Meyer plans to scout local eighth graders

Published: Monday, August 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 1, 2005 at 12:00 a.m.
When you are a college football coach, much of your job has to do with evaluating and decision-making.
Is this kid good enough to play here? Does that guy project as a running back or safety? Does this 270-pound offensive tackle have the frame to put on 30 or 40 pounds?
One of the trickiest answers a coach must come up with regards recruiting a local player.
There often are inherent pressures to sign the dreamy-eyed star high schooler who grew up minutes from the only college he ever loved, even if the coach may not feel the athlete isn't quite the level of the hometown university.
Urban Meyer understands the touchiness that can arise in those situations, so he has devised a plan: develop a good relationship with area high school coaches and start taking a look at future prospects when they are eighth graders. Yes, eighth graders.
That way, you can see their progress in summer football camps and make projections about the kind of player they will grow into.
Meyer said his daughter will attend Buchholz and he has visited Gainesville High School and Oak Hall to get to know the staffs already. No doubt he also has made his presence felt at Suwannee (where senior linebacker Dustin Doe already has committed), Union County, Santa Fe, Bradford and a couple of other area schools with prospects on the Gators' wide radar.
And Meyer added that making a reach wouldn't be the worst thing you could do with a local player.
No, he said "the worst thing would be if they ended up in Tallahassee or Miami and had a great career."
  • BATTERS UP: Due to a fax-receive transmission error, these Fort White players were inadvertently left off the 2005 all-area baseball team: junior Jeremy Harrell (.479 BA, 34 hits, 18 RBI, 14 runs), senior Kyle Espenship (.354 BA, 29 hits, 26 runs), seventh grader Jacob Tillotson (.303 BA, 20 hits, 15 runs), senior Dusty Parrish (4-3, one save, 2.54 ERA, 38 Ks) and senior Matt Huesman (6-1, 2.80 ERA, 26 Ks).
    Gainesville senior pitcher/first baseman Andy Mauldin (6-1, 63 Ks, 1.38 ERA, .364 BA, 28 hits, 16 RBIs) also was unintentionally left off the team.
  • BASEBALL WORKOUT: The North Central Florida Baseball Scout team will have a workout for its 2005 fall wood bat league and scout team on Sunday, Aug. 21 at Santa Fe Community College baseball field.
    Sign ups will start at 9 a.m. and the work out will begin 45 minutes later. Any high school senior, junior or outstanding sophomore is welcome to work out. You can find more information at http://ncfs.cjb.net, or call Adam Soliard at (352) 281-0078 or Des Hamilton at (904) 553-8009.
  • CARTER COUNTRY: Former Columbia High School/Florida State standout Jerome Carter is No. 1 on the St. Louis Rams' depth chart at strong safety entering his first training camp. Last year's starter at strong safety, Adam Archuleta, has been moved to free safety.
    Carter was a fourth-round pick in April's draft, and there is a possibility he and former Dixie County All-State performer Nick Collins (Green Bay Packers, second round) could give the area two rookie starting NFL safeties in 2005.
    n SIGNING: Buchholz cross country and middle distance track runner Chris Chidgey has signed a national letter-of-intent with Embry-Riddle. Chidgey is an aspiring race car driver who hopes to pursue an aerospace engineering degree to acquire the knowledge to eventually help design and improve the aerodynamic setup of race cars.
    He is the second Bobcat to sign with Embry-Riddle this year, joining basketball forward Eric Lorenzi.
    John Patton is The Sun's high school sports editor. You can reach him by calling 374-5074 or by e-mail at pattonj@gvillesun.com.
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