football Edit

Power Positions: No stopping Florida trio

Greg Bryant and Marcus Davis were beginning grade school when they first teamed
up in the backfield.
A decade later, Davis is still handing the ball off to Bryant as part of
arguably the most star-studded offensive backfield in all of high school
Delray Beach (Fla.) American Heritage won a Class 3A state title and finished
74th in the RivalsHigh 100 national rankings last year with a backfield that
featured Davis at quarterback, Bryant at tailback and Tyler Provo at fullback.
Since then, Bryant has committed to Oklahoma, Provo has committed to Syracuse
and Davis has received offers from several major-conference programs.
Before heading to college, they'll try to cap their high school careers by
helping American Heritage win its fourth state title in six years.
Position: Running Back
Height/Weight: 5-foot-11
/ 197
Rating: Four stars (No.
4 RB)
College: Oklahoma
Notable: Bryant rushed for 2,180 yards and 25 touchdowns on
224 carries last fall to help American Heritage win a Class 3A state title.
He carried the ball 39 times for 243 yards and three touchdowns in a 30-3
state championship victory over Madison County.
Quotable: "He's just an excellent back with great vision,
quick feet (and) good overall speed. He's not a burner, but he's got good
top-end speed. He's a guy who runs as hard in the fourth quarter as he does
in the first quarter. He wins ballgames for you because he wears down the
other team. He may only get four yards and a cloud of dust for the first 10
or 15 carries, but eventually he's going to break that big one that breaks
your back and puts points on the board."
- Rivals.com Florida Recruiting
Analyst Chris Nee
Height/Weight: 5-foot-11
/ 170
Rating: Three stars (No. 56 ATH)
College: Undecided
Notable: Although he quarterbacked American Heritage to a
state title last fall, Davis is expected to play wide receiver or defensive
back in college. He has received offers from Boise State, Boston College,
Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Duke, Florida Atlantic, Florida International,
Georgia State, Illinois, Marshall, Memphis, Mississippi State, Temple,
Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, West Virginia and Western Kentucky.
Quotable: "I think he's probably a better defensive
back, but he can play on either side of the ball. He's a really good
athlete. He's a quick kid with nice length to him. He's not the tallest, but
he's got nice long arms and good hands. He's a guy who can get down the
field, whether it's flipping his hips and running with a receiver or forcing
a DB to flip his hips and run with him. He's a guy who can do a lot of
different things in a lot of different ways. The reason I think he could be
such a good DB is because he does have those quick feet and quick hips. He's
going to have to make a transition and figure out the position that's right
for him wherever he ends up going to school. But he has so much athletic
ability, I think it will be a relatively easy transition for him."
- Rivals.com Florida Recruiting
Analyst Chris Nee
Fullback/Tight End
/ 235
Rating: Three stars (No. 2 FB)
College: Syracuse
Notable: Provo alternates between fullback, tight end and
H-back for American Heritage, but he expects to play tight end at Syracuse.
He's the younger brother of Nick Provo, a first-team all-Big East tight end
for Syracuse last fall.
Quotable: "Some people want to call him a tight end,
but he's not really built like a tight end. He's built more like a fullback.
He's a guy who can go down the field and do something in the passing game
and be a candidate to receive the ball out of the backfield, but what he
does for American Heritage that makes him so important for them, and why I
think Syracuse values him so high, is that he's a devastating blocker."
- Rivals.com Florida Recruiting
Analyst Chris Nee
"It's really hard to stop us," Davis said.
Last year, nobody did.
American Heritage's only loss in 2011 was an early-season 41-34 overtime
showdown with Class 5A power Belle Glade Glades Central, which finished 52nd in
the RivalsHigh national rankings. Bryant rushed for 202 yards.
Bryant went on to run for 2,180 yards and 35 touchdowns last season while
leading American Heritage to a state title. He carried the ball 39 times for 243
yards and three touchdowns in a 30-3 state championship victory over Madison
"I just remember after the game, how good it felt," Bryant said. "I don't
remember the plays, but I knew how good it felt.''
