After a solid junior campaign linebacker Anthony Harrell from Freedom HS in Tampa is one to watch this season. Recruiting is just starting to heat up for the hard hitting linebacker, who just began spring ball.
"We just put pads on today, and did a little hitting," said Harrell, "I've been looking forward to this spring," said Harrell. "There are a lot of coaches out there, and I got something to prove."
The 6-foot-2, 215 pound linebacker has made a noticeable physical improvement from last year after playing at 6'1-230 pounds slimmed down some and looks leaner, but bigger at the same time, and is looking the part of a linebacker.
"I worked real hard this off-season, getting stronger and faster," said Harrell. "I trimmed down a little bit to get faster, because speed kills, but got stronger too."
Harrell plays inside linebacker, fullback and a little tight and as a junior had 125 Tackles, 23 for-a-loss, 2 interceptions, 3 passes defended, 7 sacks, 2 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovered. Earning All-State Honorable mention for Class5A, All-Hillsborough 2nd team, and All-Suncoast 1st Team by the Examiner.com.
"Most schools are talking about inside linebacker, either at MIKE or WILL, I like playing inside or outside linebacker. I just like to get to the ball and hit somebody."
With the spring evaluation period in full swing, Harrell said numerous coaches have been coming by practice and calling.
"Wake came by practice the other day, Texas Tech today and Ole Miss said they'll be by tomorrow. Louisville and Ohio State said they'll be down real soon, and Oklahoma State called the other day," said Harrell. "Things are heating up."
"I like all the interest, but I'm going to stay hungry and keep working hard," said Harrell. "I want as many offers as I can get. I want Florida, all of them. I'm going to keep striving to be the best."
Harrell said with recruiting starting to heat up, he was very happy when he received the Bulls offer.
"I'm real excited about the USF offer," said Harrell. "I really like the school, and they have a great defensive coordinator in Coach Mark Snyder. He coached Ohio State's defense on their championship team, and coached one of the great linebackers in A.J. Hawk and James Laurinaitis. I'm pretty sure he knows what he's talking about."
Harrell said the Bulls offer is one he's been waiting on, and was very happy when he got it.
"Yeah I have been looking for it. I like USF, and as I said I like Coach Snyder a lot and have a good relationship with him," said Harrell. "I like all the coaches there. I met Coach Skip Holtz a couple of times and met Rick Smith the DB coach, and met the TE coach Scott, he said they could also use me as an H-back. They seem like a good group of coaches and know what they're talking about."
Harrell plays right down the road from the Bulls Tampa campus and has also visited USF several times this spring and also watched a few practices.
"I've been to USF many times already, seen their facilities and I went to a few USF practices and liked it," said Harrell. "I liked the campus, and saw how they're redoing all the buildings and upgrading the athletic facilities. It's going to be real nice."
"I liked the way they practice, they play hard," said Harrell. "They don't go full contact all the time and that's good, a lot of teams go full contact all the time and that's how players get hurt. They wear uppers and go 100 percent, and I liked that."
The USF staff also offered Harrell's teammate Keith Lewis who plays outside linebacker and safety for Freedom, and is a coveted player by many schools.
"They're recruiting him also, and we're both seeing what teams show interest in us this spring, and what offers we get."
It's very early in the recruiting process as teams are shoeing interest and extending offers, but Harrell already has a list of favorites.
Harrell has already taken several visits to other schools as well, including FSU and Georgia Tech a few weeks ago,
"I visited Georgia Tech a few weeks ago, and liked that. It was real nice school," said Harrell. "The facilities look just like FSU's, like they were built the same way. FSU is just on me a little bit, but I do like them."
Harrell said he doesn't have a time table about when he'd like to make his decision, and wants to see what happens this spring and check out the schools that have shown interest in him.
"I don't have a time frame for when I'll make my choice," said Harrell. "Right now I'm still open and looking. I got to see what school fits me best, and then visit a couple of these schools."
The Freedom standout linebacker does know what he's looking for in a program.
"I'm looking for Academics, athletic facilities, and housing," said Harrell. "And how they're defensive scheme fits for me."
Speaking of academics Harrell carries a 3.6 core GPA and a 4.2 weighted, and already received a qualifying ACT score, but wants to take it again to get a higher score.
Harrell said he plans on continue working hard this spring, and then plans on taking several visits for team camps this summer.
"I'll be going to a couple of camps this summer. I don't know the schedule, my dad has all that stuff," said Harrell. "I know we're going to the Notre Dame Camp for sure, and probably go to the USF camp because it's so close. The rest I don't know about yet."
"I'm going to keep working hard, and strive to be the best, I got something to prove."
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