Every year Florida State brings in a handful of recruits from the Tallahassee area. Last year was no exception with three local products signing with the Garnet and Gold. In fact, three Tallahassee prospects have signed with the Tribe over the past three years. There's every reason to believe this trend will continue in 2005.
To keep up with the local prospects Warchant.com will take a look at several of top programs in the Tallahassee area over the next few weeks. We start our tour with Amos P. Godby High School.
The Cougars have produced a good number of Division 1A prospects recently including Brian Johnson (LSU), Del Roberts (UNC), Edmond Miles (Iowa), Marcus Clayton (Syracuse), Landel Bembo (Syracuse), and Reggie Davis (NC State). Surprisingly it has been a while since a Godby player ended up at Florida State with the last one being tight end Stacy Davis who signed back in 1997. Two other Cougars that played for FSU are Steve Gilmer and Eric Turral.
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Once again this year there are a good number of D1A seniors on the Godby roster.
Probably the top prospect is running back Roy Upchurch. The 6-foot, 199-pound tailback burst on the scene late last season with five consecutive 100-yard plus performances. But the game that put him on the map was his 12 carry, 112-yard performance against powerhouse Tallahassee Lincoln High School. That effort helped Godby earn the 35-27 upset victory.
The first thing that catches your eye about Upchurch is his blazing speed. He has been timed running the 40-yard dash in the 4.3 range and has run the 100 meter dash in 10.6 seconds. His combination of speed, excellent balance, vision and good size make him one of the most intriguing tailback prospects in the Florida Panhandle.
Despite missing a few games, and being hampered in others, because of injury, Upchurch finished his junior season rushing for 856 yards on 142 attempts and eight touchdowns. He also added 17 receptions for 184 yards for two scores.
Now that he's comfortable with the system, has increased his size and has a more veteran offensive line to work with, Upchurch should be one of the top running backs in North Florida this year.
"I think we've put together a better offensive line than we had for him last year," head coach Shelton Crews said. "Last year was a learning experience for him being in a new school with new teammates and new coaches. He had to learn, adjust and adapt and he's done it very well. He's as fast as a dang dear."
When it comes to recruiting he already has a scholarship offer from North Carolina and there's a good chance the University of Florida could be next in line. Other schools showing a lot of early interest are Miami, Michigan, and Georgia.
Upchurch grew up in Miami and admits he would be pretty excited if he got an offer from the Hurricanes. He is also hearing from Del Roberts, a former teammate, who would like to see him in Chapel Hill.
"He said it would be fun to be up there," Upchurch said. "When I got my offer he was like 'go ahead and commit and we can be up there together.'"
As for Florida State, Upchurch says he has only a mild interest in the Seminoles.
Like Upchurch, defensive back EK Sawyerr also has an offer from the Tar Heels. Last season Sawyerr led the Cougar defense with 12 pass break-ups.
Another member of the Godby secondary getting a lot of looks from major colleges is safety Donald Frost. Last season Frost was one of the top defenders in the Big Bend area with 86 tackles, three sacks, four fumble recoveries and two touchdowns. If that doesn't catch the attention of recruiters, the 4.43 40-yard dash and 34-inch vertical he turned in at last weekend's LSU NIKE Camp should. When the dust settled Frost chimed in with the No. 13 SPARQ rating* at the Camp.
"I'm very excited about recruiting," Frost said. "I'm working very hard to make myself look better in recruiters eyes."
His top schools are currently Auburn, Northwestern, Duke, Michigan State, Arkansas, Louisville and LSU.
Another senior to watch is athlete Eric Chaires. The only problem he has is settling on one position.
"He's an athlete but we don't know where to put him right now," Crews said. "We play him at running back, play him at receiver, he punts for us and he will also be in the return game."
Connecticut is showing Chaires the most attention at this point but he is also interested in LSU, East Carolina, FSU, Miami and Michigan.
Linebacker Rico Carroll is a bit undersized but packs quite a pop and racked up 70 tackles (42 solo) and 14 for loss last season.
As good as some of the seniors should be this season there is probably more D1A talent coming up in the junior class.
"This junior class to be is probably one of the best ever classes we've ever had come through here," Crews said. "We've got seven or eight division one athletes for next year and they will just be juniors."
Some of elite juniors include defensive back/wide receiver DeAndre McDaniel, defensive back/wide receiver Marcus Udell, quarterback Emanuel Francis, center Kevin McCaskill and wide receiver Kelly Williams.
Godby will take part in a Spring Jamboree on Friday, May 21st at Capital Stadium. They are scheduled to matchup with Lincoln and Rickards.
*Taking the standard measurements of the football combine, the SPARQ Rating weighs and combines the 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle, vertical jump and bench press into a single number that measures an athlete’s overall athleticism. Thus, football players can track the progress of their training, through occasional tests, and compare SPARQ Ratings with teammates, training partners and competitors. To learn more about the SPARQ Rating, go to www.sparqtraining.com.