It’s just a few days until Nspantionspanl Signing Dspany, which means college football fans actively are dreaming about how their commits fits at their favorite program and which uncommitted players could don their team’s hat on Wednesday.
With that in mind, State of Recruiting H.Q. hosts Jon Santucci and Chris Boyle wondered what a 22-player team (sorry kickers and punters) would look like if they could draft any senior football player in the state.
Here’s how that draft played out.
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BOYLE: KEON KEELEY
(Berkeley Prep EDGE, Alabama)
Boyle: I prefer to build a balanced roster for the modern game, so I’ll use most of my early picks on guys who can either pass the ball, catch passes, protect the passer, rush the passer or defend the pass. Let’s start with consensus top-10 national recruit Keeley, who had 17.5 sacks as a senior for Berkeley Prep. General rule of thumb: If he’s good enough for Nick Saban, he’s good enough for me.
SANTUCCI: RUEBEN BAIN
(Miami Central EDGE, Miami commit)
Boyle: It was either one of those two guys for me.
Santucci: It was a coin flip on two guys. Bain is the first name that came out of my mouth. He’s a super-productive winner who would be the No. 1 player in the nation if he was a few inches taller.
BOYLE: CORMANI MCCLAIN
(Lakeland CB, Miami commit)
Boyle: Yeah, he’s the top corner in the country. This is a no-brainer. Next!
Santucci: Well, great. You just shut down half the field.
SANTUCCI: JOHN WALKER
(Osceola DL, UCF commit)
Boyle: No! Stop that right now.
Santucci: I almost took him at No. 1. I am very focused on building that D-Line and making it impossible for you to move that ball.
BOYLE: DAMON WILSON
(Venice EDGE, Uncommitted)
Santucci: Insert poop emoji here!
Boyle: I was not expecting a defensive tackle this early, but Walker’s the best guy in the state at that spot for me. Anyway, let’s partner Keeley with Venice’s ferocious edge rusher Wilson, who starred in Saturday’s Class 4S final against Lakeland.
SANTUCCI: JORDAN HALL
(Westside DL, Uncommitted)
Santucci: I do not care if this is the right way to build a team or not. You cannot run the ball between the tackles and all three of my guys so far will destroy your quarterback. Game over. Give it up now.
BOYLE: BRANDON INNISS
(American Heritage WR, Ohio State commit)
Boyle: OK, it’s time to start snagging offensive players. Let the debate rage on — build through the trenches, or with weapons? I’ll nab Inniss, who caught 79 balls for 1,336 yards and 15 TDs for the Class 2M runner-up Patriots.
SANTUCCI FRANCIS MAUIGOA
(IMG OT, Miami commit)
Santucci: I never considered myself a huge admirer of linemen, but I guess I am. Mauigoa is mammoth and elite. I already feel great about my O-Line.
Boyle: Dave Gettleman would be proud of your affinity for hog mollies.
BOYLE: LUCAS SIMMONS
(Clearwater Academy International OT, FSU commit)
Santucci: Dang it! That really threw me off. I was hoping I could steal both of the big tackles.
Boyle: Nope. If I was going receiver first, you can be sure I’m taking tackle right afterward. Simmons, the 6-foot-8, 300-pound Swede, will protect the blind side for my squad.
SANTUCCI: RODERICK KEARNEY
(Orange Park OL, Florida commit)
Santucci: That Simmons pick really threw me. I’m grabbing Kearney, a dominant run blocker who will pave the road with Mauigoa.
BOYLE: DIJON JOHNSON
(Wharton DB, Florida commit)
Santucci: I really like versatile defensive backs. That’s a great pick. He can play cornerback or safety.
Boyle: Johnson’s tape popped for me about as much anyone I watched entering the 2022 season. He intercepted three passes and batted away a further 10 as a junior, and was hardly challenged in his six appearances this fall.
Santucci: I don’t want to agree with you too much — ever — but I have to wholeheartedly agree. Johnson’s junior film was unforgettable.
