Tampa Catholic coach Bob Henriquez has seen his share of prospects walk the hallways of his high school. Henriquez's 2012 squad is once again pretty loaded and very talented.
Headlining his senior class is wide receiver Zach Benjamin, a.k.a ‘Big Bird'. Benjamin, 6-foot-5 and 192-pounds, is a large target.
"He was tall and skinny and that's where we came up with Big Bird," Henriquez said. "But Zach has gotten bigger and he's a physical player out there. You throw it high and he will come down with the ball."
"I bet he has 12-14 offers and that's a lot," Henriquez said. "But in his defense we were primarily a run-oriented team last year so he lacks that body of work."
The one Tampa Catholic recruit that is already garnering so much attention is junior offensive lineman Corey Martinez. He already holds verbal scholarship offers from teams like South Florida (first offer), Miami, Florida State, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt.
"He's a beast," Henriquez said. "Corey has great size and mobility. He has a tremendous work ethic and super grades. This kid is the entire package."
Martinez, 6-foot-4 and 305-pounds, plays left tackle for Tampa Catholic. But the great thing about Martinez, is he could very well play all five positions on the offensive front. That kind of versatility will make him an even more valuable prospect in the Class of 2014.
"He plays tackle for us but he could certainly be a guard or center in college," Henriquez said. "To be honest, he may prefer center and may play that position."
A recruit flying a little under the radar at Tampa Catholic is junior running back/outside linebacker T.J. Harrell. He is leading the team in tackles and rushing.
"And that's with very few touches because he's a linebacker first for us," Henriquez said. "Let me tell you that this kid is something special. He just gets it and has a chance to be an elite guy. He started at linebacker as a freshman for us and started playing running back out of necessity."
Harrell, 6-foot-1 and 205-pounds, runs a 10.8 100 meters. He's well-built and could play on either side of the ball at the next level.
"We spent some time at [Tampa] Plant and talked with them about how they used [James] Wilder," Henriquez said. "He's that kind of kid. He's that kind of impact player."
2014 running back Kenny Bryant (5-10/190) is another potential D-1 guy. He's a transfer from Wesley Chapel (Fla.) Wiregrass High School.
"This kid is not a blazer but very powerful," Henriquez said. "He has some quickness and very good vision. We have a nice one-two punch with him and T.J."
Seniors Dominic Bourne and Christian Freeman and juniors Justin Motlow and Tre Watson are four more prospects that have a D-1 chance. Borne (6-2/280) and Freeman (6-2/315) both play on the offensive front with Martinez.
"Borne is a kid really flying below the radar and I think he will have a breakout season," Henriquez said. "He plays guard and defensive tackle for us. Valparaiso just offered him and he has a lot of interest from some other schools that just wanted to see him play. Freeman plays tackle for us but will be an inside guy. He had a great off-season and got in great shape for us.
"Teams double Zach and that really opens things for Justin. He has speed and can stretch the field as a receiver and can catch it short and make people miss. Our passing game works off of his talents. Tre is a linebacker that came in from Tampa Bay Tech. He's a real physical presence for us on defense at linebacker. He's a D-1 guy for sure who can really run and he has size (6-2/208)."
Tampa Catholic was home to a few other prospects that have since transferred. Running back Jordan Rich-Rogers is now at Tampa Gaither, athlete Corey Bennett, Jr. is now at Tampa Blake and wide receiver Michael Clark is now at Gulfport Boca Ciega. Quarterback Chivarsky Corbett is no longer playing football.