CLEMSON -- Travel agents say May is a good time to travel to Florida - the kids aren't
out of school yet and the weather isn't too bad.
Travel agents don't know much about football. Otherwise, they'd tell
travelers to watch out for the influx of recruiters into Florida this time
Tuesday was the beginning of spring practice in Florida. Schools can
practice 20 times and can spend one day at a jamboree playing other teams.
Recruiters have two chances to see any one player. A school can use four
weeks to send coaches out to evaluate players in the spring.
That means that a coach like Clemson's Rick Stockstill will be on the road
non-stop for all of the four weeks. You could find Stockstill travelling the
northern part of Jacksonville on Wednesday. He hit at least five high
schools checking on rising seniors, finding out about rising juniors and
sometimes just stopping by to make sure the coach at that school doesn't
forget about Clemson.
"Stockstill comes and sees me whether we have kids or not," said Andrew
Jackson coach Kevin Sullivan. "He always recruits our area."
Make no mistake, Sullivan has a player this year that Stockstill is pursuing
- Leon Washington. Washington is an all-purpose player who plays some
running back, wide receiver and cornerback. His coach isn't sure which
position he'll play in college, but there's no doubt he'll play. He's
received offers from Michigan to Miami. He averaged 21.5 yards a catch as a
receiver and 12.4 yards a rush. He also had 71 tackles and seven
interceptions. "He's one of the top-five athletes in the state of Florida,"
Clemson hasn't offered him a scholarship yet. "I don't think that will hurt
Clemson, but it's nice to come in and say, 'Coach, we're going to offer the
kid,' so I can say, 'listen, they're going to offer you.' The kids like to
Washington ran a 4.27 40-yard dash at a combine last week. "The first time
he did it in 4.32 and then he got out of the blocks like a rabbit," said
Sullivan. Washington also benches over 300 pounds and squats 500 pounds.
Stockstill stayed around and talked to Sullivan for about 20 minutes before
he headed off to schools like Raines, Ribault and Paxon. At Paxon he checked
out a rising junior named Chris Brown, who will be a target of many schools
over the next two seasons.
"They're setting the tone for next year," said Paxon coach Adam Geis of
Stockstill's visit there. "He's the kind of player that will start as a
freshman in college."
Brown is 6-4 and 215 and runs a 4.6 40-yard dash. More impressive are the
three quarterbacks that he knocked out last season. "Maryland saw film on
him and their coach wrote him a long personal letter," said Geis. "We blitz
him on the inside and it's lights out. He hits like an NFL player. All of
them like him. Joe Kines from FSU was in here wanting film."
Geis, the son of Dallas Cowboys assistant Buddy Geis, is in his first year
at the school. He'll likely see plenty of Stockstill over the next season.
"He was in here along with Troy State and Arkansas," he said.
Geis couldn't remember Stockstill's name at first. If he stays at Paxon for
any length of time, he'll get to know Stockstill and the others that pour
into Florida this time of year.
Florida High School All-Stars
*Look for profiles of these seniors in the next issue of Tiger Insider*
RB Tre Smith
Has been getting attention since he was a sophomore and rushed for 1,048 yards on just 119 carries – an 8.8 average per carry. Rushed for 1,854 yards and 31 touchdowns as a senior. Rushed for 182 yards in the 5A state championship game.
ATH Jemalle Cornelius
Cornelius is well-rounded on the football field and in the classroom. He carries a 3.8 GPA and does just about everything on the field. He caught 53 passes for 1,201 yards as a junior. He also had a 97-yard touchdown run. He also kills the opposition with interceptions – he had seven last season. He’s also the backup quarterback and return kicks.
DL Raymond McCollough
Had 70 tackles as a junior along with five sacks. He played both defensive tackle and end.
DL Elvis Dumervil
All state as a junior.
FS Cardan Alexander
His father played in the NFL and CFL. He led his team into the playoffs in 2000 with 87 tackles and nine interceptions.
LB Torrean Charles
Had over 100 tackles as a junior along with 16 sacks. He’s known as a quick and aggressive presence on the field.
LB William Beckford
Had 100 tackles, including 15 for loss, as a junior. Led a defense that allowed only 6.1 points a game. Had 13 sacks last season. Came into his own quickly at a school that has never been short on talent. A quiet person off the field, he’s a play-maker on the field.
OL John Miller
All state as a junior.
OL Mark Burgess
All state as a junior. Led his team to the state quarterfinals.
OT Ryan Carter
Regarded as an overpowering lineman that has a mean streak on the field. Academics are not a problem – he already has a qualifying test score. Had reconstructive knee surgery in 1999, but made a quick comeback.
QB Gavin Dickey
An option QB that is being courted as a possible defensive back by some schools. However, he’s determined to play QB in college – and he has the credentials. Passed for 1,400 yards and rushed for over 1,000 as a junior. This spring he heard from schools across the country. Nebraska flew in to check him out.
ATH Leon Washington
Rushed for 700 yards on 53 carries, had 30 catches for 500 yards and scored 22 touchdowns as a junior. Also had 71 tackles and seven interceptions. He never comes off the field. Also plays some quarterback and punts.
LB James Buster Davis
Had 167 total tackles last season. Had 28 tackles for loss and six sacks as a linebacker. Caused seven fumbles and had two interceptions.
S Pat Watkins
Watkins is regarded by many as the top defensive back in the nation. He had 126 tackles, 5 interceptions and blocked three kicks as a junior. Has great field vision, according to his coach.
TB Ciatric Fason
Has rushed for 5,420 yards in three years as a starter. Has committed to Florida, but that won’t likely deter many from pursuing possibly the top running back in the country. He has rushed for 76 touchdowns.
TE Lonnie Davis
He was a devastating blocker on a run-oriented team. He will likely move to defensive end this year.
WR Santonio Holmes
WR Ryan Moore
Moore is one of the top receivers in the nation. Was all 6A as a junior.