MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
Meet Tampa Catholic LB/RB T.J. Harrell, who comes in at No. 42 in our HomeTeam 100 (see Nos. 41-50 here).
2011 stats: 40 tackles, three sacks, one INT
The breakdown: For those predicting the demise of Tampa Catholic this season due to a rash of offseason defections, there is this:
A top defender last season, Harrell will be a force once again at linebacker …safety …defensive end …and running back.
It’s an easy call for us predicting the talented and athletic Harrell to be a breakout star in 2012.
“He’s a combination of size and state class speed,’’ said coach Bob Henriquez. “He ran a 10.8 in the 100 at state last year, and for a 6-1, 210-pound athlete, that’s pretty impressive.’’
If Harrell played only running back, Henriquez said he’d be “elite.”
But this season, Tampa Catholic hopes to employ the versatile Harrell like Plant employed 2010 All-Suncoast Player of the Year James Wilder Jr.
“I plan on being disruptive,’’ the junior said. “I want it to be where the other team has to look out for me and pinpoint where No. 34 is.’’
The possibilities excite Harrell. He sounds ready to put a helmet on today and play the season opener. He thinks with Kyle Ploucher’s arrival, the transfer of former Tampa Bay Tech linebacker Tre Watson, Zach Benjamin’s emergence and a big, hungry offensive line, his team is headed for the postseason.
Harrell plans on leading the way.
“I think you’ll see my real potential this year,’’ said Harrell, who already has an offer from UCLA. “I’m known around the area and in the neighborhood, but I want my name out there. Like a household name. I have a lot to look forward to, a lot to prove.”