In Part Three of the 2022 Semipro Coast To Coast Elite, we dive into the much-awaited top twenty.
As mentioned, the list consists of players from three different leagues. Roughly nine hundred players fell under the microscope. As a result, many will emerge from this list unhappy. Ninety-two percent of players observed on film did not make the cut. It’s the Coast To Coast Elite, not the Coast To Coast One Good Game. In celebrating the best, others feel slighted. As always, game information and rationale are included. Semipro continues to astound.
20. Duane Fleming (ATH, Crescent City Kings) and Thomas Sims (ATH, Alabama Sabers)
Rationale: Granted, Fleming does do his share of talking. However, he will play anywhere on the field. For instance, he finished a game at center, versus the Dynasty. Fleming attacks the ball with malice in his heart and enmity towards the opponents. That conference championship loss should anger him and fuel for a better 2023. Meanwhile, Sims enters the list here. In all candor, late film and the endorsement of a trusted source allowed Sims’ entry. Bluntly put, if Sims plays, the Sabers win. If he doesn’t, they won’t. Players like Fleming and Sims are similar with one difference: Fleming’s games appear on film. Sims’ tape passes hands and to keep it real, I will never pay for the film.
19. Tee Glenn (ATH, Crescent City Kings) and Kivon Taylor (QB, Georgia Thrashers)
Rationale: Without a scintilla of humor, Tee Glenn should not be on this list. Not because he isn’t talented/ Like a few others on this list, he needs to ply his trade on a bigger stage with a chance for paydays. I’ve said this for the longest time. Glenn’s blend of blinding speed and vision grants his team a threat in the offense and special teams. Meanwhile, Taylor, fresh off a stupendous 2021, completed two-thirds of his passes, without one of his main targets from last year. No quarterback gathers and throws outside the pocket like Taylor. Glenn and Taylor share traits: not enough touches and need to play on a larger stage. Taylor’s twelve touchdowns on eighty-nine passes is a stunning stat. Plus, factor in all of the dropped passes and that TD ratio would be ridiculous.
18. Javier McGriff (WR, Georgia Cobras)
Rationale: For the better part of four seasons, McGriff continues to build on his reputation. 2022 saw him set a career-best in yardage while tying his marks for receptions and touchdowns. Scary part? McGriff doesn’t turn twenty-six until September. Whether he stays with the Cobras or takes his show on the road, the ability to separate, secure, and streak remains a staple of his game. Averaging nearly eighteen yards a pop guarantees big plays.
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17. Clarence Jackson (LB, Georgia Thrashers)
Rationale: Despite missing three games, Jackson showed the world why he is a cornerstone of the Thrashers’ defense. More importantly, his violent play style and attention to detail set him apart from just about every other linebacker this season. Granted, the eight-and-a-half sacks and two interceptions in the regular season look great. However, no linebacker shoots a gap with the acceleration and purposeful direction like Jackson. He will stuff a back on third and shot, or string the play out to make the stop.
16. Corey Kennedy ( ATH, Crescent City Kings)
Rationale: Gamebreaker at multiple positions, Kennedy set the tone early in 2022. Kennedy runs crisp routes at all three levels. Moreover, his ability to track the ball in flight over each shoulder threatens defenses. Can play seven spots on the Semipro field.
15. Tyrone Jones (QB, Greater Pensacola Jets)
Rationale: The evolution of Jones from athlete to quarterback continues. Away from the stats, you see a different player. Time spent as a Gulf Coast Gator helped to mold him into a far superior passer. The deep ball stopped drifting. During his first stint with the Jets, Jones ran for his life, throwing out of happenstance and not design. Now, a little older and wiser, Jones will eventually make his way back into the Top Ten.
14. Jyron Walters (QB, Crescent City Kings)
Rationale: Last year’s top player overall, Walters slid a bit. While his numbers surpassed last year’s, something seemed amiss. Walters throws an incredible ball. Yet, whether it was the rush getting home or miscommunication, too many balls left his hand without his customary snap. After the heartbreaking loss to end his season, Walters will need to weigh his options and see if he can regain his 2021 form.
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13. Jarren Mallory (WR, Mississippi Dynasty)
Rationale: The light finally switched on for Mallory. After logging double-digit touchdowns, the former basketball player continues to hone his craft. Averaging over thirty yards a grab during the regular season, Mallory elevated himself in the conversation among the best wideouts in the league.
12. Justin Robinson (DE, Mississippi Dynasty)
Rationale: The most prolific pass rusher in the history of the APDFL tallied another ten-sack campaign. However, what impressed me most is the ability to kick inside when injuries struck the defensive line. forcing fumbles and beating guards with quickness. If he returns next year, Robinson could put the career sack record out of reach for a few years.
