Five-star Debose Runs Hard

By now if you haven't heard of five-star wide receiver prospect Andre Debose, you don't follow recruiting. The ultra-elusive Debose plays quarterback at Sanford (FL) Seminole and has a nice touch to go along with the slipperiest feet in the country. One college head coach was in attendance at Debose's game Friday night and talked to him about another dimension he brings to the game. He runs hard.

At 6-0 and 178 pounds Debose is electric on the field. On one play Friday night he took a shot gun snap with the ball marked 3rd-and-32 from the 28-yard line. A minute later, Debose was on a knee as he crossed the end zone some 72 yards down field. He wiggled and waggled through defenders all the way to the end zone as the fans went nuts in the stands.

One half earlier, University of Florida head coach Urban Meyer was on the sidelines watching Debose and his teammates There was little scoring in the first half but Meyer didn't need to see any of that. He knew what Debose can do with his feet. Meyer wanted to see what kind of intestinal fortitude Debose had and in one play, Meyer saw enough.

It was just a short run around the right side when Debose took off running. As he crossed the line of scrimmage two linebackers were there to greet him flowing to the sideline from the middle of the field. As they met, Debose lowered his head and laid into both defenders pushing them backward and getting a couple of extra yards. According to Debose, Meyer was very impressed from that one segment in time.

"I talked to coach Meyer Saturday and he was saying that he evaluated me at the game and saw what he wanted to see," Debose said Monday night. "He said he knew I was fast and quick on my feet, but wanted to know how hard I would run. If you remember there was a play where I took on the defender and took him on and ran over him. He said he liked that I ran really hard and with authority. He said anything I needed to prove I proved it."

Just having someone like Meyer there to watch him was something he never dreamed about just a year or so ago.

"It crosses my mind a little bit throughout the game that Urban Meyer is over there watching me," he said. "In the beginning it was just so crazy. To have a big time coach there to watch me. A couple of years ago I would never have thought a big time coach like Urban Meyer would come and watch me play football."

Besides running hard, Debose looks like a very good high school quarterback. He showed excellent touch on a 65-yard touchdown pass to a wide open receiver on a post pattern that he hit in stride. He also showed great control of the offense on several occasions looking at his second and third receivers. Debose said that quarterback just comes natural to him even though every college in the country is recruiting him to play wide receiver.

"A lot of people have been telling me that," he laughed when asked if colleges are going to start recruiting him at quarterback. "I have been playing quarterback since Pop Warner. I know more about quarterback than wide receiver to tell you the truth."

The play of the game Friday against DeLand was on that fateful 3rd-and-32 down. The score was 14-6 and the pesky Bulldogs were not going away. The play looked like a quarterback draw when he took off running, but Debose said it was actually designed to send all the receivers deep and for him to find one. Instead, his feet did the damage and 72 yards later he hit pay dirt.

"It was an empty-back set and kind of an all-Go play," he said. "I guess I just had to make something happen. I just ran full throttle. I feel like no one can catch me in the open field."

Debose really likes the make up of his team this season and it is much improved from Seminole's 5-4 season a year ago. It seems everyone is focused on one goal and doing their part He also knows the team is much more than just the "big three" of senior college prospects Debose, Ray Ray Armstrong, and Dyron Dye. He thinks there are a lot of players that are under appreciated on his team right now.

"I think we have one of the best defenses in Florida," he said. "A lot of people talk about the big three, but we have a lot of great players on our team. We have more than just the three and a lot of people don't get to see them. Our goal is to take it all the way to state. A lot of them are starting to feel like we have the talent to go all the way and they are buying into what we are doing to try and get there."

He tries to put a lot on himself when it comes to the team. Debose feels like he is truly a leader if not THE leader of this Seminole team.

"Since I am the quarterback, I feel like I am the leader," he said. "Our coach told me I have to be the leader. I feel like I took the role so I need to lead the way. Coach always told me the team is always looking at me so at practice when we are going hard, I am always going 100 percent. I feel like if I help just one person get better that day, then I have done my job. Coach just wants me to lead by example."

The ninth ranked Seminole team will take on Spruce Creek this week and no doubt more college coaches will be in attendance to watch them. For Debose, the schools of interest are trimming down and five are at the top with a maybe a few that are still in contact at the moment.

"Florida, Miami, LSU, Georgia, and USC are in there right now," he said. "I have a few more, but these are the five that are showing me the most interest and telling me the things I want to hear."

Debose talks about his favorites

LSU: "I was talking to (Wide Receiver Coach) D.J. McCarthy in school today. He put me on the phone with the offensive coordinator and he told me how much he really wanted me on the team and how they would use me. They like how I stretch the field and would help the program so much,. That is pretty much what all of them say. They like how I can run, how I have a good arm for trick plays, a lot of things."

Miami: "I always grew up liking Miami because they put a lot of players in the NFL. I like the area that Miami is in and I like the coaches. The coaches are really nice,. (Wide Receiver) Coach Hill and (recruiting area) Coach Hurt. I like their personalities a lot."

Georgia: "Every year since I have been into football they seem like they are on top. They are always going to bowl games and in the rankings. I have always kept my eyes on Georgia since I was young."

USC: "They speak for themselves. When I first got the offer from Southern Cal I knew I had to give them a strong look. They are a powerhouse. They are the top of the line and I couldn't look past that. I like talking to the coaches like (Head Coach) Pete Carroll, he is one of the nicest coaches I ever talked to. He seems so down to earth and cool and I can talk to him any kind of way."

Debose visited Florida for their rivalry match up with the Miami Hurricanes a couple of weeks ago. The Gators won big 26-3 and atmosphere in The Swamp was like nothing he had ever witnessed before.

"That was my first Florida game and to hear the crowd and as into the game they are was intense," Debose said. "Everything about the game was amazing. I didn't have great seats, but I really did enjoy the game. I watched how they were using Percy (Harvin) and Coach Meyer told me to watch and see what he was doing and that was the way they would use me. I just loved how the fans were really into it and the student body was wild. I am not used to that in high school...for people to be so into the game is something different. I have been to other college games, but nothing like that."

He plans to announce his college choice at the Under-Armour All-American game which he and his two teammates will be participants. Right now, he only has one visit scheduled and another tentative date for another school.

"I know I am going to the LSU-Georgia game at LSU," he said for his first official visit. "I am taking the Florida visit after the season. I don't know when the Miami visit will be yet."

Andre Debose may be the most widely recruited wide receiver in the class of 2009. His toughness, athletic ability, and leadership make him a top candidate for any national player of the year award. We will continue to follow his recruitment closely.

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