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FBU Freshman All-American Bowl top performers

Donovan Johnson FBU Freshman All-American Bowl
Donovan Johnson FBU Freshman All-American Bowl (Ryan Wright)

NAPLES, Fla. – Every year Football University does a great job of identifying the top talent rising up from the junior high ranks to the varsity level. The class of 2025 grouping Monday night in Naples was no different.

The FBU Freshman All-American Bowl lived up to the hype with standout players on both teams and on both sides of the ball giving a sneak peak at the “super sophomores” in fall 2022.

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CLASS OF 2022 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State | JUCO

CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

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Already an impact player off the edge, Keylan Abrams is ready to make some noise at the next level with Texas’ DeSoto High School. Abrams took home Defensive Freshman All-American Bowl Player of the Game honors after being a constant presence in team Adizero’s backfield all night.

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High school football fans in Indiana already know about receiver Gabriel Aramboles. Aramboles led his Westfield Shamrocks squad during the 2021 season in receptions (41), receiving yards (605), and tied for a team-high in receiving touchdowns (four). All those skills came through against his peer group taking home co-offensive MVP for the game.

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When people start using the word “different” in a positive way talking about football players, Donovan Johnson is one of those guys to be listed. Johnson already has a collegiate frame. His freshman season was completed at the varsity level with Calvary Day, rushing for 1,336 yards off 170 totes with 10 TDs. Showing he is a complete back, he also snagged 14 passes for 129 yards.

His work ethic throughout the week and game performance on Monday night earned him a ticket to the All-American Bowl.

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Winston Watkins stole the show with his commitment to Texas A&M before the game even began and then displayed why the Aggies laid down the offer early by hauling in passes and running jet sweeps. Watkins went into the game with five offers building his recruiting resume as an eighth grader with Fort Myers’ (Fla.) Evangelical Christian.

During the 2020 season, he rushed 30 times for 199 yards with one touchdown and caught a team-high 25 passes for 430 yards with two scores. If that wasn’t enough, he also played defense for the Sentinels and took back kicks against varsity competition.

His freshman season was spent with IMG Academy, sharpening his skills against some of the best 2022 and ’23 players in the country.

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What’s in the Indiana water? Ife Adeoba is another player destined for collegiate glory as part of the 2025 class. On the biggest stage, the best shine. On Monday night, Adeoba was ever-present batting down passes, pressuring the quarterback and making plays behind the line of scrimmage.

Already blessed with size and speed, watching him develop on the gridiron over the next few years will be exciting for Pike High School fans.

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Gavin Nix was another name repeatedly called on Monday. The Florida linebacker showed out with a sack for a safety, tackles for a loss, and broke up a pass.

Nix’s abilities earned him a spot on Orlando’s Highland Prep roster during the 2021 season. He earned his first offer from Miami on June 27 and took game-day visits to UCF and Florida.

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Brock Feinberg is yet another freshman that has already begun his high school career earning a starting spot as tight end/fullback for Mt. Pleasant’s (SC) Wando High School. Feinberg had two big receptions in the game. One was downfield showing how he stretch the defense and the other was a sliding reception displaying his athleticism and hands. Another one to watch in the coming years.

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Playing quarterback, there is no hiding in big games and both 3Stripe QBs came to play. Playing with Palmetto High School during the 2021 season, Zander Smith threw for 1,509 yards with 11 touchdowns. Smith already has a collegiate frame with recruiting interest to follow throwing for Alabama and Clemson over the summer and taking a game-day visit to Tuscaloosa this fall.

The pressure of the All-American Bowl did not show for Nikolay “Niko” Boyce when leading 3Stripe. Boyce got varsity action with Naples’ Barron Collier this fall, completing 14-of-19 passes for 126 yards backing up senior Dylan McNamara.

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There are great reasons that Alabama, Florida State, Miami and Oregon have offered Davi Belfort already … the kid can play. There’s an effortless motion to Belfort’s release with a Saturday arm driving the ball downfield. Belfort lit up Florida 3A teams this season throwing for 2,016 yards with 22 TDs while rushing for 230 yards off 38 totes, putting six more scores on the board.

A tall, big-armed quarterback in Texas, the Lone Star State produces them like it’s a state mandate and the latest offering is Roy Thomas Jenkins out of Beaumont. Jenkins spun the rock for Kelly Catholic, picking apart varsity defenses for 2,216 yards with 28 touchdown passes. The Houston Cougars were the first to offer Jenkins.