Spring football practice preview – Orlando Sentinel
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When the school day ends on Monday it signals the start of spring practice for high school football teams across Central Florida.
It is the first official step in preparation for the 2016 season and we count down to the wind sprints, agility drills and spring games with a list of 10 storylines to watch over the next five weeks:
10: With track and field season winding down many two-sport standouts will be looking to qualify for that May 6-7 state meet. Here are 10 impact players who could stay on track and miss some or all of the first two weeks of spring football practice:
The area’s top Class of 2018 prospect is Orange City University RB Lorenzo Lingard, and he happens also to be a state championship cont altamonte Springs lake Brantley ender in the hurdles. DB Tanner Ingle and WR Emare Hogan of Dr. Phillips will also still be focusing on track when spring football starts, as are WR/S and long jumper Jordan Pouncey of Winter Park, Bishop Moore RB and sprinter C.J. McNeal, ATH and long jumper Austin Perry of Jones, and discus thrower FB Bokeyon Rice (South Sumter) and shot put thrower RB Trace Christian (Altamonte Springs Lake Brantley). Kissimmee Osceola’s speedy 4×100 relay team is made up entirely of football players and two of those guys are underclass football players in CB Marcus Jackson and RB Duke Davidson
9: Next year’s ninth graders will not be able to participate in spring practice unless they attend private schools that have grades K through 12 all on one campus. Coaches, however, are always looking for impact freshmen and the biggest this year might be ATH Tae Williams, who enters his first year of high school at Orange City University. The 15-year-old already has a scholarship offer from the University of Florida.
8: Number of victories Orange City University has had in each of the past two seasons yet did not make the playoffs. Last season came down to one of the stranger situations a team will ever have to face when a judge upheld an FHSAA ruling that kept University out of the postseason after it was reported that the Titans had used an ineligible player. OCU is loaded again this season and will be looking to make its first playoff appearance in its seventh year since opening its doors to the residents of Orange City, Debary and Deltona in 2010.
7: Add up the numbers in his height and you get seven, but the smallest guy on the football fields this spring is probably also the strongest. Apopka mighty mite Deshawn Massey, a 5-foot-2 running back who will spin most defenders in circles as they try to tackle him, is, pound-for-pound, inch-for-inch, probably the best football player in Central Florida. He recently took second in the state weightlifting 154-pound weight class with a combined total of 585 (315 bench press, 270 clean and jerk).
6: Number of players UCF has already targeted as local prospects in the new regime of head coach Scott Frost, and there could be more coming. So far UCF has extended scholarship offers to TE-OL-DL Jonathon MacCollister of Bishop Moore, DE Demarco “D.J.” Artis of Sanford Seminole, RB Trace Christian of Altamonte Springs Lake Brantley, WR-S Jordan Pouncey of Winter Park, TE-LB Michael Ziemba of Lake Mary., and DE Kevince Brown of Orlando Christian Prep. There’s a new sheriff in town, and he doesn’t want the good guys leaving town.
5: Number of defensive starters returning for Dr. Phillips even after a slew of transfers departed. Leading tackler LB Dylan Meeks, Ingle, DB D.J. Charles, DE Robert Porcher and DE Nick Smith are back, and Panthers coaches are excited about some younger players who are expected to step up.
4: Head coaches who moved from one area program to another for 2016: Elijah Williams (formerly at Oak Ridge) to Orlando Jones, Kenard Lang (Wekiva) to Oak Ridge, Rich Bedesem (Edgewater) to Wekiva and Dennis Thomas (Celebration) to Lyman.
3: Osceola is hoping the third time is a charm as the Kowboys try to make it back to their third straight state championship game. They lost the Class 7A final to Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas two years ago and fell to Pembroke Pines Flanagan in the Class 8A final last season.
2: Former college quarterbacks who will be entering their first seasons as high school head football coaches. Former Florida Gators QB Chris Leak is at Edgewater, while former Charleston Southern star Collin Drafts, a former Predators‘ Arena League QB, leads East River.
1: As in No. 1, state champion. Bishop Moore returns as the defending Class 5A champ but head coach Matt Hedrick knows it won’t be easy to repeat. The Hornets, who lost in a 5A state semifinal two years ago, have built a program poised to make a postseason run every year.
Bishop Moore lost plenty of talent off the title team, with leader and quarterback Collin Hartmann, offensive lineman Parker Boudreaux, defensive end Zander Zimmer, two-way lineman Josh Keeler and defensive back standouts Rayshad Lewis, Ben DeLuca and Robert Cheathem all set to graduate. There were 23 seniors the Hornets lose, so it will be a reloading year over on Edgewater Drive. Hedrick still has some talent and there is no need to panic.