Focus 2005

Tallahassee Godby High School football coach <b>Shelton Crews</b> is noted for developing quality talent at the skill positions. Last year, for example, the Cougars featured one of the state's top receivers in <b>Del Roberts,</b> who signed with North Carolina two weeks ago. Godby is expected to feature one of the area's top tailbacks next year in <b>Roy Upchurch,</b> the city's 100-meter champion who caught fire late and registered five 100-yard rushing games last year.

Godby High tailback Roy Upchurch ended last season in a flourish, registering five 100-yard rushing games as the Cougars qualified for the state playoffs.

Godby also ended its regular-season with an exclamation mark, upsetting state-ranked Lincoln High School.

Upchurch, a 6-foot-1, 195-pounder with 10.6 speed in the 100 meters, made the most of his first season at Godby.

He transferred from smaller FAMU High and, after some early struggles with the transition, demonstrated his stellar athletic ability.

Upchurch also played linebacker at FAMU but was not needed on defense for the Cougars.

"Could he play outside linebacker for us? Hell yes," Godby coach Shelton Crews said and laughed. "He's an excellent athlete but doesn't have to play both ways here."

Upchurch is just beginning to attract interest from colleges, and Crews expects more teams to follow suit. Upchurch registered a career-high 201 rushing yards against Milton last season.

Upchurch finished with 856 rushing yards, 184 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.

"Towards the end of last year Roy got better running the football in terms of running where he wanted to go," Crews said.

"He wasn't patient early on but he really turned it own during the second half of the season. Just being in a different league at a bigger school...there was a learning process."

Crews must replace receivers Del Roberts (North Carolina) and Ellis Gaulden (Connecticut) as well as quarterback Jarvis Myers (FAMU) next season.

That means Upchurch will be looked to help carry the load. The Cougars return 10 of 11 defensive starters as well as most of their offensive line.

"We are going to have to rely on the running game heavy in the early going," Crews said. "Roy is such a good kid, and he's just beginning to reach his potential.

"He has never been in an off-season program, and we are looking forward to working with him. Sometimes he needs to run behind his shoulder pads more than he does. There was an adjustment period for him but he's doing well. He's the type of runner who, if he gets into the secondary, you are not going to catch him."

Upchurch, who has a 2.5 grade-point average, also is heavily involved in community service.

His Roy Upchurch Christmas Connection helps deliver toys and food to those in need during the holidays.


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