7-on-7 Winners, The Maryland Flex
This past weekend, Rutgers hosted the Badger Elite 7-on-7 tournament in the bubble. The event was one that was filled with excitement as most of the top skill players in the Northeast were competing.
Although the media was restricted by NCAA officials from taking video at the event, and have been told not to evaluate the prospects that were in attendance, there is still plenty to talk about. There were tons of new prospects who will emerge from this event.
The first prospect we will address is Elizabeth’s Eli Hughes. We did an interview with Hughes at the N.J. team practices several weeks ago where he impressed the events director and founder Kashann Simmons. Hughes had set the Union County record for touchdowns in a season last year with 25 and really did a lot to further his cause recruiting-wise by having a tremendous performance at the event. He took two draw plays to the house and left defenders lunging for air as he whizzed by them at a breakneck pace. Hughes’s recruitment has yet to really take off but coming out of this event there will be several colleges intrigued by the Elizabeth speedster.
Take a look at his highlights below:
Hughes played for the N.J. Zoom, who won their first game against a surprisingly good New Hampshire team to advance to the second round. They then lost to the Maryland Speed team. While Hughes was the biggest standout for the zoom, other players including Sean Maguire - who had one of the better passing performances on the day - as well Piscataway safety Tajae Sharp, Holy Spirit linebacker Ethan Gambale, and Woodbridge wide receiver Anthony Nyers were also very impressive.
The N.J. Flash were handpicked by Simmons (the event’s director) as well as coached by him. They went 3-1 on the first day beating most of their competition with ease except for being upset by a New Hampshire squad coached by Brian Toal. The Flash then won their first two games on the second day before being beaten by the Virginia team which was probably the most talented team at the event.
Overall, Leonte Carroo had a very nice performance on the weekend scoring at least one touchdown in every game including several that saw him jump over multiple defenders. Brandon Napoleon was the ring leader of the group and had plenty of nice throws and made some good decisions. After winning the 400 meters at the Meet of Champions on Saturday, Najee Glass reported to the event and got better as it went on.
By the second day, he was the most active receiver on the team scoring several touchdowns in the Flash’s first two victories. D.J. Singleton and Delon Stephenson were two players that were successful in covering receivers while Piscataway sophomore Nadir Barnwell made some nice plays on the ball as well.
At linebacker, Jazzmar Clax probably had the best performance of the event for the Flash team while playing alongside other highly regarded linebackers such as Quanzell Lambert and Vin Ascolese. Clax had a couple interceptions and seemed to be accustomed to playing in 7-on-7s. Overall, the Flash were one of the better teams at the event but seemed to lack communication on the defensive side of the ball which was their downfall.
The N.J. Bolt, who featured Woodbridge quarterback Kyle Anderson and Don Bosco super Sophomore Juwan Jackson, were the third team from the Garden State. The Bolt went 2-2 against some of the better competition at the event but was unable to advance beyond the round of 16 on the second day. Their biggest playmakers also included Absegami’s Kyle Wiggins and St. Peter’s J.R. Robinson, who was active in the passing game throughout the event. With Napoleon, Glass, and Robinson, St. Peter’s should be able to move the ball well on offense despite losing Savon Huggins for next season.
The fourth New Jersey team at the event was the NJ Fly who was a team that was made of mainly underclassmen. Their quarterback was Kevin Olsen, the son of the legendary Wayne Hills coach and brother of Bears tight end, Chris Olsen. Olsen made some nice throw throughout the event however the Flash struggled against the massive amount of talent present and were unable to advance.
The New Hampshire team was one of the more surprising teams at the event coming into the event having never practiced together, or having met Toal before. They were beaten soundly in their first contest against Virginia and got better as the event wore on. Their biggest performer was wide receiver\linebacker Abner Logan who we will profile later in the week.
Heading to New York, the NYC team really struggled and did not win any games despite having highly-regarded Wayne Morgan on their roster. Morgan was pretty much irrelevant during the event due to the struggles of his team but did have several nice pass break-ups and caught a few balls.
The Western N.Y .team was organized and coached by Kala Gause the uncle of Quinton Gause. Quarterback Dominic Scavo performed well and was able to link up with Devonte MacFarland on the first day. The team got a shot in the arm when Marcus Mcgill and Jahmahl Pardner arrived after competing for their respective basketball teams on Saturday. Both players remained active on both sides of the ball and were a big reason why the N.Y. team had a decent showing.
Looking outside our immediate region, the Connecticut team scored several big victories while being led by quarterback Casey Cochran who had a solid throwing performance at the event.
The Maryland teams were all stacked with talent. Team Swag featured Ronald Darby, Dondre Echols, and Monte Taylor who all respectively came up with nice defensive pass break-ups and touchdown catches.
The Maryland Speed team was led by Good Counsel stars Stefon Diggs and Wes Brown. Both players were amongst the most active scorers at the event. One player from the Maryland, Paul Harris, a 6-foot-4 sophomore from DeMatha Catholic, also was a very productive player.
The Maryland Dream Team featured some players with great ability such as Charles Tapper, a 6-foot-4 and 235 pound linebacker who is new to the game and holds an Oklahoma offer. The Dream Team also featured athlete Deontay MacManus, who currently holds over 25 offers and had some amazing one-handed grabs. The Dream team defensive backfield was loaded and locked receivers down the entire event with Calvert Hall cornerback Da’Quan Davis, Daquan Smith, and Donavan Riley.
The Virginia team was led by Eli Harold and Phoebus wide receiver Romond Deloatch, who were both able to succeed against every corner at the event not named Da’Quan Davis. Harold has been looking at SEC schools while Deloatch has been actively recruited by Rutgers yet claims he is likely headed to Florida State. The Virginia team also featured two excellent sophomore quarterback prospects in Salem’s Bucky Hodges and Stonebridge’s Ryan Burns. We will have an article up on both prospects later in the week.
In the end, the Maryland Flex team eventually defeated the Virginia team in a very close contest. The entire day, they brought intensity and energy to their games and really played well cohesively. While they did not have the headliners that some of the other teams had, they played smart football and had no weaknesses. They carried the attitudes of being the players who nobody wanted –into a finals victory against the Maryland Dream Team.
Stay tuned as the Badger Elite 7-on-7 coverage continues throughout the week.