Article photo of Stacy Gage and Davion Gause; credit Brian Smith.
The talent came to Orlando to perform during the Pylong event held at Austin Tindall Sports Complex.
A litany of top seven-on-seven programs found their way to the Sunshine State, with programs from Out West, the East Coast, and across sections of Alabama, Florida and Georgia, among others.
The following was a sampling of recruiting news gathered throughout the day, with no particular order with the list of prospects mentioned, and every prospect being from the class of 2024.
Cai Bates, CB, Orlando (Fla.) Edgewater / 24K
He’s no longer underrated. Bates showed why on Saturday with the ball skills to play cornerback despite being 6-foot-2. He’s a humble player despite being a top playmaker as well. That’s added to his recruiting profile, with college coaches knowing this young man has shown a disciplined personality and work ethic to reach the point he’s at on and off the field. All of those points are good reasons for why Bates has seen his recruitment explode.
He’s received a surplus of 20 scholarship offers during the past month. Just beginning with Jan. 17, Bates has seen Miami, Western Michigan, East Carolina, Liberty, Rutgers, Louisville, Temple, Pittsburgh, Troy, Duke, Maryland, Wake Forest, Illinois, Brown and Cincinnati extend offers.
Bates could very well end up being one of the nation’s top overall cornerback recruits.
Lloyd Irvin, CB, Upper Marlboro (Md.) Charles Herbert Flowers / MD (97) Octane Elite
One of the longest cornerbacks at the tournament, Irvin’s 6-foot-2 frame stood out from across the gridiron. His smooth and natural backpedal was not challenged as the opposition chose to throw the football to the other side of the field while he was being evaluated. Literally, not one pass went his way.
Irvin started to pick up offers in the last few months, with Temple, Maryland, James Madison, Colgate, Boston College and Marshall. Schools like Alabama and Penn State, among others, also have come by to see him and his talented teammates.
Irvin has been a fast riser and his evaluation at Pylon should only help him in the future. He’s a legit Power 5 cornerback.
Zaquan Patterson, DB/WR, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna / Defcon
One of the top South Florida prospects regardless of position, Patterson was playing wide receiver for Defcon on Saturday. It was a chance to see him perform in space, on offense, instead of defense where he’s primarily been recruited. Patterson’s lateral ability proved to be excellent for a powerfully built frame. In short, Patterson looked the part of a Power 5 wide receiver.
As for recruiting, he’s being hammered by schools from numerous sections of the United States. Not much to update since he was interviewed by All Hurricanes this past weekend during the Battle Miami event.
Earl Kulp, CB, Miami (Fla.) Central / South Florida Express
While not interviewed for a recruiting update, Saturday represented a chase to watch Kulp in action over a long period of time. It was impressive to see him move in space.
Kulp’s length has been present for a couple of years. Everyone knew he had a chance to develop into a Power 5 cornerback or wide receiver. Seeing him go against talented wide receivers reiterated that point as his bend was tremendous; he spring-loaded out of his stance at the snap to jump-press receivers a few times.
Kulp also played some off coverage and quickly drove on the football once it was in the air. His upside should be considered high. Kulp just needs to continue to work his craft before being considered a sure-fire can’t-miss prospect. One cannot teach Kulp’s measurables, however.
Jeremiah Smith, WR, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna / South Florida Express
Is there a better all-around prospect in the class of 2024 when one has considered on and off-the-field attributes? Smith dominated during Pylon Orlando. That’s been the norm no matter where he’s played. He did so again and with his usual quiet nature.
His burst off the line of scrimmage defeated press coverage multiple times. Cornerbacks often failed to even get a clean shot at him, which spelled doom and touchdown at the same time. As for overall athleticism, the following picture placed his talents into perspective.
As for recruiting, Smith should be considered as locked in with Ohio State as one can be. While anything can happen, it would be extremely surprising if he flipped to another school, based on multiple conversations with him during Saturday as well as last weekend at Battle Miami.
Ryan Mack, CB, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas / South Florida Express
Polished. That’s a good way to define Mack’s game. He’s shown to be calculated when attacking a wide receiver at the line of scrimmage, as well as mirroring his opponent down the field without holding or grabbing. He could end up at nickel corner or play field corner at the college level.
As for recruiting, Mack mentioned Florida State, Miami, Pittsburgh and Wisconsin as some of the schools he’s interested in and have been showing him interest. He’s no place near ready to make a college decision, and will likely take his official visits.
KingJoseph Edwards, DE/TE, Hochston (Ga.) Mill Creek / Tight Action
A national recruit that was earning offers as a mere freshman in high school, Edwards has been a prime target of many college coaches in recent weeks. Some of the college coaches that have been courting him heavily include Alabama’s Nick Saban and Georgia’s and Kirby Smart.
Georgia, Southern California, Ohio State, and Alabama are four schools to watch with Edwards, but that’s just the beginning. Florida State, Tennessee, and several other programs have been after him as well, and he’s still listening to coaches that come by his high school.
Miami head coach Mario Cristobal was by Mill Creek High School last week. The Canes are definitely a program to watch if they continue to go after Edwards.
Edwards offered the following about Cristobal when they have held a conversation.
“Very nice, very well mannered,” Edwards began. “He talks to me about football, about academics, and life.”
Look for Edwards to make a decision in the fall, if not on National Signing Day.
Stacy Gage, RB, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas / South Florida Express
Like most running backs, he did not play a whole lot during a seven-on-seven event. When he did, Gage showed natural pass catching abilities by snagging the football away from his body. He also mentioned that while he was at IMG, coaches there wanted to move him to receiver. That was his freshman season of high school.
As for recruiting, there were three schools he mentioned as likely official visits for right now, and a fourth that’s pretty likely as well. Oklahoma, Ohio State, Florida, and Southern California. There’s a very long way to go with his recruitment.
Davion Gause, RB, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna / South Florida Express
Speaking of top running back recruits, Gause had a great over-the-shoulder catch and run to the end zone. He’s been known as a power running back, but his physical power was translated into a receiver during that play. He looked to be in top condition. Gause said he’s around 205 pounds right now.
As for recruiting, North Carolina and Louisville have caught his attention and are in prime position to land unofficial and/or official visits. Miami, UCF (recruiting the hardest), and many others have been after him as well.
He’s curious about Miami’s next offensive coordinator, so keep that in mind, too.
Gause’s laid back personality and understanding of the big picture have been part of the reasons why he’s likely to keep a close eye on coaching moves; he understands their impact on him.
Those attributes should be considered reasons that his recruitment could go on a long time as well. He wants to make a calculated decision and there’s no reason to believe that’s changed after holding a conversation with him.
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