BROOKSVILLE — When college recruiters ask to see the highlight reel for Central’s do-everything athlete Quadavis Battle, the senior doesn’t hand over a link to a slickly produced, 10-minute video masterpiece complete with professional editing and a hip-hop soundtrack.
In fact, Battle’s highlights last just seven plays and can be watched in the time it takes to microwave a bag of popcorn.
There’s no sound to the video, no Drake remix for Battle to juke and shake would-be tacklers to, only silence. One of the plays is a meager 2-yard gain on a direct snap to Battle at quarterback.
What a recruiter does notice while watching Battle’s highlight video, however, is a player who can help a team at the collegiate level in a number of ways.
“You’re not going to see a lot of touchdowns,” Battle says of his highlights, “but you’ll see a lot of speed.”
In one play against Springstead, he cuts upfield and runs 25 yards on a jet sweep. Two plays later, Battle takes a snap in the wildcat and turns what should have been a 5-yard loss into a 15-yard gain. The video ends with Battle blocking a pair of punts against Lecanto.
“We utilize him at running back and wide receiver. He plays defensive end, linebacker. He’s a kid that’s athletic as all get out,” Central coach Mike Einspahr said. “We put him where we see fit.”
Battle has a knack for making head-turning plays. Last season, he returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. In this year’s season opener against Weeki Wachee, Battle recovered two fumbles from his defensive end position and returned the second 26 yards.
Last week in a 28-17 victory at Wildwood that marked Central’s first on-the-field win in two seasons, Battle blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown to spark the Bears.
Battle would like to play collegiately, but his football future has a problem: he hasn’t had enough time to make more highlight-worthy plays.
Battle didn’t start playing football until last season. He had no youth league or competitive football experience of any kind. He was a track athlete, qualifying for regionals in the 110-meter hurdles as a sophomore and placing 12th (16.17).
But watching his younger brother, Justin, play football motivated Quadavis to suit up. (Justin Battle is a junior on Central’s football team).
“I’d been wanting to play,” said Quadavis Battle, who added that he recently ran the 40 in 4.47 seconds at Central. “I just had to get my grades right.”
His stats as a junior were pedestrian but come from all over the field: 93 yards on 26 carries, 29 tackles (21 unassisted), one sack, one interception, two blocked punts and a 22-yard kickoff return average.
Einspahr said Battle didn’t even figure into the offensive rotation last year until the sixth game against Springstead.
“That was his breakout game,” Einspahr said. “He ran a couple sweeps where he could turn the corner and get down the field 20 or 30 yards. It was the first time he had had a chance to do that. He’s a kid that once he gets a little bit of success, once he feels that, it builds on his confidence.”
Battle faces another obstacle to achieving his college football goal: a lack of playing time in the secondary. Recruiters like Battle as a cornerback. Battle thinks of himself as a safety, where he “can see everything on the field.”
But he rarely plays either position because the Bears have more pressing needs elsewhere.
“We’re thin in some spots, so he’s able to give us a spark,” Einspahr said of lining Battle up at defensive end. “He’s got a good first step. He’s a pretty hardcore pass rusher.”
Battle has yet to receive a college offer, but the 6-foot-3, 190-pound speedster is generating plenty of interest from recruiters taking a wait-and-see approach.
“Colleges love his raw ability. They like him a lot, just not enough to offer off his junior film. They want to see how he does his senior year,” Einspahr said. “But I think Quadavis will have some offers by the time it’s said and done. He passes the eyeball test.”