Recruiting: Offers from University of Central Florida, Charleston Southern.
What makes him Super: As a junior, Payne was second in the PNJ coverage area with total receiving yards. Payne brings big-play potential each time he steps on the field, after averaging 20.13 yards per catch last season.
Recruiting: Committed to University of Central Florida.
What makes him Super: Likely the best quarterback in the area, Smith holds the ability to beat defenses with the pass or on his feet as a runner. As a junior, Smith racked up more than 2,300 yards through the air combined with 440 yards on the ground.
Recruiting: Thompkins has been in communication with South Alabama, South Florida and Auburn.
What makes him Super: With just 119 carries last year, Thompkins exploded for a 1,048-yard season, which included 13 rushing touchdowns. With less options in Tate’s backfield this year, Thompkins is primed to take his performance to the next level.
Recruiting: If Cross could reach another 1,000-yard rushing season, he would be hard to miss for college recruiters.
What makes him Super: After back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, and breaking Jay’s single-game rushing record with 43 yards against Cottondale, Cross is ready to continue the streak this season. Playing in the 1A classification, Cross plays every play he physically can on both offense and defense.
Recruiting: Alabama A&M, Troy, Florida International.
What makes him Super: “Dude” recorded three touchdowns last season, all as a defensive player. Donaldson mixed in 43 solo tackles, two interceptions and three fumble recoveries as a vocal leader of one of the toughest defenses in the area.
Recruiting: Yale, Kent State, Florida Tech.
What makes him Super: Espinoza’s one-on-one coverage skills are second to none in the area. As a junior, he finished tied for the area-lead with interceptions and was a critical factor in West Florida’s push to the regional semifinals.
Recruiting: Alabama A&M, Central Arkansas, Florida A&M, Southern Miss, Utah St.
What makes him Super: As Escambia’s second option in the backfield, Frye accounted for 963 yards on the ground, nine TDs and three 100-yard rushing games during his junior year. In space, Frye may be the most difficult tackle to make in the area. His speed and agility also help him as a receiver, as he led the team with 461 yards and seven touchdowns through the air.
Position: LB/ FB
Recruiting: Grandison’s stats have jumped off the page throughout his career at Escambia. Perhaps this could be the year he starts popping up on the radars of college recruiters.
What makes him Super: Grandison simply overpowered opposing offenses on his way to an outstanding junior season. He recorded 74 solo tackles and hurried quarterbacks for eight sacks and two fumble recoveries. Grandison is expected to contribute to Escambia’s triple-option offense and could be a punishing runner at the fullback position.
Commitment/offers: Alabama A&M, North Carolina Central.
What makes him Super: Arguably the area’s hardest hitter, Hill finished in the area’s top-3 with seven sacks in 2014. Hill’s support in run stop and his pass coverage skills should bolster the most fierce linebacker unit in the area.
Recruiting: Maldonado has traveled the country attending camps and is ranked among the top kickers in the class of 2016.
What makes him Super: Maldonado was a marksman last season, nailing 47-of-51 PATs and 9-of-15 field goals with a long of 39 yards. Maldonado did more than a handful of favors for his team last year, producing 40 touchbacks and 74 total points.
Recruiters: Alabama A&M, Appalachian State, Central Arkansas, Charlotte, Florida A&M, Kent State, Marshall, Middle Tennessee State, South Alabama, South Florida.
What makes him Super: Perhaps the most versatile player in the PNJ coverage area, Purifoy is expected to be under center to lead the team’s offense. However, Purifoy showed last season that he can contribute with defensive skills and on special teams as an explosive returner.
Recruiters: Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Florida, South Alabama.
What makes him Super: Not only does Smiley possess superior pass coverage skills, he is also built with the size, length and speed to overpower receivers in one-on-one situations. Smiley will be critical as a vocal leader for a young Crusaders defense.