Talent shines at Football Festivals

Some of the state's best players show up for Fort Lauderdale and Tampa events

Updated: March 25, 2009, 5:28 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Athletes came from Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, New Jersey, Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, and Florida to compete in the Tampa DeBartolo Football Festival at the University of South Florida.

The Tampa festivities kicked off with the underclassmen showcase on Friday night, which featured coaches conducting one-on-one drills as well as various competitions, like Idaho vs. Florida, Texas vs. Georgia, QBs and WRs vs. DBs, TEs vs. LBs, RBs vs. safeties. The linemen stole the show during this showcase, led by sophomores Tyler Moore (Countryside HS, Fla.), Thor Jozwiak (Lake Region HS, Fla.), Tyler Pierson (Countryside HS, Fla.), Anthony Chickillo (Gaither HS, Fla.), Zebulon Davis (The Villages HS, Fla.), and Matthew Britzius (Orlando Lutheran HS, Fla.). They all featured strength and sound technique.

Even though the big men may have been the most impressive collective group of talent, there were some outstanding additional position groups. Freshman QB Tanner Redish (Glades Day HS, Fla.), delivered the ball with accuracy and pose. Jake Farley (Cedar Falls HS, Iowa) looks like he could be one of the top QBs in the Midwest. Sophomore Davonte Allen (Glades Day HS, Fla.), Marquis Sumler (Pensacola Catholic HS, Fla.), Drake Williams (Wharton HS, Fla.), and Trevarris Saulsberry (P. K.Yonge Developmental HS, Fla.) were wide receivers who stood out.

Defensive backs and linebackers who made it difficult for offensive players were Andreus Dubose (Pensacola Catholic HS, Fla.), Brian Poole (Southeast HS, Fla.), Herb Winfield (Ribault HS, Fla.), Shadow Williams (Land O' Lakes HS, Fla.) and Justin Reynolds (Lake Region HS, Fla.). But the star of the event could have been freshman DB Roman Thompson (Freedom HS, Fla.), who shut down wide receivers throughout the evening with physical bumps off the line of scrimmage and sound coverage skills.

Another event, the skills challenge, provided a fun and competitive atmosphere featuring obstacle courses, accuracy and route running challenges, and position specific skills challenges.

QB Accuracy Challenge
1. Chandler Whitmer (Downers Grove South HS, Ill.)
2. Dylan Parker (Treasure Coast HS, Fla.)
3. Tanner Redish (Glades Day HS, Fla.)
3. Sean McCarthy (Manatee HS, Fla.)

Youth QB Accuracy Challenge
1. Jonathan Lindstrom (Discovery Intermediate, Fla.)
2. Andrew Dailidonis (Creekside Middle School, Fla.)
3. Jake Hood (Countryside, Fla.)

QB Obstacle Course
1. Louis Pappas (Tarpon Springs HS, Fla.)
2. Jake Farley (Cedar Falls HS, Iowa)
3. Tanner Redish (Glades Day HS, Fla.)

Youth QB Obstacle Course
1. Gregory Hankerson (Dundee Ridge Middle School, Fla.)
2. Andrew Dailidonis (Creekside Middle School, Fla.)
3. Kevin Toliver (Oakleaf Middle School, Fla.)

QB Long Ball Toss
1.Chandler Whitmer (Downers Grove South HS, Ill.)
2. Jake Farley (Cedar Falls HS, Iowa)
3. Rafael Echemendia (Lake Region HS, Fla.)
3. Michael Stojkovic (Katy HS, Texas)
3. Nick Bracewell (Lafayette HS, Fla.)

Youth Long Ball Toss
1. Gregory Hankerson (Dundee Ridge Middle School, Fla.)
2. Jake Hood (Countryside, Fla.)
3. Drake Haff (Winter Haven, Fla.)

WR Route Running Challenge No. 1
1. Joey Farace (Central HS, Fla.)
2. Gerald Footman (Port St. Lucie HS, Fla.)
2. Andrew Wilkinson (Lake Region HS, Fla.)
3. Davonte Allen (Glades Day HS, Fla.)

WR Route Running Challenge No. 2
1. Joey Farace (Central HS, Fla.)
1. Alton Taylor (Countryside HS, Fla.)
2. Leon Cummings (Oak Hall HS, Fla.)
3. Zaire Gordon (Lake Region HS, Fla.)
3. Elliott Childers (Jacksonville Trinity Christian HS, Fla.)

