football

Daytona Mainland overflowing with talent

Inside those areas of the country that are blessed with great talent, there are certain schools that always seem to have a buch of athletes, year in and year out.
Even so, there are few schools in any part of the country that can claim as many Division I prospects as Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland on average each year.
Avery Atkins (Florida), Brent Davis (South Carolina) and Jonathan Garner (Georgia Tech) were just some of the Mainland players that inked with major schools this past Signing Day.
The headliner of this year's Mainland crop is athlete Tony Wilson.
Maronto has already been told by coaches at Michigan, LSU, Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Florida State and Miami were on the way. Florida and Georgia have already put the offer in writing.
"I think right now he likes Georgia a lot," Mainland coach John Maronto said. "But it's still very early and I know that all of the Florida schools are going to be a major player. He is just trying to focus on the season among other things. He's going to be able to go anywhere he wants though."
Maronto spoke highly of his star player.
"Tony is a tremendously gifted athlete," Maronto said. "Going into the season he was our back-up quarterback. He played some wide receiver, some cornerback, some running back and returned kicks for us as well. The weird thing is that he is not a utility guy, he was legitimately the best player we had at every one of those positions. The thing is that we couldn't use him at more than one position at the time."
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Wilson runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds and runs the 100-yard in 10.5 seconds.
"He may be the fastest player I've ever seen," Maronto said. "He is also probably the best all around athlete I have coached. He's a guy that has the jets and he has tremendous size too. Avery (Atkins) was amazing, but Tony is faster than Avery and he is at least a solid two inches taller than Avery, if not more. He is just such a smooth athlete, it's all so natural for him."
The question is what position will Wilson play on the next level? On that issue it seems that Wilson and his coach are in agreement.
"I think he could be a tremendous safety or a great cover corner," Maronto said. "He can pretty much play wherever he wants on the field. I think his best position though is wide receiver. I think he has his heart set on playing wide receiver or running back though. Tony is just one of those players that wants the ball in his hands."
In front of every great offensive player there is a solid line opening up holes. You will find very few players on the high school level who can do that better than offensive tackle Cruz Barrett.
"A lot of schools come in and look at him and think they won't even have a shot," Maronto said. "They all come in and look at him and say there is no way the kid is going to get out of the state of Florida. I know that Miami and Florida State both had him in camps last summer and loved him. I think he will end up with offers from them sooner rather than later."
The 6-foot-6, 320-pound Barrett is also a tremendous student who carries a 3.0 GPA. Every year recruiters flock, therefore Barrett will be the apple of the eye of many college coaches this spring and fall.
"He is absolutely a huge kid and he has one of the biggest wing span's I've seen on anyone," Maronto said. "I mean this kid also plays basketball at his size, which is amazing to me. He is an offensive lineman with great feet and very good technique. He is a can't miss prospect and I can't imagine there being too many lineman out there that are better than he is. He's been through a lot in his home life and because of it is a very mature young man."
While Wilson and Barrett are the headliners on the Mainland squad, there are several other prospects who have already made a name for themselves. Their popularity is sure to increase among recruiters.
Fullback Kirby Watson put up some amazing stats, considering the talent that surrounded him and players that the ball was spread around to during the course of the season. The 5-foot-9, 210-pound Watson rushed for 981 yards and had 30 catches for 375 yards as a junior.
"He was our leading rusher as a junior," Maronto said. "He was also the second leading wide receiver on our team and as much as we spread the ball around that is amazing. He has been starting for us since he was a freshman. The kid is solid as a rock and strong as a bull. He is fast enough to play tailback if need be."
A prospect that not even Maronto knows much about is a new transfer student. One thing is certain: Maronto is glad that 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker Brandon Bryant is now on his team.
"When we played against him last year he had 10 tackles against us," Maronto said. "He's going to play inside linebacker for us. He has those natural, really good inside linebacker skills."
One of the anchors on the Mainland defensive line is defensive end C.J. Tabasky, the brother of Eddie Tabasky who signed with Dartmouth and was a member of the class of 2005. C.J. is a versatile 6-foot-3, 235-pound big man.
"C.J. is a very good athlete and has played a lot for us," Maronto said. "He has a lot of potential and is big enough to play defensive tackle, but fast enough to play defensive end. Central Florida and South Florida are both on him hard already and will probably offer him pretty early."
Tabasky, is not the only defensive end prospect for the Mainland squad though as Maronto thinks he may have one of the best sleepers in Florida in 6-foot-3, 220-pound defensive end DeAngilo Irvin.
"I think he is very underrated and I love his ability as a rush end," Irvin said. "He had a brother that played here a few years ago and is a three-year starter for us. I think some colleges are a little bit worried about his size, but when they see his speed off the end they will look at him differently I think."
Like Irvin, Maronto feels the same way about another player, who if he makes a transition to a new position could blow up once the season starts. Athlete Jackie Crankfield is a 6-foot-1, 240-pound versatile athlete.
"I told him if he got down to 225 that I would move him to linebacker," Maronto said. "He has been playing defensive tackle for us and was flat out dominate up there, but I think he will play linebacker in college. If he can lose that weight and make the transition then he is going to be big time player back there."
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