"He is a really good strong safety," said Robert Craft, NFC's coach. "His best attribute is that he's such a good tackler. Tony plays with great technique."
"In many ways he's further along," Craft said. "Truthfully, he's more sound and plays with better technique. Last year there were coaches watching Field that thought he was Blanks. This is an aggressive kid who can cover and really tackles well in space."
"He didn't camp at many places this past summer because he had a little bit of a hamstring injury but he did go out and see some schools like Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Auburn, Ole Miss and Clemson," Craft said. "I know South Carolina is showing a lot of interest. Auburn called about his yesterday and he will visit Auburn for their Georgia game [tomorrow].
Speaking of Vickers…
This was going to be Johnathan Vicker's really big season for NFC. Last year he shared the rushing duties as a sophomore with a senior and still rushed for over 1,500 yards. So this fall it would become Vickers time to carry the offense.
But that didn't materialize. In the second quarter of their Kickoff Classic Vickers took a handoff on a simple counter play. He was tackled and dropped and in the process broke his leg.
"It was a simple run and tackle," Craft said. "If you watch the film you would never know that Johnathan broke his leg.
"He was going to be our guy this year. He was going to get 20 to 25 touches per game so losing him was huge for us and our offense."
Vickers, 6-foot-0 and 206-pounds, is on pace for a speedy recovery. He started running and lifting last month and his rehab has gone well.
"And he's in good spirits," Craft said.
Clemson was the first school to offer him over the summer. Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State and Ole Miss have also offered why plenty of schools like Alabama, Auburn and Florida are keeping a close eye on him, according to Craft.
The buzz in Tally
There's a buzz in the state's capitol regarding a high school team just south of the city in Crawfordville. Scott Kless's Wakulla team is one of the area's best. In fact, they beat Tallahassee Godby last week (and Godby beat Lincoln last night).
It's not just the team the coaches are talking about but the kids starring for the War Eagles. They have a trio of freshmen making plays on offense, defense and special teams.
"Our seniors say that these guys [freshmen] have super powers," said Grady Guess, the team's defensive coordinator.
2016 wide receiver Keith Gavin was [verbally] offered by Clemson yesterday. He's 15 and already 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds.
"Not only is he pretty to look at but he can really play," Kless said. "We had Nigel Bradham here. This kid is bigger and better at the same stage. Keith has a chance to be very special."
Quarterback Felipe Franks is only 14 and already 6-foot-4 and 190-pounds. Kless believes he could be the best of the bunch.
"I am a little biased but I think he has as much or more upside than Keith," Kless said. "There is nothing he can't do. He can throw the ball 70-yards right now. He's the QB you dream about. And he gets it. He's already recognizing coverages and we give him the opportunity to check in and out of plays. Not many freshmen can take charge in a huddle but he did."
It doesn't end there. Monterious Loggins is a 6-foot-0 and 210-pounds B-back that starts in their triple option attack and leads the team in carries. And he's just a freshman like Gavin and Franks.
"These guys are something else," Kless said.
Don't forget about the senior
Wakulla senior offensive tackle Chris Griffin has long been committed to Georgia Tech. Kless believes the Yellow Jackets have landed an outstanding talent in the 6-foot-6 and 275-pound Griffin.
"He's the best OL from around here," Kless said. "This kid has incredible upside. He's just 17 and still growing. His game can go through the roof. He's not your typical lineman because he can really run. We play in the same system so I can only imagine what he will be like for Georgia Tech. There are teams out there that are really recruiting him but he's going to Georgia Tech."
"They offered me about two weeks ago," Longmire said. "That's pretty exciting for me. I am also hoping to set up official visits to Cincinnati, Ole Miss, and I am talking with South Florida. Right now I am just focused on my team. I will set up visits after the season."
Longmire, 5-foot-11 and 200-pounds, is an every down back that can do it all for Godby. He played a big part in their upset win last night against powerhouse Tallahassee Lincoln. Godby lost last week for the first time to Crawfordville Wakulla.
"That was a huge win for us," Longmore said. "It's Lincoln and we were coming off that loss. We worked our butts off this past week. This gives us a big boost for the playoffs."
Godby will play Pensacola West Florida in the first round of the playoffs next week.
Hayward was offered as a 8th grader
Just how talented is Godby two-way star Jaylin Hayward? He camped at the University of Miami as a freshman and Al Golden personally told him he had a scholarship offer from the ‘Canes.
"I was stunned," Hayward said. "I hadn't even stepped into high school yet. It was pretty amazing and I was very excited. Here I am going into high school hoping to play on the JV and Miami offers me."
If anything Hayward used the early offer as motivation. Now he had to walk the walk.
"It put a little pressure on me because I had to perform and I also wanted to earn more offers," Hayward said. "So I worked harder. I was not satisfied with just one offer."
Hayward, 5-foot-9 and 175-pounds, is a silky smooth cornerback and receiver that can absolutely fly.
"There's nothing he can't do," said Ronnie Cottrell, Godby's coach. "Nothing."
Hayward now has offers from Florida State, Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky. He once again camped at Miami this past summer as well as Florida State.
"FSU was my favorite team growing up because they were really the first team I saw play," Hayward said. "But I have to admit that Oregon is a team that has really grown on me. They are my style. I know I have the speed and athleticism to play there. I am getting some letters from them and they are a school that I would love to go see."
Tallahassee Lincoln junior cornerback Kendall Randolph has offers from all the in-state schools but the Gators. South Carolina (first offer), Georgia, Arkansas and Auburn have offered as well. He will be one of the most highly sought after defensive backs in the 2014 class.
Tallahassee Lincoln has a 2015 offensive tackle prospect in Tarrick Thomas (6-4/270). He has a chance to be something else but he just doesn't know it yet. His father (Tarlos Thomas) played in the NFL and for FSU.
Tallahassee Lincoln has a star in the making in 2015 athlete Joe Burt. This kid can absolutely fly and most likely projects as a receiver. Burt already has offers from Ole Miss and South Carolina.
Godby wide receiver Earl Calloway caught a touchdown pass against Lincoln and made several nice places. Calloway, 6-foot-2 and 185-pounds, has scholarship offers from most of the MAC schools and quite a few 1-AA programs. He's a transfer from Tallahassee Leon.
Cottrell believes that he has a hidden gem at center at Godby in Ben Lyda. The former Alabama and FSU recruiting coordinator says the 6-foot-2 and 260-pounds Lyda will be a four-year starter. Only a junior this kid is physical, nasty and very smart. Another junior to keep a close eye on at Godby is quarterback J.T. Bradwell. The 6-foot-3 and 190-pound signal caller has a chance to be a good one.