RECRUITING: Another Sims Stars For NFC

Although North Florida Christian High School is going through a lot of changes in its football program, one thing that doesn't change is having someone named Sims playing a prominent role in the program.

Tim Coakley, who led NFC to four state championships, has taken the job at Moultrie, Georgia. He's been replaced by Pete Watkins, who comes to NFC from Kings Academy in West Palm Beach. Coach Watkins will have the luxury of sending the Eagles out on the field with one of the top linebackers in the state, Marcus Sims, the younger brother of Ernie Sims III, an All-America linebacker candidate at Florida State. Ernie played on three NFC state championship teams.

Marcus is 6-2, 220, and like his brother Ernie, he plays both sides of the ball. When he's not delivering a big hit on defense, he's the Eagles top running back. Even though he doesn't get a rest because he goes both ways, Marcus enjoys both positions.

"I am playing both running back and linebacker," Marcus said. "I kind of like both of them, they are about the same."

He's a multi-sport athlete from a very athletic family. Marcus also plays for the Eagles basketball team. His dad, Ernie Jr., played football for Florida State as did another older brother. His mom ran track at FSU. Marcus attributes a lot of his abilities and desire to play football to his bloodlines.

"It's in the family," Marcus said. "My parents got me going early and I have been playing it ever since."

While he has the physical tools to dominate on the football field, he is a team leader by example on the field and off.

"I think I bring speed, toughness, and leadership", Sims said, describing what he brings to the NFC team. "I think I am pretty good at reading plays and getting off blocks when I have to make a tackle. I am good in pursuit and catching people too."

The Eagles made it to the regional finals in Division 1A last season and this year, with a lot of experienced players returning, NFC is expected to do even better.

"I think we are going to be pretty strong," Sims said eagerly about his team's prospects for the season. "We have a lot of good juniors coming back. I predict with our leadership we should get back to the state championship."

When he's not playing sports, Sims is just a normal teenager who likes "to play video games, lift weights, hang around the gym, and play football sometimes." He's got a 2.5 GPA and he's well on his way to being fully qualified by NCAA guidelines for a football scholarship to a Division I program.

Plenty of Division I programs are showing their interest. Schools from California and Michigan aren't shying away from Sims because he has a brother who is a star player for Florida State.

"I have gotten some letters from USC, Michigan, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Iowa, Iowa State and all the state schools," he said.

He is nowhere near making a decision but has an understanding of what he is looking for in a school.

"I really don't have any favorites yet, I am still waiting," he said. "It has to be like home, a place where I fit in. Not a place where I am distant from people. It has to be close, a place where my parents can come and see me. I have to have good coach. Wherever I go I want to see what they are like and what they are all about. I am going to be pretty open-minded about everything."

Marcus Sims will enter the 2005 football season one of the most watched players in the state of Florida. He's certain to be playing football in Division I in 2006 although he doesn't know what school or what position he'll play. Right now, that's not important. For Marcus Sims, what's important now is getting NFC back to winning state championships.

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