Today is the 11th part in a 16-day series on Polk County’s top 16 most highly recruited football players heading into the 2018 prep football season.

Ridge Community running back Josh Berry has full confidence in his ability to run with the ball.

However, he likes to think he can bring versatility to the field.

“I’m more of an all-around player,” he said. “I can power it in or get on the outside and use my speed.”

He’s also a pass-catching threat out of the backfield, and that’s one of the things the University of South Florida likes about him, he said.

Berry has verbally committed to sign with USF.

“They mentioned that a lot,” Berry said of his pass-catching skills. “They’ve seen that on film.”

That’s something he has focused on in the summers during seven-on-seven drills.

“I love catching the ball,” he said. “That helps me a lot because that’s when I’m the most dangerous, in open space. That’s when it’s real hard to tackle me.

“I love getting into open space, catching backfield screens, stuff like that.”

Last year, Berry averaged 6.1 yards per carry with 623 yards on 101 carries and he also had 93 yards on nine catches. Quarterback Yanni Scott was the Bolts’ leading rusher with 728 yards, but Scott has graduated, leaving Berry as the top threat out of the backfield this year.

Berry, who said he’s been clocked at 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash, said he's hoping to top the 1,000-yard mark rushing this year and add “maybe 700 yards” receiving.

He credited the team’s summer seven-on-seven drills with helping him improve his receiving skills.

“I love the seven-on-seven,” he said. “It teaches me how to run my routes better, how to go to the slot sometimes. It teaches me a lot.”

He also said he's spent some time this summer working to improve his pass-blocking skills in the backfield.

As far as signing with USF, Berry said, “I went on a visit there and really liked it. Their run-game scheme really fits me, and I think that’s the best option.”

 

NO. 6: Josh Berry

SCHOOL: Ridge Community

POSITION: Running back

GRADE: Senior

HT/WT: 6-0, 180

COLLEGE OFFERS: verbally committed to the University of South Florida.

 

THE LEDGER'S SUPER 16

Today is the 11th part in a 16-day series on Polk County’s top 16 most highly recruited football players heading into the 2018 prep football season. The list was developed by Ledger staff writers Roy Fuoco and Bill Kemp, with significant input from area coaches as well as national recruiting services. Check back each day for the countdown to No. 1.