Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Sports

HomeTeam Huddle: Gibbs draws college recruiters

RECOMMENDED READING


Gibbs has been a popular place for college recruiters this spring. Coach Rick Kravitz, a longtime college assistant, has hosted several coaches and has plenty of players for them to scout. Topping the list is defensive back Craig Watts, a rising junior who holds several offers, including from Ohio State. Watts will rarely leave the field in the fall. He also will carry the ball and return kicks. "There are a lot of schools in the mix for Craig," Kravitz said. "And there's going to be even more."

The most interesting player this spring has been defensive back/receiver Marquez Walls. Without playing a full varsity game, the rising sophomore already has offers from Louisville and UAB. He played a full season on the junior varsity, and despite scoring eight touchdowns and dominating defensively, Walls was not promoted until the final game of the season.

"We wanted to keep him down there and gain experience," Kravitz said.

Walls surely will be on display tonight in the jamboree against Northeast and Tarpon Springs.

Other players who have caught the eye of scouts, according to Kravitz: offensive linemen Roy Williams and L'Dre Barnes, linebacker Javon Morgan, defensive end Troy Killens and cornerback Dorian Jackson.

On the down side, Gibbs will be without as many as 15 players tonight due to injury and grades. The Gladiators will suit up about 27 players.

"We're only dressing 10 players who had varsity experience from last year,'' Kravitz said.

Kravitz does expect nearly all of the players to return for the fall.

Shucking their roots

For the past 24 seasons, Osceola has run the wing-T offense, which has become as identifiable with the program as the spears on the orange helmets.

The Warriors are not getting away from what they do best. But there is a significant wrinkle: the pistol.

"We went to a clinic and heard a guy talk about using nothing but the wing-T out of the pistol," said coach George Palmer, who is entering his 25th season with the program. "It just seemed to mesh with a lot of the things we were already doing."

The pistol is defined by misdirections and options, similar to the wing-T. The quarterback takes snaps almost exclusively out of the shotgun. But the running backs line up behind — not beside — him.

The offense should run smoothly thanks to the return of quarterback Ryan Allan, a junior-to-be.

"The offense has looked good so far," Allan said. "We're getting a feel for it, and it gives us more balance. We're going to shock some people."

Rising senior Wilan Harvey will be counted on as a main ball carrier as Jamil Morris and Quadarius Patterson, who combined for almost 1,800 yards last season, graduate. An intriguing target could be tight end Darien Hooker, a 6-foot-4 basketball player who played football for the first time last season.

"We're still playing around with the offense," Palmer said. "And we'll see how things go in the spring game."

Change of pace

East Lake's balanced, ball-control offense remains. What has changed is how quickly it's run.

A hurry-up, no-huddle attack has been installed, in part, because of the personnel. Only four starters return from an offense that scored a school-record 603 points last season. Among those who graduated are left tackle Mason Cole (Michigan) and receiver Artavis Scott (Clemson).

The offensive line returns both starting guards, Zach Castle and Julian Santos, though Santos is moving to tackle to replace Cole. Jake Hudson is back at quarterback. So is receiver George Campbell.

"It's just a new wrinkle; something different we can throw out at a defense," said coach Bob Hudson, whose team reached the state semifinals last season. "We'll see how it works in the spring game and go from there."

East Lake hopes to give defenses little time to substitute or alter schemes.

"We're picking up the offense pretty quick," Campbell said. "It's different. The pace is a lot faster. But we've grown a lot, and we keep improving. There's motivation for all of us because we want to keep the momentum going from what we had last year and strive to get that (state title)."

Recruiting update

• Pasco rising senior defensive tackle Andrew Ivie orally committed to Florida on Thursday. He will join his brother Joey, a defensive lineman with the Gators who appeared in three games as a freshman last season.

"Looks like the University of Florida's going to become an Ivie league school," their father, Joe Ivie, said.

Ivie (6 feet 3, 273 pounds), a consensus three-star recruit, had offers from 10 Division I-A schools and picked Florida over UCF, USF and Wisconsin, among others. He said Florida was the school to beat from the start.

