Ft. Lauderdale, FL– The National Middle School Lineman Challenge was an incredible display of talent from across the country. In the end, 2020 defensive tackled Bobby Washington (North Lauderdale, FL) stole the show with his dominant performance, taking home best overall MVP honors. He was followed by strong performances by offensive lineman Trey Tuggle from Mt. Olive, MS and defensive end Aeneas Peebles from Raleigh, NC who both took home top 8th grade honors.
The seventh grade winners were offensive lineman Chris Stumpo (Cooper City, FL) and defensive end Tanoy Lewis (Ft. Lauderdale, FL). Rounding out the competition, the 6th grade, class of 2022 winners were Michael Garcia (Orlando, FL) and Alton Talber (Pompano Beach, FL).
The National Showcase event for lineman during memorial day weekend is the only of its kind in the nation. The competition begin with a day one tour of the University of Miami athletic facilities. Students heard from Director of Player development and former Miami Hurricane Offensive Lineman, coach Joel Rodriguez. They also got words of wisdom and recruiting guidance from Jorge Baez, who serves as the Assistant Director of Player Personnel at Miami.
Day two, the competition day was marred by rain but that didn’t stop the show nor the competitive fire by the nearly 30 lineman, representing seven states nationally. Athletes competed indoors and then once the lightening cleared, in the rain for the right to be named the best lineman in their respective classes.
At Football Hotbed showcase events, there is always a back up plan for rain so the indoor work by the athletes supplemented the on the field preliminary work of the competition, including the athletic combine. Instead, athletes were put through rigorous drills in the weight room of Cardinal Gibbons Catholic and worked out hard prior to competition on the field during the showcase portion of the one-on-ones.
The following competitors earned Football Hotbed Middle School All-American distinction for their performance:
*Challenge Winners in Bold
- Darrell Ellis, Jr., DE (Marietta, GA)
- Caleb Rickert, OL (Lake Helen, FL)
- Chad Tasi, OL (Pittsburgh, CA)
- Tanoy Lewis, DE (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
- Mason Powell, OL (West Palm Beach, FL)
- Austin Purpura, OL (Orlando, FL)
- Kyle Herrera, OL (Davie, FL)
- Chis Stumpo, OL (Cooper City, FL)
- Tyrek Sapp, DE (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
- Cullen Hicks, OL (Tampa, FL)
- Michael Garcia, OL (Orlando, FL)
- Alton Talber, DT (Pompano Beach, FL)
- Koa Notala, DE (New Port News, VA)