SANTUCCI: CEDRIC BAXTER JR.
(Edgewater RB, Texas commit)
Santucci: I’m going to go away from the lines, for a pick at least, and take the most complete running back in the state.
Boyle: Baxter’s my RB1 as well, but knowing we’re likely only going to take one apiece, I’ll wait a little while longer.
BOYLE: TYLER WILLIAMS
(Lakeland WR, Georgia commit)
Boyle: There just aren’t very many teenagers measuring 6-5, 195, that can stretch the field vertically. Williams is one of them, and though the stats (31 receptions, 412 yards, six TDs) weren’t outstanding, he still flashed enough to entice reigning national champion Georgia.
SANTUCCI: DAMARI BROWN
(American Heritage CB, Uncommitted)
Santucci: I know there are other guys who are higher rated, but throw in the film from the Heritage-Chaminade game and tell me he’s not a stud.
Boyle: *throws in the film* … Nope. It checks out.
BOYLE: DERRICK LEBLANC
(Osceola DL, Oklahoma commit)
Boyle: Well, you nabbed Walker earlier, so I’ll take his equally terrifying teammate. LeBlanc can wreck shop as either an end in a three-man front, or a defensive tackle on a four-man line.
SANTUCCI: DESMOND RICKS
(IMG CB, Uncommitted)
Santucci: I was hoping you would forget he reclassified. Not sure that was the case, but I feel a little better about trying to slow down Inniss and Williams.
Boyle: Guilty as charged. Gut punch.
BOYLE: KING MACK
(St. Thomas Aquinas S, Penn State commit)
Santucci: I have been a huge King Mack fan since his sophomore year and was hoping he would get past you.
Boyle: Not after what he did this past weekend to clinch yet another Aquinas title — five tackles, two pass breakups and a 58-yard punt return touchdown.
SANTUCCI: RAYLEN WILSON
(Lincoln LB, Georgia commit)
Santucci: It might be early to take a linebacker, but Wilson can do everything for a defense. And he’s going to have plenty of space and freedom to wreak havoc playing behind that defensive line.
BOYLE: SHARIF DENSON
(Bartram Trail CB, Florida commit)
Boyle: Give me the entire South Florida Express secondary. Denson, like his counterparts, is an alpha. He wants your best guy and plans to erase him. He can play slot, boundary, possibly even some safety.
SANTUCCI: CARNELL TATE
(IMG WR, Ohio State commit)
Santucci: I really like Tate and I feel good about starting my skill group with him and Baxter. Tate gets open downfield, and I’ve seen him make some very difficult catches.
BOYLE: GRAYSON HOWARD
(Andrew Jackson LB, South Carolina commit)
Santucci: Oh man! I really wanted Howard. That’s a great pick.
Boyle: Tackling machine, 188 of them to be exact this season for a greatly improved Andrew Jackson squad.
SANTUCCI: EUGENE WILSON III
(Gaither WR, Florida commit)
Santucci: I don’t know if it’s too early to take a slot but Wilson is such a tough cover and he’s so explosive. He can help in the return game, too. This is a really good slot class all the way down the list with Wilson, Nathaniel Joseph, Robby Washington, Creed Whittemore, Asaad Waseem, etc.
Boyle: It’s not too early. He was the next name on my list.
BOYLE: SHAWN RUSS
(Dunbar DB, Uncommitted)
Santucci: I actually thought you were going to make this pick at some point because you saw him in the Final Four and that may have been his signature game.
Boyle: He was so good that night, too. Russ manned up at corner with Mainland’s talented junior James Randle, and snagged two interceptions when dropping back to safety. Came away highly impressed.
SANTUCCI: TROY BOWLES
(Jesuit LB, Georgia commit)
Santucci: You took Grayson Howard, so I felt compelled to take my second linebacker. Bowles is outstanding in coverage. He’ll help slow down your passing game.
