RECRUITING: Haupt has Florida as front runner

Take a look at Eddie Haupt. He's 6-4, 295 and he's got offensive lineman written all over him. Yet, late in the afternoon on warm spring days, he gets to do his impression of the late Bob Hayes, who was known as "The World's Fastest Human." Eddie Haupt will never break the 10-second barrier in the 100 meters, but when he's going full tilt down the track, running his leg of Merritt Island's "Fat Man 4X100" relay team, he lives out the dream of being a sprinter.

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In the fall, Eddie Haupt plays football well enough that he's on everyone's who's who list of offensive line recruits among the nation's top football powers. He's rated the #17 overall prospect in talent-rich Florida. He will play guard or center in college, but in the spring of 2005, he will throw the shot and discus for Merritt Island's track team and he believes he will graduate from the first leg to the anchor of the fat man relay. At Merritt Island, to qualify for the fat man relay you have to throw either the shot or discus and weigh in at 240 or higher.

"It's really the most fun I have all year," said Haupt, who has already scored a 1320 on the SAT, "and we've got a pretty fast team. We smoked a lot of teams this year. I ran the first leg this year, but in the spring (2005), I think I'll get to be the anchor."

The fat man relay team at Merritt Island ran so well that other area teams sought unfair advantages.

"At the end of the year, some schools were entering their sprinters in the throwing events just so they could run in the fat man's event!"

Haupt is being recruited by practically every football power in the United States, but if the recruiting war was a horse race, then the University of Florida would be Secretariat at the Belmont. The reason is quite simple and that is the combination of strong academics and big time football. He plans to go on to medical school to become a pediatrician after his college football days are over, so Florida has everything he's looking for.

"Really, Florida is the only front runner," he said. "It would be a real pleasure if I could play there. I've got my brother (Bruce) going there. I've got cousins going there. Gainesville's got everything I like. The academics are good and they're really good at football, too. It's pretty much the place I want to be."

While Florida is lengths ahead of the other schools recruiting him, he said he will take at least a nominal look into Georgia, Stanford, Michigan, Duke and Vanderbilt as well as in-state schools Miami and South Florida.

"I guess that's seven or eight schools that will be considered, but really, Florida's the place I'd like to be."

UF offensive line coach Joe Wickline is in touch regularly as is Coach Ron Zook.

"Coach Zook's pretty cool," said Haupt, "and Coach Wickline has a great personality. He's got a great sense of humor."

Joe Wickline's not the only one with a sense of humor. It takes a real sense of humor to run the anchor in the fat man's relay, but next spring, that's where you'll find Eddie Haupt, future guard or center in college football, but in high school track, a lean, mean sprinting machine.

"The fat man's relay is getting to be a pretty big event around here," he said. "They're even talking about scoring it as a regular event in our meets. Now that would be pretty weird, wouldn't it?"

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