TAMPA -- Team Tampa defended home turf to take home the Championship 7v7 Battle Royal crown over the weekend, running the table Sunday in the process.
Several future college football players contributed to the run. A few, led by Ohio State commitment Kye Stokes, did so on offense and defense throughout the event, but matching the rising-senior's impact was no easy task.
Few opposing passers challenged him down the field while he worked on defense and he found his way into the end zone late in the tournament run while working at wide receiver. It was the same reason his 2020 tape and earlier 2021 camp circuit performances garnered national attention before picking the Buckeyes. Alabama, LSU, Florida, Georgia, Notre Dame and several others also offered in April.
"I think it's because I'm an all-around athlete, I play everything," Stokes told SI All-American. "I play kickoff, punt, punt return, safety, receiver and I'm even at backup quarterback. I'm just an athlete and I bring a different type of aggression and passion when I play.
"It's been a crazy ride, but it's truly a blessing. It feels great to be wanted by so many programs and especially so many top-tier programs."
Despite having yet to visit Columbus, a fact that will change next month, the 6'2", 185-pound prospect picked OSU six days after picking up the scholarship offer on April 26.
"I made the decision and I'm standing by it," he said. "One, the relationship I built with the coaches. Even though it was quick, I got a very genuine feel for all the coaches that I've spoken with. And that's DBU. I feel like if I want to make it to the league, they have the program and developmental plan that I need.
"Plus the intangibles they had, it was just something I wanted to be a part of."
Not only is Stokes rock solid with the commitment to Ryan Day's program, but he won't make any visits elsewhere despite the 15-month NCAA dead period coming to an end June 1.
The Ohio State official visit, set for the weekend of June 4, will be the only campus trip he is to take.
"I feel like that's the right way to take care of business," he said. "I made my decision, I did the research necessary and I feel like I made the right choice for me so there is really no need to be interested in other schools."
Now focused on spring football at Seffner (Fla.) Armwood High, where he helped the Hawks to a winning record with five interceptions in just eight games in 2020, Stokes can look beyond the recruiting process as a whole.
"It's a weight off my shoulders," he said. "I can focus on having a great senior season, working on my craft a little bit more. I can spend time doing homework."
Ohio State has been hot in its secondary recruiting in the Sunshine State, as Stokes is one of three Florida defensive backs heading to Columbus to date. Jaheim Singletary and Ryan Turner are the other among verbal commitments in the class of 2022.
More from SI All-American