BOYLE: PEARCE SPURLIN
(South Walton TE, Georgia commit)
Boyle: The measurables are off the charts… 6-6, 220 with an 81-inch wingspan. Those numbers equate to catch radius, and he’s going to be a weapon at Georgia. Last September, in a game against Baker, Spurlin had 13 receptions for 318 yards and five touchdowns.
Santucci: MAKARI VICKERS
(Munroe S, Oklahoma commit)
Santucci: Vickers is a do-it-all safety. I like him as the last line of my defense.
BOYLE: CLAY WEDIN
(Carrollwood Day OL, Auburn commit)
Boyle: Most recruiting services forecast Wedin to play on the interior, but he’s got tape at both tackle spots. He plays with a mean streak, delivering punishing blows with his heavy hands.
SANTUCCI: CONRAD HUSSEY
(St. Thomas Aquinas S, Penn State commit)
Santucci: I had to get one of the Aquinas safeties. Hussey’s got elite speed and he’s a playmaker.
BOYLE: RICHARD YOUNG
(Lehigh RB, Alabama commit)
Santucci: I just want to hear from people in Southwest Florida when they realize that Richard Young was the player you picked from that area.
Boyle: Known advocate for the 239. Many people are saying this. Young had college coaches flying helicopters to visit him this spring. He totaled 4,693 yards and 42 touchdowns on the ground at Lehigh.
SANTUCCI: ELLIOT WASHINGTON
(Venice DB, Penn State commit)
Santucci: I’m going with a 4-2-5 defense, so Washington’s versatility will be big. He can hit, he’s a ball hawk and he can return kicks.
BOYLE: LEWIS CARTER
(Tampa Catholic LB, Oklahoma commit)
Boyle: This kid is a complete football player. Not only did he register 108 tackles, four sacks and two picks, Carter was Tampa Catholic’s leading rusher! He averaged 11.1 yards per carry with 14 TDs!
Santucci: That’s a great pick. Carter was one of the most impressive guys I saw during the spring.
SANTUCCI: JAYDEN WAYNE
Jayden Wayne (IMG EDGE, Miami)
Santucci: I needed one more edge rusher and Wayne is an easy fit. I feel really good about the two future Hurricanes on the outside.
BOYLE: NATHANIEL JOSEPH
(Miami Edison WR, Miami commit)
Boyle: I love how we’re 18 rounds deep and still no quarterback. Who’s gonna blink?
Anyway, Joseph is a nightmare for slot defenders and has enormous potential in the return game for good measure.
Santucci: Me. And you’re gonna be stunned.
SANTUCCI: KEYONE JENKINS
(Miami Central QB, Auburn commit)
Boyle: Wow. Interesting.
Santucci: He’s a winner, pure and simple. He’s played in a lot of big games, so he’s not going to blink under the bright lights.
Boyle: I’m torn between Emory Williams and Anthony Colandrea, but I’ll come back to that in a minute.
BOYLE: TOMMY KINSLER
(Trinity Catholic OL, Miami commit)
Santucci: I really like Kinsler. Big body, moves well. He’ll be a good guard at the next level.
Boyle: Really good pedigree for linemen at Trinity Catholic, too. He was at the center of a recruiting tug-of-war between the Gators and the Hurricanes.
SANTUCCI: ANTONIO TRIPP
(IMG OL, Miami commit)
Santucci: I like Tripp as a guard. I was going back and forth between him and Kinsler, so you made this pick for me.
BOYLE: PAYTON KIRKLAND
(Dr. Phillips OT, Texas commit)
Boyle: First off, he’s got an elite handshake — one befitting a 6-foot-6, 345-pound behemoth. Opinions are somewhat mixed on his next-level position, but Kirkland adds more power and punch to my offensive line.
SANTUCCI: KNIJEAH HARRIS
(IMG OL, Florida commit)
Santucci: Harris is one of the best true centers in the nation. Still feeling good about the trenches. And I’m gonna shock you with my other tackle.