That dominant individual effort from Bryant didn't surprise Davis.
He's been seeing those kinds of performances from the time they started playing
Davis said he was six or seven years old when he started playing alongside
Bryant on a Pee Wee football team coached by Bryant's father, who now works as a
defensive line coach at American Heritage. Even then, Davis was at quarterback
and Bryant at running back.
They continued playing together for much of their childhood, and that background
helped them develop a winning formula in high school.
"We just have a vibe on the field," Bryant said.
They reunited as high school sophomores when Davis transferred from Boynton
Beach (Fla.) High to join Bryant, who already had played on a state championship
team his freshman year at American Heritage.
Big name
American Heritage runs an offense that makes the most of Bryant's talents, as
evidenced by his 39 carries in the state championship. Rated as the No. 4
running back and the No. 28 overall player in the 2013 class, Bryant committed
to Oklahoma after receiving offers from Alabama, Florida, Florida State,
Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, USC and Penn State.
"He's just a very explosive, powerful, strong and fast kid," American Heritage
coach Doug Socha said. "He's a freak of nature. I've seen him drag defenders
three or four yards. I've seen him make people miss. And I've seen him outrun
people. He's got the combination of everything -- speed, strength, size, power."
Bryant's the only guy in this backfield working at the same position he'll play
in college.
Secret weapon
Provo is a jack-of-all-trades who lines up at fullback, H-back and tight end for
American Heritage, but he estimates that he's in the backfield for about 75
percent of his team's snaps. He's looking forward to playing tight end for
Syracuse in 2013.
He's hoping Syracuse uses him the same way it utilized his older brother,
Nick Provo, who earned first-team all-Big East honors and caught 51 passes for 537
yards and seven touchdowns last season.
"He was a great weapon at Syracuse," Provo said. "That's kind of what I want to
be. I don't want to play straight fullback in college."
Provo hasn't been able to get the ball in his hands nearly that often at
American Heritage. Socha said Provo had about 12 catches and four carries last
year, though the Stallions will attempt to get the ball in his hands more often
this fall. When Provo lines up in the backfield, he generally serves as a
blocking back for Bryant.
But that hasn't stopped him from catching the attention of recruits.
Provo is a three-star prospect rated by Rivals.com as the No. 2 fullback in the
2013 class, even though he plans to play tight end at Syracuse. He has received
offers from Boston College, Louisville, UCF and Florida International as well as
Switching spots
As we head into the summer, we've decided to look ahead to the 2012 fall
football season by rating which high schools have the best prospects at each
position unit. Here is the series schedule:
Wednesday: Offensive Backfields (QB/RB)
Thursday: Pass-Catch Duo (QB to Ind. WR)
Friday: Receiving Corps (Entire Group)
Saturday: Offensive Line
Sunday: Defensive Line
Monday: Linebackers
Tuesday: Secondary
Davis also will be witching positions in college, though he isn't sure whether
he will be playing offense and defense. Davis has played quarterback most of his
life because his coaches wanted to utilize his athleticism at that spot, but
most colleges believe he's best suited elsewhere at the next level.
They just can't agree exactly where he fits best. Some schools are recruiting
this three-star all-purpose athlete as a wide receiver. Others like him as a
defensive back.
"It's like 50-50 right now," Davis said.
Davis' offer list includes Boise State, Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke,
Illinois, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and West Virginia among
He still has plenty of time to decide what position he wants to play in college.
Until then, he's intent on helping American Heritage try to win one more state
title. Davis should have an expanded role in American Heritage's rushing attack
his fall.
"Marcus Davis rushed for 271 yards (last year), and in the past we've had
quarterbacks rush for well over 1,000," Socha said. "Part of that was he was a
little dinged up and (we) didn't want to run him as much. He's ready to go now.
We want to get it back to where we have a dual-threat quarterback with 1,000
(rushing yards) and 1,000 (passing yards).''
Even with such a star-studded backfield, American Heritage faces a tough
challenge this fall. The Stallions have a demanding schedule that includes at
least three games with teams that finished last season in the RivalsHigh
national rankings: No. 3 Seffner Armwood, No. 52 Glades Central and No. 83 West
Monroe (La.). American Heritage also is attempting to work out a game with No.
