Pahokee has been a state and national power for the last decade. The small Florida school turns out some of the best high school players nationally every year, and this year is no different. One of the team's top players for this year is cornerback Jarvis Byrd. After being under the radar for most of the 2009 recruiting season, programs are starting to notice the talent the 5'11 183 pound athlete has. Pahokee's 21-17 win over Trinity Catholic this weekend tops off one of the best weeks Byrd has ever had, as earlier in the week his longtime favorite, Florida State, offered him a scholarship.
"It's been good recently," said Byrd of how his year has gone. "We just beat Trinity Catholic 21-17 in the state title game. Man, that was a good team! It was a good game but we won, so that is 3 state championships in a row and 6 over the last 7 years."
"Also recruiting has been going great," continued Byrd. "I got the offer from Florida State this week. That throws a whole wrench into this whole thing. N.C. State is number 1 because I committed last month, but FSU is number 2 and they've past every other school I'm looking at. N. C. State was my first offer from the ACC, but the FSU offer is big. It'll come down to those two but Wake Forest is still there, too."
When you ask any big time high school player in the state of Florida what school they've always liked, the majority of the time you'll get FSU, Florida or Miami as the answer. Byrd is no different as he's long been a huge FSU fan. Jarvis told NoleDigest the offer means a lot to both he and his family.
"FSU, man, that is my childhood team," said Byrd, "so to get a chance to play there is a blessing in disguise to me. My family, especially my dad, have long been FSU fans. My dad loves him some FSU and Bobby Bowden. When I got the offer I could believe it; I was so excited. My dad was just as excited as I was. Now I just want to check FSU out. Coach Coley told me to go ahead and take my official to N.C. State on January 9th, then take a visit to FSU after. I am going to do that. When I get back from the FSU visit I will decide which program fits me best then make a final decision."
Jarvis says that at this time he remains committed to the Wolfpack and that he stays in regular contact with the coaches. He has yet to take a visit there, so it's vital to the coaches that they show him a good time if they want to keep the up and coming cornerback prospect in their grasp.
"I'm still committed by it is soft," explained Byrd on the status of his commitment. "I will take my visit and go from there. If I like everything and it goes well, I will consider going. If it doesn't, I will make a switch. I've stayed in constant contact with the coaches. They call me 3 times a week and talk to me about how they want to make sure I get my test scores so I can be one of their starting cornerbacks when they play their first game of next season."
Byrd admits that the offer to FSU has been stuck in the back of his mind since it became official. He says he wants to give N.C. State a fair shot, but he doesn't know if he can turn down the chance to fulfill a life-long dream.
"It has been stuck in the back of my mind," stated Byrd about the FSU offer. "It puts FSU out there in front of everyone except N.C. State because I am committed there, but honestly they are going to have to have something mind-blowing for me to go there. I cannot see myself backing away from this FSU offer. N.C. State will have to show me the time of my life. Pretty much I think my commitment is going to change, and the only school I'd change it to would be FSU because that is something I have always dreamed of. Add to that the need they have at corner and the fact I can come in early and compete, FSU stands out."
While Byrd has never been to FSU on a visit he says he has kept track of the Seminoles throughout the season. He is attracted to the tradition of the program and the future the young Noles have going for them.
"I've watched and kept track of them all year," stated Byrd. "They have had a good season for a team that is young and has so many people coming back. They always bring on good recruits and they have a good future. They'll be a good team soon. I thought they were close to winning the ACC this year. Had they not had the fumble against Georgia Tech, I think they would have gotten it. I think if I go to FSU there is a great chance I can win 4 ACC Championships in a row."
Jarvis says that going against the likes of Nu'kese Richardson and DeJoshua Johnson everyday has made him a good player. In fact, the way he played against those two is one of the reasons why FSU is now going after him so hard.
"We have a lot of good players at Pahokee," said Byrd, "so I think it has helped me get better. I've battled Nu'kese for a while. When FSU was at my practice I was all over him making plays. He got me but I got him more (laughs). When Florida was at our practice last week I also did well against him. Knowing that he and DeJoshua are so highly regarded makes me feel that I am ready for the next level."
As it stands right now it looks like it is only a matter of time before Jarvis switches his commitment from N.C. State to FSU. In the meantime stay tuned to NoleDigest as we track Jarvis' performance in the North/South All-Star game, as well as the latest updates with him in regards to his recruitment.
Random Facts about Jarvis:
While he doesn't want to pursue it in college, Byrd runs track at Pahokee. He reports a 10.9 100 meter time, a 22.3 200 meter time, and says he runs the 400 in 50-flat.
This year will be the first time since 7th grade that he doesn't play baseball in the spring.
He often talks to former Pahokee stars Alphonso Smith and Ricky Gary about recruiting and advice on making his college choice.