WR Route Running Challenge No. 3
1. Alton Taylor (Countryside HS, Fla.)
2. Joey Farace (Central HS, Fla.)
3. Elliott Childers (Jacksonville Trinity Christian HS, Fla.)

WR Obstacle Course
1. Elliott Childers (Jacksonville Trinity Christian HS, Fla.)
2. Luke Paige (Sarasota HS, Fla.)
3. Joey Farace (Central HS, Fla.)

WR Quick Foot Challenge
1. Michael Kalaman (Trinity Prep HS, Fla.)
2. Joey Farace (Central HS, Fla.)
2. Elliott Childers (Jacksonville Trinity Christian HS, Fla.)
3. Davonte Allen (Glades Day HS, Fla.)

WR Best Hands Challenge
1. Elliott Childers (Jacksonville Trinity Christian HS, Fla.)
1. Andrew Wilkinson (Lake Region HS, Fla.)
1. Leon Cummings (Oak Hall HS, Fla.)
1. Charles Davis (Tampa Bay Tech HS, Fla.)
1. Tavaris Carr (Lake Region HS, Fla.)
1. Kristopher Riley (Orange Park HS, Fla.)

Top Youth Wide Receivers
Darian Dickson – 7th Grader (Discovery Middle School)
Adam Owens – 8th Grader (Campbell Middle School)
Chris Jones – 7th Grader (Creekside)
Dalton Nichols – 8th Grader (East Bay Bucs County Team)
Luke Clark – Youth (Manatee Elementary)
Nick LaRosa – 4th Grader (Hammond Elementary & Carrollwood Hurricanes)

Lineman Mirror Challenge No. 1
1. DL Matthew Britzius (Orlando Lutheran HS, Fla.)
2. DL Matthew Wells (Lake Region HS, Fla.)
3. DE Rory Hebert (Plant HS, Fla.)

Lineman Mirror Challenge No. 2
1. DL Matthew Wells (Lake Region HS, Fla.)
2. DE Rory Hebert (Plant HS, Fla.)
3. OT Thor Jozwiak (Lake Region HS, Fla.)

Lineman Wave Challenge
1. DL Ryan Moore (Boone HS, Fla.)
2. OT Thor Jozwiak (Lake Region HS, Fla.)
3. DL Matthew Britzius (Orlando Lutheran HS, Fla.)

Lineman Medicine Ball Long Toss
1. OL Morgan Hendrix (Wiregrass Ranch HS, Fla.)
2. DL Ryan Moore (Boone HS, Fla.)
3. OT Thor Jozwiak (Lake Region HS, Fla.)
3. OL JT Anderson (Lake Region HS, Fla.)

Lineman Hoop Run
1. DE Rory Hebert (Plant HS, Fla.)
2. OT Thor Jozwiak (Lake Region HS, Fla.)
3. DL Matthew Britzius (Orlando Lutheran HS, Fla.)

Lineman Obstacle Course
1. DE Rory Hebert (Plant HS, Fla.)
2. DL Matthew Wells (Lake Region HS, Fla.)
3. DL Randell Short (Boone HS, Fla.)

Top Youth Lineman
1. Brian Vaughn, 7th Grader, DL, (Creekside Middle School)
2. Peyton Noland, 6th Grader, OL, (Northwest Elementary & Carrollwood Hurricanes)
3. Nicholas Villano, 6th Grader, OL, (Polo Park Middle School)

Saturday offered more personal instruction with the coaches.

Quarterbacks
A quarterback who stood out physically and mechanically was junior Jake Farley from Cedar Falls HS (Iowa). The coaches also liked Nick Bracewell from Lafayette HS (Fla.), who not only impressed the coaching staff with his 6-foot-3, 215 pound frame, but also his ability to make all of the throws in the pocket and/or on the run. Other quarterbacks that stepped forward are rising seniors Michael Stojkovic (Katy HS, Texas) and Charlie Diskin (Toms River East HS, New Jersey). Stojkovic possesses a very strong arm and is consistently accurate with all of his throws. Diskin showed tremendous upside and ability.

