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June 8, 2012
Power Positions: Speed to burn at Lincoln
They're eager to do it again in the fall.
Davis and Williams were part of the Lincoln 4x100-meter relay team that posted a championship time of 41.06 seconds in the Class 3A state track meet last month. Now they'll try to help Lincoln's football team win its second state championship in three years.
If the Trojans reach that goal, they can thank the track speed of Davis and Williams, who help give Lincoln arguably the nation's most star-studded high school receiving corps. It's tough to catch either of these two Rivals250 recruits, which makes it extremely difficult for opponents to catch up to Lincoln.
"If you're playing in the state of Florida, you'd better be fast," Lincoln coach Yusuf Shakir said. "If you don't have a fast team, you're not going to win a state championship in the state of Florida. If you don't have difference makers and don't have guys who are special with their speed, you can't win in this state."
Lincoln annually has plenty of difference makers with speed. That helps explain why the Trojans have won three state titles (1999, 2001 and 2010) over the last 13 seasons while producing Division I prospects with assembly-line precision.
Since the current version of Rivals.com started in 2002, Lincoln has developed two five-star prospects (safety Pat Watkins in 2002 and wide receiver Fred Rouse in 2005), 15 four-star recruits and 25 three-star players. The list includes New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie and current USF quarterback B.J. Daniels.
That makes Shakir's comments about Davis all the more remarkable.
"He's one of the fastest players who ever played here at Lincoln," Shakir said.
Davis' statistics won't jump off the page. He caught 26 passes for 385 yards and four touchdowns last season while complementing three-star prospect Raphael Andrades, who collected 37 receptions for 750 yards and 10 touchdowns on his way to accepting a scholarship offer from Florida.
But he has much more promise than those numbers suggest. There's a reason he heads into his senior season as the No. 17 wide receiver and No. 134 overall prospect in the 2013 class.
Davis' track statistics arguably provide a better glimpse of his potential. Davis, who verbally committed to Georgia on Sunday, placed seventh in the 3A state meet in the 100 with a time of 10.93 seconds.
"If it wasn't for my speed, I don't think I'd have the offers I have," Davis said.
While Davis thrives on his speed, Williams benefits from his height. Williams' 6-foot-4 frame should make him a matchup nightmare for opposing defensive backs.
Williams ought to know how those guys feel. Even though he's rated as the No. 26 receiver in the 2013 class, Williams spent much of his junior year playing in the secondary because of Lincoln's defensive needs. He gets to focus more on wide receiver this fall.
"Obviously being 6-4 is going to help you, but he's not just a red-zone threat," Shakir said. "He's basically a tall guy who can do what smaller guys can do. He can sink and bend his hips and change direction like a small guy. That's what makes him so special as a taller player."
Lincoln also features Myles Gaines and Jamerson Blount. Gaines, a two-star slot receiver, has earned offers from FCS programs Appalachian State and Furman. Blount has made enough of an impression to earn a file on the Rivals.com database, though he has no rating or reported offers.
Those receivers have the benefit of working with a former college star and second-round draft pick. Jacquez Green is perhaps best known in Tallahassee for breaking the hearts of Florida State fans in 1997 with a 63-yard reception that set up Florida's game-winningtouchdown in a 32-29 upset, knocking the Seminoles out of national title contention. After playing five seasons in the NFL, the former Gator now works as Lincoln's offensive coordinator and head track coach.
"He does a phenomenal job," Shakir said. "When these guys work, they're not just around catching balls. He works with them on all the fundamentals. ... These guys are good at all the small things. What I love is all the things you don't see. They love to block for each other. All of them play special teams -- the kicking teams and return teams."
Green will help these receivers adjust to a new situation this fall.
The departures of Andrades and Tennessee State signee Ronald Butler will force these receivers to take on expanded roles in the offense while adapting to a new quarterback. Cameron Joseph and Kendall Randolph are competing for the right to replace Butler as Lincoln's starting quarterback. Randolph already has offers from the likes of Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, Miami and South Carolina, though the 2014 prospect is primarily being recruited as a cornerback.
