RECRUITING: Confident Reggie Odom Leads DeLand

In 2004, the DeLand Bulldogs posted their first winning season in seven years under first year coach Dean Fabrizio. Expectations for the Bulldogs will be higher in 2005 and one of the reasons for the improved outlook is defensive tackle Reggie Odom, a force in the middle who will have his choice of Division I schools.

The 6-2, 295 pound Odom won't be outworked by anyone on the football field. His strong work ethic has led to success on the field and confidence that he can play the game well. He has developed his football skills to the point that he has a very well rounded game.

"Pass rushing, clogging up the middle," Odom says are some of strong points. "Opening up holes for the linebackers to make tackles. I am unpredictable, I can do it all. You have to have your skill down and be strong and fast if you are going against me. Basically, you have to be better than me and that's going to be hard, because I am doing what I have to do to be better than the next person.

"Right now I am nose guard. But, I let the coaches and fellow players know if they need me I will be there."

While Odom may sound cocky, he's got the results on the field to back the talk. He's naturally confident and football is just an extension of his naturally out-going personality.

"Really I am just myself," he said. "It is God-given talent, and what I do is what God is going to let me do that day on the field."

Odom's team finished out of the playoffs last year but just getting a winning season was a huge improvement. It was Fabrizio's first year and because the Bulldogs came so far in year one, much more is expected in year two of the Fabrizio rebuilding project.

"I believe we will do a lot better than last year, even though we did well last year," Odom said. "With the new packages we have we will be better. The offensive packages will have different personnel. We are going to go further, maybe to the state playoffs. The coaches are being hard on us to do what we have to do and be the best, a lot of training and hard work. We are striving to be the best, the whole team, and we are going to stay that way."

At a progressive academic school, Odom is doing very well in the classroom. His qualifying status is a total non-issue. School is something he doesn't take for granted.

"I'm making A's and B's, good all around," he said. I am registered to take the SAT in June. I am over-qualified."

The schools are lining up and taking notice right now. He has a slew of offers and the letters are too many to count.

"Everybody is sending them," he said. "I am getting letters from USC, Nebraska, Illinois … everybody."

He won't go on record for a favorite but it's quite obvious he wants to stay close to home.

"Not really a favorite, but I had a good vibe for all of the Florida teams," he said. "I am looking at all the Florida schools. It is a possibility (to move away), but you never know until that time comes."

He has made a short list of reasons to choose a particular school. It is undoubtedly a list that will change and grow as signing day approaches for February 2006.

"The school itself and academics and where I can rebound from if that crucial point comes that I don't make it to the next level (NFL)," he said. "The environment, where I know I will be taken care of and become a better man."

He has seen a few of the environments first hand.

"I have been to Florida, UCF, Miami, and invited everywhere," he said. "I went to the Miami/Clemson game last year and was invited to four others."

He also went to Florida in the middle of spring practice for the first annual Junior Day in Gainesville. He was able to take in a lot about campus life in general and the University of Florida specific.

"I went to the Florida Junior Day and it was really nice," he said. "The coaches showed a lot of love and everything. It was real nice. They taught us about the (school) environment and how all the other students are basically lost on their first day. But, all the football players during the summer, they will show you to every one of your classes. So, you, being a freshman, will know where you are going and not look like a chicken with his head cut off.

"I met the whole coaching staff. Coach Gonzalez is the recruiter for this area, so he and I talked a lot. Coach Mattison, the defensive line coach and Coach Meyer, we all talked. I've gotten a lot of mail from Coach Gonzalez."

The report on Odom reads, "Reggie Odom is a compact, quick, and strong defensive tackle that is equally adept at stuffing the run as he is at getting penetration on pass plays. He wreaks havoc on the offensive backfield and commands a double team on every play." Odom is the ideal defensive tackle prospect and will make some school very happy in February.

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