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: Billy Lowe
40 SPEED: 4.6
HEAD COACH: Bill Castle
www.floridakids.us Pre-Spring Rating: Not rated
For the past 10 years, since he was seven years old, Billy Lowe has dreamed of the day he could proudly wear the orange, black and white and be a Dreadnaught. It is something that every fan carries with them for the rest of their lives.
Football in this Polk County community – 30 miles to the east of Tampa – is more than something you start in August and put away in December. Wedding plans are made around spring practices and the thought of not being at a Lakeland game is, well, not American!
From the time Joe Lowe moved his family from Brandon, Friday nights have been special for Billy. Name a player who has put on this uniform and Lowe will tell you when and where he played.
"Lakeland football is my life," said Lowe. "It means everything to anyone who follows the sport in this city and this community."
So important is attending Lakeland High, when the Lowes purchased a new home and found it wasn't in the Dreadnaught's school district, they had to sell it and look someplace else. Now, that's dedication!
Lowe was a linebacker for the 5A state champions last season, starting in three games. He started in seven as a sophomore. He was also the backup to Chris Griffin at quarterback. Now, the most prestigious position on this football team has been handed to Lowe, as he gets ready to live a dream, the reality is starting to sink in.
"I have worked toward this goal since I was seven," Lowe said. "Now that I have the opportunity, I will try hard not to let anyone down."
STRENGTHS: Because he played sparingly at quarterback the past two years, it has been tough to get a read on him. But having had the chance to see three game films from last year and watching him at a camp, I am impressed by a number of things.
The most impressive thing is his toughness and strength. This is a wrestler who gave up the sport to concentrate on football. His brother, Joe, a former state champion from Lakeland, is now attending the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.
Because the offense is run-oriented, getting a true read on his passing ability came at the camp. Coach Castle also assured Lowe and the Dreadnaught receivers that this team will "air" it out a bit.
His technique is outstanding and watching him throw the ball is fun. He comes overhand and has pinpoint control of short and medium range passes.
WHAT HE NEEDS TO WORK ON: Understanding that he will need to tone down his game and slow things down is a must. Being a senior leader carries with it plenty of prestige, so trying to do too much on team that could be a top nationally-rated squad is not a must!
When Lowe does master the offense, and uses the superior running game, line and receivers, he will be in control of one of the top offenses in the state.
OVERALL: Here is a student/athlete who gets it done on the football field and in the classroom, where he maintains an impressive 3.8 grade point average (with all Honors and AP classes). He is also a quick learner who is picking up things all the time.
I think that in time, Lowe could emerge as a top-flight quarterback because he comes with more than physical skills. He is very smart and is an asset to have on the field – at all times!
COLLEGES ON THE HORIZON: When he said that Louisville was paying attention to him, I felt that it was the perfect place for him to end up. A strong passer with the leadership skills, tremendous grades and the ability and strength to guide the team. But he also mentioned a few more.
While he would love to follow in his childhood idol's (Peyton Manning) footsteps and attend Tennessee, the University of South Carolina (a Steve Spurrier fan), Vanderbilt, Texas Tech and UCF are also options.
Get IN THE HUDDLE with some more of Florida's emerging stars:
IN THE HUDDLE – JAVON HILL
IN THE HUDDLE – CODY CLINTON
IN THE HUDDLE – JARED MARTIN
IN THE HUDDLE – COLIN MCCARTHY
IN THE HUDDLE - DONTAE JONES
IN THE HUDDLE - DAMON PIFER
IN THE HUDDLE - CHRIS SORCE
IN THE HUDDLE - SHOMARI GRANT
IN THE HUDDLE - DARRELL ROSEMAN
IN THE HUDDLE - JAMES POE
IN THE HUDDLE - RYAN ELLIS
IN THE HUDDLE - COURTNEY JONES
IN THE HUDDLE - BRYAN THOMAS
IN THE HUDDLE - JORDAN DALRYMPLE
IN THE HUDDLE - PRESTON PARKER
IN THE HUDDLE - SABBATH JOSEPH
IN THE HUDDLE - RYAN KHAWLY
IN THE HUDDLE - BRANDON JAMES
IN THE HUDDLE - KEITH HOUSTON
IN THE HUDDLE - REGGIE ODOM
IN THE HUDDLE - C.J. SPILLER
IN THE HUDDLE - RILEY COOPER
IN THE HUDDLE - JAMES JAMISON
IN THE HUDDLE - DESMOND GEE
IN THE HUDDLE - RICKY GARY
IN THE HUDDLE - LAURANCE MARIUS
IN THE HUDDLE - KENRICK ELLIS
IN THE HUDDLE - RICHARD JACKSON
IN THE HUDDLE - LABRANDON GLOVER
IN THE HUDDLE: Billy Lowe
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