IN THE HUDDLE: Josh Long

Mention the name Josh Long to high school football fans across the state of Florida, and it's a good bet that most have never heard of him. But by the end of the 2005 season, the rush to sign this Fort Myers standout defensive end will be out the door! Check out yet another rising star of the gridiron.

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: Josh Long
POSITION: DE
SCHOOL: Fort Myers
HEIGHT: 6-4
WEIGHT: 240
40 SPEED: 4.68
HEAD COACH: Sammy Sirianni
www.floridakids.us Pre-Spring Rating: Not rated

The one thing that I pride myself on in this business is the fact that I travel. Getting out to watching games, practices, camps and combines is something that has always set myself apart from the rest.

While most people spend their free time at the movies or doing other activities, my free time is spent driving to high schools, camps and various get-togethers that showcase high school football players. I have done this for over three decades.

During this past spring, Charles Fishbein and myself covered more areas of this state than anyone – by far. From the Panhandle to northern Florida, Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, Gainesville, Naples, Immokalee, Ocala and extensively throughout southern Florida, we uncovered more new rising seniors than ever before.

Perhaps nothing will define this past spring better than the trip Charles and I took to the Fort Myers area when we visited a great friend of mine, Sammy Sirianni. Coach Sirianni and I go back many years. I was a huge fan of his father who will always be considered one of the greats to coach this sport.

As Charles and I talked with Sammy and some of his assistant coaches, we asked our magical question: "Hey, coach, do you have any rising seniors who just may fly under the radar screen?"

As he looked around the field, Sirianni's eyes immediately fixed upon a tall, great looking athlete. "Larry, Charles, right there is someone nobody knows anything about," he said. "When I say nobody, not even the college coaches who recruit this area."

Watching Josh Long go through his drills, you could tell that even if he was raw as a football talent, he certainly handled himself in a manner where he easily looked like one of the top athletes we had seen all spring.

"This kid looks the part," said Fishbein. "I think we have found another star in the making."

As he went through his drills, it was evident that Long more than looked the part. He did everything well. He had very good speed, tremendous balance and quickness that could easily translate into sacks and quarterback pressures.

STRENGTHS: Just from watching him for over an hour, here is a football player who has the frame to be a big time football player some day. His strength and quickness and ability to make plays gives him a unique advantage.

Much like I projected when watching Erasmus James play as a tall, thin defensive end at Hollywood McArthur before going to Wisconsin and now on to the National Football League, Long has that body type that can handle at least 30-40 more pounds without losing too much quickness.

If there was ever a football player with a great future, here he was. All he needed was to spend more time watching film of some of the better defensive ends/linemen and going out and applying what he learned. Although he is exceptionally strong, he has plenty of room to get stronger and bigger.

WHAT HE NEEDS TO WORK ON: The obvious is experience of playing the sport. While he has all the tools, average offensive linemen who have technique will give him problems until he starts picking up the position and learning how to counter moves.

As strong as he is now, hitting the weightroom hard during the summer and throughout his senior year, will also make the difference.

OVERALL: Once again, as you see all the talent in the state of Florida, it is certainly no surprise when you come across a player with the potential that Long has.

While his maturity will depend on how hard he is willing to work, he is in the perfect situation with a coaching staff that knows how to mold winners and produce college talent.

He is also a full qualifier (2.9 grade point average) in the classroom.

COLLEGES ON THE HORIZON: While colleges came through during the spring and had a first look at this budding star, nobody pulled the early trigger with an offer.

I know that a number of colleges read this website, so here is my chance to tell them that you need to take a chance. Five years from now when Long is in the NFL Draft, you will understand why the decision should have been a NO-BRAINER – at all!

