There is a strong core group of rising seniors at NFC and they figure to provide the leadership for Coach Pete Watkins who recently replaced Tim Coakley as the head coach. Coakley accepted the head coach position in Moultrie, Georgia and Watkins, who coached Master's Academy in Palm Beach County, was selected as Coakley's replacement. Watkins inherits a team that returns plenty of experienced players.
"The strength of our team is our defense, we only lose three starters," said Salters, a 6-1, 185-pounder who only place on offense. "We have to replace our quarterback, but the core unit from last year's team is back."
In Salters, Coach Watkins has a confident player who believes he's going to score a touchdown every time he touches the ball.
"I think I am a guy that has to be double covered," Salters said. "I want coaches to think I am a guy that they have to know where he is at all times: a playmaker."
As a dangerous wide receiver who grew up in Tallahassee, it isn't difficult to understand that he's patterned his game after former Florida State All-American Peter Warrick, now of the Cincinnati Bengals. He loved that sense of electricity that Warrick used to bring to the game at FSU.
"I liked watching Peter Warrick play, simply because he brought excitement to the game every time he played," he said. "You could sense it in the crowd, when he touched the ball something exciting was going to happen."
Carlton Salters is a good enough baseball player that he could very well be drafted by a major league team in June of 2006 as well. He's from a very athletic family who has a cousin who played college sports.
"My first cousin Demetrius Salters played basketball at FAMU," Salters said. "I play basketball and baseball. Football is my favorite sport, baseball is really close."
Academics are tough at NFC which makes its athletes toe the line in the classroom. It's difficult to remember the last top flight NFC player who couldn't qualify academically. Like most NFC athletes, Salters has his academic house in order.
"School is going great," he said. "I am already qualified. I just need to send my stuff to the clearing house. I enjoy high school and the time with my friends while I have it. I like to read."
The letters from Division I football programs are starting to pour in. Some schools are already hot on the Salters recruiting trail, particularly Iowa State.
"All the state schools except Miami right now have sent letters," he said. "I talked to Coach Fitch at Iowa State and he said they are going to offer me a scholarship. I went to Auburn last year at their camp and Coach Knox said he was going to offer me a scholarship, but I'm not holding them to that because they haven't sent it to me on paper yet."
To help make his final decision he'll go to a few football camps in the summer. He went to the Auburn and Florida State camps last summer but he really hasn't decided which camps to attend this year.
"I will camp [this summer] but don't know where yet," he said.
When he makes his decision about school, "play calling style and distance" will be factors. He's already thinking seriously about a major.
"I like history," he said. "I don't know about being a teacher, but I like American History and computer programming."
Look for Carlton Salters name rising on the recruiting charts in the fall. He's got the size, speed and academic qualifications that should make him a hot commodity. And, since he's a standout baseball player, some lucky school is going to get a standout athlete for two of its programs.