Taking over the offense of an annual state title contender is a challenge for any first-year starting quarterback. Having the opportunity to throw to a pair of four-star recruits should make that task much easier.
"If a team has just one special corner, you can't guard both of us at the same time," Davis said. "If one person's having a bad game, hopefully the other will have a good game.
"Hopefully, both of us will be having a good game."
When that's the case, the opposing defense will have little hope at all.
OTHERS OF NOTE (in alphabetical order)
Cedar Hill (Texas): Quincy Adeboyejo (three-star prospect, 5.6 rating, committed to Texas A&M), Laquvionte Gonzalez (four-star prospect, 5.8 rating No. 24 wide receiver and No. 164 overall recruit in 2013 class, committed to Texas A&M), Brandon Harris (2013 prospect in database, though he doesn't have a rating or any offers)
Cleveland Heights (Ohio): Shelton Gibson (four-star prospect, 5.9 rating, No. 14 wide receiver and No. 122 overall recruit in 2013 class), De'Niro Laster (three-star prospect, 5.7 rating, No. 65 wide receiver in 2013 class), Dorien Hudson (unranked prospect with an offer from FCS program St. Francis, Pa.),
Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian: Dhameer Bradley (three-star prospect, 5.5 rating), Freddy Canteen (2014 prospect with offers from Hawaii and Rutgers), Neiko Creamer (three-star prospect, 5.5 rating), Daikiel Shorts (three-star prospect, 5.5 rating)
Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) University School: Jordan Cunningham (four-star prospect, 5.8 rating, No. 21 wide receiver and No. 154 overall recruit in 2013 class), Dionte Taylor (three-star prospect, 5.6 rating, No. 93 wide receiver in 2013 class), D.J. Woods (two-star prospect, 5.4 rating)
Immokalee (Fla.): J.C. Jackson (2014 prospect committed to Florida State), Tshumbi Johnson (high school quarterback being recruited as a receiver, three-star prospect, 5.6 rating, No. 51 all-purpose athlete in 2013 class, has made soft commitment to USF), Xavier Richardson (three-star prospect, 5.5 rating, committed to USF)
Manvel (Texas): Austin Bennett (three-star prospect, 5.7 rating, No. 61 receiver in 2013 class), TE Koda Martin (2014 prospect with offers from Baylor, Colorado, Colorado State, Memphis, Texas State, Texas Tech and UCLA), Kyrion Parker (three-star prospect, 5.6 rating, No. 69 receiver in 2013 class, committed to LSU), Carlos Thompson (2013 prospect in database, though he doesn't have a rating or any reported offers)
Orlando (Fla.) Evans: Tony Stevens (four-star prospect, 5.8 rating, No. 25 receiver and No. 187 overall recruit in 2013 class, committed to Florida State), Dominic Walker (three-star prospect, 5.7 rating, No. 52 receiver in 2013 class)
St. Petersburg (Fla.) Lakewood: Rodney Adams (four-star prospect, 5.8 rating, No. 36 receiver and No. 242 overall recruit in 2013 class, committed to Florida), Jocqui Ellison (unranked prospect with offer from Toledo), Donterio Fowler (2014 prospect in database, though he has no reported offers), Marquez Valdes (three-star prospect, 5.5 rating)
Tyler (Texas) John Tyler: Darion Flowers (2013 prospect in database, though he's unranked and has no reported offers), Justice Liggins (two-star prospect, 5.4 rating), Fred Ross (four-star prospect, 5.8 rating, No. 34 receiver and No. 231 overall recruit in 2013 class, committed to Oklahoma State), Greg Ward (all-purpose athlete who plays quarterback in high school but is being recruited as a wide receiver or cornerback, three-star prospect, 5.5 rating)
Wylie (Texas) East: Marcell Ateman (four-star prospect, 5.8 rating, No. 41 receiver in 2013 class, committed to Oklahoma State), Vequan Jones (three-star prospect, 5.7 rating, No. 57 receiver in 2013 class, committed to Baylor)