Underrated & Unranked: Philadelphia Public League/Fall 2021
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In this series, we will highlight players who have caught my eye and landed on my radar despite little exposure state-wide. These prospects can be unranked, with their play possible surmounting to a future ranking spot. Or, straight up underrated, where the said prospect may need a little more light shined on them. That is our main goal at Prep Redzone, to help prospects at every level gain exposure.
The Philadelphia Public League has dealt with a pretty tumultuous Fall season. It feels as though many of these programs had more success finding and playing games in the Spring, when COVID-19 restrictions were still live. There have been mass cancelations throughout the league for a multitude of reasons. Violence, COVID-19, lack of players, lack of funding. You name it. As a former PPL kid myself, I feel for these prospects. I will do what I can to shed light. There have even been trouble just allocating Hudl film for teams. I did what I could, here are nine U&U prospects who have caught my interest.
| 5’11, 200 | ATH | South Philadelphia | 2023
Defensive back with great field awareness. Multiple INT’s recorded thus far, thanks to his plus closing speed. Locates the ball in the air well. Can align all over the defense thanks to his natural defensive intincts. Really like his pass coverage abilities when at OLB/SCB, specifically dropping into his zone while keeping his eyes on the QB. Excels at playing the flat zone as well. This kid is on the constant hunt for a turnover, which pleases the South Philly coaches I’m sure. There are safety run-support reps on his tape, there are sacks as an edge blitzer, there’s even production on special teams, where Parker came up with a crucial block. He’s active on offense as well, involving himself in the screen game. All of this, combined with the effort he plays with, leads to a player every coach would love to have.
Seth Cobb | 5’10, 185 | ATH | Boy’s Latin | 2022
Here is Cobb’s mid-season stat line: 33 tackles, 4 TFL’s, 1 INT, 1 sack, 1 FF, 3FF, 12TDs.
Superb athlete who makes a living in the open field. Cobb is your latest PPL prospect who can provide so much for their respective program, which is clearly the theme of this piece. True dual-threat player, despite his mechanics and footwork being incredibly raw. He can do enough to attack a defense at all levels. He is more than willing to attack you vertically. Arm strength isn’t necessarily a strength, but BL doesn’t need it to be. He can deliver a catchable ball 40+ yards downfield. He has the timing and understanding to hit out routes and hitches in the intermediate game and can tear you apart with his feet behind the LOS. Cobb thrives in read-option sets. He’s got the knowledge of when to pull and when to give. The kid is special in the open field, elusive, eye discipline, quick cutting ability thanks to good balance. Capable of scoring with his legs from 20+ yards out, making him a threat to QB keep in the red zone. Don’t count this kid out when the play begins to break down. He’s got a pick-six in his tape, showing good read & react ability when aligning at DB. There are also OLB reps to look forward to.
| 6’1, 185 | ATH | Kensington | 2023
Continuing with our theme of athletes who contribute everywhere on the field, we haveout of Kensington HS. The QB1 for the Tigers also contributes as an in-line tight end, as well as at RB and at LB. Big frame out of the junior, said frame allows him to sustain hits when taking off and/or running QB draws. Not sure if I’ve seen this combo before, but Slevenski’s tape has him throwing screens to ball-carriers, then Slevenski receiving screens behind the LOS from another QB. Don’t see that often, his value is without question. I saw some heat on throws, just want to see his passing skills and mechanics be more fluid and consistent. He’ll run an occasional route from his tight end/wideout spot, catching an occasional ball as well. What I like the most from the tape, it seems like he wants to make his presence felt at every position. Punishing runs at QB, punishing hits at LB, catching and running for TD’s. A lot to expect when playing this kid.
Samir Wylie | 6’2, 180 | QB | Gratz | 2023
Samir Wylie is a relatively new name to me. I can argue that Wylie is the best pure-passer in this group. He’s got the prototypical tall build you’d love to have at the next level. Not too lanky, fills out his pads fine. He isn’t immobile by any means, I prefer him to move to relocate to throw, rather than have him run an occasion read-option set that Gratz has him run from time to time. He’s more than capable to show off his stride. Where he excels is in the short/intermediate passing game. Rhythm/timing throws. Crossers, out routes, curls, he’s adept at hitting these routes accurately and on time. He is also seen to be accurate throwing on the run as well, a huge plus. Has an understanding of how/when to throw with touch. He lives a little bit on the table as far as arm strength goes, could just be the tape deceiving me. He’s a bit robotic/stiff in his feet and drop back. Yet he’s calm in the pocket, something I love to see out of QBs in the PPL. The list’s most natural passer.
