Posted On: 05/16/19 7:09 AM
In the spirit of navel gazing, I’ve gathered 7 local players from the classes of 2020-21 to represent the state in a nationwide 7-on-7 tournament. Of course there is no team and there is no tournament. But if there were I think we’d have the athletes to compete at a high level. Depth will always be a question unless we see a vast shift in the prep landscape here.
Athletes like Antwan Kimmons, Jalen Suggs and David Roddy never needed to play football. They did because they wanted to and that’s furthered the love fest of football players with basketball backgrounds. Hopefully, that motivates enough basketball or baseball-only players to try out the gridiron.
Now, without further adieu, the Dream Team…
Jalen Suggs – 6’5″ 185 St. Paul Academy/Minnehaha Academy/Blake
No brainer. This dude is Tyler Johnson dialed up to eleven. Elite athleticism and competitive toughness. But let’s not kid ourselves, Suggs is a basketball player. And in this scenario Suggs’ sees an opportunity to represent his state in football before he moves to college and jumps on it. Has a slew of Power 5 offers for football and should be a 1st round NBA draft pick in 2020.
Demetrius “TK” Marshall – 5’11” 190 Minneapolis Southwest
Operates at a different level competitively. Very good feet and acceleration. Elusive and explosive. Loves contact and finishing runs. Solid hands out of the backfield with the quicks to make people miss. Not a true breakaway threat yet but a 5-20 yard banger with a diverse skill set. Murderers row of Missouri Valley Conference scholarship offers which means an FBS offer is forthcoming.
Raja Nelson – 5’10” 180 Lakeville North
At first he doesn’t look that fast, then he’s behind you. A silky smooth slot receiver and third-down runner with a sick jump cut. Nelson manipulates defenders with quickness, vision and balance to consistently make plays despite the situation. People might say “too small, too slow” like they did about Akrum Wadley and they’ll be wrong. Has offers from UND and Army and should start heating up over the summer. To his parents’ credit, ‘A Scat Back Named Raja Nelson’ just sounds right doesn’t it?
Bastian Swinney – 6’6″ 255 Edina
Looks like Kyle Rudolph right now. Could prove to be a truly special player, surpassing Quinn Carroll. Elite length with the feet to go with it. A natural knee bender who doesn’t have any bad weight and plays strong. Flashes some dominant traits as a c/o 2021 which tells me he’s Minnesota’s next blue chip OL. Already has an Iowa State offer. He’ll only be snapping the ball during this tournament.
Kham Chiaokhiao-Bowman – 6’1″ 180 Robbinsdale Armstrong
Ramaud’s little brother is the shiftier one and that is valued at a premium during 7-on-7 competition. Shows a good understanding of stem manipulation and sinks into his breaks to gain separation. Maybe not as explosive as his brother but he shows a good amount of polish as an underclassman.
Troy Ellison – 5’10” 160 St. Anthony
Flat out one of the funnest players to watch in the c/o 2020. Competition is obviously a factor but his explosiveness laterally and vertically is outstanding. Not afraid to climb the ladder or attack a tight angle to make a play and has excellent hands. His quickness and explosiveness should not be limited to a slot role, as Andy Isabella has taught us. You can find his full write-up here.
Jamar Nelson – 5’9″ 160 Minneapolis Washburn
One of two rising juniors on this team. Have literally never seen him play receiver but he’s fast, quick and tough. His hands are solid and his field vision is encouraging for his age. He plays on a bad team so his development could be in question. Held his own against Suggs & SMB and is a diamond in the rough of South Minneapolis. He’s a key member of my c/o 2021 watch list.
Click here for Part 2: Defense
Images courtesy of 247 Sports, Hudl.com, CCX Media and KSTC 45