Last Thursday night, two talented high school football teams took center stage on ESPN2 under the lights in Venice, Florida. The 3rd-ranked Panthers of St. Frances Academy (MD) traveled down the coast to the sunshine state to take on the Indians of Venice High School. The Panthers came out on top, 34-17, and moved up to 3-0 on the season. I wanted to highlight and break down the play of some of the recruits in this game on both sides, starting with Venice first.
Damon Wilson, EDGE (2023)
Damon Wilson was the best player on the field for the Indians by far. The 2023 edge recruit asserted his dominance and imposed his will from the line of scrimmage from the first snap. Damon Wilson's frame, 6-4, and 300-plus pounds proved to be too much for the St. Frances offensive line. There is no doubt in my mind that his combination of elite power and speed will translate to the next level. The Venice edge rusher remains one of the top prospects in the country that has not yet committed to a university. (32nd-ranked player in the nation, 5th-ranked EDGE nationally.)
Fin Jones, TE (2023)
The first touchdown scored by Venice came from Florida Atlantic commit, class of 2023 TE Fin Jones. The three-star TE caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from his quarterback, Brooks Bentley. Jones impressed me with his route-running ability and willingness to block downfield on run plays. He has the physical traits to become an effective tight end on the next level, standing at 6-5 and 230 lbs.
Ryan Matulevich, WR (2025)
Ryan Matulevich is a recruit that I predict will pick up more power five offers throughout his high school career. Matulevich is a very talented route runner and has underrated speed. He received a touchdown pass in this game against the Panthers in the final quarter. The receiver has a rangy frame standing at 6’0 and 185 lbs. The future is bright for the WR prospect.
St. Frances Academy
Michael Van Buren, QB (2024)
Michael Van Buren showed tremendous patience and poise inside the pocket for St. Frances throughout the entire game. He is accurate and deliberate with his decision-making in the pocket. The comparisons between him and Bryce Young are not far off at all. Van Buren is an excellent game manager, and he puts his team in the best position to win week in and week out, and it was on full display against the Indians of Venice. (78-ranked player in the nation, 8th-ranked QB nationally.)
Durell Robinson, RB (2023)
A three-star recruit and Boston College commit, Durell Robinson, impressed me the most during this game on the offensive side of the ball. The first thing about this kid is his size at the running back position. Robinson is 6-1 and weighs 190 lbs. He is essentially a tank running the ball out of the backfield at the high school level, and it was on full display Thursday night. For being that size, Robinson has sneaky speed once Robinson gets to the second level, and is a bruiser running in between tackles as well. I'm excited to see what he becomes at Boston College next year. Also, it would not be fair to show some love to his running mate in the backfield 2024 prospect, Dejuan Williams, as the backfield tandem rushed for over 300 yards combined. (43rd-ranked RB in the nation, the 10th-ranked player in Maryland)
St. Frances Academy Defensive Line Play
I wanted to highlight this group as a whole. The Panther defensive line is one of the most talented groups in the country. This group dictated how this game was played early on, taking control of the line of scrimmage in the fashion they did. They pushed around the Venice offensive line from the first whistle to the last. I could not give just one player the credit, as it was a huge group effort all around.
They all are mentioned below.
- Deshawn Womack ‘23 DL - LSU commit, 6th-ranked DL in the nation
- Isaiah Neal ‘23 DL - Pitt commit, 63rd-ranked DL in the nation
- Sam Greene ‘23 DL - USC commit
- Brian Simms III ‘23 DL - Boston College commit
- Donovan Dyson ‘23 EDGE - UMass commit
Blake Woodby, CB (2025)
Last but not least, another standout from the game was a sophomore sensation, Blake Woodby. This kid oozes confidence. His confidence directly translates to his gameplay on the field. Even as an underclassman, his technique is impressive. His cover skills are elite on the outside and in the slot. He will be a rising prospect in the class of 2025, and I foresee him being one of the top cornerback recruits in his class.