Checkin’ out Deonte Welch


I’ll step away from Florida recruiting for a bit to start the week and give some props to a local guy.

I checked out the Williston-Keystone Heights game Friday night. Great game really, but there was one player who truly stuck out to me. Williston senior running back Deonte Welch isn’t that big and isn’t that intimidating when you see him. Then, he steps out on the football field. He was the centerpiece in the Red Devils’ fantastic rushing attack that put up 435 yards on Keystone Heights in the Red Devils’ 41-28 win. Welch had 14 carries for 143 yards and two scores.

Like I said, he’s a bit lanky at 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, but he’s got some speed and some sweet moves. But how fast is he? Deonte Welch is so fast, that after his first few carries of the games, his feet literally came out of his cleats. His feet tore through his shoes and he couldn’t run in them anymore. He did what any starting running back in a spread offense is supposed to do to start the game, but it was his fourth run with a brand new pair of cleats that really brought out his elusiveness. With his team down 13-12 with well under a minute left in the second quarter, Welch took a handoff up the middle and danced through every defender he found and somehow made his way to the right sideline before sprinting back up the middle of the field and into the end zone for a 62-yard touchdown with 8.4 seconds on the clock.

Welch looked like me when I play NCAA Football 2009 when I’m manning either Missouri’s Jeremy Maclin on a punt return or Florida’s Percy Harvin in any sort of offensive situation.

“I couldn’t pick it up because my shoes got messed up. I got a new pair of shoes and I picked up where I left off,” Welch said. “They fell apart. I came out of them.”

He carried the ball just five times in the first half, but got the rock nine more times in the second and added a 25-yard score where he started with the ball on the left side of the field, found trouble and then reversed fields and was basically untouched as he walked into the end zone.

“Deonte Welch can make you look like a smart coach sometimes,” Williston coach Derek Chipoletti said. “Wow. There’s not much to say. I say (wow) every game.
What a player he is. He’s slippery, he’s got everything. He’s got the wiggles. He’s got the straight line speed.”

Last year, Welch sat more because he was behind current Georgia State running back Travis Evans. Welch said he would have been just as dangerous last year if he had more opportunities, but he couldn’t get past Evans on the depth chart.
Now, Welch is getting some attention from a few schools in the South. He’s looking hard at Tulane, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, N.C. State, South Florida and Florida International. He claims offers from N.C. State, Arkansas, Vandy and Tulane. He hasn’t visited any schools yet and doesn’t have any leaders right now, though he’s planning a trip to Tulane during his team’s bye week on Oct. 16.

Because of Welch’s size, running back might not be his position at the next level, but he’s trying to put on the pounds. He said Tulane is looking at him as a safety or cornerback, while everyone else is going either the running back or receiver route. With his athleticism, Welch could be a local kid to keep an eye on this fall.