S Wants to Stay In-State

<B>Tony Joiner</B> is one of the top defensive prospects in the Sunshine State. He plays safety for Haines City High School. He wants to play his college football in Florida. Where do the Gators stand?

When it comes to safeties, one of the best prospects in the entire nation is Tony Joiner from Haines City, Florida. Joiner, 6-0 and 186 pounds, plays both free and strong safety for his high school team and he's also the starting quarterback. Last season as a junior, Joiner recorded 130 tackles and 7 interceptions.

"I really think I am great at run support," Joiner said. "The best part of my game is my hitting. When I make that big hit I get such a rush. It gets my team fired up and puts fear in the opposition. I also have the ability to play in the passing game and defend the pass. Playing quarterback really helps because I know what the other quarterback is thinking. I am also a leader out there."

According to Joiner, he has scholarship offers from North Carolina, Ole Miss, Central Florida, Alabama and Michigan State. For now, he wants to stay in-state and play for Miami, Florida State or Florida.

"They are all recruiting me but Florida and FSU are recruiting me harder than Miami. Miami was always my favorite school as a kid. They were winners in the ‘80s and they are winning now. All their players seem to go to the pros and I love their scheme and the caliber of players they have. I feel that I am that type and can play at Miami.

"I camped at Florida State and met the coaches. Man, I loved it. I like the scheme too and I think FSU would be a good situation for me. They have a dynasty and I love that staff. I met coach Andrews and some other coaches and they just blew me away.

"Florida worries me a little because they are not the same powerhouse they were in the ‘90s. My cousin goes there (Larry Kendrick) and he's pretty excited about what's going on so we'll see.

"It's safe to say that Miami and Florida State are my co-leaders right now."

Joiner hopes to have those offers from Florida's three big powers. In the meantime, he's ready for his senior season and then the official visits.

"In my mind, I have narrowed things down to three schools and I want to take my visits. I want to stay in Florida. The chemistry with the coaches will be key. So will scheme, opportunity and how they plan on using me."

Joiner is also a starter on the high school basketball and baseball team. He won a state championship in hoops in 2002. Last season he averaged close to 18 points per game. In baseball he hit .364 and played centerfield.

Joiner is currently rated as a four star recruit and the nation's No. 4 rated safety prospect by TheInsiders.com. He is a member of TheInsiders.com Southeastern Hot 100.

Fightin Gators Top Stories