UF recruit stands out to win MVP trophy
Published: Friday, January 4, 2013 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 5, 2013 at 12:24 a.m.
ST. PETERSBURG — In Florida’s 33-23 loss to Louisville in Wednesday’s Sugar Bowl, the secondary was torched by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
He passed for 266 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and the UF defensive backs could not cover the Cards’ receivers.
Fortunately for Florida, help is on the way next season.
Five-star cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III (Tampa/Wharton) was named the MVP of Team Highlight in the Under Armour All-America Game on Friday at Tropicana Field. His team, which included five other UF commits, won 16-3 over Team Nitro.
Hargreaves finished with a team-high five tackles, one pass breakup and an incredible interception that he returned for 18 yards.
“I had a great time. This is what I do. I love the game and I just play hard every time,” said Hargreaves, who is the No. 1 cornerback and third-best overall prospect in ESPN’s recruiting rankings.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder won several battles against Laquon Treadwell, the nation’s No. 1 receiver according to ESPN and Rivals.
“He made a couple of big plays, and that’s what separated him in the game,” said Treadwell, who is from Crete (Ill.) Monee. “He’s just a smart player, look at that pick he had. He’s patient and waits to see what the receiver does. He’s going to make an instant impact at Florida.”
Team Highlight was led by former NFL coach and current ESPN analyst Herm Edwards. He had high praise for Hargreaves after the game.
“I haven’t coached a lot of corners at the high school level, but he’s one of the best I’ve seen,” Edwards said. “He uses his eyes real well and has an incredibly fast reaction time, and those are the kinds of traits that the great ones have.”
The other future Gators on the winning team were Belle Glade Glades Day running back Kelvin Taylor, Seffner Armwood receiver Alvin Bailey, Delray Beach American Heritage offensive lineman Roderick Johnson and safeties Marcell Harris (out with knee injury) and Keanu Neal.
Taylor rushed four times for 17 yards, Bailey had two punt returns for 47 yards (long of 41) and a 31-yard kick return, and Neal recorded three tackles.
Florida linebacker commit Matt Rolin (Ashburn, Va./Briar Woods) is recovering from surgery on his torn ACL and did not play for Team Nitro. He enrolls early at UF on Monday along with Taylor.
“All those kids are going to do well in college,” Edwards said. “That’s why they’re going to Florida.”