TAMPA - Need proof that the college recruiting world never sleeps?
Look no further than Hillsborough, where coach Earl Garcia and his staff field calls long before the sun rises about their four-star recruit, DE Jordan Sherit.
“About 12 a day,” Garcia said. “All day, all night, they start calling at about 6 a.m. I have to turn my phone off when I get home.”
Sherit, who holds offers from in-state powers Florida, Florida State and Miami, is ranked the No. 6 strongside defensive end in the country by Rivals. He took a few minutes in between tying his shoes and starting practice to field a couple of questions from the Times.
Excited to be back out here in pads?
Yeah, definitely. I’ve put on about 20 pounds since last season, so I’m excited to get out, move around and do some things (he was listed at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds last year).
Do you feel like you’re hitting people harder with the added weight?
Yeah, and I’ve got more confidence. (The coaches) aren’t letting me hit too hard, which is kind of upsetting, but, you know, I get it. It’s fun. I do feel like I’ve added to my game, as far as my technique goes. I’m still trying to get better.
What was your focus this offseason, other than adding weight?
Working on my pass rush and just doing everything I can to get better. I went to some camps here and there, picking up things from guys who do it the best.
You have like a million college offers at this point, right?
(Laughs) Yeah, I picked up my 25th and 26th (Wednesday). The recruiting process has been going well.
I’m sure it’s nice to have options.
Is there any one particular offer you’re still hoping for?
Not really. This summer, it will be time for me to evaluate and try to make some unofficial visits. I’m going to take a little more time just because it’s an important decision to me, and it’s one I only want to make once.
So tell me about this team. The past two years you guys have only lost to state champions or state runners-up.
Yeah. We lost to Plant and Armwood this year, and last year it was Plant, Armwood and Jefferson. I mean, we’re losing to good teams, but to be one of the best, you have to beat the best. It’s really important for us this year to make a statement. Last season we kind of did with Jefferson (a 49-20 win Oct. 6).
New ‘Golden Age’ at Plant
In recent years, Plant has sent a bevy of skill players to college football’s elite programs.
“I really think we’re moving into the golden age of Plant linemen, on both sides of the ball,” coach Robert Weiner said.
While their names might not roll off the tongue (yet), rising seniors Quinn Metoyer and Zach Seaberg, along with Mitchell Wright, are the returning starters on the defensive line, which is coached by Billy Minihan, whom Weiner has coached with since his time at Jesuit.
Overall, the defensive line is “incredibly strong” in Weiner’s view.
“Quinn Metoyer has been as impressive as anybody on our whole field the entire spring,” Weiner said. “These guys are a year stronger and they’re running around making plays.
While the offensive line is more of a work in progress, it contains the most notable Plant recruit in rising senior Richy Klepal. The 6-foot-5, 285 pound four-star recruit holds offers from several notable schools, including Florida State, Miami, Southern California and South Carolina, among about 20 others.
In addition to Klepal, the Panthers are counting on rising juniors Richard Bush and Ray Raulerson and rising senior Sam Grieves.
“It always seems like we start with a clean slate, brand new guys, but still, every single year, (Weiner) finds a way to be able to mesh everyone together,” Klepal said. “But we get almost the same team every year with different guys. We’ve really been successful that way.”
New faces at new place
King High two-way lineman Zerric Coleman, who brandished flashes of Division I potential as a junior last fall, has enrolled at Armwood, Lions coach Alvin Davis said.
Coleman, listed at 6-foot-6, 220 pounds last season, moved into Armwood’s geographic district, Davis added.
Coleman recorded 39 tackles, two sacks and a caused fumble for the Lions (4-6) in 2011. He becomes at least the third prominent player to move into the Hawks’ district since the ’11 season ended, joining Wharton C Gabe Nold and Seffner Christian OL Aaron Evans.