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February 23, 2013

NLA Saturday: Top defensive players


The best players in the Sunshine State converged on the Florida Space Coast on Saturday for the first day of the NLA 7-on-7 Southeast Regional Tournament. Here are the top defensive players from the first day of action.

NLA DEFENSIVE TOP PERFORMERS
1. S Edward Paris, Mansfield (Texas) Timberview (2014)
Paris is a big, physical safety, and had the players been wearing pads on Saturday, he would have probably delivered his fair share of big blows. Regardless, he showed great range at safety and solid coverage skills in one-on-one situations. It's clear that he's a special player, whether it's against the top talent in Texas or in the Southeast.

2. ILB Kain Daub, Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood (2014)
Daub is a big, physical linebacker who is known to do his fair share against the run. But during his team's games on Saturday, he also showed that he's pretty good in coverage. His athletic ability allows him to match up with wide receivers when needed, and he did a nice job reading the quarterback and breaking on the ball in the air.

3. CB Quincy Wilson, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) University School (2014)
There's a reason Wilson has offers from most of the top programs in the country. On Saturday, his physicality was on full display as he gave his opponents fits at the line of scrimmage. At 6-foot-2 and nearly 200 pounds, Wilson already looks the part of a college defensive back and should continue to develop nicely this offseason.

4. CB Marcus Leslie, Miami (Fla.) Coral Reef (2014)
Playing for talent-rich South Florida Express, Leslie stood out with his coverage ability. In his team's first two games he was tested, but came through with a big deflection at the goal line to save a touchdown on one occasion and showed nice closing speed when the ball was in the air. He's also pretty strong for a player his size (5-foot-9, 166 pounds), allowing him to rip the ball out of receivers hands when the opportunity presents itself.

5. S Marquese Dudley-Gordon, Weston (Fla.) Cypress Bay (2014)
Dudley-Gordon has yet to receive his first offer, but if he continues to play like he did on Saturday it shouldn't be too far down the road. Playing at safety, he helped lock down half the field in a close contest against South Florida Express. After he made a tremendous read that led to an interception of multiple-offer quarterback Nico Pierre, he didn't see a ball come his way the rest of the game.

6. CB Anthony Gamble, Fort Pierce (Fla.) Central (2014)
Gamble isn't one of the biggest names at the event, but he had one of the best individual days. He's sneaky quick, as more than a few quarterbacks found out, and he has very good hands. He made one of the highlight plays of the day when he laid out for a diving interception and hung onto the ball despite crashing to the turf.

7. LB Frank Newman, Homestead (Fla.) (2014)
Newman played both sides Saturday and did damage on each. As a linebacker, his skills are obvious and even though he's a bit sawed-off, he makes up for it with his football instincts. It appears he can play either inside or outside linebacker and his coverage skills will serve him well.



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