TAMPA — Tampa Bay Tech coach Jayson Roberts said there is a perfectly good reason why senior Deon Cain is regarded as one of the nation’s top high school players.
“His athleticism is through the roof,” he said. “But he also has a high IQ for the game.”
Cain, a four-star recruit and one of the nation’s top college prospects, verbally committed to Clemson in May, choosing the Tigers over Florida, Miami, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.
Cain, who already has accepted an invitation to play in the 2015 Army All-American Game and received offers from more than two dozen schools, said he will play receiver for the Tigers.
Cain was recruited at the quarterback position, but also at receiver and as an overall athlete.
“I wanted to make sure that with my talents I would be able to go to the next level at receiver or quarterback or anything, but I think with that type of offense that Clemson runs and my talent and being in that offense, I could go far,” Cain said.
In the offseason, Cain said he improved his footwork and arm strength as a quarterback, while also training as a receiver.
Last season, Cain threw for 1,945 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushed for 731 yards and four touchdowns.
Though he’s played primarily quarterback during his career, he starred at receiver the past two summers on Tampa’s Unsigned Preps 7-on-7 team, which played in the national championship game in June in Bradenton.
“He seems to never panic,” Roberts said. “He’s the coolest guy in the room. He plays at a different speed than everyone else.”
As Deon Cain goes, so will the Titans’ offense.
Now in his third year as the starting quarterback, Cain is coming off an impressive junior season in which he threw for 1,945 yards and 13 touchdowns, and ran for 731 yards and four touchdowns.
Leading rusher Deon Thompson moved on to the college ranks, and head coach Jayson Roberts said he will use a multitude of players to run the ball, primarily senior Darrell Turner.
Roberts is expecting a breakout season from sophomore 6-foot-1 receiver Daquon Green, a player he said “has the opportunity to be one of the best to come through this program.”
Tampa Bay Tech possessed one of the more-talented linebacker units in Hillsborough County last season with Fred Russ at the center. With Russ having graduated, Roberts is hoping younger players such as Thomas Covington and Angelo Owens will rise to the occasion. Leading the group will be senior Bruno Jean.
The secondary is more experienced, despite the loss of Tajee Fullwood, now at the University of South Florida, with juniors Isiah Brown and Kadrin Williams and senior Sherrod Paige.
Roberts said the Titans will field one of their more inexperienced teams in recent memory. The good news is the Titans will have more depth than last year’s team, setting up a potential state title run in 2015.
“Fortunately for us, we have a lot of young talent and they showed up in the spring,” he said. “Talent-wise, we’ll have a number of guys that can do more things this year than we’ve had in the past, instead of three or four guys making all the plays.”
Missing the playoffs last season was an unusual occurence for the Titans, who had made the postseason each of the previous four years.
Last season, Tech’s playoff hopes rested upon the outcome of the final two games, losses to district opponents Gaither and Sickles.
• About the Titans
Stadium: Titan Stadium, 6410 Orient Road, Tampa
Class-District: 7A-7 (with Freedom, Gaither, Sickles, Steinbrenner and Wiregrass Ranch)
Coach: Jayson Roberts (22-11, fourth season)
Last season: 6-4
Aug. 29: at Newsome
Sept. 12: Durant
Sept. 19: at Wiregrass Ranch
Sept. 26: at Plant
Oct. 2: Steinbrenner
Oct. 10: Plant City
Oct. 17: at Freedom
Oct. 24: Gaither
Oct. 31: Sickles
Nov. 7: at Hillsborough