BRADENTON, Fla. – A loaded Team Tampa squad with BCS players all over the field, cruised to a championship this past weekend at the second annual IMG/Madden Football National Championships.
The nation's top CB Vernon Hargreaves III never disappoints.
There was no question who the tournament’s top squad was, as Team Tampa was only tested once in a close 24-18 win over the South Florida Express. They breezed past Maximum Exposure twice including once in the title game to seal the deal.
However, the tournament’s top player brought serious debate, as among the plethora of major college talent running around the Bradenton facility, were two special players in the nation’s top cornerback according to 247Sports in Vernon Hargreaves III, and the country’s top outside linebacker Jaylon Smith.
A case could be made for both the uncommitted Hargreaves and the Notre Dame bound Smith, but 247Sports gives the very slight edge to Hargreaves as his team won the championship.
247Sports takes a look at the Top-10 performers from the IMG/Madden Football National Championships.
1. Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Tampa (Fla.) Wharton
One can walk up to watch any random game and the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Hargreaves will make a play. He never disappoints. Ranked as the No. 5 prospect in the country overall, Hargreaves intercepted Michigan commit Shane Morris in each victory over Maximum Exposure, including the game clincher in the championship. There is not a receiver he can’t run with, and a coach’s son, he’s also a very intelligent player that’s always in the right spot. Was named the defensive MVP by tournament officials.
Florida, Miami and South Florida are a few of the schools Hargreaves is high on at this point in the recruiting process, and next week he’s hoping to visit Oregon, Stanford and USC while he’s out West for The Opening. Other summer visits he says he’s looking to make are Ohio State, Notre Dame, Georgia, Clemson, Auburn and Alabama.
2. Jaylon Smith, LB, Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers
Two steps in either direction, and the country’s No. 7 prospect overall is defending a third of the football field. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Smith covered the slot the whole tournament, and was never beat in man coverage. Smith plays with a high motor and a lot of passion. He racked up several pass breakups and completely changed the landscape of every offense AWP played against. The Fort Wayne based team won three games in the loser bracket before losing 21-20 to South Florida Express.
3. Shane Morris, QB, Warren (Mich.) De La Salle
The nation’s No. 2 pro-style signal-caller and No. 22 prospect overall got off to a slow start, but when tournament play began, Morris quickly heated up. The velocity and touch was there for the future Michigan Wolverine, as the 6-foot-3, 201-pound Morris fit the football in several tight windows. He spread the ball around to his top targets, fellow Michigan commits Csont’e York and Khalid Hill, along with Teo Redding and Jack Wangler. Morris hit several big plays downfield, and other than a couple of tough throws against a swarming Team Tampa squad, he was close to perfect on the tournament’s second day.
4. Leon McQuay III, S/CB, Seffner (Fla.) Armwood
It was pick your poison when playing against Team Tampa. Hargreaves on one side, and McQuay lining up on the other. The 6-foot-2, 184-pound McQuay is a good corner, but he’s a great safety, which was on display in the final against Maximum Exposure. In a two-play span, he nearly intercepted a Morris pass before picking off the next one. McQuay was a pass breakup machine over the two-day tournament, and has all the physical tools one is looking for in a college defensive back.
Michigan, USC and Vanderbilt make up McQuay’s top three. He’s hoping to visit the Trojans campus next week for the first time following The Opening (July 5-8) out in Oregon. The Barbecue at the Big House in late-July in Ann Arbor is also a possibility.
5. Tony Stevens, WR, Orlando (Fla.) Evans
A true vertical threat on any given play, the Top247 Florida State commit teamed up with Central Florida Top Recruits teammates Jeff Badet and Vanderbilt commit Dominic Walker to give South Florida quarterback commit Asiantii Woulard a trio of strong options. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound Stevens was the best of the group. A true vertical threat on any given play, Stevens is long and rangy and has very strong hands.
6. Travis Johnson, TE, Tampa (Fla.) Jesuit
The Miami bound Johnson was the go-to receiver for Team Tampa, that also received big plays from its supporting cast in Alvin Bailey, Artavis Scott and Zach Benjamin. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Johnson was indefensible on the back shoulder throw. Johnson also stood out among a talented tight end group that also included Hill and one of the nation’s best in DeSean Smith. Smith’s Bootleggers team was knocked out early in the second day.
7. Tre’Davious White, ATH, Shreveport (La.) Green Oaks
The Top247 LSU commit can flat out fly. He really stood out at the cornerback position, with his great closing speed and ability to break on the football. White has long arms, and was also a key component to the Bootleggers offense.
8. Rashard Robinson, CB, Pompano Beach (Fla.) Blanche Ely
The four-star Robinson has a lot of pure natural athletic ability. He takes a lot of chances, but normally comes away making a play. Nearly 6-foot-3, 170-pounds, Robinson played great through both days of the tournament, locking up with the other team’s top receiver and normally holding them down. Florida State, Miami and LSU are the three programs in best position for Robinson.
9. Pete Dinovo, QB, Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East Lake
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Dinovo earned Offensive MVP honors from tournament officials, and he had everything working for Team Tampa. Dinovo had nice tough on the seam routes over the middle, and he was flawless when it came to the back-shoulder throws. Dinovo obviously had a lot of weapons around him, but his smart decision making had the locomotive running full speed ahead. He’s hearing from USF, Houston, and he visited N.C. State last week.
10. Brooks Barden, QB, Cartersville (Ga.) High
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Barden will be one of the Peach State’s best signal-callers in 2014. In leading Cartersville to the championship in the high school team bracket, Barden was in a groove all weekend. The left hander was accurate, and very poised in running his team’s offense.
Josh Newberg of Noles247/Bulls247 contributed to this report.