Who stood out in Miami Central-St. Thomas Aquinas showdown
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Friday Night’s meeting between St. Thomas Aquinas and Miami Central featured no fewer than 35 FBS-bound prospects, including many that have already made verbal commitments. The game ended with a 43-27 victory for Miami Central, but players on both sides made impressions. Below are news and notes on some of the game’s most notable prospects.
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... St Thomas Aquinas took a loss on Friday but still boasted the game’s most impressive player, as Ohio State commit Jordan Battle wowed on multiple occasions. Battle has added significant size over the last year and is looking the part of a college-ready defensive back. The four-star prospect has gotten both stronger and taller and retained every bit of the athleticism and speed that made him a highly regarded player in the first place. On Friday, Battle grabbed an interception and, maybe more impressively, ran down speedy Miami Central running back Lexington Joseph from behind to save a touchdown. It’s clear that the Ohio State-bound defensive back is in line for a bump in ranking.
... Both members of Miami Central’s running back duo flashed great potential, as 2019 prospect Lexington Joseph along with 2020 prospect Kejon Owens both have FBS futures. Joseph and Owens both found the end zone on Friday, showing vision and big-play potential in the process. Owens, a junior, is the faster back ajd holds offers fro, Syracuse, Knetucky, FIU and others. Meanwhile, Joseph holds offers from schools such as Marshall, East Carolina, Louisville and Pitt.
... Miami commit Henry Gray continues to back up his ranking. The class of 2020 standout showed versatility and speed on Friday, closing on wide receivers and causing the St. Thomas passing attack assorted trouble. Gray, a physical defensive back, shined at safety on both passing downs and against the run. His lofty ranking remains justified, as Miami may be getting a special player. Ohio State remains involved with Gray and is pressing to flip the four-star prospect, who has taken a shine to Urban Meyer’s program in recent months. Some expect the Buckeyes to flip his commitment.
... Marshall quarterback commit Maurice Underwood threw for 284 yards on Friday but also showed impressive running ability, as he iced the game with a touchdown on a zone read play and kept the Aquinas defensive off balance with his legs all evening. Underwood wasn’t perfect by any stretch, as some of his passes floated and he made a couple bad decisions but it’s clear he is progressing as a prospect. The Marshall-bound quarterback continues to improve, and it was impossible to argue with his results against St. Thomas.
... The game’s most pleasant surprise may have been Boston College offensive line commit Maurice Smith, who matched up with Rivals250 defensive end Devon Betty and got the best of the four-star prospect on most passing downs. Betty was more effective against the run, but Smith held his own on that front as well. The future Eagle could become a stalwart member of BC’s offensive line down the road if he continues to add muscle while retaining the quick feet that make him effective in pass protection.
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Class of 2021 defensive end Tyreak Sapp projects as a true national recruit, as the St. Thomas Aquinas sophomore boasts incredible size and a frame capable of adding even more muscle. The young defensive end was one his team’s most active defensive players on Friday, as he showed an ability to shed blocks and bring down ball carriers. Sapp is extremely advanced and developed for a prospect of his young age and will likely be a top-100 type talent when it’s time to rank the class of 2021. He already holds offers from LSU, Georgia and Miami.
... Kentucky offensive line commit Jake Pope is all of 6-foot-7 and boasts cartoonishly long arms that serve him well. The three-star offensive tackle is a bit raw when it comes to pass protection, but his frame and upside are unmistakable. He will be a prospect to watch in the future as he gets stronger and becomes more polished. Pope is certainly a bit of a project, but it’s clear that he’s one that could pay massive dividends for Kentucky.
... Miami linebacker pledge Anthony Solomon looked great on passing downs in Friday’s game, and managed to cover a much smaller wideout in the slot to bat away a 20-yard pass. The four-star linebacker is getting bigger but still needs to add significant size before he’s a well-rounded ACC linebacker.
... Four-star running back Daniel Carter lacks elite level speed, but is one of the more powerful and physical running backs in the country. People are divided when it comes to Carter’s ceiling as he’s been a bit hit-or-miss over the years, but he showed flashes of brilliance on Friday and once again proved difficult to bring down in the open field. If Carter can add quickness it will serve him well, as he has the vision and strength to be a hyper-effective back at the FBS level. Carter is interested in schools such as Pitt, Kansas State, Indiana and others.
... Four-star wide receiver Marcus Rosemy made an impressive touchdown catch on a ball that was thrown behind him and flashed impressive body control in the process. His night was relatively quiet otherwise. Miami is thought to lead for the class of 2020 wideout as things stand.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story noted that Wisconsin commit Semar Melvin was beaten down the sideline for a long reception. The defensive back in question was, instead, uncommitted defensive back Myles Bell. We regret the error.