11. Rodrick Gladney (OL, Mississippi Dynasty)
Rationale: As of this writing, Gladney and his teammates, sit sixty minutes away from hoisting another championship, silencing doubters. A year ago, many thought the Dynasty was done. Defenders thought Gladney lost a few steps. However, with a renewed passion for the game and a chip on his shoulder, Gladney bullied opponents into submission.
10. Darrell Crawford (OL, Georgia Thrashers)
Rationale: If you hear them tell it, centers play the most important position on the field. In this case, they’re correct. Crawford played intelligently with balance, instinct, and calm. Additionally, he ventured away from the middle to help in other areas of need.
9. Darius Gillette (EDGE, Georgia Thrashers)
Rationale: Battling back from an injury that hampered him in 2021, Gillette brought the arsenal out. Perhaps the smartest defender in Semipro, he used the opponents’ overaggressiveness against him. The film showed too many unbent knees and crossed feet. Seventeen and a half sacks proclaimed that he sits among the Semipro elite and will do so for as long as he wants to play.
8. DeMarcus Sweat (WR, Georgia Thrashers)
Rationale: The best big-play receiver in the APDFL, bar none. Sweat embarrassed opponents for over nine hundred yards and eight regular-season scores. A matchup nightmare for four quarters, Sweat wins with talent and undeniable will. If things break correctly, a top-three selection in 2023.
7. Amarie Jackson (EDGE, Columbus Storm)
Rationale: On the sheer force of will, Jackson ended up with twenty-one sacks. He’d tell you himself that he left roughly five to seven more on the table. That will come with age and experience. Jackson’s reach, surprising bend, and ability to close helped the Storm defense rank among the league’s best. Now, he must build upon this effort with intensive film study, repertoire enhancement, and better conditioning. If anyone will break Justin Robinson’s career sack record, Jackson will. However, like Tee Glenn and the next name on the list, they need to be playing for pay. A rising star in Semipro.
6. Jerquin Vines (ATH, Columbus Storm)
Rationale: The Swiss Army Knife of the Storm, Vines assumed the mantle of leadership, carrying the team at points. Outside of his highlight-reel catches, the willingness to jump in and play everything from running back to defensive back earns this spot. While some can play both sides of the ball sparingly, Vines posted double-digit tackles and handled returns. Vines battling through injury and a quarterback change. Regardless of what happens around him, he will lock in.
5. Sam Washington (DT, Mississippi Dynasty)
Rationale: After winning multiple titles and looking at life beyond football, most players would go gently into retirement. Those players aren’t Sam Washington. Washington appeared fresher than he seemed last season. Not to mention, he lost significant weight, helping his quickness off the snap. From multiple opponents, they all say that Washington gave them the business all season long. Retirement will wait a few more seasons if he continues to play this way. 12.5 sacks and a myriad of pressures brought him here.
4. Rotavious Thurmond (WR, Mississippi Dynasty)
Rationale: After managing only three catches, Thurmond woke up. As of this writing, including the playoffs, he found the endzone twenty times. In the conference championship game, Thurmond scored twice against the highly-vaunted Kings defense. He managed to erase the bad taste of an early drop and rise to the occasion. One of the best, quietest seasons you will ever see. Best kept secret in Semipro.
3. Keywan Bullock (DB, Crescent City Kings)
Rationale: The best defensive back needn’t the most picks to gain respect and acclaim. In fact, many quarterbacks won’t test a talent in the secondary. In 2022, Bullock affected the game in three ways. As mentioned, he shows the ability to blanket wideouts all game. Next, he will not shy away from run support, smacking the ballcarrier. Lastly, effective as a blitzer, which for a defender, remains a gigantic plus.
2. Marquavious Favors (ATH, Georgia Thrashers)
Rationale: In 2022, Favors defined what an edge rusher should provide. Twenty-four sacks and numerous other pressure led the APDFL. Concomitantly, Favors caught passes out of the backfield, rushed for a score, and returned kicks. Yet, don’t get this wrong, Favors sits this high on the list is the freakish ability to win off the edge. For a player, barely 197 pounds, battling tackles that outweigh you by upwards of a hundred pounds must wear on a player. Considering what Favors endured off the field makes flying by a left tackle much easier. Beloved by his teammates, and respected by foes, Marquavious Favors enjoyed the best defensive season in the APDFL.
1. LeSteven Jackson (ATH, Mississippi Dynasty)
Rationale: One bad throw. In the regular-season game against the Kings, Jackson blamed himself for a pass that ended up as a game-losing interception. Instead of resting on previous achievements, Jackson grabbed the reins of the offense and engineered a revenge season like no other. With whispers growing louder about the Dynasty ending, Jackson took this personally. In a career filled with championships and accolades, 2022 saw Jackson return to the hungry contender. As he prepares to retire after Saturday, the man with 105 regular-season touchdowns and three (maybe, four) champions leaves as the greatest player the APDFL ever produced.
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