Gridiron Kings: Pair of future Gators on championship team
Published: Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 11:47 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 11:47 p.m.
LAKE BUENA VISTA — For the second straight ESPNU 7-on-7 tournament, two future Gators were members of the championship team.
Florida defensive back commitments Tre' Bell (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peter's Prep) and Keanu Neal (Bushnell, Fla./South Sumter) were winners on July 8 at The Opening in Beaverton, Ore.
On Sunday, cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III (Tampa, Fla./Wharton) and linebacker Quinton Powell (Daytona Beach, Fla./Mainland) captured the Gridiron Kings championship with the Southeast squad, which went undefeated for the weekend and manhandled the Midwest team 47-19 in the final.
Hargreaves was named defensive MVP after totaling six interceptions and over a dozen pass break-ups in the tournament.
“It's a great honor,” said Hargreaves, who is ESPN's top-ranked corner and fourth-best overall recruit. “I just wanted to come out here and have fun. I wasn't out here trying to win any awards, but I'm honored that they thought I was the MVP.”
Although Powell projects as an outside linebacker in college and is ranked No. 8 at that position by ESPN, he has played defensive end throughout his high school career and isn't used to covering receivers as talented as the ones in Gridiron Kings.
But the four-star felt he held his own and helped Southeast continue its dominance in the tournament.
“The Southeast is known for winning (this event),” Powell said. “So to come out here and be that next person to win it, it feels real good. I accomplished my goals.
“There's a lot of great wide receivers out there, but I feel I'm right up there with them (talent-wise). I did what I needed to do and therefore I helped my team win.”
Powell said having Hargreaves as a teammate was one of the highlights of his weekend.
“That was the first time I actually played with him,” Powell said. “Just to be out there on the field with him is a great experience. That is a phenomenal athlete.”
Former Georgia quarterback D.J. Shockley was the coach of Southeast and had high praise for the pair of UF commits.
“Both of them are outstanding,” Shockley said. “They're very athletic guys. When the ball is in the air, they make plays and do their job. I was impressed with them both. They showed a lot of resilience and went through a lot of adversity in our first couple games. But they both stepped up to the plate. They're going to do really well on the next level.”
Bell also competed in Gridiron Kings, which took place at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. He and Hargreaves plan to take an unofficial visit to Florida together on Tuesday.
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