62 Palm Beach Gardens William T. Dwyer. Other opponents include Cocoa (a Class
4A state semifinalist last year) and Class 7A program Delray Beach Atlantic.
Replacing recruits
American Heritage also must replace five FBS recruits from last year's team:
offensive tackle Arthur Crouse (Florida Atlantic), tight end Blake Davis (UCF),
running back Jeremy Gaskins (Florida Atlantic), offensive tackle Kelly Parfitt
(UCF) and wide receiver Cameron Posey (Purdue). American Heritage does return
three-star offensive tackle Roderick Johnson, who has verbally committed to
"We've got some younger guys in there, and they know the role they've got to
fill," Socha said. "They're working really hard in the weight room. It's going
to be tough -- very tough."
All those graduation losses could prevent the Stallions from dominating
opponents at the line of scrimmage quite as thoroughly as they did last season,
and that will put more pressure on American Heritage to make the most of its
star power in the backfield.
Runners-up (in alphabetical order)
Bradenton (Fla.) Manatee: QB Cord Sandberg (four-star prospect, 5.8 rating, No.
10 dual-threat quarterback), RB Anthony Lauro (three-star prospect, 5.5 rating)
Cape Coral (Fla.) Island Coast: QB Kurt Benkert (three-star prospect, 5.5
rating), RB T.J. Johnson (three-star prospect, 5.6 rating, No. 14 all-purpose
Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas: QB John O'Korn (three-star prospect,
5.6 rating), RB Fred Coppet (three-star prospect, 5.6 rating), RB Mardre London
(2014 prospect in Rivals.com database, though he doesn't have any reported
offers), RB Marquis Magwood (2013 prospect in database, though he doesn't have
any reported offers)
Kingsland (Ga.) Camden County: QB Brice Ramsey (four-star prospect, 5.8 rating,
No. 9 pro-style quarterback, No. 163 overall recruit, committed to Georgia), ATH
J.J. Green (high school running back who could play either offense or defense in
college, three-star prospect, 5.6 rating, committed to Georgia), RB Commie Spead
(listed in Rivals.com database, though he doesn't have a rating or any reported
Marietta (Ga.) Walton: QB Parker McLeod (three-star prospect, 5.6 rating, No. 29
pro-style quarterback), RB Tyren Jones (four-star prospect, 5.8 rating, No. 1
all-purpose back, No. 146 overall recruit, has made a soft verbal commitment to
Alabama), QB Price Wilson (2014 prospect with an offer from FCS program Eastern
Memphis (Tenn.) Whitehaven: QB Patrick Smith (two-star prospect, 5.4 rating), RB
Mark Dodson Jr. (four-star prospect, 5.8 rating, No. 4 all-purpose back, No. 218
overall recruit, committed to Ole Miss)
Orlando (Fla.) Boone: QB Alton Meeks (three-star prospect, 5.5 rating, has made
a soft verbal commitment to Cincinnati), RB A.J. Turman (four-star prospect, 5.8
rating, No. 18 running back, No. 206 overall recruit)
Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame: QB Kelly Hilinski (three-star prospect, 5.5
rating), RB Khalfani Muhammad (four-star prospect, 5.8 rating, No. 14 running
back, No. 180 overall recruit)
Statesville (N.C.): QB Carlis Parker (three-star prospect, 5.7 rating, No. 17
dual-threat quarterback, committed to Virginia Tech), RB Tristan Mumford
(three-star prospect, 5.5 rating, No. 5 fullback, committed to East Carolina)
Stockton (Calif.) Lincoln: QB Zack Greenlee (three-star prospect, 5.6 rating),
Justin Davis (four-star prospect, 6.0 rating, No. 5 running back, No. 41 overall
recruit, committed to USC), RB James Davis (listed in Rivals.com database,
though he doesn't have a rating or any reported offers)
Steve Megargee is the national college columnist for Rivals.com. He can be reached at smegargee@rivals.com, and you can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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