GBW talked at length with Kevin Sousa's coach, Anthony Paradiso. Here is Part One of the interview.
Sam Webb: First, can you take me through what kind of season Kevin had last year?
Anthony Paradiso: "He had a very good season. He accounted for about 98% of our offense. It was a first year school. We had no seniors and few kids with varsity football experience. I coached Kevin (Sousa) the year before at Cypress Creek High School. I made the move over. My running back coach at Cypress gets the head job at Lake Nona and offers me the quarterback/coordinator job. I go over, and Kevin ends up transferring over for academic reasons, so he gets to play for me a second year. It was a brand new school, a different kind of situation. We only had about 700 high school kids, but he accounted for 98% of everything we did. He was on pace to be the first kid to throw for 2000 yards and run for 1000 in Central Florida history, but he missed the last three games with an ankle sprain. So he should get that this year. He's a tremendous player. He has only been playing football for two years. I do not know if you knew that. So he is very young at the position."
Sam Webb: What caused the delay for him going out for football? Was he playing another sport before that?
Anthony Paradiso: "Yeah. he grew up playing soccer. Then I met him at Cypress Creek High School and we kind of built a relationship and I kind of convinced him to play some football. He came out. We threw him to the wolves as a 10th grader against some pretty decent teams. He was playing some of the top teams as a 10th grader, his first year of playing football. So he kind of learned to play quick, on the fly. He had to play those tough teams and he got those growing pains out of the way as a 10th grader. Then when he made the move as an 11th grader, he kind of exploded on to the scene because he was doing so much for the team that we were at. Lake Nona being such a new school. Everybody was wondering why were having such success scoring points, because most of the time with new programs you have a hard time moving the football because you are so young, but he did such a great job for us. I guess he just got hooked on it. He never really had a reason to play."
Sam Webb: From a scouting standpoint can you sort of breakdown his game for me. Is there a player in the college or the pros that he resembles?
Anthony Paradiso: "He reminds me a lot of, I would say, Josh Freeman, from Tampa (Bay Buccaneers). I remember watching Josh when he was in high school. He is a very big kid and he was very athletic, but he could sit there and throw with the best of them. Kevin's game is coming along in the aspect of football IQ and accuracy. He has got God-given gifts, but one thing that we've been working on is his accuracy and improving the mental part of the football game, understanding it because he is not playing a receiver position. He is playing quarterback, so there is so much more responsibility there for him. I think overall, he is going to end up as the top quarterback out of the class of 2011 for Florida when it is all said and done when everything catches up, because he is just so wet and new to football. He really reminds me of Josh Freeman because of the size, arm strength and athletic ability."
Sam Webb: What is Kevin's height, weight and 40 time?
Anthony Paradiso: "The last 40 he ran was at the Under Armour and he ran 4.78 electronic, which was the fastest he ran electronic. He has been clocked at 4.58 hand time. His height and weight: he was up at Louisville a week or two weeks ago and they heighted him at 6'3-3/4" and he weighed 218. Usually, he comes in around 6'3" to 6'4". Right now he is a little light. He is about 222 on a normal day."
Sam Webb: Michigan has made a huge push for him. It sounds like he is pretty high on them as well. How did that whole thing start, his interest in Michigan?
Anthony Paradiso: "When he started playing football, we talked about having a chance to go on and play college football, we looked at how does he fit in to a school as a player -- and one of the schools that came to mind was Michigan, and this was a year and a half ago. We looked at schools that fit him and what he does. Of course schools such as West Virginia and other spread run/pass teams. So I've been in contact with a couple coaches at Michigan for quite some time now. We been exchanging emails, and they called me back last Thursday and I spoke to Coach Rodriguez and they went ahead and offered him. I guess they really liked his spring game. He came out, we played Gateway in our spring game at the end of May, and he threw for 350 yards and ran for over 100 yards and five touchdowns in three quarters of play. So I guess that really grabbed their attention, and his stock started to jump real quick after that play. We had probably 25 recruiters on the sideline that night. Once Illinois, West Virginia, all those schools started offering ... I think it opened a little bit of the eyes of Michigan where they were saying, hey, we really need to take a look at this kid. And so they called me last week and they said they wanted to offer him. So we plan to take a trip up there on Tuesday."
Sam Webb: Aside from Michigan, you said Michigan, Illinois and West Virginia; what other offers does Kevin have right now?
Anthony Paradiso: "Right now he has 18 and I'll try to name as many as I can off my mind. UCF, USF, FUI, FAU, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Middle Tennessee, Illinois, Texas Tech, Tulane, Duke, and there are probably a couple more… Colorado State. There is a whole bunch."
Stay tuned for Part Two of the interview … does Sousa have a timetable?
The Low-Down on Kevin Sousa, Part One
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