When it comes to the Class Of 2018, the talent in South Florida is through the roof. Here at State Of The U, we want to offer fans an inside look at some local talent. It's no secret that we love South Florida high school ball, and want our hometown guys to stay close to home.
The criteria used to compile this list was based off a combination of size, speed, instinct, on-field awareness, statistics, ability to improvise and position based skill. The area of focus was comprised of Broward, Dade and Palm Beach Counties.
Other factors like school size and schedule were in play as well. Without further ado, here are the top 10 offensive players:
10. Shaun Shivers, 5-7, 160, 4-Star APB, Hollywood FL (Chaminade-Madonna Prep): Shivers made a name for himself last season after rushing for 1,219 yards and 19 touchdowns. Standing at 5'7" (maybe even closer to 5'6"), Shivers is so hard to keep track of on the field. He runs a 4.62, but his game speed is on another level. He carried the ball 142 times last season, so he can handle a heavy work load. He may be the size of guys like Noel Devine and Darren Sproles, but he can run you over like Earl Campbell. Shivers refuses to go down. It's so impressive to watch this mini monster run over defenders. He's an all-purpose back for a reason. Shaun has some great hands and is a solid option in the flat. Fans can only imagine what he'll do this season. Outside of football, Shivers is a track star, with a registered time of 10.47 seconds in the 100m.
9. Dominick Watt, 6-2, 195, 4-Star WR, Hollywood, FL (McArthur): Watt was a standout at the Florida Express 7-on-7 tryout. At that camp he discussed his one offer at the time, Louisville, but also showed love for The U. To date, he now has 10 offer, but is still waiting for that Miami offer. He had a self reported seven touchdowns and 295 receiving yards. In the one-on-one deep ball match ups, Watt almost always wins. He's very strong. Watt is a threat in the red zone. Overall, he's a good receiver, possibly even an underrated one.
8. Kevin Austin, 6-3, 190, 4-Star WR, Pompano Beach, FL (North Broward Prep): Austin's stock has slipped a bit, but he still has a lot to offer to any team. At 6-3, 190, he's already the perfect size to be a No. 1 target for any quarterback. His most impressive skill is his ability to make plays on the jet sweep. He breaks tackles, delivers devastating stiff arms and refuses to go down. His route running is up there with the best of them, and he constantly finds separation from corners. Time after time, defenders try and miss tackling him at the legs. Austin has an incredibly long frame. Another interesting thing to note: He's not too bad on the defensive side of the ball. He forces a lot of turnovers with those long arms.
7. Ashtan Pierre, 6-2, 191, 4-Star ATH, Deerfield Beach, FL (Deerfield Beach): After searching the internet, a Youtube video popped up for Pierce that was released on Feb. 19, 2015. It showed a young Pierre making big play after big play, whether it was a kick return for a touchdown or a big run. Playing at Deerfield, he stars alongside Class Of 2017 wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, who recently committed to Alabama. Pierre is an effective rusher, as well as elusive return man. His speed stood out right away. He left every defender in the dust. His pad level and hip movement are also excellent for a young player. Pierre boasts an impressive 265 pound bench press. He's a great developmental talent.
6. Camron Davis, 5-10, 180, 4- Star RB, Opa Locka, FL (Miami Carol City): The hype is growing around Davis, and he's proven his worth. Davis is committed to Oregon State, but holds 13 offers (Miami hasn't offered him yet). As a running back, he posses the ability to stay within a hair of a defender without getting tackled. He won't go down easy and he gets stronger as the play goes on. He has a nice little array of moves, including a strong spin move. Davis is really more of an all-purpose back, who can make plays in the return game as well.
5. Daquris Wiggins, 6-2, 180, 4-Star WR, Miami, FL (Miami Southridge): Ron Dugans will get to develop Wiggins into a possible all-conference receiver when he gets to Coral Gables. The Miami commit has great size and long arms that help him separate himself from any corner. He's a bit closer to 6'3", and that shows on jump ball opportunities. He's definitely a deep threat, but he also is a great option for a short screen. His acceleration is unreal. Zero to 100... real quick. That's what makes him so deadly on a screen. He finds a hole, and capitalizes on it. In terms of awareness, he can locate a ball anywhere on the field.
4. Elijah Moore, 5-11, 170, 4-Star WR, Ft. Lauderdale, FL (St. Thomas Aquinas):At 5'11", Moore is a dangerous threat in the slot. He has 4.4 speed and elusive moves. He always finds the open seam to make a big play. Moore is a spark plug on special teams, where he shines as a returner. In the screen game, Moore reminds me a lot of Amari Cooper. Moore can improvise and make a 10 yard play a 50 yard play. He's great at getting yards after the catch. His ability to improvise on routes is clear, especially in the end zone. If there isn't an opening, Moore will make it his mission to find one.
3. Mark Pope, 6-0, 160, 4-Star WR, Hiahleah, FL (Southridge): Pope earned a top three spot on the list because his stock has risen greatly. The long, six foot receiver has 12 offers already and will be looking to add more this season. There's some debate on his official size (247sports lists him at 6-0, 160, while on Hudl he's a self-reported 6-1, 175). On the field he looks closer to that 6-1, 170-175 pound frame. He's a perfect receiver in short yardage situations, thanks to his fearless approach on the field. As a deep threat, he shows great awareness locating the ball. Pope's talents are gaining more and more attention, and he's slated for a breakout season.
2.Xavier Williams, 6-0, 180, 4-Star ATH, Hollywood, FL (Chaminade-Madonna Prep): Labeled as an athlete, Williams seems to do it all on the field. His body control for a wide receiver is top notch. He can make a corner end zone grab look easy. On a play where he caught a long ball, he was a good 20 yards away from any defender. In the open field, he stumbled, which allowed the defense to catch up. Williams composed himself, pulled his body upright and strode into the end zone. That's something that easily sets him apart from other receivers and athletes in this class. As a short yardage receiver, Williams does a great job at securing the pass and letting his blockers set up paths to the end zone.
1. James Cook, 5-11, 190, 4-Star RB, Miami, FL (Miami Central): The brother of Florida State running back, Dalvin Cook, takes after his big bro in more than one way. James followed in his brother's footsteps when he committed to FSU back in March. He has the speed you want for a running back (4.5 40-yard-dash), and when you pair that with his vision on the field you get a deadly package. Cook had a strong sophomore campaign, having rushed 92 times for 715 yards and eight touchdowns. His vision sets him apart from many backs in this class. He can make a cut and take it to the outside or find his way in between the tackles. He isn't the fastest player on the field, but he's always a step ahead of defenders. Don't even think of arm tackling this kid. All he needs is a hole the size of quarter, and he'll find his way through it.