DR7 National Championship: Weekend Defensive Standouts (18-15U)

    By: Drew Johnson (@RealNews102)

    The DR7 Road to the Crown seven-on-seven circuit has featured 9 tournaments nationwide with various states including Florida, Georgia, Texas, and is now hosting the National Championship in Round Rock, TX this weekend. This article will focus on stars that shined brighter than others at #TheCrown in their respective age groups. Names featured are the top standouts that National Platform Scout Drew Johnson has made a note of.

    The mission and goal of The Platform are to Expose the Unexposed and provide adequate coverage of athletes participating in the Dedication & Respect 7-on-7 circuit. There will be more articles and player standouts from our national scouts throughout the week. Let’s get to it!


    Jeremiah Conaway | Class of 2024 | 7v7: Elite House | YMLA 

    Conaway immediately stood out because of his long frame at defensive back, standing at a true 6-foot-3 height to go along with good coverage skills and hand work. Conaway displayed good football IQ for the position combined with fluid hips for his frame. He played in both man coverage and dropped back in the zone, making it tough for receivers to get going on his side of the field. College coaches in Texas have to get eyes on Conaway before missing out on a gem. He’s taken recent visits to Texas State, UTSA, and Sam Houston. 


    Jacobe Hayes | Class of 2025 | 7v7: Wallstreet | Mansfield High

    Hayes was the alpha dog of the WallStreet defense. He recorded 2 picks that I saw with one being a game closer. Tough and physical at the line of scrimmage but also displayed his ability to flip his hips and have a nose for the ball. Interestingly, Hayes is a sophomore stud wide receiver for Mansfield High, where he recorded 34 receptions for 561 yards and 7 touchdowns last season. College coaches in the state of Texas should check in their backyard for rising talent. 


    Dillon Dixon | Class of 2024 | 7v7: KB3 | North Shore

    Dixon was my standout linebacker of the day because of his ability to lock in and see everything in the middle of the field. He even had a couple of interceptions as a result of fluid movement with his size and good route anticipation. The 6’1, 215-pound North Shore product has a really good frame with another season to add weight and skills to be truly effective at the position. Keep an eye on his overall development and recruitment heading into his senior season.


    Photo credit: Elite House – Smothers

    Jamare Smothers | Class of 2025 | 7v7: Elite House | SA Roosevelt High

    Smothers was one of the more vocal defensive backs of the tournament in Round Rock that showed off his good coverage skills and overall football awareness. The rising sophomore recruit plays the safety position but has the agility and fluid hips to be a plug-and-play versatile defender at the next level. 



    Notable Riser ⭐️

    Mitch Melton | Class of 2024 | 7v7: Texas Fury | Conroe High 

    Ran into one of the rising linebacker recruits in the state of Texas at DR7 in Round Rock, Mitch Melton. He has seen a big uptick in offers and interest since first watching him compete a year ago at a Kennesaw State camp. Melton has added more size to his frame and could tell he’s focused on the leadership mentality. He’s truly determined to grow and make his mark at the next level. Just check the film. Good speed, size, and strength to make an impact for a Division I school. Keep an eye on his overall progression heading into his senior season.


    *Best of the rest:

    Leo Almanza | Class of 2025 | 7v7: Wallstreet | 3 INTs this weekend*

    Hayden Tumminia | Class of 2025 | 7v7: YPL 

    Bryan Sanders | Class of 2024 | 7v7: Texas Fury

    Tristan Willis | Class of 2027 | 7v7: CAT Takeover

    Eddrick Jordan | Class of 2025 | 7v7: True Buzz 15U

    Collin Cottingham | Class of 2026 | 7v7: True Buzz 15U

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