"I knew in the back of my head Florida was there," Ivie said. "That's where I always wanted to go."

Ivie, also a standout wrestler, had 62 tackles and two sacks last fall. He recently bench pressed 390 pounds and lifted 315 in the clean-and-jerk for a fifth-place finish at the state weightlifting tournament.

Tonight's games

• Sunlake at Wiregrass Ranch, 5

• Gibbs and Tarpon Springs at Northeast, 7

• DeSoto County at Boca Ciega, 7

• Lakewood at Ocala Vanguard, 7

• East Lake at Osceola, 7:30

Times staff writer Matt Baker contributed to this report.

Comments
Cannon Fodder podcast: Setting up Bucs vs. Atlanta

Cannon Fodder podcast: Setting up Bucs vs. Atlanta

Times Bucs writer Greg Auman says it’s another week without Jameis Winston as the Bucs prepare to go to Atlanta, and there’s more on the Bucs’ run-game issues and how the defense has struggled on third and long, a situation most defenses love to be i...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Jones: Maybe the Florida job isn’t as good as we thought

Jones: Maybe the Florida job isn’t as good as we thought

These are strange, unsettling times for the University of Florida.The Gators need themselves a football coach.They offer a terrific job. Maybe one of the best jobs in the country.Right?Uh, right? (nervous laugh)Well, we’ll soon find out. Maybe this i...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Chip Kelly Watch: Comparing Florida and UCLA

Chip Kelly Watch: Comparing Florida and UCLA

We know there's mutual interest between Chip Kelly and the Florida Gators.There might be mutual interest between Kelly and UCLA, too.Let's compare the programsMoneyUF: Jim McElwain's salary was about $4.5 million per yearUCLA: Jim Mora made $3.55 mil...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Name game: What should this year’s UF-FSU rivalry game be called?

Name game: What should this year’s UF-FSU rivalry game be called?

This hasn't exactly been a banner year for Florida and Florida State football. And bowl bids are no certainties for either program. So we could look at this year's rivalry as their de facto bowl game. The Times' college football staff takes a crack a...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Clayborn shining for Falcons as Bucs come to town

Clayborn shining for Falcons as Bucs come to town

The Bucs face the Falcons twice in their final six games, and as they prepare to go to Atlanta on Sunday, former Tampa Bay first-round pick Adrian Clayborn has had a nice two-week run.Clayborn had a huge game nine days ago with six sacks in a win aga...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

When the Rays acquired INF Matt Duffy from the Giants during the 2016 season, we also heard about the giant and somewhat famous cat he had, an up-to-27-pounder named Skeeter.Duffy announced over the weekend on Instagram that the family had to have Sk...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rick and Tom podcast: Debunking the Jameis Winston conspiracy theories

Rick and Tom podcast: Debunking the Jameis Winston conspiracy theories

In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones debunk the Jameis Winston conspiracy theories as he will miss a third consecutive game this weekend in Atlanta.The guys explain that Winston’s absence is purely medical and has nothing to do with the...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

ST. PETERSBURG — That the Rays went right up to Monday’s 8 p.m. deadline in deciding to add seven players to the 40-man roster, and that a couple they left off seem to be potential Rule 5 draft losses, was apparently a good thing."There’s always some...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Tuesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYBoxingWelterweights: Alexander vs. Castillo7:30 p.m.FS1College basketballMaui Invitational semifinal1:30 p.m.ESPNLegends Classic third-place game3:30 p.m.ESPNUMaui Invitational consolation game4 p.m.ESPN2Legends Classic final6 p.m.ESPN2George Ma...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Doug Martin’s not at fault for struggling running game

Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Doug Martin’s not at fault for struggling running game

TAMPA — RB Doug Martin had just 38 yards on 19 carries in Sunday’s win against the Dolphins, but coach Dirk Koetter said his team’s struggles running the ball shouldn’t go squarely on his running back."In my opinion, he is not the reason we’re not mo...
Updated: 4 hours ago