IN THE HUDDLE: John Ware

When you look at some of the top two-way stars in the state of Florida, here is yet another quality football player to keep an eye on. While much of the state has never heard of this Broward County standout, they will soon!

During the spring and into the summer, www.floridakids.us will bring you our IN THE HUDDLE segments with football players throughout the state of Florida.

These are similar to the evaluations we pass on to the hundreds of colleges who visit our website, call us on the phone and correspond via e-mail.

Here is another top football player to keep an eye on this season – and beyond.

PLAYER: John Ware
POSITION: RB/LB
SCHOOL: Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons
HEIGHT: 5-11
WEIGHT: 200
40 SPEED: 4.5
HEAD COACH: Mike Morrill
www.floridakids.us Pre-Spring Rating: 62

There are times, especially in recruiting football talent, when you head out to look at one player and come back raving about another that you have just watched jumped onto the radar screen.

Although I had watched him twice before during the late portion of his sophomore season, when I had the pleasure of seeing him play against Oakland Park Northeast in his junior season, this talented, two-way football star left me thinking about his future – often.

As a running back, I saw someone who had the power, speed and ability to read holes. He was one of those rare finds where getting the first hit on him means nothing if all he is going to do is bounce off and pick up yardage.

But as impressed as I was with his skill level on the offensive side of the ball, it’s defense where he really made the most out of his ability.

This is an athlete who made play-after-play, which had me wondering if this was the way he always played – or was he having one of those defining days in his young career!

“John is that kind of impact player,” said Redskins’ linebacker coach Tyler Zionts. “He reads plays so well because of his ability to play on the offensive side of the ball. That’s a quality you just can’t teach. Those are instincts that are acquired over time.”

STRENGTHS: Once again, with pad in hand, I began to chart his offensive plays first. You could see, from the first time he carried the ball, that running comes very natural to him.

The first play, he took the handoff, got outside and then switched the ball from his left arm to right and skirted down the sideline before being pushed out of bounds.

The second play I saw more of a power runner who broke the first tackle on the left side of center, was met by University of Miami signee Demitri Stewart and then carried the linebacker three to four yards up field on his back before going down after a 12-yard gain.

The third play I saw was a screen play that went bad. Not because of Ware, but the right tackle held his block too long and the play was blown up. But even in a play that didn’t work, I saw Ware’s blocking skills as he ended up taking on two defensive players, knocking one to the ground and got the other out of the play.

On defense, I saw a linebacker who dropped into pass coverage, supported the run, made tackles and had the vision and instincts to roam sideline-to-sideline to make plays.

WHAT HE NEEDS TO WORK ON: I think Ware ends up on the defensive side of the ball. Not because he isn’t a quality back, but he just fits that linebacker position.

With that in mind, he needs to understand that it’s not essential to make every play. He sometimes takes himself out of plays because he is too aggressive, and for that reason, he overruns some plays.

OVERALL: There’s little doubt in my mind that when this season is over and colleges begin to evaluate the talent, here is one young man who will vault onto everyone’s list. He just plays the game in a manner where he gives you so much to talk about, you leave his games talking about all the great things he did and what he is capable of doing into the future.

Many have suggested that Ware reminds them a lot of former Cardinal Gibbons, University of Miami and Kansas City Chiefs’ standout running back Donnell Bennett, but there is a long way to go before that happens!

COLLEGES ON THE HORIZON: While the University of Florida is on top of his list, and he would be a great fit for the Gators on either side of the ball, the University of Southern California, Oklahoma, Miami and the University of Alabama Birmigham are in the running.





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