DB Demands Respect

Ricky Gary is an exciting football player. Although he's only 5-foot-8 and runs in the 4.50-4.55 range, he plays like a big time football player. He's proven it many times.

"I went up against Preston Parker, Deonte Thompson, Brandon Heath, Riley Cooper, all those guys," Gary said. "I shut 'em all down. Every day in practice I go up against (rising sophomore Martavius) Odoms (who caught the go ahead touchdown for Pahokee in last years state title game). I challenge you to find someone I didn't. Every camp I've been to, I shut everything down. I just go out there and do my thing."

Ricky Gary spoke briefly about each of the receivers he mentioned.

Parker -- "He's nice. Real physical. He's 6-0 1/2, he can fly, he's strong, and just knows how to play the position. He's the best I've faced. He has the most complete package."

Thompson -- "Ohhh man. Wow. Fast. He's amazing. He's not as physical yet and is still learning. Give him time and he'll be the show."

Cooper -- "He's big and physical. He's strong but doesn't run like the other guys."

Odoms -- "I think he'll be the No. 1 player in the state in a few years. He's a big reason why I'm where I am now. He keeps me on my toes. He's so fast already and is only getting better."

The talented cornerback will be entering his fourth season as a varsity starter at Pahokee. He'll add running back to his duties in the fall.

"I've been a cornerback all my life," he said. "I used to play running back but when Antone took over, I wasn't really needed anymore. Give me the ball. I'm replacing him this year. I'm ready."

Gary, who has seven career interceptions, describes his style and why it makes him one of the state's best at his position.

"I'm just a real student of the game," he said. "I know what the receivers are doing. I know what's going through their heads. I know what they're gonna do next. Sometimes you get guys who know more than others. But I'm one step ahead of them. I can always tell what the guy is running and that gives me an advantage. I think it's just a natural instinct because I know a lot of guys don't have that."

Gary was named the top defensive back at the University of Florida camp earlier this summer and hopes that makes a statement for him.

"The coaches there told me that if I can go in there and do my thing against some of the best receivers in the state then they'd offer," he said. "I did that. I ate it up. I did exactly what they said I needed to do for an offer and I still didn't get one. I don't know what's up with that. Florida's the place I want to be if I have an option to go anywhere."

Gary claims written offers from over a dozen programs and singles out a few of them as early favorites.

"North Carolina, Maryland, Iowa, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, and Minnesota would be some of them," he said. "I'm a Florida kid though. Florida would be nice. Florida State seems to be trippin' about my height. Miami's a great school for defensive backs. If you're a DB that wants to get to the league, you should go to Miami if you have the chance. Plus, their whole defensive scheme relies heavily on the play of their corners. They've had some good ones. They've seen my highlight tape and now they just wanna see a few games from this season. Miami would be right up there too."

One thing's for sure -- Gary will not only bring plenty of ability to his chosen school but he'll also bring with him lots of confidence.

"I feel like I'm the best out there," he said. "People knock me for my height. People always doubt me because of that. I've learned to ignore it and go with God has given me. Just go. That's what I do and it's worked well enough for me so far."

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