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2021 recruiting classes: Who is loading up on transfers?


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Perhaps this can be a single thread for us to keep track of transfers. The quality of recruiting done by a H.S. staff and the team's players tends to make all the difference in what kind of team is put on the field.

In Polk County, which I follow closest, it appears there is more talent dispersion than in the recent past. Lake Gibson is at least as loaded as Lakeland, if not more. Bartow has players. Kathleen figures to have a few. And the small private schools in Lakeland-most obviously Victory Christian, whose staff is dominated by Dreadnaught legends- has a lot of good players. Lake Wales and Winter Haven tend to have them. This also likely means none of these teams will be winning a state title. To beat the elite powers from larger metro areas, Polk County teams need to have consolidated talent from other schools, to where there aren't many great players playing at other schools in the county. This happened in 2018 and to a lesser extent 2019 for Lakeland, for example.

In Tampa, it appeared as of last year that Gaither and Bloomingdale were emerging as new "it" schools that seemed to attract the kinds of players they'd usually lose to other schools. In Orlando, Edgewater is an obvious example of a school that regularly reloads now, after many years of being undistinguished.  

Who appears to be attracting several new recruits in 2021?

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On 4/1/2021 at 11:47 AM, skyway said:

Perhaps this can be a single thread for us to keep track of transfers. The quality of recruiting done by a H.S. staff and the team's players tends to make all the difference in what kind of team is put on the field.

In Polk County, which I follow closest, it appears there is more talent dispersion than in the recent past. Lake Gibson is at least as loaded as Lakeland, if not more. Bartow has players. Kathleen figures to have a few. And the small private schools in Lakeland-most obviously Victory Christian, whose staff is dominated by Dreadnaught legends- has a lot of good players. Lake Wales and Winter Haven tend to have them. This also likely means none of these teams will be winning a state title. To beat the elite powers from larger metro areas, Polk County teams need to have consolidated talent from other schools, to where there aren't many great players playing at other schools in the county. This happened in 2018 and to a lesser extent 2019 for Lakeland, for example.

It will be very interesting to see how zones in Lakeland are re-adjusted to alleviate overcrowding at GJ or if capacity is added.  Least likely will be renewed plans for another high school in SW Lakeland. It's weird to hear that LG has more talent than Kathleen.  I'd never thought I would hear that statement based solely off the draw pools in the core of the city.  What's really starting to sink in more so now than in years past most is the more dominant programs are playing in 1 of 2 classes which would make it really difficult to send multiple teams to state championship without beating the hell out of one another first.  

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On 4/1/2021 at 11:47 AM, skyway said:

In Polk County, which I follow closest, it appears there is more talent dispersion than in the recent past. Lake Gibson is at least as loaded as Lakeland, if not more

My thoughts exactly. As a whole, Polk seems to be as loaded as ever with talent. It's still April, so we could still see some kids shuffle around this summer. I do think Lake Gibson probably has the talent to win state though. They'd still need to get over that Palmetto Hump and then find a way to beat MC. Easier said then done lol.

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On 4/10/2021 at 8:23 PM, Nulli Secundus said:

It will be very interesting to see how zones in Lakeland are re-adjusted to alleviate overcrowding at GJ or if capacity is added.  Least likely will be renewed plans for another high school in SW Lakeland. It's weird to hear that LG has more talent than Kathleen.  I'd never thought I would hear that statement based solely off the draw pools in the core of the city.  What's really starting to sink in more so now than in years past most is the more dominant programs are playing in 1 of 2 classes which would make it really difficult to send multiple teams to state championship without beating the hell out of one another first.  

Seems like Lake Gibson, at the moment anyway, inherits more talent than anyone else in the city. Lakeland's great run from 2017-2019 involved a bunch of LG transfers. And of course LG kept most of the top kids home for this 2022 class.

Looks like Winter Haven has lost a couple of kids to Lakeland so far this offseason, including their starting QB.

