The 100 Greatest: No. 6. Mike Bellamy
FL (Charlotte HS)
Years Played: 2011
The sportswriters and editors at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, have selected “The 100 Greatest" high school football players in their local area. Clemson incoming freshman Mike BellamyMike Bellamy
# 5-10, 187
Punta Gorda, FL
View Full Profile was selected as the No. 6 all-time.
Brian Nolan could not wait to unveil Mike Bellamy.
In the 2007 fall classic against Riverdale in Fort Myers, the Charlotte High director of athletics pointed out a frail-looking freshman transfer from the Orlando area, when he went back to return a punt in the third quarter.
As a senior, Mike Bellamy compiled 2,382 yards and 41 touchdowns, one on a punt return.
“That’s Mike Bellamy,” Nolan said. “Wait until you see how fast he is.”
Displaying his propensity for making a big play, even as an unproven ninth-grader, Bellamy ran up to catch the short punt in the air, instead of attempting to field it on a bounce. The ball went through his hands for a muff.
“I remember that,” Tarpons coach Binky Waldrop said.
Nevertheless, Waldrop sent Bellamy out on the kickoff return unit, and this time he lived up to his nickname of “Speedy”.
Fielding the kick on the 5-yard line, Bellamy went 95 yards untouched for a touchdown.
It was the beginning of a legendary high school career that ended with Bellamy being named Sporting News National High School Player of the Year.
“He could score any time he touched the ball,” Waldrop said.
And he often did.
Bellamy has been hard at work since his high school career ended.
Despite being named a first-team Parade All-American and on the USA Today second team, among many other honors, Waldrop thought Bellamy did not get enough credit in one area.
“He worked real hard in the weight room,” Waldrop said of the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Bellamy, up from 176 pounds. “He doesn’t get enough credit for that. He was pretty strong.”
Bellamy also worked in the classroom, passing the tests to become eligible to suit up for Clemson University this fall.
“He worked real hard at passing his test,” Waldrop said. “He took it five or six times.”
It came as a cost.
The state champion in the 200-meter run and runner-up in the 100 as a sophomore and the 100 champion and 200 runner-up as a junior, Bellamy sacrificed his senior season on the Tarpons’ state champion track and field team to study for his tests.
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See a Bellamy photo gallery here