Lake Wales head coach Rod Shafer is blessed to have a talented team. It's all starts up front for the Highlanders, who have a dyanamic duo in Bobby Leath and De'Shaun Dunn.
"Bobby's an amazing talent," Shafer said. "He could play tight end, offensive tackle, guard, or defensive tackle. For us he plays defensive end and offensive tackle. He's 6-foot-3 and 295-pounds and is so fast. When he plays, he's the best player in Polk County."
That's high praise because Polk County has some impressive recruits like running back Adam Lane (Winter Haven, Fla.), fullback Kennard Swanson (Lakeland Lake Gibson), and linebacker Freddie Stevenson (Bartow, Fla.), just to name a few. Leath holds offers from a few dozen schools like Nebraska, Tennessee, South Florida, and Missouri.
Leath jumped on the recruiting scene last year after a four-sack performance against a very talented Immokalee team. Leath is the younger brother of former Lake Wales and Florida State star Melvin Pearsall.
The anchor of the defensive front is not Leath but Dunn (Lake Wales, Fla.).
"You always hear a coach say, if there is one kid I could put a team around it would be this guy," Shafer said. "For me, it would be De'Shaun. He's the one kid I build my team around.
"Coaches that come through here love this kid. Then they watch the film and they love him even more. It's just a shame that he's a little vertically challenged. If he had Bobby's height he would be offered by everyone in the country."
What Shafer means by that is Dunn stands only 5-foot-11 and weighs 270-pounds. Despite his lack of height Dunn will just keep doing what he's been doing.
"That's nothing I can do about that," Dunn said. "I will just keep playing like I have always been playing. I am good at what I can do out there on the field."
Teams have been impressed with Dunn but no one has offered him yet. He's hearing from Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Dartmouth. Army inquired about him earlier this week. Then you have programs like Florida Atlantic, N.C. State, Ball State, Purdue, Wake Forest and Tennessee all showing varying degrees of interest.
The deepest position on this Lake Wales squad is running back. This group is led by David Jones, who missed practically the entire 2011 season with a strained MCL injury that happened on his first carry of his first game.
"It was a shame because this kid is a D1 player," Shafer said. "Heck, he led our team in tackles playing linebacker as a freshman. But he's good now and we expect a big year from David."
Another senior to keep an eye on is Tony Reeves, who Shafer compares to a back he knew well in Travis Henry. Jonte Sergeant is a true fullback at 6-foot-0 and 215-pounds. Shafer calls him the "teams enforcer."
Shafer has coached both Melvin Pearsall (Florida State) and Tony McGee (Michigan) at Lake Wales but he believes junior Davi'on Riley (Lake Wales, Fla.) could be better than both.
"I coached both of those guys," said Rod Shafer, Lake Wales coach. "He's on track to be better than both of them at the same stage."
Riley, now 6-foot-4 and 195-pounds, already has a trio of offers.
"UMass was the first team that offered me," Riley said. "That felt great. "They I got ones from Miami and Tennessee. My coach told me while I was in class. I was very excited about those two. They all came in the spring."
Shafer believes he has some special up front at center in sophomore Luke Hiers.
"Florida offered and I have told schools that they better jump on this one early," Shafer said. "Alabama and LSU have offered Luke. Just about everyone that came through here has given him a verbal offer."
Hiers, 6-foot-4 and 260-pounds, is a true center and is the only freshman linemen to ever start for Shafer.
One of Hiers classmates in 2015 is Marcus Walker, a talented 6-foot-3 and 175-pound safety. He had a breakout spring, including three interceptions in their spring game.
"Marcus has legit size and speed," Shafer said. "He plays the game with great instincts. He is such a great athlete and I think he's a BCS kid."
Lake Wales is also home to a talented freshman lineman in Chonsey Christian. He's already 6-foot-2 and 265-pounds.
"We don't know whether we are going to start him at offensive guard or defensive tackle," Shafer said. "But he's already a killer. You should have seen him this summer at the Down and Dirty camp. He just ate everyone up."