Sunday, April 22, 2018

HomeTeam 100: Players 81-90

Our sixth annual countdown of the top 100 football players in Tampa Bay — consisting of athletes who attend a public or private school in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco or Hernando counties. Past performances — spanning the fall, spring and summer — and promise of big things to come are all taken into consideration. Today: players 81-90.

81. Jerjuan Newton, Clearwater Central Catholic

Position: Wide receiver/defensive back

Year: Junior

Height/weight: 6-0, 170

Three things to know about Newton:

1. Last year, Newton played with his three brothers, Jervon, Jerquan and Jerzahn. Identical twins Jervon and Jerquan graduated and report to Marist on Aug. 25. After wearing No. 22 last year, Jerjuan will wear No. 4, which Jervon had last season.

2. Used primarily as a receiver and defensive back, Newton put up modest numbers with six catches for 80 yards on offense and 33 tackles and an interception on defense, His numbers, especially on offense, should improve dramatically with the Marauders losing their top passer, top three rushers and leading receiver. He lined up at quarterback in the spring game and could play there, as well as running back, in some situations.

3. Newton already has offers from Cincinnati, Toledo and USF. That list should grow with Newton's expanded role this season.

HIGHLIGHTS: JerJuan Newton.

Jim Damaske | Times

WR/DB Jerjuan Newton

82. Timarcus Simpson, Sickles

Position: Defensive back

Year: Senior

Height/weight: 6-0, 180

Simpson appears ready to break out in a big way after a frustrating campaign in 2016. In the fifth game of last season, a 27-0 loss to Plant, Simpson strained his ACL and didn't play the rest of the year. Simpson did not undergo surgery but rehabbed aggressively, ultimately becoming stronger and faster than ever. "I've never felt better before the start of a season," said Simpson, who currently has offers from Mercer, Liberty and Eastern Michigan. But Simpson believes that once he shows he's more than fully recovered, he expects more offers to flow in.

HIGHLIGHTS: Timarcus Simpson.

Scott Purks | Special to the Times

DB Timarcus Simpson

83. Lyndell Hudson, Central

Position: Offensive tackle/guard

Year: Senior

Height/weight: 6-7, 335

One of the area's biggest linemen, Hudson paved the way for De'vonta Smith to rush for a school-record 2,913 yards and 33 touchdowns last season. He can play guard or tackle and is just as adept run blocking as he is protecting the quarterback. Once again, Hudson will be counted to anchor a line that will be breaking in a new featured back with the graduation of Smith. He also is trying to help the Bears build on last season's 6-4 record.

HIGHLIGHTS: Lyndell Hudson.

Brendan Fitterer | Special to the Times

OT/OG Lyndell Hudson

84. Lawrance Toafili, Pinellas Park

Position: Running back

Year: Sophomore

Height/weight: 6-0, 186

If first impressions are everything, then Toafili (Toe-A-Feel-e) is a name to remember. In the three games he played as a freshman on junior varsity, Toafili scored 11 touchdowns. In the first JV game against Osceola, he touched the ball seven times and scored on six of them, according to coach Kenny Crawford.

"Sometimes it wasn't even fair," Crawford said.

Still, Crawford had planned to keep Toafili on junior varsity for the entire season. But injuries to running backs Dale Foster and Ethan Blanchard forced Crawford to call up Toafili. Needless to say, his days on the junior varsity are over.

He carried the ball 29 times in five varsity games and gained 221 yards as a freshman. Along with Blanchard, Toafili will be the main ball carrier this year and likely for the next three years.

"He's got 1,000-yard potential, for sure," Crawford said. "We'll put in plays to get him the ball. And he's a receiving threat."

HIGHLIGHTS: Lawrance Toafili.

Dirk Shadd | Times

RB Lawrance Toafili

85. Osby Green, Boca Ciega

Position: Quarterback

Year: Senior

Height/weight: 5-11, 195

Now in his third year as a starter, Green could be one of the most versatile quarterbacks in the area. He threw for 841 yards in eight games last season and added 421 rushing yards. This season, according to coach Max Smith, Green will have the ball in his hands much more. Now that he's a senior, Smith will give Green many more chances to make plays. "Osby's going to have the opportunity to be one of the top players in the area," Smith said. "He's got a live arm and he's very, very accurate with his throws down field. So that should open up the deep passing game. He can also run. Next to our top back (Dsoni Ross), he's our next-best runner. He'll have the ball in the red zone a lot, so he should score a lot of touchdowns. He's the best quarterback that I've had here."


