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June 29, 2012
With 25 teams and players representing 10 states, the IMG Madden 7-on-7 National Championship in Bradenton, Fla., will be one of the nation's spotlight events this weekend. Rivals.com will be on location to cover the event and here are a few story lines to follow going into it.
1. Revenge on the mind
A year ago, Max Ex defeated Team Tampa in this event. Max Ex is back and looking to defend the title. Despite a deep and talented field, nobody would be surprised to see a rematch between those two in the finals.
Max Ex Gold is led by a number of Michigan commits - Warren (Mich.) De La Salle four-star pro-style quarterback Shane Morris, Detroit Cass Tech four-star cornerback Jourdan Lewis, Harpe Woods (Mich.) Chandler Park Academy three-star wide receiver Csont'e York, and Detroit Crockett three-star tight end Khalid Hill. Another standout on the squad is rising junior athlete Damon Webb from Detroit Cass Tech.
Team Tampa is led by one of the nation's elite prospects, Tampa (Fla.) Wharton five-star cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III. Other Rivals100 standouts on the squad include Seffner (Fla.) Armwood four-star safety Leon McQuay III, Tampa (Fla.) Hillsborough and four-star defensive end Jordan Sherit, who plays linebacker in the 7-on-7 setting. Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East Lake rising junior wide receiver Artavis Scott leads a solid group of young talent on the roster.
2. Morris on display
Warren (Mich.) De La Salle four-star pro-style quarterback Shane Morris is the top quarterback at the event. The 6-foot-3, 183-pound signal-caller is on the cusp of five-star status and in competition with Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline five-star quarterback Max Browne for top honors at the position. With a strong showing in Bradenton, Morris could make a move into the elite group of players and make a statement that he should be ranked the top quarterback in the nation, surpassing Browne.
3. One of the nation's best
The top-ranked prospect at the event will be the No. 4 prospect in the nation, Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers five-star outside linebacker Jaylon Smith. Smith is a member of the AWP Sports Performance squad. The Notre Dame commitment is not the only player on his own squad. Indiana commitment Isaac Griffith from Fort Wayne (Ind.) Homestead is also a member of the team. It is also worth keeping an eye on rising junior running back Jamitreus Crockham from Fishers (Ind.) Hamilton Southeastern. He is a versatile prospect who can play a number of positions.
4. Florida flavor
Team Tampa isn't the only loaded Florida squad at the event. Other top Florida teams include Team 239 representing the Fort Myers and Naples area, South Florida Express has two squads representing Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Pro Impact represents the Jacksonville area and Central Florida Top Recruits is an assemblage of talent from the Orlando area.
Team 239 is led by talented four-star athlete Jayron Kearse from Fort Myers (Fla.) South Fort Myers. Other top-tier talent on the squad includes Duke pledge Johnell Barnes, a three-star wide receiver from Fort Myers (Fla.) Dunbar, and his teammate, rising junior wide receiver Ryeshene Bronson, who is already committed to Florida.
Some of the top talent on the South Florida Express squads include Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) University School four-star wide receiver Jordan Cunningham, Miami Southridge four-star safety Jamal Carter and Pompano Beach (Fla.) Blanche Ely four-star cornerback Rashard Robinson. Homestead (Fla.) rising junior wide receiver Ermon Lane leads the youth movement.
Pro Impact is home to a pair of SEC commitments in Citra (Fla.) North Marion four-star cornerback Reggie Wilkerson, who is committed to Georgia, and Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian four-star safety Nick Washington, a Florida commitment. The young talent on Pro Impact is equally impressive with Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian junior wide receiver Isaiah Ford and Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian sophomore cornerback Kevin Toliver II.
Central Florida Top Recruits is home to a number of commitments - Bushnell (Fla.) South Sumter four-star safety Keanu Neal (Florida), Orlando Evans four-star wide receiver Tony Stevens (Florida State), Orlando Evans three-star wide receiver Dominic Walker (Vanderbilt), Orlando Evans three-star linebacker Ro'Derrick Hoskins (Florida State), Winter Park (Fla.) three-star dual-threat quarterback Asiantii Woulard (USF) and Winter Park (Fla.) three-star cornerback Blake McClain (Kentucky), as well as others. A top uncommitted prospect on the roster is Orlando Dr. Phillips four-star safety Marcell Harris.
5. Deep in talent
The talent at the event doesn't only reside in the Sunshine State.
BBT Athletics will represent California and includes talent such as Upland (Calif.) four-star defensive end Joe Mathis and Murrieta (Calif.) Murrieta Valley safety Terin Solomon, who is committed to Oregon State.
Team Pro Sport is another West Coast representative and their squad is led by rising junior pro-style quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels.
Louisiana will be represented by the Bootleggers who is led by standout 2014 running back Leonard Fournette from New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine. Another 2014 standout on the team is safety Laurence Jones from Monroe (La.) Neville. The team also includes a number of LSU commitments in Monroe (La.) Neville four-star wide receiver John Diarse, Shreveport (La.) Green Oaks four-star athlete Tre'Davious White, Loranger (La.) four-star cornerback Jeryl Brazil and Kentwood (La.) Jewel Sumner four-star safety Jeremy Cutrer. Four-star Miami tight end commitment Standish Dobard from New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr is also part of the team.
Another team representing Louisiana is Harvey (La.) West Jefferson. The top prospect on that squad is three-star wide receiver Ronald Lewis. Three-star tight end Draper Riley is also worth keeping an eye on.
Core 6 is a Midwest representative led by Harvey (Ill.) Thornton Township three-star safety Jalen Banks. The 2014 linebacker group for the squad is also very talented, led by Plainfield (Ill.) South linebacker Clifton Garrett and Crete (Ill.) Crete-Monee linebacker Nyles Morgan. Georgia is represented by the Cam Newton All-Stars, led by the 2014 Berry twins - Evan Berry and Elliot Berry from Fairburn (Ga.) Creekside. Another talented 2014 prospect on the team is Clemson quarterback commitment DeShaun Watson from Gainesville (Ga.).
Martin Luther King High School will also have a team present. The Lithonia, Ga. school is home to three-star linebacker Jacarthy Mack, who is committed to Louisville. Three-star safety Jeremy Tyler and three-star wide receiver D.J. Polite-Bray are also part of the team. Rising junior cornerback Wesley Green is arguably the best player on the team.
The West Tennessee Express will represent a number of Southeastern states at the event. Memphis (Tenn.) Whitehaven four-star running back Mark Dodson Jr., an Ole Miss commitment, and Clarksville (Tenn.) Northeast three-star athlete Jalen Reeves-Maybin headline the squad.