Other standouts include: • Junior Cameron Meredith (St. Josephs HS, Ill.)
• Junior Sean McCarthy (Manatee HS, Fla.)
• Junior Robbie Matey (Dr. Phillips HS, Fla.)
• Sophomore Buddy Putnam (Bartow HS, Fla.)
• Freshman Tanner Redish (Glades Day HS, Fla.)
• Freshman Jared Armstrong (Oak Hall HS, Fla.)
• 8th Grader Drake Haff (Winter Haven, Fla.)
• 7th Grader Kevin Toliver (Orange Park, Fla.)
• 6th Grader – Dwayne Haskins (Edison, NJ)

Honorable mention: Ryan Parrish (Lakeland Christian HS), Matthew Michaels (River Ridge HS), John Williams (Tampa Bay Tech HS), JJ Wartski (Trinity Prep), Joe Vance (Milton HS), Stephen Straley (Stanton College Prep), Drew Straitt (Baldwin HS), AJ Rotella (Venice HS), Matt Floyd (Milton HS), Ryan Hatter (Wharton HS), Louis Pappas (Tarpon Springs), Ryan McGriff (Gainesville HS), and Garrett McWilliams (Umatilla HS).

Wide Receivers
Davonte Allen, a sophomore from Glades Day HS (Fla.), was the smoothest and most natural wide receiver on the field. He showed the most potential and upside and snagged every ball out of the air with his hands. Slot WR Joey Farace from Central HS (Fla.) made quite a name for himself throughout the weekend. The junior wideout dominated the skills challenge and played at game speed throughout the entire weekend. The most notable tight ends were 6-5 Trevarris Saulsberry (P K Yonge Developmental HS) and 6-4 Drake Williams (Wharton HS). Both these big men showcased their route running, separation skills, and big play capabilities.

Other standouts: • Junior Zaire Gordon (Lake Region HS, Fla.)
• Junior Terrell Foy (Winter Haven HS, Fla.)
• Junior Alton Taylor (Countryside HS, Fla.)
• Junior Joseph Wyatt Brown (Citrus HS, Fla.)
• Sophomore Elliott Childers (Jacksonville Trinity Christian HS, Fla.)
• Freshman Damarcus Faison (Cambridge Christian HS, Fla.)
• Freshman Mike Kalaman (Trinity Prep, Fla.)
• 7th Grader Darian Dickson (Discovery Middle School)

Honorable mention: Taylor Sumagpang (Edgewater HS), Tavaris Carr (Lake Region HS, Fla.), Charles Davis (Tampa Bay Tech HS), Kristopher Riley (Orange Park HS), Savva Damalos (Tarpon Springs HS), Cameron Alarcon (Venice HS), Dante Evans (Tampa Bay Tech HS), Chris Jones (Creekside Middle School), Marvin Ford (Dr Phillips HS), Greg Slones (Dr Phillips HS), Antwan Stepherson (Dr Phillips HS), Andrew Wilkinson (Lake Region HS), Nathan Aultman (Arnold HS), Bobby Shannon (North Marion HS), Joey Lombardi (Countryside HS), Dalton Nichols (East Bay Bucs), and Trevor Overstreet (Winter Haven).

Linemen
Senior OL Ben Lawhorn from American Heritage HS (Fla.) is a diamond in the rough. His ability to play center and guard is a big plus and his overall technique, footwork, ability to pull, coachability and tenacious aggressiveness will give him plenty of opportunities.

Junior offensive lineman Morgan Hendrix (Wiregrass Ranch HS, Fla.) showed tremendous power, footwork, and the ability to finish blocks. He played until the end of every rep. Sophomores were represented very strongly at this academy. Leading the class of 2011 is OT Thor Jozwiak at Lake Region HS in Winter Haven (Fla.). He possesses a solid core with long arms, and impressive athleticism. During competitive 1-on-1 drills is his sound technique and overall nastiness were on display. The efforts of junior pass rushing defensive end Rory Hebert (Plant HS, Fla.) cannot go unnoticed. Although undersized, Hebert used sound technique, leverage and explosive speed off the line to impress the coaching staff.

Other standouts:
• Junior OL William Munker (Royal Palm Beach HS, Fla.)
• Junior DL Clay Paino (Tarpon Springs HS, Fla.)
• Junior DL Joanes Fequiere (Lake Region HS, Fla.)
• Junior OL Kevin Donovan (Tarpon Springs HS, Fla.)
• Junior DL Randell Short (Boone HS, Fla.)
• Sophomore OL Zebulon Davis (The Villages HS, Fla.)
• Sophomore OT Tyler Moore (Countryside HS, Fla.)
• Freshman OL Blake Fromang (Lake Highland Prep, Fla.)
• Freshman OL Tyler Burton (Cambridge Christian HS, Fla.)
• 7th Grader OL Brian Vaughn (Creekside Middle School, Fla.)
• 6th Grader OL Peyton Noland (Carrollwood Hurricanes)

