During the summer and into the season, www.floridakids.us will bring you our IN THE HUDDLE
segments with football players throughout the state of Florida.
These are similar to the evaluations we pass on to the hundreds of colleges who visit our website, call us on the phone and correspond via e-mail.
Here is another top football player to keep an eye on this season – and beyond.
PLAYER: Antonio Lowery
Miami Christopher Columbus
www.floridakids.us Pre-Spring Rating:
Just about 25 years ago, I remember boarding an airplane in Miami to head to Pensacola to serve as color announcer for the state championship game between Miami Columbus and Pensacola Woodham.
Back in those days, the title games were played at schools and not in one location like they are today. It limited what fans and college coaches could see, since they were all played on one night.
As I boarded that plane, I saw that the Columbus team was also aboard. While you never know what the future held, you could tell a lot about a team that featured linebacker/running back Alonzo Highsmith and quarterback Michael Shula.
Through the years, the Explorers have had their share of top-rated football talent. Brian Griese
was also a tremendous athlete, but that came later.
While this program has had so many quality football players, I never thought that they would ever have a chance to duplicate and athlete like Highsmith, who was big, strong, quick and could play this game. When I watched Lowery as a sophomore in two games, I was sold that he could be the one.
When you cover high school football for a span of so many years, you tend to find it easy to draw comparisons. But you also find yourself searching for something that may never come. I felt that while watching Lowery that he could indeed be that someone special.
As the 2005 season is about to start, Lowery is on a watch list by many colleges across the country. Many remember what made him such a star on the rise two years ago, and they are banking, after an average junior season, he will regain that form this year.
Having watched Lowery in three games and in two camp settings, I see a football player with good speed and the ability to make plays. He gets off the ball very well, is physical and has the instincts to play the outside linebacker position.
While many colleges have watched him play, most felt that his ability to play outside is what will get him into college. I feel that he reads plays extremely well, knows how to react and can anticipate. He also has a great sense of moving forward and blitzing, which comes from his quickness and the knowledge of the game. He was taught to play this sport very well.
WHAT HE NEEDS TO WORK ON:
There is little doubt that if you watch Lowery play, you will notice that he needs to initiate more tackles. Instead of just driving the play back inside or chasing a runner toward the outside for help, he needs to make first contact tackles. Colleges will grow thin of patients if they get him on campus and he fails to make plays.
There are more athletes who are recruited on size, quickness, strength and the promise that one day he will become a play maker. For my money, if you don't make plays at the high school level, in all honesty, making them at the next level, especially at an elite program, will be very hard to do.
College offers mean nothing to me. When February rolls around, and the athlete signs on the dotted line, that is the ONLY thing that will matter. Not 22 offers in July or August.
Lowery needs to have a monster senior season. Looking good and being in great shape is nice, but making plays, especially as a linebacker, is essential. Mark my words, if colleges continue to watch, and he fails to initiate plays, they will start to look the other way. No matter how much the athlete can lift or how fast he runs!
If Lowery gets back to the basics like he did as a sophomore, he will be that linebacker prospect we all predicted.
COLLEGES ON THE HORIZON:
Among the 22 offers that Lowery has includes Alabama
, Boston College
, North Carolina
, South Carolina
, Florida, Georgia
, South Carolina and Tennessee
. While his hometown school, University of Miami, hasn't offered, he is also looking at the Hurricanes as well.
