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December 14, 2011
FHSAA Football Finals prospect preview I
This weekend, Inside the Gators will be reporting live from Orlando as the FHSAA Football Finals conclude with the 5A, 6A, 7A and 8A state championship games. With some of the premier high school programs in the state and country on display, there will be plenty of prospects the Gators are interested in taking the field. Before the action beings, we'll break down thee recruits in each game Florida fans should be watching.
Class 5A Final: Miami Norland vs. Crawfordville Wakulla, Friday at 1:06 p.m.
Commitment Status: Illinois soft verbal
Prospect Breakdown: In the wake of NCAA scandal at Miami, Brown flipped his commitment to Illinois (the landing place of fellow Norland linebacker, and brother, Lamar Atkins) in November before the ensuing dismissal of Fighting Illini head coach Ron Zook. Last month in two separate articles on the network, Brown said he would be taking an official visit to Florida, but interest from the Gators has been quiet to this point. However, Brown does have an offer from Florida and would be a logical fit in a linebacker class that needs replenishing.
Game Preview: Brown will have plenty of opportunities to make plays against a Wakulla team that will be over-matched talent-wise. His speed will be tested by small but quick Wakulla running back Will Thomas.
Commitment status: Undecided; reported offers include Florida, Florida State and LSU
Prospect Breakdown: Powell took an official visit to Illinois in November with a group of his teammates and has shown serious interest in the Fighting Illini. While he has largely been unmentioned as a serious option on the defensive tackle board for the Gators, he does still claim a UF offer.
Game Preview: During an undefeated season, Powell has gotten solid reviews from those who have seen him play. He could be a disrupting force up the middle and a tough player for Wakulla to stop.
Class 7A Final: Bradenton Manatee vs. Jacksonville First Coast, Friday at 7:06 p.m.
Commitment Status: Undecided; offers include Auburn, Cincinnati and Clemson
Prospect Breakdown: A junior who may be just as good of a baseball prospect as he is a football player, Sandberg was the definition of dual threat in 2011. He threw for 2,005 yards with 18 touchdowns and four interceptions, while also running for 736 yards and nine touchdowns. Although he does not yet hold a Florida offer, Sandberg is one of the top in-state prospects at the position in the Class of 2013.
Game Preview: Sandberg's only two losses this year have come in close contests with national powerhouses Olney (Md.) Our Lady of Good Counsel and Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep. Manatee's offense tends to fluctuate between an option-based system and a more passing-dominated game plan depending on its opponent. In First Coast, it will see some of the more athletic linebackers it has seen all season.
Commitment Status: Undecided; offers include Alabama, Florida and South Carolina
Prospect Breakdown: McMillian is a versatile young linebacker whose stature and performance in 2011 has given him a jump start on big offers for his senior season. He is among the top of the wish list for many schools including Florida as far as 2013 linebackers, though he is fairly indecisive about his plans at this point. McMillian grew up a Seminoles fan and has talked publicly about the amount of First Coast players at FSU even though he says he does not have a leader.
Game Preview: McMillian and his fellow First Coast linebackers (most of whom are Division I prospects) will have their hands full with a versatile Manatee offense that can be a preparation nightmare for linebackers.
Commitment Status: Undecided; holds and offer from Clemson
Prospect Breakdown: It's never too early to talk recruiting. That's the message Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney made when he offered this 14-year-old quarterback in November. But what Johnson has done this season has done everything to back it up. He has thrown for 2.706 yards to go with 24 touchdowns and five interceptions en route to an undefeated season. With continued maturity, Johnson is sure to spark the interest of every school in the country during his time at First Coast
Game Preview: It is very rare for a freshman quarterback to be leading his team into a state championship appearance, but that's exactly what Johnson will be doing come Friday night. While he has not flinched all season, he will be going up against a monster final exam in one of the nation's toughest high school defenses. However, he will do so with one of the best receiving corps in the state.