ORLANDO, Fla. – He’s done all that’s been asked of him yet Orlando Jones High School’s Withney Simon, the No. 2-rated linebacker in Central Florida, is unsure of his football future.
I caught up with Simon following the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl earlier this month at the Florida Citrus Bowl and asked him about his college options. He said that although he’s got the grades to qualify for football at the next level, he’s a bit surprised at how little interest he’s garnered from college programs.
The following list of game notes from the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl appeared in print in the Orlando Sentinel on Jan. 6.
– Lewis leaning toward USF, Cincy
Having already played in the Central Florida All-Star Game back in November, East River’s Shelton Lewis relished the opportunity to line up at defensive back and return kicks in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl against even stiffer competition.
“Most everybody here is committed [to college programs] or has a lot of offers, so this was a good situation for me so I could compare my talent to their talent and see how I stack up against them,” Lewis said afterward at the Citrus Bowl.
Lewis said he has official visits planned at USF, Cincinnati and FAU in the coming weeks, and that although he’s remained in contact with Indiana during his recruiting process it’s the Bulls and Bearcats that have peaked his interest most as of late.
– Shriner sizes up competition
Of the three area players that took part in the O-D Bowl on Friday, Oviedo’s Alec Shriner was the only one on the winning side as the starting center for the American team, which prevailed 34-17.
East River’s Shelton Lewis suited up for the National squad, as did Jones High School’s Withney Simon, who started at linebacker.
“It was great to be out there with the top guys in the nation, working hard and getting after it,” said Shriner, who is committed to West Virginia. “It was just great to get the work in.”
– USF commit has strong outing
Brett Kean gave USF fans a sneak peak at what’s to come at quarterback for the Bulls as the Cleveland St. Edwards (Ohio) senior finished 8 of 13 passing for 83 yards with two total touchdowns for the American team.
Kean tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Oliver (Tennessee) early in the third quarter then dove into the end zone for a 1-yard score with a minute to play in the first half.
Other state commits taking part in the O-D Bowl were Tallahassee Godby linebacker Danny Thomas (USF), Miramar defensive back Herbert Miller (FAU) and Tallahasse Lincoln offensive and defensive lineman Tarrick Thomas (FAU).
Miller intercepted Boynton Beach’s Lamar Jackson (Louisville) on the final play of the first half to help the Americans take a 28-3 lead into the break.
– Stevenson and Croft stand out
Jordan Stevenson (Texas) rushed for 139 yards on seven carries and finished with 24 yards receiving to earn most valuable player honors. Stevenson broke loose for a 38-yard run early in the fourth quarter to put him over 100 for the game.
Just one day after Minnesota suffered a big loss to Missouri at the Citrus Bowl, Gophers commit Demry Croft finished 11 of 14 passing for 172 yards and two touchdowns in a win on the same field. Croft rifled a 79-yard strike to Damian King (undecided) along the sideline with two minutes left in the first quarter then connected with Jaelan Austin (TCU) for 29 yards late in the third.
– Dr. Phillips standout named to 2016 team
Jonathan Pollock was recognized at halftime as a 2016 Offense-Defense All-American. The Dr. Phillips linebacker has numerous offers from the likes of Mississippi State, Temple, USF and Indiana but has already pledged his commitment to Rutgers as a junior.