Posted by Bryan Fischer
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Rutgers is alternatively called its official name of the state university of New Jersey but thanks to several talented teams at the Badger Sports 7-on-7 tournament, it was temporarily renamed the University of Maryland North.
Four teams from the state of Maryland made the quarterfinals of the 32 team tournament, which featured some of the best talent from all over the northeast and Michigan, Virginia and Canada. Despite being the team from the Old Line State that just about everyone overlooked entering the tournament, the Maryland Flex Team used a consistent attack to wear down opponents and eventually become Badger Sports East region champions by upsetting Maryland Dream Team 14-13 Sunday afternoon.
“It’s great, it’s always good to win and I’m happy for the team to come here and win,” Flex team quarterback Shawn Petty said. “A lot of people wouldn’t think of us as the team to come up here and win this thing but it feels good to get the win. You had the five stars on the other teams and all that but we came up here and got the W.”
Petty's numbers in the final game weren't all that pretty - 14 of 21 with a touchdown and two interceptions - but the lefty got the job done in the clutch, continuously moving the chains and leading his team down the field. After gathering being presented the trophy, the 6-foot-3, 230 pound quarterback joined in to a raucous celebration which ended in shouts of "Mar-a-land!"
Though he doesn't hold any offers, the Greenbelt (Md.) quarterback said Maryland is showing the greatest interest and an offer could come soon after he attended a Junior Day at the school a few weeks ago. Petty winds up a little when throwing and needs to work on his feet but he certainly has the ideal size to fit in about any system. The quarterback shied away from talking about his recruitment however, instead trying to bring more attention to high school teammate and frequent target Tyrone TeMoney.
“He goes to my school and I’m not going to quite say he’s my favorite target but he’s my clutch guy I go to,” Petty said. “He’s a great receiver and he needs to be more publicized than most of the people out here.”
Runner up Maryland Dream Team had an impressive collection of talent and was running around the competition throughout the day. Towson (Md.) quarterback Tommy Stuart powered a precision attack that received big plays from wide receivers Deontay McManus, Josh McPherson, and DeQuan Davis. A bit on the smaller side at about 6-foot, 180 pounds, Stuart was nevertheless one of the most accurate quarterbacks at the competition on short and intermediate routes. He is hearing from Ivy League schools and is receiving looks from FBS-level schools as well.
“I think our team played really well,” Stuart said. “We played together and it wasn’t meant to be in the final. Overall, I’d say probably A-, if we’d brought it home an A+. We had some tough times in the game before and we found a way to win.
“My wide outs all played great today. I missed a few passes but we didn’t drop hardly any. We all did a great job.”
McManus in particular was almost uncoverable over the weekend, making several tough catches while doing just about whatever he wanted to defensive backs. The Baltimore (Md.) receiver holds upwards of 25 scholarship offers, including Alabama, Clemson, Maryland, Ohio State, Rutgers and Tennessee. A legitimate 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, McManus caught everything thrown his way and was very impressive when getting off the line. With an impressive combination of power and speed, he is easily one of the top wide outs on the East coast.
Also impressive was tight end/defensive end Charles Tapper. The Baltimore (Md.) athlete played on offense and only received limited repetitions, Tapper was easily one of the biggest players at the competition. He just picked up an offer from Oklahoma and though he will be recruited as a defensive end, the 6-foot-4, 250 pound Tapper displayed good enough speed to go along with his soft hands to get looks at tight end in college as well.
The top four teams in the tournament will all receive invites to the Badger Sports national competition in Tuscaloosa, Alabama at the end of April. By winning the East regional, Maryland Flex will be one of the tournament's four number one seeds.
Virginia, Pennsylvania also shine Sunday
Maryland wasn't the only state that came to play Sunday as teams from Virginia and Pennsylvania also impressed on their way to the semifinals.
One of the largest teams in terms of size, Virginia had several notable recruits on the offensive side of the ball. Wide receivers Anthony Cooper, Romond Deloatch and quarterback Ryan Burns headlined.
Deloatch was perhaps the most physically impressive player at the competition, at a very cut 6-foot-5, 225 pounds. He needs to work on accelerating off the line but was very fluid when running route and has large, soft hands. Deloatch’s best play of the day came on a fade route in the end zone during Virginia’s quarterfinal game, literally jumping up and wrestling an underthrown ball from a defensive back.
“I’m out here to get better for the season,” Deloatch said. “There’s a lot of talent out here and I want to produce and do my thing. I also want to have fun and make new friends.”
Deloatch claims offers from Florida State, North Carolina and Virginia with several more possibly on the way once he receives his SAT scores back. His size and speed compare favorably to fellow Virginian and class of 2011 receiver Quinta Funderburk and he could be a name that starts to receive a lot more attention. Wearing North Carolina eye black stickers on Sunday, Deloatch said the Tar Heels are in the mix but he would not consider them the leaders for his commitment.
“Not really,” he said. “I just got them and I don’t have any answer (as to who’s leading).”
Tournament number two seed Pennsylvania Playmakers also had several talented members to help in their tournament run to the semifinals. Steelton (Pa.) quarterback Max Ward showed off his strong arm for the second straight day. He had several very good options to throw to, including receivers Jalen Strong-Rankin and Kyle Kerrick.
- The team from Michigan upset star quarterback David Sills’ Red Lion Christian Academy team in the first round before eventually falling to tournament winner Maryland Flex.
- There was some late controversy in the final between Maryland Dream and Maryland Flex after the score was incorrectly called a tie as Maryland Dream was driving late in the period. The Dream failed their conversion attempt after their first touchdown, which ended up being the difference in the game.
- The team from Connecticut was the closest competition before the final for Maryland Dream. Wide out DaQuan Davis had a terrific one-handed catch in the back of the end zone to seal the win for the Dream.
- Virginia quarterback Ryan Burns looked the part of a pro-style quarterback at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds. He needs to improve his footwork, specficially working on keeping his feet underneith him better, but has a big arm and should see an increase in offers throughout the summer. Boston College is currently his only offer.
- The next Badger Sports 7-on-7 tournament will be at the University of South Florida on March 12th and 13th.