threat to score every time he touches the ball, Marshall has been a Times all-county first-team pick each year he has played (he sat out his sophomore season after transferring from Clearwater). Last season for the district champion Spongers, he scored eight touchdowns -- four on receptions, two on kickoff returns (of 97 and 92 yards), one on an interception return and one on a fumble return. As a receiver, he caught just 11 passes but averaged 29.5 yards per reception. He had two interception returns for touchdowns in last week's preseason jamboree.

ACADEMICS: 2.4 GPA

OTHER SPORTS: Basketball, track

FAVORITE COLLEGES: Michigan State, Miami, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Syracuse

COACH'S COMMENT: "I tell you what. I wouldn't kick to him. I've been fortunate to have some awful good athletes up here. But there's something, just when that football is in that kid's hands, a lot of good things happen. There's a lot of God-given talent, and a lot of positive things happen." -- Don Davis.

IN HIS OWN WORDS: "Every time I get my hands on it, I'm trying to cross the goal line. It's not really an attitude. I just feel if I touch it, I can take it to the house. You've got to have that confidence. It's my senior year. I've been waiting for this since I played youth football. I'm trying to go out right. We were district champs last year, and we want to go further this year. We're going to be pretty good once we get over the hump."

4. D'QWELL JACKSON

SCHOOL: Seminole

POSITION: Linebacker/running back

SIZE: 6-1, 205

PAST PERFORMANCE: Tough and quick, Jackson has served double-duty the past two seasons, playing quarterback and linebacker. He shines more on defense and is a sure tackler. Last season, Jackson helped Seminole go undefeated in the regular season and advance to the Class 4A region final. He was first-team all-state and recorded 150 tackles in 12 games. The next-best total on the team was 97. He also had 16 tackles for losses, 4 forced fumbles and 4 fumble recoveries.

ACADEMICS: 3.5 GPA

FAVORITE COLLEGES: He said he doesn't have a favorite, but several schools, including Oklahoma, Florida, Tennessee and Nebraska, have shown a lot of interest.

COACH'S COMMENT: "When it's all said and done, D'Qwell will probably be the the most heavily recruited player to come out of Seminole since I've been here. He's an All-American player. But he's not for individual stats or glory. He cares more about the team." -- Sam Roper.

IN HIS OWN WORDS: "It's different this season. We're not used to being the top dog in (Pinellas) county, but we're working hard. For me, wherever you put me, I'll play my hardest. It doesn't matter. Put me on the punt team. I just feel like I can always contribute in some way, and I like being on the field."

5. KWANE DOSTER

SCHOOL: Robinson

POSITION: Running back/linebacker

SIZE: 5-9, 175

PAST PERFORMANCE: Doster enters the season with 3,318 career yards and 34 touchdowns. He needs 1,802 yards to become Hillsborough County's all-time leading rusher despite tearing his medial collateral ligament in Week 3 last year and gaining only 476 yards on 68 carries.

ACADEMICS: 2.98 GPA, 22 on the ACT

OTHER SPORTS: Baseball

FAVORITE COLLEGES: Florida State, Miami, Florida, Michigan

COACH'S COMMENT: "He'll show me something new every couple of weeks. Great football players will do that." -- Bud Hodgens

IN HIS OWN WORDS: "I'm just focusing on staying healthy throughout the season and see where it goes from there. If I do that and work hard on every play, it will take me to college to play. The (rushing record) comes to my mind every now and then, but that's not for me to worry about. I wouldn't be the top running back in Hillsborough County if I didn't get the blocks, so all of that honor will go to my offensive line. Right now, I'm not thinking about that."

6. CLAYTON TRENARY

SCHOOL: Crystal River

POSITION: Quarterback/safety

SIZE: 6-1, 188

PAST PERFORMANCE: Trenary is 22-5 as the starting quarterback at Crystal River but has drawn the most interest from recruiters as a safety. A Times All-Suncoast selection in 2000, Trenary was second on the team with 95 tackles. He has improved his speed dramatically in the past year and has been hand-timed by Crystal River coaches at 4.3 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

ACADEMICS: 3.5 GPA, 18.5 ACT

OTHER SPORTS: Baseball

FAVORITE COLLEGES: Has yet to narrow his choices but would like to stay in the Southeast.

COACH'S COMMENT: "With secondary players, a lot of time people think, "Oh, he just plays the pass.' But Clayton's not like that. We can play the defense a little differently with a safety who fills versus one who just covers." -- Jere DeFoor

IN HIS OWN WORDS: "I just like making big plays. A big play on defense, a big play on offense, a good scramble. it's all about the same to me. If me and the other leaders are making big plays, it helps everybody else play to their potential."

