Friday, March 4, 2011
Sometimes rest is the best option
By Corey Long ESPN Recruiting
Once next week's Badger Sports 7-on-7 event is over, you might not be hearing much from ESPNU 150 Watch List athlete Nelson Agholor (Tampa, Fla./Berkeley Prep).
After an extended football season and a basketball season that just ended a week ago, the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder is ready to take a break.
"This offseason is going to be a mental one," Agholor said. "I'm going to get some good rest, I'm going to eat right, I'm going to lift right and stay disciplined. Every other year, I would plan on being very active because I was younger but I'm going to let my body rest. Everyone talks about me having good size, but I have two older brothers that were bigger than I was at this age."
Nelson Agholor is torn on which position to play in college.
As much as Agholor would like to rest, there's little doubt that he will continue to get a workout picking up the phone from colleges that are trying to get him on campus.
"I'm at about 15 offers right now," Agholor said. "I like USC, I like LSU, I like Florida State, I like them all to be honest with you. I keep in touch with Oregon; their wide receivers coach Scott Frost has been in contact with me quite a bit."
There's even an early dark horse in the running.
"Vanderbilt is up there," he said. "Josh [Grady] is going to be there, and he's a good friend."
One of the main questions about Agholor is where to play him. The talented athlete fills many roles for his high school -- running back, defensive back, wide receiver and return specialist.
"Right now it appears that receiver is jumping to the top of everything," Agholor said. "Some schools still want me to play DB; Auburn wants me to play defensive back and Georgia might want me to do a couple of things. Coach [Bryan] McClendon at Georgia thinks I could still stay in the backfield if I add a couple of extra pounds."
Agholor has his own preferences of where he might want to line up at in college, but he is also mindful of each program and where their coaching styles might fit within his talent.
"I just want to play really, but I think offense might be my ticket," he said. "However, at a place like Auburn I would want to play defensive back."
So after next Saturday expect a lot of talking from Agholor and not much else. He said he might attend a combine such as the Elite Scouting Services camp in Tampa April 10, but he will probably just go to support his friends.
"I'm going to settle it down," Agholor confirmed. "I'll do a little track but for the most part I'm going to stay home. Camps are not really in the plan, but I will have lot of communication with college coaches so I can build these relationships."
Clark moves on
Quarterback Jadrian Clark arrived on the scene last season and almost led George Jenkins (Lakeland, Fla.) to an upset over state powerhouse Lakeland but fell short as Jenkins lost, 43-41.
However, this season Clark expects to win a state championship with the team he almost beat.
Last month the 6-2, 185-pounder transferred from Jenkins to Lakeland and is expected to start for the Dreadnaughts this season.
"It was a bad situation at Jenkins, and I felt like I needed to move on," Clark said. "I am happy to be at Lakeland and playing for the greatest football coach in Florida high school history [Bill Castle]. Here I know it's all about winning and doing things the right way."
Clark's transfer has probably put his recruiting in a bit of a, hole but Miami, California, Clemson and USF have been highly interested and talking to him often. He has already visited Miami and will continue his trips this weekend.
"I'm going to be heading to USF this weekend," Clark said. "And I'll probably go to Florida State at some point this month."
Clark was considered the top quarterback at last week's MVP camp and enjoyed the competition with some of his good friends.
"It was a lot of fun to be out there; I wish it would have lasted longer," Clark said. "My man Bennie Coney was there as well as Nick Patti from Dr. Phillips. I love competiting with those guys because they get after it."
One of the adjustments Clark might have to make this season is moving from a spread offense, which he ran successfully at Jenkins, to a more run-oriented attack at Lakeland.
The Dreadnaughts have traditionally been known as a running back school, with players such as Chris Rainey and Rod "He Hate Me" Smart coming through the program. Last season, Steward Butler, a Marshall signee, rushed for over 3,000 yards.
Clark, however, isn't concerned with the stat sheet as much as he is with the wins column.
"I talked with Coach Castle, and he wants to go 50-50 on offense this year, but I just want to win games," Clark said. "A state championship is much more important than throwing for 2,500 yards in a season. That's not even a concern of mine."
Patterson looking for a spot
Plant City (Fla.) is loaded with plenty of FBS talent and, one of the potential stars on this year's Raiders team, Dazmond Patterson, already has over 2,500 yards rushing in his career but remains under the radar for the most part. A strong showing at the MVP camp, where he was named top running back, could be a key turning point for the 5-7, 180-pounder.
RB Dazmond Patterson is putting up big numbers, but his small stature could be scaring some schools away.
"Right now I'm just trying to compete and get to as many events as I can," Patterson said. "A lot of coaches have some issues with my size but then they see me and how strong I am. I have a lot to offer."
Florida has always had a history of running backs that were short on height and long on production. Noel Devine is barely 5-7 but remains one of the strongest and fastest running backs in the nation. He was one of Florida's top prospects in the 2007 class and is expected to be a mid-round draft choice in next month's NFL draft.
Another smaller back, Aaron Winchester, was one of the top rushers in Miami-Dade County, gaining over 2,000 yards in his senior year before signing a scholarship with Western Michigan.
Patterson is hoping to follow a similar path.
"I just want to get that first big offer," he said. "I was invited to USF this weekend and I'm going to go and maybe that will be the break."
Patterson is an excellent student with a 4.5 GPA and a 960 score on the SAT that he took as a sophomore. He plans to retake the test, hoping a higher score will attract more academic institutions.
"Duke has been looking at me a little, and I think coach [David] Cutcliffe has that program on the right track," Patterson said. "I want to be somewhere where I can win, and he wants winners in his program."
Patterson has aspirations of law school or possibly engineering. As a national honor society student and a member of the student council, he believes his character and academic history should be a good balance to those who question his ability.
"I can do anything on and off the field," Patterson said. "These days the programs talk about wanting talented athletes that are also good students, and that's all I've ever been. I take my school work seriously and my academics seriously."
Patterson is spending his offseason working for a trainer instead of running track. He said he's seen improvements in his 40-yard dash time and overall speed. He's also expanding his role as a running back and becoming a more dangerous receiver in the backfield.
He is planning to participate on Team Tampa in next week's Badger Sports 7-on-7 tournament and will be at the Elite Scouting Service combine on April 10 in Tampa and at the upcoming Under Armour Combine in Tampa later in the spring.
• Florida signee Jacoby Brissett (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) is playing in the Florida High School state basketball championships over the weekend in Lakeland. The 6-4, 220-pound quarterback leads Dwyer with 15.5 points per game and 4.3 assists. He's second on the team in rebounding, as well.
• ESPN 150 Watch list defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (St. Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood), a Florida State commit, received an offer from LSU on Thursday.
• Quarterback/athlete Travares Copeland (Port St. Lucie, Fla./Treasure Coast) recently received an offer from USF and will be on campus for a junior day event this weekend. Kentucky and Louisville are also heavily interested in the 5-10, 175-pounder.
• Quarterbacks Matt Dobson (Tallahassee, Fla./North Florida Christian) and Patti (Orlando, Fla.) have received offers in the last week. Dobson was offered by Florida International to go along with a previous offer from Georgia Tech, and Patti received his first offer from Louisiana Tech.
• Defensive back Deon Bush (Miami/Columbus) is most likely going to attend LSU's spring game on April 9. Bush has over 20 offers from nearly every major program in the Southeast and Big 10 schools such as Ohio State and Nebraska.
• Plant City head coach Wayne Ward confirmed that wide receiver Lamarlin Wiggins is leaning heavily to USF. The 6-2, 190-pounder has offers from the Bulls, Texas Tech, UCLA and Miami.
Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.