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On 4/12/2021 at 6:34 AM, fishspinners said:

My thoughts exactly. As a whole, Polk seems to be as loaded as ever with talent. It's still April, so we could still see some kids shuffle around this summer. I do think Lake Gibson probably has the talent to win state though. They'd still need to get over that Palmetto Hump and then find a way to beat MC. Easier said then done lol.

They're going to have to make a good jump from 2020 to 2021. They weren't particularly close in 2020. My theory, held in high confidence, is that the biggest jumps players make in their careers-at any level- are from their first season of extensive playing experience to their second season. This suggests LG's kids already made that big jump between previous seasons. Their studs will be studs, but maybe not much better than they were last year (hard to do anyway given how good Glover, McCall etc were in 2020). Getting Armwood's D coordinator is a huge acquisition though. 

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1 hour ago, LakelandGator said:

LGibson is 7A this year, talent or not, they won't win 7A.

STA doesn't figure to be off the charts loaded this year. Probably still the favorites, but not any better (or as good most likely) as the 2018 team that was beaten by Lakeland. Of course, I still maintain that 2018 Lakeland was the best team in Polk history, so it's not likely they will be surpassed anytime soon. LG's defensive struggles against the better teams last year must be able to be explained by subpar defensive coordinating, whereby getting Armwood's D-coordinator could make all the difference in the world. If their problems were more due to personnel deficiencies, that doesn't figure to improve a ton. 

Basically, if you took the best of LG and the best of Lakeland and made them into one team, you'd have a 7A title favorite. That's about what we had in 2018. But, the talent seems too split between the schools right now for either to beat STA.

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On 4/14/2021 at 8:47 PM, skyway said:

Seems like Lake Gibson, at the moment anyway, inherits more talent than anyone else in the city. Lakeland's great run from 2017-2019 involved a bunch of LG transfers. And of course LG kept most of the top kids home for this 2022 class.

Looks like Winter Haven has lost a couple of kids to Lakeland so far this offseason, including their starting QB.

LOL, Winter Haven can't catch a break with Lakeland to the west and Lake Wales to the east.

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On 4/14/2021 at 8:57 PM, skyway said:

STA doesn't figure to be off the charts loaded this year. Probably still the favorites, but not any better (or as good most likely) as the 2018 team that was beaten by Lakeland. Of course, I still maintain that 2018 Lakeland was the best team in Polk history, so it's not likely they will be surpassed anytime soon. LG's defensive struggles against the better teams last year must be able to be explained by subpar defensive coordinating, whereby getting Armwood's D-coordinator could make all the difference in the world. If their problems were more due to personnel deficiencies, that doesn't figure to improve a ton. 

Basically, if you took the best of LG and the best of Lakeland and made them into one team, you'd have a 7A title favorite. That's about what we had in 2018. But, the talent seems too split between the schools right now for either to beat STA.

I hate that most of the Lakeland area schools are in the same class (except for Victory).  Such is life.  However, when looking at one of Polk's strengths historically, it was the fact that we could raise hell regardless of the classification.  I fear that getting multiple teams to the title game (let alone winning) may be lost to the early/mid 2000's.

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On 4/18/2021 at 7:40 AM, Nulli Secundus said:

I hate that most of the Lakeland area schools are in the same class (except for Victory).  Such is life.  However, when looking at one of Polk's strengths historically, it was the fact that we could raise hell regardless of the classification.  I fear that getting multiple teams to the title game (let alone winning) may be lost to the early/mid 2000's.

Yeah but, again, trends both culturally and with regard to what rules are/aren't on the books from the mid 2000s-present figure to make multiple Polk champions nearly impossible. The consensus among players and parents everywhere seems to be that it is best to combine forces, where we see a disproportionate amount of talent clustered at a relatively small number of schools. And "school choice" measures now in place mean it is fairly easy for players to do this, with an extended commute to school being the primary or even only impediment to a player wanting to play for a local powerhouse. This all heavily favors schools in large urban areas, most obviously Dade and Broward counties. They've always been formidable, but in this current climate, they've been elevated several notches more. The only way Polk can produce a team that can knock off one of the elites from down there is if a school can end up with a large enough share of the top end talent in the county such that the rest of the schools are down significantly.  