David W. Doonan | Special to the Times

QB Osby Green

86. Rolando Sims, Lakewood

Position: Strong safety

Year: Senior

Height/weight: 5-8, 190

Sims is going to college. He doesn't know if it will be as a student or a student-athlete, but he's going to college. In an effort to make football a possibility at the next level, Sims has switched from linebacker to strong safety for his final high school season. He believes his height and weight might scare off college coaches at linebacker, despite having 95 tackles and five sacks last season.

Since the spring, Sims has been working out at strong safety.

"That's the position I'm going to play in college," he said. "Coaches can't really say anything because I'm back (from the line of scrimmage) now. They're going to see my speed and how I can get to the ball."

Throughout the summer, Sims said he will work on techniques and drills at his new position.

"It's a hard transition," Sims said. "I have to move my hips much differently. I've got to not only cover the receiver but if the ball is thrown to the other side then I have to turn and run. At linebacker, all I had to do was run to the hole or to the running back. It's a different ball game back there."

Sims will also play running back for the Spartans. He believes that position might also be a possibility in college. A solid student with a 3.7 grade-point average, Sims said he also hopes to get some academic scholarships, which would make him more attractive to college coaches.

"If I don't get any offers, maybe I could go to a school and walk on," Sims said. "I don't really have a dream school, but the area I'd like to play is in Georgia. I have family up there and down here, so they could see me play."

HIGHLIGHTS: Rolando Sims.

Dirk Shadd | Times

SS Rolando Sims

87. Ricardo Watson, Armwood

Position: Linebacker

Year: Junior

Height/weight: 6-0, 230

Watson has impressive athletic bloodlines with Armwood roots. His father, who has the same name, played basketball and was the quarterback for former coach Sean Callahan when he was first hired in 1990. The younger Watson has been on varsity since he was a freshman and racked up 67 tackles, a sack, an interception and a forced fumble last season. He has an offer from USF and is part of a heralded front seven for the Hawks that could have every starter signing with a Division I-A program in the next two seasons.

HIGHLIGHTS: Ricardo Watson.

Special to the Times

LB Ricardo Watson

88. Calvin Samuel, Zephyrhills Christian

Position: Athlete

Year: Senior

Height/weight: 5-10, 170

Special to the Times

ATH Calvin Samuel

Samuel did a little of everything for Zephyrhills Christian after transferring from Pasco last season. He completed all three of his pass attempts for 74 yards, led the team in rushing with 695 yards and averaged 42.5 yards on his two receptions. We asked Samuel three questions about transferring, offers and being a well-rounded athlete.

What was the biggest change going from Pasco to Zephyrhills Christian?

"Well, that's where my mom wanted me to go to school. There really was not much of an adjustment. I knew that it didn't really matter where I played, whether it was a big school or not. You're still going to be looked at by colleges either way."

You have an offer from Warner. Is that more frustration or motivation having only one?

"It's more motivation because I believe I can play with anyone. I'll outperform someone at camp that has more offers and that motivates me and pushes me to become even better knowing that I'll get my opportunity, too."

You ran track the past three years. Any other sports you want to try before your high school career is finished?

"I'm going to play baseball this season for the first time since I was 12. And I'm going to wrestle for the first time. Everything I do is for fun. And I love competition, so I want to try as many things as possible."

HIGHLIGHTS: Calvin Samuel.

89. Jontrey Hunter, Sickles

Position: Quarterback

Year: Senior

Height/weight: 6-2, 200

Three things to know about Hunter:

1. Hunter has played defensive back most of life in youth league football and in high school, but this year, for the first time, he says he is happy to lead his team as a quarterback. "I want to do whatever I can to help the team."

2. Hunter has nine strong college offers and is most definitely projected as a defensive back at the next level. USF and Iowa State are among the leaders for his services, but more offers are expected to flow in during the season.

3. Hunter loves to make up rap songs, most of the time at the spur of the moment involving whatever or whoever is around him. "We have a lot of fun with it."

