IN THE HUDDLE: Brandon Heath

Is there a better two-way (receiver/safety) prospect in the southeast this season than Palm Beach Lakes' gifted standout Brandon Heath? If you ask his coaches and the teams he's played against the past two years, you will get the answer!

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: Brandon Heath
POSITION: WR/S
SCHOOL: Palm Beach Lakes.
HEAD COACH: Dan Sanso.
HEIGHT: 6-1
WEIGHT: 192
SPEED: 4.5
www.floridakids.us Pre-Spring Rating: 8.

Once again, we have a case of seeing someone live, going to his school and talking with him and watching him for five hours in a camp setting has made an evaluation as accurate as you will find.

While I have read many comments about Heath on websites from fans who have never had the chance to watch him or appreciate what he can do for a team, here is an evaluation of a top 10 player who continues to improve and wants to learn.

Whether you speak to FloridaKids.us Publisher Larry Blustein or Palm Beach Lakes' head coach Dan Sanso, you get an accurate read on Heath from people I respect and from people who have watched this youngster perform at the highest level.

STRENGTHS: One thing that stands out about Heath, whether you watch him live or on tape, is he makes big plays. There is not a prospect in the state, whether it's on offense or defense, that anyone will see who makes more big time plays.

Last year in the playoffs, Heath had three interceptions and one was returned back for a touchdown. He has that gift of turning things around – just like that!

On offense, Heath runs real nice routes and has as good a pair of hands as you will see on a receiver. He is very difficult to jam on the line of scrimmage. In fact, he is far advanced at doing so for a youngster in high school.

When looking at Heath, most would underestimate what he is capable of doing on a football field. That's exactly what happened at the Perfect Competition/FloridaKids.us Football Camp last month. When Heath lined up as a receiver every defensive back at the camp wanted a piece of him. After he schooled just about every defensive back, there was not much left to say about Heath.

"You go on some websites and everyone already has Brandon inked in as a safety at the next level," said Blustein. "Those same websites have people who were not at the camp we had and didn't see what this young man did against some of the best in South Florida."

On the defensive side of the ball, Heath is also very impressive. Last year in the playoffs he made his presence felt by leading his team in interceptions. He has a great nose for the football and is not a bad open-field tackler.

WHAT HE NEEDS TO WORK ON: With Heath you won't see many weaknesses to his game. If there is one thing, he lacks its "blazing" speed. While most would think running in the 4.5 to 4.6 range is slow, with him it does not matter. Heath plays faster than his speed would dictate on a track. If there is one other thing he could improve on is getting bigger and stronger, which he has already started to do.

IN CONCLUSION: I don't like to say a certain prospect is a cant miss player but Heath is darn close. He can make an impact on offense or defense in college. While I like him as a wide receiver, Heath best position may end up being free safety in college. He has good ball skills and is almost impossible to get the ball by him. He has the ability to also line up as a cornerback in some defenses.

Heath is very versatile and will be one of the more highly recruited prospects in south Florida this year. When national signing day comes next February, there will be a ton of colleges looking to sign this star.

COLLEGES ON THE HORIZON: The University of Florida is Heath's first choice right now, but the University of Miami, West Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida State University are also in the mix early on.

Charles Fishbein is a recruiting analyst for www.floridakids.us. He also writes columns for Scott Kennedy and Scout.com. He has become one of the premier high school football columnists in the nation. Look soon for his 2005 NFL Draft Booklet, which will be released next week. You can contact him at CFishbein@aol.com.

MORE FISHBEIN STORIES:
IN THE HUDDLE – HECTOR HERNANDEZ
IMMOKALEE: NICE GUYS DO FINISH FIRST
POMPANO BEACH ELY RUNNING BACKS
IN THE TRENCHES
SOUTH FLORIDA LINEMEN – PART I
SOUTH FLORIDA LINEMEN – PART II
SOUTH FLORIDA LINEMEN – PART III
IN THE HUDDLE – TYLER RICE
IN THE HUDDLE – KENRICK ELLIS
IN THE HUDDLE – EMMANUEL COOK
IN THE HUDDLE – KEVIN HOLLOWAY
PALM BEACH LAKES
PAHOKEE
KICKIN' UP A STORM

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