Mario Pender made an early commitment to his dream school in the middle of October last year and has remained behind the scenes ever since. What has he been up to?
"I want to play next year at 200 pounds. That is my goal, so I have been lifting and working out to get there. I am 197 right now, so I am close. Running track kept some weight off me, I did what I wanted to do there, now it is just football."
The four-star RB will be making a trip to Tallahassee for camp, "I am headed up to camp next week with a couple of my teammates and my coach. I am going to do at least one session of camp, I have a lot to prove from last year."
That is an odd comment considering that his camp performance last year earned him an offer.
"I just want to show Coach Gran what I can do. I am ready to go. That I am not just speed, I am also a physical player."
Recruiting wise several programs have been coming after him, "Sure other schools try to get in touch with me. I am committed to FSU and that is all anyone needs to know."
Pender is working hard in the class room to enroll in January, "I want the ball. Getting in there early will give me an opportunity in Spring practice to compete and learn the offense. I also can get used to college life. Right now it looks good for me to be able to do that."
Before he can enroll, he has a senior season to play, some recent transfers have given Island Coast a little more ammunition.
"Little T.J.(Johnson) is a baller. He is one of the one's coming with me to camp. Miami just offered him and I am looking forward to what he brings to the table. People were like why is he going to Island Coast with me there, but it is just the opposite. We are going to run all over teams. We have only one goal. To finish the deal this year."
Any personal goals this year? "The team winning a state title. That is it. I am a leader this year."
We look forward to seeing Pender at camp.