TAMPA — After a one-year hiatus from football, Carrollwood Day rising senior left tackle/defensive end Adonis Welch is back with the Patriots, who project him to be as dominant in the trenches as he is in the paint.
A 6-foot-8, 260-pound power forward with at least one Division I basketball offer (from Rider), Welch sat out football last fall after playing as a freshman and sophomore.
Coach Lane McLaughlin said D-I football coaches already are gushing over his physical upside. “He played for two years, but he’s untapped,” McLaughlin said. “The only problem with him is strength, because (not) playing year-round he hasn’t gotten in the weight room, but … he’ll have his (college) choice between football or basketball or both. The upside with him is speed.”
Old Armwood in new Tampa
Freedom second-year coach Todd Donohoe, a former Armwood assistant, said Monday he feels good enough about his team’s skill level and girth to install some of the Hawks’ old-school triple-option offense this spring.
Among the returning linemen: rangy tackles Malik Robinson (6-7, 250) and Dillon Browne (6-3, 240) and guard Alex Bahloul (5-11, 265), who owns a 325-pound bench press. They’ll block for rising senior quarterback D.J. Grant, who Donohoe says runs a 4.4 40-yard dash.
“We’ve got some beef now,” said Donohoe, who has 67 players out this spring. “We’re a little stronger.”
“I didn’t ask him to play this year; he came on his own. I begged him to play last year and he wouldn’t play, so I just shut up,” McLaughlin on Welch’s return to football
3-and-3 with Terriers former three-way star Nigel Harris
The next time Nigel Harris slips on a helmet and pads, it will be as a freshman linebacker for USF.
Until then, Harris is finishing up school, working out (he has gained about 5 pounds since the end of the season) and checking out some of his former Hillsborough teammates at spring practice.
We caught up with him at a recent Terriers practice, where he chatted up a few student trainers and gazed wistfully at the field where he was an all-county talent at running back, linebacker and punter.
Some things Harris misses; some things he doesn’t. We asked him to give us three of each.
What he misses:
1. Creating a strong bond with teammates.
2. Competing for a spot in the starting lineup. “Sometimes you know you’ve got a spot, but you still gotta compete because the younger players are coming for it.”
3. The last practice before the spring game. “Everyone is going all out and it’s a lot of fun.”
What he doesn’t miss:
1. The spring heat, which actually hasn’t been too bad the past week.
2. Waiting for younger teammates to pick up the playbook. “Some athletes don’t get it as fast as others, and you have to wait on them. Time can be wasted.”
3. The ceaseless yelling from the coaching staff. “Sometimes you can hear them in your sleep.”
Speaking of threes, Harris had a trio of up-and-coming Terriers local football fans should keep an eye on in the fall: defensive back John Hughes and receiver Xavier Byrd, both juniors, and rising senior running back K.J. Gunn.
Photo: Carrollwood Day's Adonis Welch
Compiled by staff writers Joel Anderson and Joey Knight.