Posted: 11:10 am Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

American Heritage 23rd in national high school football rankings 

By Jeff Greer

The Rivals Top 100 countdown continued this morning, and the second Palm Beach County team to make the list appeared.

American Heritage, loaded with running back Greg Bryant, quarterback Marcus Davis, another hulking offensive line and a defense packed with speed, is ranked 23rd in the nation by the recruiting site. Dwyer was ranked 78th.

Heritage is the defending Class 3A state champion, but the most interesting story line following the Stallions this fall will be their new coach, Stacy Sizemore. Sizemore took over for Doug Socha, who parted ways with the school this summer under tumultuous circumstances. Sizemore’s hiring — he was the defensive coordinator under Socha — kept the program stabilized and prevented a mass exodus of players.

But with the new coach, Heritage faces what may be one of the toughest schedules in the country. The Stallions play Cocoa in the kickoff classic, then Seffner-Armwood, Glades Central, West Monroe (La.) and Dwyer over the course of the regular season. All five of those teams are either nationally ranked or close to it.

Here’s the full breakdown of the Rivals’ profile of Heritage:

Coach: Stacy Sizemore

Last Season: 12-1, Florida Class 3A Champion. Ranked No. 74 nationally.

Fast Fact: After two seasons as the American Heritage head coach and athletic director, Doug Socha resigned from his position this summer. He was 22-5 in his two years and made the state finals both seasons. Defensive coordinator Stacy Sizemore immediately replaced Socha.

Key Player: Running back Greg Bryant. Bryant is one of the highest rated players in the country, checking in at No. 28 nationally and the No. 4 running back in his class. He was one of the most impressive players at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge as well as at The Opening and his stock may be on the rise. As a junior, Bryant tallied 2,180 yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground while leading his team to a state title. What he showcased much of the summer is that he also has great hands and can catch the ball if called upon.

The Good: The offensive backfield. The trio of Marcus Davis, Tyler Provo and Bryant make up perhaps the most complete set of players in the country. Davis is a three-star athlete that plays quarterback for the team, Provo is a three-star Syracuse commit and the No. 2 fullback in the country, and Bryant is a four-star back who will carry the ball for four quarters if needed. The trio was named the top group in the country and they will be asked to lead the team to another title.

The Bad: Depth. Like every smaller school in the country, depth could be an issue with this team. Heritage will take on ranked Cocoa (Fla.) High and Seffner (Fla.) Armwood in the first three weeks of the season. Each could test the depth of the roster before Heritage goes on cruise control through the regular season.

The bottom line is it is thin ice being a small school ranked this high. American Heritage has the benefit of the doubt with how impressive Bryant is and he can single-handedly carry this team to a title in Florida. The test against Armwood will really show where this team needs to be nationally, but sitting at the No. 5 spot in Florida is good enough for a Top 25 placement.