BOYLE: EMORY WILLIAMS
(Milton QB, Miami commit)
Boyle: I spent time watching senior film before choosing my QB. Colandrea, Cardinal Gibbons’ Dylan Rizk, Cocoa’s Blake Boda, Nease’s Marcus Stokes and Miami Northwestern’s Taron Dickens were also among those under consideration, but I like Williams’ arm talent, physical tools and improved command of his offense.
SANTUCCI: HYKEEM WILLIAMS
(Stranahan WR, FSU commit)
Santucci: Williams’ raw skills are too much to ignore. A lot of people I’ve talked to think he’s really going to make major strides at the next level.
BOYLE: KAMRAN JAMES
(Olympia DL, Florida commit)
Boyle: While my defensive line lacks an outright run-stuffer, it’s going to attack in waves. James will add weight to his 6-foot-6, 265-pound frame and should learn to become a real nuisance for opposing blockers.
SANTUCCI: OLSEN PATT HENRY
(First Baptist TE, Clemson commit)
Santucci: I’m going to go away from the IMG well and take Henry. I can see him playing as a flex tight end. He’ll be a walking mismatch in the slot and a first down machine at the next level.
BOYLE: WILLIAM LARKINS
(Chaminade-Madonna C, Indiana commit)
Santucci: You ready for the surprise?
Boyle: Can’t wait. Quality centers are in short supply, so I’m happy to take 6-foot-5, 305-pound Indiana commit Larkins from undisputed 1M champion Chaminade-Madonna.
SANTUCCI: CHRISDASSON SAINT-JEAN
(Evans OT, West Virginia commit)
Santucci: This is high risk, but I think it will be high reward. Saint-Jean is big, played really well as a senior and is just scratching the surface of what he can do.
Santucci: Ok, so those are our teams. One last thing. We were pretty position locked and limited. Who are five guys that didn’t get drafted that you really would have liked on your team, for whatever reason?
Boyle: Well, I went with edge rushers early, so I didn’t get to take IMG Academy’s Samuel M’Pemba but he would certainly make the list. Then, I’ll mention a pair of wide receivers in Wiregrass Ranch’s Bryson Rodgers and Gulliver Prep’s Jalen Brown. Rounding out the list, I’ll shoutout Fleming Island running back Samuel Singleton and Lake Brantley linebacker Andrew Harris, who had three picks and 72 tackles as a senior.
Santucci: In no order, and without any explanation, I’m going with Chaminade-Madonna ATH Edwin Joseph, American Heritage RB Mark Fletcher Jr., Boone WR Aidan Mizell, Columbia LB Jaden Robinson and Vero Beach WR Vandrevius Jacobs. There are others, but I did limit it to five.
QB: Emory Williams
RB: Richard Young
WR: Brandon Inniss
WR: Tyler Williams
WR: Nathaniel Joseph
TE: Pearce Spurlin
OL: Lucas Simmons
OL: Clay Wedin
OL: William Larkins
OL: Tommy Kinsler
OL: Payton Kirkland
EDGE: Keon Keeley
EDGE: Damon Wilson
DL: Derrick LeBlanc
DL: Kamran James
LB: Grayson Howard
LB: Lewis Carter
CB: Cormani McClain
CB: Sharif Denson
CB: Dijon Johnson
S: King Mack
S: Shawn Russ
QB: Keyone Jenkins
RB: Cedric Baxter
WR: Carnell Tate
WR: Hykeem Williams
WR: Eugene Wilson III
TE: Olsen Patt Henry
OL: Francis Mauigoa
OL: Roderick Kearney
OL: Knijeah Harris
OL: Antonio Tripp
OL: Chrisdasson Saint-Jean
EDGE: Rueben Bain
EDGE: Jayden Wayne
DL: John Walker
DL: Jordan Hall
LB: Raylen Wilson
LB: Troy Bowles
CB: Desmond Ricks
CB: Damari Brown
CB: Elliot Washington
S: Makari Vickers
S: Conrad Hussey