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Looking back at the NFL locals from the 2017 draft

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Rayshawn Jenkins

The 2017 NFL draft was full of locals who were also stars in track and field. The top two picks among area standouts are both starters in the secondary for their teams. 

The Griffin twins
The Griffin twins/Photo credit: Seattle Seahawks

CB Shaquill Griffin, Seattle Seahawks

High school: Lakewood

College: UCF

Pick: Round 3 (90th overall)

A state champion in track, Griffin focused solely on football once he got to college. He had offers from several schools, including Miami, but turned them down to attend UCF so he could continue to play with his twin brother, Shaquem. As a senior, Shaquill had his best season with the Knights, recording 49 tackles and four interceptions in 2016. Taken by the Seahawks in the third round, Shaquill has recorded at least 59 tackles in each of his first three seasons. His best season came last year when he was named an alternate to the pro bowl.  In 2018, Shaquem joined the Seahawks as a fifth-round pick.

Rayshawn Jenkins
Rayshawn Jenkins/Photo credit: Los Angeles Chargers

S Rayshawn Jenkins, Los Angeles Chargers

High school: Admiral Farragut

College: Miami

Pick: Round 4 (113th overall)

The two-sport star grew up with 17 brothers and sisters and had a rough childhood. His escape was sports. Jenkins was a state champion in the hurdles at Admiral Farragut. He used those skills to become a solid contributor in the Hurricanes’ secondary and move up the draft charts. Taken by the Chargers in the fourth round, Jenkins has steadily improved. Last season, he played the most snaps of any defensive player on the team and finished with 54 tackles and a team-best three interceptions. 

WR Rodney Adams, Indianapolis Colts

High school: Lakewood

College: USF

Pick: Round 5 (170th overall by the Minnesota Vikings)

As a senior in 2016, Adams set USF single-season records for receptions (67) and yards (822). His 16 receiving touchdowns are the second-most in school history. Picked by the Vikings, Adams lasted one season before signing a reserve/futures contract with the Colts in February of 2018. Two months later, he retired from football. After a nearly two-year absence, Adams decided to return to the Colts and was reinstated. 

DB Leon McQuay III, Kansas City Chiefs

High school: Armwood

College: USC

Pick: Round 6 (218th overall)

A star in the secondary at Armwood and USC, McQuay was picked by the Chiefs in 2017 but struggled to permanently stay on the active roster. He was waived in May of last year.  

DL Joey Ivie, Tennessee Titans

High school: Pasco

College: Florida

Pick: Round 7 (228th overall by the Dallas Cowboys)

The Cowboys took Ivie after his impressive pro day at Florida. Waived in September of 2017, Ivie bounced from three teams (Falcons, Seahawks, Chiefs) before the Titans signed to their practice squad this past November. A month later, he was promoted to the active roster. 

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Lakewood’s Amari Niblack commits to Alabama

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Lakewood’s Amari Niblack had offers from 15 schools entering this week, including Florida, Florida State, Georgia and LSU. 

Then Niblack went to a camp at Alabama and picked up an offer from the Crimson Tide. 

That was all the three-star prospect needed to make up his mind. 

On Thursday, Niblack announced on social media that he committed to Alabama. 

A 6-foot-4 pass catching target, Niblack can play receiver or tight end. This past season, he had seven receptions for 126 yards and two touchdowns according to the stats listed on MaxPreps. 

This is the second straight season Alabama has landed an area receiver and the third time in the past five seasons the Crimson Tide has picked a local skill player.

Agiye Hall, who starred at Armwood and Bloomingdale, was part of the 2021 class. He was an early enrollee and has already made an impact with several highlight-worthy catches in the spring game. 

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College Football

Football: Local list of 2022 commits

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The Tampa Bay area always produces a tremendous amount of football talent. This year is no different. Several seniors have already pledged their allegiance to colleges. Here is the list, which is expected to grow considerably in the next few months. 

Armwood

WR Kye Stokes

College: Ohio State

Berkeley Prep

LB TJ Bullard

College: UCF

TE CJ Hawkins

College: Florida

Related: Berkeley Prep’s CJ Hawkins commits to Florida

Calvary Christian

OL Preston Cushman

College: Mississippi

Carrollwood Day

DL Brandon Cleveland

College: North Carolina State

Clearwater Academy

CB Rhyland Kelly

College: Minnesota

Clearwater Central Catholic

LB Melvin Jordan 

College: Oregon State

Gaither

DL Mario Eugenio

College: Michigan

Hillsborough

RB Jordaan Bailey

College: Pittsburgh

DB Adrian Ramsey

College: Howard

LB Joseph Sipp Jr.

College: Colorado State

Jesuit

WR Jaydn Girard

College: Wake Forest

ATH Junior Vandeross

College: Toledo

Related: Jesuit’s Junior Vandeross commits to Toledo

King

OT Tony Livingston

College: Florida

Related: Tony Livingston transfers to King

Lakewood

TE Amari Niblack

College: Alabama

Pinellas Park

PK Robert Gunn III

College: Clemson

Related: Pinellas Park’s Robert Gunn III commits to Clemson

Sickles

WR Javohn Thomas

College: USF

Tampa Catholic

OL Chris Williams

College: Florida A&M

Wharton

LB Daveon Crouch

College: Boston College

Wiregrass Ranch

QB Rocco Becht

College: Iowa State

Related: Wiregrass Ranch’s Rocco Becht commits to Iowa State

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Pinellas Park’s Robert Gunn III commits to Clemson

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Kickers typically are not offered scholarships while they are in high school. Most at the Division I-A level arrive as walk-ons with the chance to earn a scholarship based on their performance. 

Robert Gunn III is not your typical kicker. 

The Pinellas Park senior is ranked as the nation’s best at the position in the Class of 2022 according to Kicking World. That lofty status got the attention of college coaches.

Gunn III already has offers from six colleges, including Clemson and Texas.

The offer from the Tigers came on June 13 during an unofficial visit. Two days later, Gunn III ended the recruiting process by committing to Clemson. 

“I wanted to go to Clemson because of the people and how they care about the school so much,” Gunn III said. 

The Tigers have been successful landing area special teams stars. Former Jesuit and IMG standout Aidan Swanson will be a redshirt sophomore punter for Clemson this season. 

Now the Tigers will have an area kicker, too. 

This past season, Gunn III hit both of his field goal attempts and had 16 of his 19 kickoffs go for touchbacks. He also averaged 44 yards per punt.  

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