It looks like a very interesting battle between Lakeland and Lake Gibson will continue for several more years. LG managed to keep a lot of talent at home in these last couple of classes. They are now held in high regard locally. If/when Castle finally retires, LG will try to become the dominant school in the city. It might be that Lakeland finds a quality enough replacement that we end up with a good battle for players between the two, and it becomes a rivalry like it never really has been before. But, if Lakeland slips with a coach that struggles to attract talent, we could see LG become dominant and Lakeland fall back substantially-see Bradenton Manatee post Kinnan. It's all about what's "hip and trendy" among youth league players and coaches. Never before in sports history have players felt less in the way of loyalty and commitment to schools. Any no-name program can suddenly emerge as a dominant powerhouse, and any legendary program can suddenly fall back into mediocrity or worse.

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6 hours ago, skyway said:

Yeah but, again, trends both culturally and with regard to what rules are/aren't on the books from the mid 2000s-present figure to make multiple Polk champions nearly impossible. The consensus among players and parents everywhere seems to be that it is best to combine forces, where we see a disproportionate amount of talent clustered at a relatively small number of schools. And "school choice" measures now in place mean it is fairly easy for players to do this, with an extended commute to school being the primary or even only impediment to a player wanting to play for a local powerhouse. This all heavily favors schools in large urban areas, most obviously Dade and Broward counties. They've always been formidable, but in this current climate, they've been elevated several notches more. The only way Polk can produce a team that can knock off one of the elites from down there is if a school can end up with a large enough share of the top end talent in the county such that the rest of the schools are down significantly.  

It looks like a very interesting battle between Lakeland and Lake Gibson will continue for several more years. LG managed to keep a lot of talent at home in these last couple of classes. They are now held in high regard locally. If/when Castle finally retires, LG will try to become the dominant school in the city. It might be that Lakeland finds a quality enough replacement that we end up with a good battle for players between the two, and it becomes a rivalry like it never really has been before. But, if Lakeland slips with a coach that struggles to attract talent, we could see LG become dominant and Lakeland fall back substantially-see Bradenton Manatee post Kinnan. It's all about what's "hip and trendy" among youth league players and coaches. Never before in sports history have players felt less in the way of loyalty and commitment to schools. Any no-name program can suddenly emerge as a dominant powerhouse, and any legendary program can suddenly fall back into mediocrity or worse.

When Castle retires, Jenkins will become the dominant program in Lakeland/Polk County.  Remember, I said it first!
MnkmA81__400x400.jpg.e6113a7d6dcc013bf496f432ffaf7ccb.jpg

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On 4/20/2021 at 2:43 PM, Nulli Secundus said:

When Castle retires, Jenkins will become the dominant program in Lakeland/Polk County.  Remember, I said it first!
MnkmA81__400x400.jpg.e6113a7d6dcc013bf496f432ffaf7ccb.jpg

I think that, without any regard for who's coaching where, just looking at the profile of the schools, that would make sense. But, kids are going to go where it's trendy to play, and LHS and LG are that right now. All those ex-Naughts at Kathleen may boost them as well. But, it is conceivable that Jenkins could put a nice package together and land a really good coach that can both attract and develop players. So, that could happen one day. But, I don't think it would happen right away. 

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On 4/21/2021 at 7:49 PM, skyway said:

I think that, without any regard for who's coaching where, just looking at the profile of the schools, that would make sense. But, kids are going to go where it's trendy to play, and LHS and LG are that right now. All those ex-Naughts at Kathleen may boost them as well. But, it is conceivable that Jenkins could put a nice package together and land a really good coach that can both attract and develop players. So, that could happen one day. But, I don't think it would happen right away. 

I fully expect GJ to provide an attractive coaching incentive to cultivate and grow that program.  Who would pass up the opportunity to play at one of the newer schools in Lakeland with a nice address in a nice neighborhood?  LOL.  Poor Tenoroc out in no man's land.  They don't have a shot in hell, even with all the planned development in the works.

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