HIGHLIGHTS: Jontrey Hunter.

Scott Purks | Special to the Times

QB Jontrey Hunter

90. Derrick Powell, Plant

Position: Wide receiver/cornerback

Year: Senior

Height/weight: 5-10, 169

Powell is a transfer from Cambridge Christian, where he was a three-year starter. He is a cornerback first, but also a capable wide receiver. As a sophomore, he had seven interceptions. That clearly scared off quarterbacks in his junior season. With fewer passes coming his way, Powell had one interception last year and seven pass breakups. He also caught 12 passes and scored a touchdown.

HIGHLIGHTS: Derrick Powell.

Octavio Jones | Times

WR/CB Derrick Powell

Compiled by staff writers Rodney Page and Bob Putnam, and correspondents Kelly Parsons and Scott Purks.

Athleticsí Sean Manaea no-hits Red Sox

Athleticsí Sean Manaea no-hits Red Sox

OAKLAND, Calif. – Sean Manaea watched as Marcus Semien fired a ball from short to second baseman Jed Lowrie, turned around, and jumped into the arms of catcher Jonathan Lucroy. History was made at the Coliseum.Manaea no-hit the Red Sox on ...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Maple Leafs force Game 6 with Bruins

Maple Leafs force Game 6 with Bruins

BOSTON — Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk scored 1:19 apart in the second period, and then the Maple Leafs killed off a 5-on-3 and three more power plays in a row to beat the Bruins 4-3 in Game 5 on Saturday night and avoid playoff eliminatio...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Sundayís sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosNHRA: SpringNationals2 p.m.FS1IndyCar: Grand Prix of Alabama3 p.m.NBCSNBaseballTwins at Rays1 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMMarlins at Brewers2 p.m.FSFIndians at Orioles2 p.m.MLBCubs at Rockies (in progress)4 p.m.MLBNationals at Dodgers8 p.m.ESPNColle...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Marc Topkinís takeaways from Raysí 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

Marc Topkinís takeaways from Raysí 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

* Is it time to take the leap and believe this is the real Blake Snell? He talked a good game this spring and pitched well in his debut, but that rough second outing raised old doubts. But a good outing in Chicago and two dominant ones on the homesta...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Yankees give top prospect Gleyber Torres a shot in majors

Yankees give top prospect Gleyber Torres a shot in majors

Gleyber Torres cannot help an erratic staff of starting pitchers. Nor can he help shake Giancarlo Stanton from his April funk. But the Yankees hope that calling up Torres from Triple A on Saturday will provide a jolt before they fall much farther beh...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Georgi Hristovís 57th goal ties Rowdies team record

Georgi Hristovís 57th goal ties Rowdies team record

ST. PETERSBURG — Georgi Hristov tied a 40-year-old franchise record with his 57th career goal Saturday at Al Lang Stadium, fueling the Rowdies' 2-0 shutout of previously unbeaten Real Monarchs SLC.Hristov, a forward in his sixth season with Tam...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays Tales: How low can this team go compared to those Devil Rays days?

Rays Tales: How low can this team go compared to those Devil Rays days?

When the Rays, in the opening weekend of their 20th anniversary celebration season, brought back and honored the inaugural 1998 Devil Rays squad, it got us thinking unexpected thoughts, such as which was a better team:The first one, or the current on...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

ST. PETERSBURG – Let's be clear here, the Rays still have a long way to go, and a lot of ground to make up.But seeing them play like they did Saturday in beating the Twins 10-1, putting on a solid all-around show in cobbling their first three-g...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Lightning-Devils: How the NHLís top offense went on the defensive

Lightning-Devils: How the NHLís top offense went on the defensive

TAMPA — It was a couple of days after the Lightning beat the Bruins at home late in the regular season when associate coach Rick Bowness talked about how the defensive effort used in that shutout victory was the one the Lightning would need in ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays will go forth with four starters

Rays will go forth with four starters

ST. PETERSBURG — Three weeks was enough for the Rays to officially ditch their three-man rotation plan.Starting Sunday, they will go forth with Yonny Chirinos as their fourth starter.Which is a five-star idea.The flaws in the three-man plan ...
Updated: 3 hours ago