Focus 2005

Spring practice is coming to a close for Tallahassee-area football teams. Schools have the opportunity to measure their spring progress in the handful of scheduled jamobrees in the Big Bend Area. Madison County, for example, is at home tonight in a four-quarter game against defending Class 5A state champion Daytona Beach Mainland. Running back is expected to be an area strength this year, and one of the best tailbacks is Godby's <b>Roy Upchurch.</b> Click here to see where the Seminoles stand.

While just one Tallahassee school (Chiles) returns its starting quarterback from last season, area teams are expected to rely on a proven forumula this upcomging season -- quality running backs.

And one of the area's best is at Godby High School in Roy Upchurch.

While Upchurch won't participate in the Cougars' jamboree tonight at Gene Cox Stadium due to a hamstring injury suffered during track season, Upchurch is attracting national attention.

North Carolina became the first team to offer Upchurch two weeks ago, and many others are expected to do the same.

Upchurch registered a career-high 201 rushing yards against Milton last season. He finished with 856 rushing yards, 184 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.

Upchurch wants to combine his speed and strength this season.

"This year my main focus is I want to run (defenders) over. I already know I can out-run them. If I can put those two qualities together, there's no stopping me," Upchurch said.

Florida State fans would surely be impressed by Upchurch. Unfortunately, Upchurch doesn't list the Seminoles in his top five at the moment, though he said that could change.

Born in Miami, Upchurch favors the Hurricanes -- even though his family favors the Seminoles.

"I like Miami, Florida, LSU, North Carolina and Auburn," Upchurch said.

"My mom is a big FSU fan, but I am a big Miami fan. I was born in Miami. They have that little extra edge that I like."

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.

Godby 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.

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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