8th grade Team Maryland winning the FBU National Championship this past year is a testament to the great football talent in the Terp state. Mike Anderson is the president of Maryland’s Grassroots Youth Football League (GYFL) and director of the 6th, 7th and 8th grade Maryland teams in the FBU National Championship. Lonnie Wilson is head coach of the 7th-grade Team Maryland in the FBU National Championship. Both men have witnessed more than a few rising stars in youth football. So they had great insight on which players to watch out for this camp season. These are our top players to watch for in Maryland.
Justin Gibson | LB | Class of 2022
Standing at 5’10”, Justin Gibson is a tall and wiry linebacker who is a formidable presence on defense. “He’s a great athlete―an Intense, vicious hitter,” Mike Anderson said. “He’s our best linebacker.”
Gibson made an impact in the FBU National Championship tournament where Team Maryland finished third in the country. “He contributed a lot [to the team during the tournament],” coach Lonnie Wilson said. “He’s one of my main linebackers.” On offense, Gibson plays fullback and uses his hard hitting to pave the way for the running game. However, his coach believes that he wreaks more havoc on defense. He has a nose for the ball,” Wilson noted. “He’ll be one of the top linebackers in this region.”
Wyatt Hagan | QB | Class of 2022
Quarterback Wyatt Hagan was one of the main factors that Team Maryland finished third in the country by going 5-1 in the FBU national championship tournament. The seventh-grader impressed his coaches with his skills, intelligence and tenacity. “He was great—a good passer with a quick release,” Lonnie Wilson pointed out. “He takes control of the game.”
“He’s very accurate with his throws,” Mike Anderson said. “He’s smart, with the ability to read defenses and change a play at the line of scrimmage. He’s a true leader, too.”
Coach Anderson says that while he excels as a pocket passer, he always has his eyes downfield if he has to move around in the backfield. “He displays poise, confidence and the ability to make throws,” Anderson added of the 5’8” 150-lb. QB. “And he’s a tough, hard-nosed kid.”
Darrell Bracey | WR | Class of 2022
Wide receiver Darrell Bracey is one of Team Maryland’s go-to guys in their aerial attack. “He is the best wide receiver around here, definitely,” Mike Anderson said. “He can jump and make acrobatic catches. He has the biggest hands I’ve ever seen, too.”
In addition, the 5’11” Bracey is a former quarterback, which he uses to his advantage: He is able to read defenses and make adjustments accordingly. “He’s special, one of our most versatile players,” Lonnie Wilson said. “He grabs everything out of the air—a real playmaker.” Case in point: Team Maryland placed third at the FBU National Championship tournament thanks to Bracey catching the game-winning pass in the final seconds.
“He said, ‘Coach, if you throw it I’m gonna get it,’” Wilson recalled. And he sure did―by snagging a deep pass between two defenders and running for the game-tying touchdown. Then, he caught the game-winning conversion.
Jamar Curtis | RB | Class of 2022
Fleet-footed running back Jamar Curtis is elusive at 5’6” and uses his speed to scorch opponents. “He’s very quick off ball,” Mike Anderson noted.
Coach Lonnie Wilson agrees. “He’s quick, one of the quickest backs in the area,” he said. “His acceleration speed is unbelievable. Once he hits the hole, he’s gone. “He has great vision and balance,” Wilson added, noting that Curtis’ speed is an asset on defense, as well.
Even as a sixth-grader, Curtis was gaining recognition. In 2015 he made the Youth1.com All-Tournament Second Team at the FBU National Championship, out of 6,500 athletes. That same year, he was named to the FBU National Championship All-Academic Team.
Teams that square off against the FBU Maryland team are well aware of what damage Curtis can do. “They change their game plan because of him,” Wilson said.
Cameron Wilson | OL/DL | Class of 2022
Mike Anderson considers Cameron Wilson one of best linemen in the country. Standing at a towering 6’4”, the 290-lb. juggernaut is an anchor on the offensive line. “He has quick feet, like a running back,” Anderson said, adding, “He’s very aggressive and strong as an ox.”
The versatile Anderson is able to play any position on line. “We can put him everywhere,” Anderson noted, which includes placing him at tackle on defense. His size and strength are intimidating, as well.
“When opponents line up against him [at the start of the game], they shake their head,” joked Lonnie Wilson. And when a running back is on the loose, the quick, combative lineman makes sure his back gets extra yardage. “He’d knock ’em down running downfield blocking,” coach Wilson said.
Tyler Bright | OL/DL | Class of 2022
Tyler Bright has been a standout for FBU’s Team Maryland with his powerful presence on both sides of the line. He has a rock-solid frame of 5’10” and 265 lbs., but it’s his intelligence and physical skills that set him apart from his opponents.
On offense, “He’s a great down lineman,” coach Lonnie Wilson observed. “He’s really knowledgeable—he knows what gap to hit. With his footwork, it’s hard to get past him. He blocks tremendously well.”
On defense, he has proved to be a force at defensive tackle. “He knows the fundamentals really well,” coach Wilson said. “He can shut down the run. “He’s a smart kid with fast feet,” Wilson added, “and his upper body strength is phenomenal.”
Written by Tom Warnick