Honorable mention: O’Neil Cohen (Dr. Phillips HS, Fla.), Derrick Wood (Boone HS, Fla.), Brian O’Leary (Venice HS, Fla.), Travis Golly (Lemon Bay HS, Fla.), Samuel Coatney (Lake Region HS, Fla.), Marshall Gay (Venice HS, Fla.), Kevin McMillan (Boone HS, Fla.), Ronald Patrick (Cocoa HS, Fla.), Joe Hansen (Winter Haven HS, Fla.), JT Anderson (Lake Region HS, Fla.), Bradley Roberts (Umatilla HS, Fla.), Paul Mandley (St. Petersburg HS, Fla.), Matthew Brazell (Boone HS, Fla.), and Logan Bryant (Ft. Myers HS, Fla.).

Fort Lauderdale Football Festival

With more than 400 athletes passing through the weekend, some of Miami's and Fort Lauderdale's top talent shined. It started on Friday night with a skills challenge for the quarterbacks, wide receivers and big men. Quarterbacks, wide receivers, and linemen would undergo a series of tests to determine who the top performer at each respective positions and here were the best by group:

Quarterbacks
Target Toss: Dustin Paonessa (Jensen Beach)
QB Footwork Challenge: Marshyl Rothman (Jupiter Christian)
Obstacle course: Dylan Parker (Treasure Coast)
Long toss: Stephen Morris (Monsignor Edward Pace)

Wide Receivers
Fastest Route (12-yard Curl): Quadaris Mireles (John I. Leonard)
Fastest Route (15-yard Dig): Quandre Walker (Hialeah Miami Lakes)
Fastest Route (18-yard Comeback): Caylin McBeth (Hialeah American)
Obstacle course: Quadaris Mireles (John I. Leonard)
Quick Foot Challenge: Richard Riley (Vero Beach)

Lineman
Quick Foot Challenge: David D'Attilo (JP Taravella), Gabor Bukszar (Gulf Coast), Denzel Reed (Palm Beach Gardens), Grant Burke (North Broward Prep).
Obstacle course: Denzel Reed (Palm Beach Gardens), Grant Burke (North Broward Prep).
Hoop Run: David D'Attilo (JP Taravella).
Heavy Ball Toss: Jose Jose (Booker T. Washington).
Step Over Challenge: Denzel Reed (Palm Beach Gardens).

Quarterbacks
Monsignor Edward Pace quarterback Stephen Morris impressed coaches with his demeanor and work ethic. Morris displayed coachability, showed great zip on his balls, and placed the ball very well. A raw talent at the position, Morris has a high ceiling. .... North Broward Prep's Brandon Doughty was the best representative of Broward County. The 6-3 junior quarterback possessed one of the best arms of the quarterbacks in attendance. Doughty threw for 2,259 yards and 26 touchdowns last season while leading his team to a 10-1 record. ... Jupiter Christian quarterback Marshyl Rothman is 26-0 with two state championships in his two seasons as the starting quarterback at Jupiter Christian. Pound for pound, Rothman proved he can hang with any of the quarterbacks in attendance, and can make every throw on the field. Size will continue to be his question mark at the quarterback position, but the college program that takes a shot on him will be land a winner. .... Turner Baty transferred to Saint Thomas Aquinas from Menlo-Atherton (Calif.), where he threw for 1,800 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior. ... Ryan Williams did not pass as often as the other quarterbacks in his junior season due to his team's preference to run the ball, but showed a good frame and some promise. ... Treasure Coast gunslinger Dylan Parker stands taller than Marshyl Rothman, but like Rothman, is still udner 6-feet. Regardless, Parker is a competitor and a great athlete at the position. He often teamed with Rothman in running routes for the other quarterbacks, and both even spent time working as defensive backs covering the receivers in attendance. ... Homestead Senior's Keahn Wallace was another standout performer that will be a quarterback to watch in Dade County this fall. ... Kings Academy quarterback Mike Miller showed a live arm and is a quarterback to watch in the Class of 2010. ... Jensen Beach quarterback Dustin Paonessa is a big lefty who had plenty of arm strength. He's only played the quarterback position for a year following a move over from the defensive line. ... Other Class of 2010 quarterbacks of note, include: Nick Becker (Pine Crest), Chris Rapka (Cardinal Gibbons), Malcolm Pendergrass (Royal Palm Beach), Garrett Colao (Christopher Columbus), Zach Green (Cypress Bay), and Bryan Parnes (South Broward). Miami LaSalle's Rafi Montalvo, Port St. Lucie West Centennial's Cody Bragg and Wellington's Tyler Bergman were Class of 2011 quarterbacks who showed flashes. Bragg has only played the position for a year, and is at a great school for quarterback development. Bergman showed that once he is able to grow into his body, he's the got the size and arm to compete. The academy featured several Class of 2012 quarterbacks that took over the reigns of their respective teams as the starting varsity quarterback during their freshman seasons. That included Devonte Mathis (Miami Carol City), Abe Coleman (Hialeah American), Javan Shashaty (Calvary Christian), Ricardo Louis (Miami Beach), and Austin Van Es (Summit Christian). Saint Thomas Aquinas freshman Max Lescano will be one to keep an eye on, as well.

