RECRUITING: Oviedo Will Try To Muscle Its Way Back

If it's true that it's what's up front that counts, then Oviedo High School should easily surpass last year's disappointing 1-8 record and get back to the state playoffs where they are accustomed to being each November. Coach Greg Register's Lions are banking their improvement on offensive and defensive lines that have the size and talent to dominate.

"We are blessed on the offensive line where we have a lot of them returning," Register said. "We have some big booties finally. We may not be the fastest, but we will probably be one of the bigger teams each Friday night, which is nice."

Three seniors highlight the beef up front on the offensive line.

"Josh Miller is 6-4, and 294," Register said. "He is an awful big boy. He played all last year for us at left tackle. Troy Cosmus (6-2, 284), he played most of the year for us last year and did a good job. We have Anthony Gualdi; he will probably be our right tackle. He played some for us at tight end."

The talent at running back and the beef up front will dictate that the Lions run the ball a little more this year than they have been used to.

"We are going to try and concentrate a little more on the running game," he said. "We are usually 50/50, but we might be a little more 65/35 in favor of the run. We have a good amount of running backs. We have two freshmen running backs moving up (from junior varsity) and they are very good. They will help us out with some speed, which we don't have a lot of. Running back Austin Watson (5-10, 180) broke his foot in the first quarter of the first game last year. He is one of our best kids. The team voted him as a captain even when he was hurt. He is rehabbing now but still limping a little bit. We hope to get him back."

Senior collegiate prospects Jordan Dalrymple (6-1, 217) and Andy Lark (6-1, 291) bring size and strength to the fullback position where they can be devastating blockers as well as tough to bring down runners.

There are plenty of other returning veterans on offense.

"Our quarterback played about five games for us last year," Register said. "We also have two seniors at wide receiver that return as starters."

Switching to the defensive side of the ball, it again starts in the trenches. The Lions are huge up front with collegiate talent in the middle.

"Our defensive line is definitely our strength," Register said.

Corey Hobbs is the big name in the group. At 6-5, 320, Hobbs is drawing national interest from Division I schools. He not only has size and strength, but he's been on the field since he was a freshman.

"I am not a big guy on playing freshmen and Corey Hobbs was the first freshman I pulled up to varsity in my eight years," Register said of his big, talented nose tackle. "He played fifty percent of the downs that year and we were 9-1."

Next to Hobbs will be Lark. Like Hobbs, Lark is hearing from plenty of Division I schools. He's a strong force in the middle and quick off the ball.

Next to those two behemoths will be even more beef on the front.

"We have two seniors fighting for the right tackle spot, Andrew Harmick and Steve Bennett," Register said. "Both of those guys played for us last year. Our ends are juniors, but both played for us as sophomores."

The Lions have one more player receiving major college interest at this time. Dalrymple has the kind of speed and playmaking ability that has his stock rising among Division I schools.

"Linebackers, we have a couple of returners that have done a good job and a couple of young guys that have to step up and fill some roles early," Register said. "Jordan Dalrymple and David Clark played quite a bit for us last year."

The defensive backfield has been an area of concern for Coach Register. He would really like to see a step up in production from the skill guys on defense.

"As far as DB's, we have a couple of returners also, but that (position) has been one of our nemeses," he said. "We have to make sure we solidify the secondary. If that happens, we can be a pretty good defense all around.

One step is an addition to the team from afar.

"Josh Knight is a senior defensive back that came to us from Michigan," Register said. "He is a real good athlete that will also play receiver for us."

There is a lot of substance to this year's version of the Oviedo HS football team. They still need a few things to go there way.

"We do have a few injuries that scare me," he said. "A couple of shoulders and a couple of things here and there, but if they hold out we will be fine."

If the big boys in the trenches can live up to their billing, Oviedo can go places this year in the state playoffs. With enough man power up front on offense to pull two collegiate bound athletes off of the offensive line to play defense only, the Oviedo Lions are looking to muscle their way through a championship type season.

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