DR7 Road To The Crown Orlando: Saturday Standouts

By Platform Scout : Marc Henry @marchen44

 

Florida is known for producing some of the most elite football talent in the nation. With its rich tradition of high school football and year-round great weather for training, the state consistently churns out top-tier athletes. College programs from all over the country flock to Florida each year to scout and recruit the best players. Events like DR7 Orlando provide a platform for these talented individuals to showcase their skills in a competitive setting.  The mission and goal of The Platform is to #ExposeTheUnexposed and provide adequate coverage of athletes around the country giving them exposure. There were several players who stood out during pool play.

 

 

Cayden Thomas | Class of 2026 | Quarterback | Mitchell High School | 7v7: Trinity Elite | @CaydenThomas_

Thomas showed that he can make all the throws on the route tree,  he has the arm talent to push the ball deep, making accurate passes and his play on Saturday was the reason he was a standout during pool play, Cayden make the right reads often, he sees the field well and his ability to fit the ball into small passing windows, was what made him effective. He pushes the ball outside the numbers on a rope with good accuracy and his knack for finding the open man was key in moving the chains. Thomas has the goods that make top notch signal callers under center and I expect him to play a huge role in his teams success on Crown Sunday.

 

Nehemiah Ward | Class of 2026 |Wide Receiver | Ocoee High School| 7v7: Underdog Mentality | @nehemiah_2407

Ward is a tough cover in the slot, he has superb short area quickness and his burst at snap enabled him to get open consistently on day one of the DR7 Orlando tournament. He has sure hands that uses to attack the football at the catch point and his ability to get big in traffic allows him to makes grabs in tight coverage. He has the speed and quickness to beat defenders off the ball and he made multiple grabs for first downs. Ward made defenses pay attention to him as he was one the top targets for Underdog mentality and his game shows that he will continue to be a reliable playmaker on Crown Sunday.

 

 

Erik Rios | Class of 2025 | Quarterback | University High School | 7v7: Underdog Mentality | @ErikR14_

Rios was one the most accurate passers to take the field on Saturday and he will be a key component in his team’s success heading into day two of the tournament. Erik can spin it, he has good velocity on his ball with the ability to make throws into the tight windows. His footwork in the pocket was clean, he went thru his progression quickly, speeding up his internal clock and he was able to put the ball on the money to his receivers to keep the chains moving. Rios tossed several touchdowns on day one of the Road To The Crown Orlando and he will be a player to watch on Crown Sunday.

 

 

Bryce Backus | Class of 2026 | Athlete | Mitchell High School | 7v7: Trinity Elite | @BackusBryce2

Backus shows his versatility by plays well on both sides of the ball and his ability to make plays in crunchtime was on full display during pool plays. Two of his top plays were on defense playing on the backend at safety. He stepped in front of two passes for interceptions, showing great eye discipline, when he sees the ball leave the quarterback’s hands, he has the speed and quickness to break on the ball and make a play on it. Backus is equally as quick off the ball when he lines up at receiver. He ran crisp routes, he ability to be quick in space and work the middle of field, were key traits in his game that allowed him to make several big catches in traffic. Backus has a stout build that he uses to roll and absorb contact in heavy traffic and he came up with a couple of first down grabs to move the chains. Bryce showed on Saturday that he can be a factor on both side of the ball.

 

 

Eric Jenkins | Class of 2027 | Wide Receiver | Crystal River High School | 7v7: Showtime Bulls | @EJonTop_2 

Jenkins had impressive showing during pool play, standing tall when his team needed him and he came away several clutch grabs. At 6’2 185 pounds, Eric has a lean, stout frame that he uses well to wall off defenders allowing him to make grabs in tight coverage. He has an large catch radius, he attack the football at the catch point aggressively and he is ability to pluck the football out of the air forcefully led to him making several contested grabs. Jenkins showed that he has the tools in his game to be a reliable target and he will no doubt get more touches heading into Crown Sunday.

 

 

Gerald Lawton | Class of 2025 | Wide Receiver/Running Back | Vanguard High School| 7v7: Team Tampa | @JuiceLawtonIII

Lawton has juice in his game, he is an explosive playmaker with the football in his hands, he has superb short area quickness and his burst after the catch makes him a nightmare matchup. He has sure hands, he runs crips routes and he excels at yards after the catch. His nickname “Juice” his fits his game, he definitely is a game a changer and when he makes plays you see his ability to be a difference maker with the football in his hands. He has an offer from Western Kentucky but I expect more schools to line up after they see the Juice get loose on the gridiron.

 

 

E’Shawn Sutton | Class of 2026 | Defensive Back | Winter Park High School | 7v7: Gridiron Elite | @EshawnSutton

Sutton showed that he has the skill set to play cornerback at a high level. He has a long, lean frame with an extended reach and he uses his hands well in press coverage to shock receivers with a stiff punch at the line of scrimmage. Sutton has clean footwork, he transitions into his backpedal smoothly and his ability to cut, open his hip and mirror receivers puts him in position to make plays on the football. At 6’1 185 pounds, Sutton has the measurables that fit the profile for defensive back at the next level. He showed his superb ball skills in coverage by stepping front of a pass thrown in his zone and made his opponent pay causing a turnover.

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