Koyei Simmons-Greene | RB/LB | Lincoln
Another completely new name to me as of the last few weeks or so. Short mid-season film (3 games) still a good amount of production. The kid is making the most of his reps. Not too much film has been released out of Lincoln, so getting a gist of what the delegation of carries is looking like has been tough. No matter, Simmons-Greene has some long home-run-hitting carries so far this Fall. He’s gone the distance five separate times, showing long-speed to take carries to the crib untouched at times. Good second-level burst, second gear hits quick. Would love to get a read on his measurables and/or if he runs track. Not too many LBer reps on tape, none actually. That would help his recruitment, getting multiple positions on camera. His lateral agility is a plus. I’m expecting to hear about this young man more in the future.
Vance Johnson | 6’2, 165 | ATH | Central | 2024
I have written a bit on Vance Johnson, the last time being this preseason. I love that I’ve seen some growth in his tape compared to his freshman campaign. He’s been given free rein to touch the ball as much as possible, which seeing his kick-return ability, is a good thing. This kid has got some serious stride to him, can hit another gear when he opens it up. He’s been awesome in the return game, returning what looks like three kicks to the house. He understands lane discipline and how to exploit it, doesn’t hesitate either, looks comfortable in the open field despite his size and less than ideal weight. This kid is smooth at wideout, a shame we can’t see more pass-catching reps out of this kid, it’s where he will really thrive. Central has deployed Vance at QB as well, running read-option sets that seemingly always go for positive yards. Why not? The youngest prospect in this group, hope to be hearing his name for years to come.
| 5’9, 150 | ATH | HSOT Future | 2023
Another pure athlete who can provide reps for Future at pretty much any position outside of the defensive/offensive line. Who knows, maybe he could block someone’s blindside too. Don’t be mistaken by his measurables, this kid is a dog who excels at all of his alignments. Wildcat QB, RB, WR, OLB, DB, KR. He seems to excel at all of these positions. Now, production as a whole could use a jump but shortcomings out of the rest of the program make it difficult to do so. His great athleticism justifies his usage. His overall awareness is a big plus and has been built up by the sheer amount of reps at different positions. He’s seen a lot and has been involved in a lot. He’s played OLB and come up with multiple TFL’s. He’s a great knife tackler. The ball skills are still in question from a defensive back perspective. I’m sure the hands are there, considering his usage. This kid will find a position to call home someday.
Isiah Thomas | OL/DL | Washington | 2023
This is a huge human with even bigger potential. Plugging in the tape, I can tell how raw of a lineman prospect he is. Either that, or he’s a little behind where he should be technically speaking. That being said, I came away impressed by his sheer power. I can tell from the beginning of each rep if he’s going to dominate it or come up short. He tends to lunge/reach at times, instead of moving his feet and getting himself into an anchored stance. If Thomas can develop quicker feet, he’s sure to be a name on east coast college coaches’ radars. What’s impressive is, when everything is right, his hat placement, hand placement, feet, knee bend, initial get-off. When all of this is right, he suddenly looks like what he projects to be, one of the top OL in the PPL. Small refinement in his game could shoot his stock through the roof. He’s got the awesome size matched with great powerful legs and hands. He’s put on legit pass-protection reps on film already this year. He can steer when run-blocking too. Anytime I think of Washington, this kid will be on my mind. Hope he continues to develop.
Daryan Valladares | 5’10, 150 | ATH | Gratz | 2022
Congrats to Daryan on his recent offer from Bethany! This kid is a coach’s dream. It’s hard to see leadership and communication skills based on Hudl tapes, but it looks like that’s what he provides Gratz with on the field. I see hand gesturing and communication pre-snap. I see energy and a motor that’s running high and loud. The intangibles are hard to see from behind a desk, it is however the vibe I am getting. A ton of tackle assists out of this kid. An undersized linebacker who wins reps with his speed and ball-carrier vision through traffic. The kid is seemingly everywhere on film. The mid-season tape only shows primarily LBing reps. I’m sure his skillset is used elsewhere on Gratz, just wonder where.