Wide Receivers
Miramar's Ivan McCartney put on a show at the Fort Lauderdale academy with his size, explosiveness, and grace in the air. McCartney has ideal size and caught everything within sight. ... Sun Coast's Andre Holzendorf was one of the bigger surprises of the event consistently making plays. In addition to Holzendorf, there were a number of other sleepers at receiver including Palm Beach Lakes's William Waldon, John I. Leonard's Quadaris Mireles, West Boca Raton's Jerome Thomas, Miami LaSalle's Sam Gervais, Southridge's Roshawn Wilson, Coral Gable's Andre Gutierrez, and Vero Beach's Richard Riley, who also could project on the defensive side of the ball. ... Monsignor Edward Pace's Travis Greene demonstrated enough ability to showcase himself as a future division-one prospect in the Class of 2011. Pine Crest's Keith Parkinson is another to watch in the Class of 2011. Cardinal Gibbon's Tim Burton likely projects as a defensive back on the collegiate level, but was one of the top performers at the academy, regardless of position. .

Linemen
Jose Jose of Booker T. Washington was the biggest eye catcher at the Lineman Academy in both size and ability. Not far behind was Vero Beach defensive tackle Travonte Boles, who showcased a competitive spirit not rivaled by many in attendance in our academies. An explosive force with great hip flexibility, Boles should be on the radar for many schools across the country. Denzel Reed of Palm Beach Gardens wowed instructors with athleticism and speed. Reed does not have the prototypical size nor frame to project as a full-time defensive end at the next level, but is an effective pass rusher that can be spotted in numerous alignments across the field. ... Charles W. Flanagan High School was well represented with three members of their offensive line in attendance. Christopher Corpuz and Rafael De Lavalle showed plenty of promise, and Austin Warnock as an impressive performer. ... Vero Beach's George Millar, JP Taravella's David D'Attilo, and Fort Pierce Westwood's Evince Dossous were also notable lineman performers. ... Miami LaSalle's Adrian Noguera, Miami Country Day's Josh Breakstone and Monarch's Darren Logozzo are also lineman to keep an eye as they enter their senior year in 2009. Pine Crest's Stephen Benson, Pope John Paul's Blake Lewend, and Nova's David Clark are all young lineman that received significant action on their varsity squads last fall. The academy also featured two of the best long-snappers in the country. Saint Thomas Aquinas's Danny Adams was on hand as well as Jupiter lineman Drew Garland who is already receiving significant praise as a sophomore for his long snapping ability. Youth participants Nicholas Villano, Gabriel Necuze, and Anthony Phelan all displayed great enthusiasm and hunger to learn to provide support they have futures along the offensive line.

Best of the best
QB -- Kedric Bostic (Jupiter Christian)
QB -- Rafi Montalvo (Miami LaSalle)
RB -- Jeremy Williams (Miami Palmetto)
RB -- Troy Campana (Cardinal Newman)
RB -- Erron Watson (Forest Hill)
WR -- William Waldon (Palm Beach Lakes)
WR -- Aaron Livingston (Deerfield Beach)
WR -- Caylin McBeth (Hialeah American)
Lineman -- Terrence Griffin (Miami Jackson)
Lineman -- Garth Carey (Miami Carol City)
Lineman -- Edwige Othelot (G. Holmes Braddock)
Lineman -- Julian Hidalgo (The University School)
Lineman -- Stephen Ritter (Gulf Coast)
Lineman -- Nick Johns (Naples)
LB -- Jake Tannebaum (American Heritage)
LB -- Zach Santoro (Gulf Coast)
LB -- Michael Hall-Whitehead (Miami Killian)
DB -- Alexander Paul (Charles W. Flanagan)
DB -- Tim Burton (Cardinal Gibbons)
DB -- William Hanford (Berean Christian)
DB -- Jn-Eddy Charles (Miami Edison)