Get IN THE HUDDLE with some more of Florida's emerging stars:
IN THE HUDDLE: TAMARCUS PORTER - PAHOKEE
IN THE HUDDLE: JEREMY CAMPBELL - PORT ORANGE SPRUCE CREEK
IN THE HUDDLE: MONTEL GAMBLE - TARPON SPRINGS
IN THE HUDDLE: TRENT PUPELLO - TAMPA JEFFERSON
IN THE HUDDLE: SAM SHIELDS III - SARASOTA BOOKER
IN THE HUDDLE: KEVIN PEREZ - MIAMI KILLIAN
IN THE HUDDLE: JORDAN DELEGAL – CHAMINADE-MADONNA
IN THE HUDDLE: ROBERT BALKUNAS - BOCA RATON
IN THE HUDDLE: MICHAEL GUILFORD - BLOUNTSTOWN
IN THE HUDDLE: JOSEPH MYERS - MIAMI PALMETTO
IN THE HUDDLE: DEVIN JACKSON - KISSIMMEE POINCIANA
IN THE HUDDLE: MARK ALLEN - ST. CLOUD HARMONY
IN THE HUDDLE: DARON LOVE – PALM BEACH GARDENS DWYER
IN THE HUDDLE: CORY MATHIS – LAKELAND GEORGE JENKINS
IN THE HUDDLE: MARKIHE ANDERSON – FORT MYERS DUNBAR
IN THE HUDDLE: TONY WILSON – DAYTONA BEACH MAINLAND
IN THE HUDDLE: TERRY WILLIAMS – MIAMI CENTRAL
IN THE HUDDLE: JAVARRIS JAMES – IMMOKALEE
IN THE HUDDLE: IAN EVANS – CLEARWATER COUNTRYSIDE
IN THE HUDDLE: TERRON SANDERS – BRADENTON SOUTHEAST
IN THE HUDDLE: DANIEL WENGER – FORT LAUDERDALE ST. THOMAS AQUINAS
IN THE HUDDLE: DEANDRE MCDANIEL – TALLAHASSEE GODBY
IN THE HUDDLE: ORLANDO FRANKLIN – DELRAY BEACH ATLANTIC
IN THE HUDDLE: TRAVIUS THOMPSON –LAUDERDALE LAKES BOYD ANDERSON
IN THE HUDDLE: BRANDON THOMPKINS –PALM BEACH LAKES
IN THE HUDDLE: JOSH LONG –FORT MYERS
IN THE HUDDLE: DARON ROSE – TAMPA JEFFERSON
IN THE HUDDLE: MICHAEL JOHNSON – WESTON CYPRESS BAY
IN THE HUDDLE: TANNER JONES – CRAWFORDVILLE WAKULLA
IN THE HUDDLE: CHRIS UHRIG – TAMPA JESUIT
IN THE HUDDLE: JOSEPH JACKSON – MIAMI BOOKER T. WASHINGTON
IN THE HUDDLE: SAM YOUNG – FORT LAUDERDALE ST. THOMAS AQUINAS
IN THE HUDDLE: MELVIN PATTERSON – ALACHUA SANTA FE
IN THE HUDDLE: CHANCE ATTAWAY – BLOUNTSTOWN
IN THE HUDDLE: GEORGE ROBINSON – MIAMI CENTRAL
IN THE HUDDLE: TIMOTHY BROWN – MIAMI NORTHWESTERN
IN THE HUDDLE: XAVIER HARRIS – FORT LAUDERDALE
IN THE HUDDLE: DANIEL LINCOLN – OCALA FOREST
IN THE HUDDLE: PATRICK ADOLPHE – DELRAY BEACH ATLANTIC
IN THE HUDDLE: QUINTIN HANCOCK – ST. AUGUSTINE
IN THE HUDDLE: CHARLES DEAS – LAUDERDALE LAKES BOYD ANDERSON
IN THE HUDDLE: DONALD BOWENS – ST. PETERSBURG
IN THE HUDDLE: ROBERT LOVE - PAHOKEE
IN THE HUDDLE: CAZ PIUROWSKI – LAND O'LAKES
IN THE HUDDLE: STERLIN JAMES – SPARR NORTH MARION
IN THE HUDDLE: JOHN WARE – FORT LAUDERDALE CARDINAL GIBBONS
IN THE HUDDLE: MARKEVIOUS POWELL – ORLANDO EVANS
IN THE HUDDLE: BILLY LOWE - LAKELAND
IN THE HUDDLE: JAVON HILL – MIAMI MONSIGNOR PACE
IN THE HUDDLE: CODY CLINTON – BOCA RATON
IN THE HUDDLE: JARED MARTIN – DAVIE WESTERN
IN THE HUDDLE: COLIN MCCARTHY – CLEARWATER CENTRAL CATHOLIC
IN THE HUDDLE: DONTAE JONES – ORLANDO EVANS
IN THE HUDDLE: DAMON PIFER – GREEN COVE SPRINGS CLAY
IN THE HUDDLE: CHRIS SORCE - PACE
IN THE HUDDLE: SHOMARI GRANT - HIALEAH
IN THE HUDDLE: DARRELL ROSEMAN - DUNEDIN
IN THE HUDDLE: JAMES POE – ORLANDO FREEDOM
IN THE HUDDLE: RYAN ELLIS – PONTA VEDRA BEACH NEASE
IN THE HUDDLE: COURTNEY JONES: PENSACOLA
IN THE HUDDLE: BRYAN THOMAS - ZEPHYRHILLS
IN THE HUDDLE: JORDAN DALRYMPLE - OVIEDO
IN THE HUDDLE: PRESTON PARKER – DELRAY BEACH ATLANTIC
IN THE HUDDLE: SABBATH JOSEPH – MIAMI CENTRAL
IN THE HUDDLE: RYAN KHAWLY – HOMESTEAD SOUTH DADE
IN THE HUDDLE: BRANDON JAMES – ST. AUGUSTINE
IN THE HUDDLE: KEITH HOUSTON – IVES ESTATES DR. MICHAEL KROP
IN THE HUDDLE: REGGIE ODOM - DELAND
IN THE HUDDLE: C.J. SPILLER – LAKE BUTLER UNION COUNTY
IN THE HUDDLE: RILEY COOPER – CLEARWATER CENTRAL CATHOLIC
IN THE HUDDLE: JAMES JAMISON – STARKE BRADFORD COUNTY
IN THE HUDDLE: DESMOND GEE - MADISON COUNTY
IN THE HUDDLE: RICKY GARY - PAHOKEE
IN THE HUDDLE: LAURENCE MARIUS – KEY WEST
IN THE HUDDLE: KENRICK ELLIS – GREENACRES JOHN I. LEONARD
IN THE HUDDLE: RICHARD JACKSON – CLERMONT EAST RIDGE
IN THE HUDDLE: LABRANDON GLOVER - PENSACOLA
As a sophomore, Antonio Lowery was one of the best linebacking prospects in the state. Despite over 20 college offers in the past few months, the Miami Columbus standout still needs to have a big senior year to establish himself as one of the elite players in the Sunshine State.
Here is a star-quality football player who is looking to have a big senior season.