Gridiron Kings draws top talent



UPDATE: Sunday’s results below.

It’s a whirlwind, this life as a recruiting writer. One night under the lights at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, the next morning at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in the Disney World complex.

I’m here to check out Gridiron Kings, a 7-on-7 tournament of elite prospects broken into four regional teams. The Southeast team, featuring plenty of familiar names, is looking to carry on a brief tradition of success. Southeast teams won this event in its first two years of its existence.

This year’s Southeast team, coach by still-intimidating-looking former Jacksonville Jaguars safety Donovin Darius, features Florida commitment Latroy Pittman, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound wide receiver from Citra, Fla., North Marion.

Another player of interest to the Gators is five-star wide receiver Nelson Agholor, who skipped Friday Night Lights in Gainesville when he was asked to be a late fill-in for Miami WR commit Angelo Jean-Louis.

Florida State commitments present include linebacker Ukeme Eligwe and Ocala safety P.J. Williams. Miami has running back Randy “Duke” Johnson and linebacker Keith Brown, teammates from Miami Norland leading the way. The ‘Canes also have undersized linebacker James Burgess, who had been working hard for a Florida offer before he committed to UM a few weeks ago.

South Florida is represented by area commitments Chris Bivins, a cornerback from Gainesville High, and Sean Price, a tight end from Citra North Marion.

Other players of interest to Florida include linebackers Deaysean Rippy and Quanzell Lambert as well as athlete Cyrus Jones from the Midwest team. On the West team, wide receiver Derrick Woods, of Los Angeles, Calif., has maintained the Gators among his top five schools for quite some time.

“This is nice,” Woods said of Gridiron Kings. “I love stuff like this because I get to see all the other competition that’s out there. I get to see players that I will play against in college, so it’s already good.”

The Southeast won both of it’s games Saturday, 25-19 against the West and 20-19 over the a Southwest squad determined to knock them from their perch.

UPDATE: The Southeast, which came from behind twice on Saturday to win the top seed, was finally unable to keep up its streak of comebacks. The Midwest squad took down the two-time defending champs, 18-14, in one of Sunday’s semifinals. The Southwest defeated the West in the other.