7. CHRIS HUTCHINS

SCHOOL: King

POSITION: Offensive lineman

SIZE: 6-6, 355 pounds

PAST PERFORMANCE: When King needs yards, particularly in a tight spot, Hutchins has been the money man. King's rushing totals are a testament to Hutchins' blocking. As a freshman, Hutchins helped King running back Fred Reid lead Hillsborough County in rushing. Last season, two King running backs rushed for more than 1,000 yards.

ACADEMICS: 4.86 GPA and a part of King's International Baccalaureate program.

FAVORITE COLLEGES: South Florida, Clemson

COACH'S COMMENT: "We had 52 scouts come out to our spring practices, and they were all there to see Chris. So that should tell you something. The thing that makes him extra special is that he's not only a great player, but he's also a great kid. He's a leader, and the kids respect him." -- Joe Severino

IN HIS OWN WORDS: "My favorite play is the counter because I can catch the defensive tackle off guard and knock him on the ground. And then I can go get some linebackers. One time, I knocked down five guys when we ran that play."

8. MIKE WILLIAMS

SCHOOL: Plant

POSITION: Wide receiver, strong safety

SIZE: 6-5, 210

PAST PERFORMANCE: A powerful force with quick feet, Williams caught 19 passes last regular season for 497 yards (26.2 average per catch) and nine touchdowns. He likes to go up in traffic and pull down passes. He also is one of the best basketball players in the area.

ACADEMICS: 2.5, 970 SAT

OTHER SPORTS: Basketball, baseball

FAVORITE COLLEGES: Florida, Florida State, Virginia, Clemson, University of Southern California

COACH'S COMMENT: "Mike's desire to be a competitor is as high as his talent, which is immense. The thing that separates him, though, is his competitive nature. He wants to be in there every single play, 100 percent, all the time." -- Darlee Nelson

IN HIS OWN WORDS: "I like the deep ball. I like to take off and then go up over smaller defenders and grab it. I also like playing safety because I can hit some people and maybe cause some turnovers. Our defense is all about turnovers."

9. JASON TEAGUE

SCHOOL: Osceola

SIZE: 5-9, 175

POSITION: Running back/linebacker

PAST PERFORMANCE: A gutsy, hard-nosed runner, Teague was the third-leading rusher in Pinellas County last season with 1,343 yards. He has gained more than 1,000 yards in each of the past three seasons. Although Osceola coach George Palmer would like to use him less on defense, Teague will start at linebacker and is one of the better defenders on the team.

ACADEMICS: 2.5 GPA

FAVORITE COLLEGES: Florida State, Miami, Michigan

COACH'S COMMENT: "We went 4-6 last season, and Jason was instrumental in each win. He's that good. He doesn't have blazing speed, but he is a tough runner; kind of like an Emmitt Smith." -- George Palmer

IN HIS OWN WORDS: "I just always try to run hard. If you do that, I don't think you can go wrong. I like playing running back, but defense is fun, too. It's hard playing both ways in a game, but I do all right most of the time."

10. AVIOUS STEADMAN

SCHOOL: Riverview

POSITION: Running back/outside linebacker

SIZE: 5-11, 185

PAST PERFORMANCE: A punishing runner who would rather blast through a tackler than run around one, Steadman rushed for 1,632 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, helping Riverview to its first playoff berth in its three-year history. He picked up nearly 100 yards in less than three quarters before a broken clavicle forced him to leave Riverview's 37-0 first-round playoff win against Tampa Bay Tech. He needs less than 1,600 yards to reach the county record of 5,120 set by Gaither's Lydell Ross.

ACADEMICS: 2.0 GPA

FAVORITE COLLEGES: Miami, West Virginia, Virginia

COACH'S COMMENT: "Avious, for the first time, consistently has run 4.5 (seconds in the 40-yard dash) for us. He's much faster. You can just see it. He just has one more gear to step out there. He's always been hovering around the 4.5 area, low 4.6s. But he's consistently in the 4.5s now when he runs with us." -- Alex Albert

IN HIS OWN WORDS: "I'm aware of (the county rushing record), but really, I don't put too much thought into it. I just want to have a good season. Hopefully, we'll go back to the playoffs and, hopefully, go a little further than last year. But as far as rushing yardage, I really haven't put much thought into it."

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