Post Top 25 countdown: No. 3 Glades Central
Friday, August 24, 2012
by Matt Porter
In the last two seasons, college recruiters knew most of the faces at a Glades Central practice.
In 2010, they ogled 6-foot-6 receiver Kelvin Benjamin, now poised for a breakout season at Florida State. There was defensive end Robert Way, the school's single-season sack record holder. He and receiver Devonte Allen wound up at Marshall.
Last year, future Division I signees Jaime Wilson (Western Michigan), Jatavis Brown (Akron), Cre'von LeBlanc (FAU) and Dominique Gibson (Wake Forest) patrolled the field, among other college-ready players.
The scouts have a little extra homework this year.
"I've got a bunch of no-names," coach Roosevelt Blackmon said. "I think they understand the magnitude of playing for Glades Central. The young guys are eager to get their name out there. If you put on a Raider uniform, you've got to make plays."
Glades Central graduated most of its stalwart defense and several offensive weapons. That doesn't mean the new cast can't carry the torch.
The one player big-time schools know is senior Will Likely, a highlight-reel play waiting to happen at receiver, running back, cornerback and on kick returns. Likely, the Post's small schools defensive player of the year as a junior, averaged nearly 10 points of offense per game by himself. He's small, but colleges like LSU, Wake Forest and Stanford see a dynamic player in a 5-7, 175-pound body.
Likely has earned his maroon-and-gold stripes, as have senior safety David Bailey (6-0, 175) and senior running back Aaron Baker (5-11, 210). Next up could be senior quarterback T.J. Abrams (5-11, 176), a transfer from Royal Palm Beach, or senior tight end and linebacker Antwan Washington (6-2, 215), who came over from Seminole Ridge.
Junior receiver Ronquavion Tarver (6-3, 185) has shown tantalizing potential, as has sophomore defensive tackle Steven Leggett (6-1, 225). Blackmon said he'd like to see more consistency out of his offensive and defensive lines.
In his second year as head coach, Blackmon has a team that carries the same weight as its predecessors. "We expect to be great," he said. The Raiders must show they can handle that pressure.
"Sometimes it's not a bad thing to be under the radar," said Blackmon, recognizing that's a relative statement in a town where football is king. "I tell the kids all the time, you can't [follow] the path of the people before you. You have to make your own way."