BULLHEAD CITY, Ariz. – The Pylon 7on7 Tournament is in the books and we wrap it up with the Gorney Awards. Take a look:
Hunter was the best player at the event. And he might have been the most dominant player both on offense and defense as the five-star Florida State commit has incredible speed, he glides down the field and then it looks like he has springs on his shoes because he simply jumps higher than anybody else out there. Hunter came down with a bunch of circus-like catches he made look easy and then on defense the five-star athlete covered ground, knocked passes away and was all over the field. The Suwanee (Ga.) Collins Hill recruit looks like he’s on a pogo stick out there but under control at all times.
LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE
This award goes to the prospect who makes everyone stand up and notice when he touches the ball and that was Coleman, who got off to a slower start during round-robin play on Saturday but then picked it up from there. He’s not Jaylen Waddle because the two have different body frames but Coleman has fast feet, he has dynamic ability to get open, speed down the field and then great vision to haul in passes. He played for Fast Houston, said Alabama has the edge in his recruitment and in space, Coleman could be devastating.
This award goes to someone who could move up in the rankings and, as a high three-star receiver from Missouri City (Texas) Fort Bend Marshall, Marshall has great size as an outside receiver and was unstoppable deep numerous times over the weekend. At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, Marshall has elite size if not elite speed but he can stretch the field, reach over cornerbacks for passes and he did an excellent job being a deep threat. There probably aren’t 50 receivers better than him in the class so Marshall could see a bump.
BULL MARKET II
Who’s moving up in the rankings? Well, let’s get a ranking on Green first and if the 2022 receiver was going to start off conservatively as a low three-star, that thought has changed after seeing him dominate over the weekend. He was 2024 QB Cole Welliver’s favorite target all week and Green is an easy target because of his tremendous length, great hands and ability to separate. Only Oregon State, Nevada and FAU have offered so far but Green is really talented and could pick up more Power Five offers soon.
The award for the best footwork usually goes to a running back or defensive back and in this case it’s Blue. Even though running backs are not used as much in 7-on-7, the Texas commit made his presence known by flexing out of the backfield, causing matchup problems for linebackers and making plays all weekend. Blue is fast, he’s shifty and he can catch so new Texas coach Steve Sarkisian will have lots of ways to use him.
This award goes to the player with the best hands and Wilson might not have had the most catches in the entire tournament but near the end zone, he was outstanding. Four-star quarterback Maalik Murphy would just loft the ball Wilson’s way and he would use his big, physical frame to go up, catch the ball with his hands and then come down in-bounds in the corner of the end zone. He had at least three touchdowns that way and it was impressive to watch.
POISE UNDER PRESSURE
The quarterback who handles himself best under duress gets this award and during 7-on-7 play that’s difficult since there is no pass rush from a defensive line but Murphy is one of the most-poised quarterbacks in the country and he showed it all weekend. Nothing seems to bother the new Texas commit, he rarely makes a bad decision and after seeing him perform consistently well at numerous events, Murphy was at his best at Pylon against some elite defenses. He’s just so smooth and unwavering, Murphy should be a good one in Austin.
Nelson is a special quarterback in the 2023 class and while he could have also won the Poise Under Pressure award because nothing seems to bother him as well, the Los Alamitos, Calif., recruit is going to win this award that’s given to the quarterback with the best arm. Nelson makes everything look effortless, he’s so smooth and natural throwing the ball and when he rares back to let it go, the ball flies.
This was our first time seeing Welliver in extended action and he has the potential to be one of the best quarterbacks in the 2024 class. The new Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus QB who transferred there from Burien (Wash.) Kennedy Catholic has a tall, lean frame where he will be able to add weight and his arm is just amazingly advanced. Welliver spins it so well, a perfect spiral on every pass and he routinely looked like he was just playing pitch-and-catch with his receivers.
This award is named after an old holiday gift favorite and goes to the defensive back who blankets opponents the best and Guilbeau wins it. Five minutes before Fast Houston’s start time Saturday night, the team rushed into the building and had no warm-up time but it didn’t matter to Guilbeau, who locked in on receivers, used his physical nature to muscle them and he didn’t give up an inch all weekend.
THE SNUGGIE II
USC already has a commitment from the top-ranked cornerback in the 2022 class in five-star Domani Jackson but Ross is a major talent, too. Ross is currently outside the Rivals250 and that’s just too low because he’s physical at the line of scrimmage, he has terrific footwork and then he can turn and run as well.
This award speaks for itself – and Merriweather spoke for himself by dominating really talented defensive backs and using his length and athleticism to make plays for FSP all weekend. The four-star receiver is lean but he is wiry strong, has deceptive speed and then quarterbacks just throw the ball up to him and he makes plays. Both he and Darrius Clemons were two four-star receivers from the Pacific Northwest who definitely backed up their rankings this weekend.
Jayden Wayne is a 2023 defensive end from Tacoma (Wash.) Lincoln who already looks like he could be playing college football At all of 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds, Wayne has no bad weight, he’s rocked up and he moves so well that athleticism or get-off will be no question over the coming years. On the hoof, he looks like Kayvon Thibodeaux looks right now – after two years of playing college football.