Get IN THE HUDDLE with some more of Florida's emerging stars:
IN THE HUDDLE: DARON ROSE – TAMPA JEFFERSON
IN THE HUDDLE: MICHAEL JOHNSON – WESTON CYPRESS BAY
IN THE HUDDLE: TANNER JONES – CRAWFORDVILLE WAKULLA
IN THE HUDDLE: CHRIS UHRIG – TAMPA JESUIT
IN THE HUDDLE: JOSEPH JACKSON – MIAMI BOOKER T. WASHINGTON
IN THE HUDDLE: SAM YOUNG – FORT LAUDERDALE ST. THOMAS AQUINAS
IN THE HUDDLE: MELVIN PATTERSON – ALACHUA SANTA FE
IN THE HUDDLE: CHANCE ATTAWAY – BLOUNTSTOWN
IN THE HUDDLE: GEORGE ROBINSON – MIAMI CENTRAL
IN THE HUDDLE: TIMOTHY BROWN – MIAMI NORTHWESTERN
IN THE HUDDLE: XAVIER HARRIS – FORT LAUDERDALE
IN THE HUDDLE: DANIEL LINCOLN – OCALA FOREST
IN THE HUDDLE: PATRICK ADOLPHE – DELRAY BEACH ATLANTIC
IN THE HUDDLE: QUINTIN HANCOCK – ST. AUGUSTINE
IN THE HUDDLE: CHARLES DEAS – LAUDERDALE LAKES BOYD ANDERSON
IN THE HUDDLE: DONALD BOWENS – ST. PETERSBURG
IN THE HUDDLE: ROBERT LOVE - PAHOKEE
IN THE HUDDLE: CAZ PIUROWSKI – LAND O'LAKES
IN THE HUDDLE: STERLIN JAMES – SPARR NORTH MARION
IN THE HUDDLE: JOHN WARE – FORT LAUDERDALE CARDINAL GIBBONS
IN THE HUDDLE: MARKEVIOUS POWELL – ORLANDO EVANS
IN THE HUDDLE: BILLY LOWE - LAKELAND
IN THE HUDDLE: JAVON HILL – MIAMI MONSIGNOR PACE
IN THE HUDDLE: CODY CLINTON – BOCA RATON
IN THE HUDDLE: JARED MARTIN – DAVIE WESTERN
IN THE HUDDLE: COLIN MCCARTHY – CLEARWATER CENTRAL CATHOLIC
IN THE HUDDLE: DONTAE JONES – ORLANDO EVANS
IN THE HUDDLE: DAMON PIFER – GREEN COVE SPRINGS CLAY
IN THE HUDDLE: CHRIS SORCE - PACE
IN THE HUDDLE: SHOMARI GRANT - HIALEAH
IN THE HUDDLE: DARRELL ROSEMAN - DUNEDIN
IN THE HUDDLE: JAMES POE – ORLANDO FREEDOM
IN THE HUDDLE: RYAN ELLIS – PONTA VEDRA BEACH NEASE
IN THE HUDDLE: COURTNEY JONES: PENSACOLA
IN THE HUDDLE: BRYAN THOMAS - ZEPHYRHILLS
IN THE HUDDLE: JORDAN DALRYMPLE - OVIEDO
IN THE HUDDLE: PRESTON PARKER – DELRAY BEACH ATLANTIC
IN THE HUDDLE: SABBATH JOSEPH – MIAMI CENTRAL
IN THE HUDDLE: RYAN KHAWLY – HOMESTEAD SOUTH DADE
IN THE HUDDLE: BRANDON JAMES – ST. AUGUSTINE
IN THE HUDDLE: KEITH HOUSTON – IVES ESTATES DR. MICHAEL KROP
IN THE HUDDLE: REGGIE ODOM - DELAND
IN THE HUDDLE: C.J. SPILLER – LAKE BUTLER UNION COUNTY
IN THE HUDDLE: RILEY COOPER – CLEARWATER CENTRAL CATHOLIC
IN THE HUDDLE: JAMES JAMISON – STARKE BRADFORD COUNTY
IN THE HUDDLE: DESMOND GEE - MADISON COUNTY
IN THE HUDDLE: RICKY GARY - PAHOKEE
IN THE HUDDLE: LAURANCE MARIUS – KEY WEST
IN THE HUDDLE: KENRICK ELLIS – GREENACRES JOHN I. LEONARD
IN THE HUDDLE: RICHARD JACKSON – CLERMONT EAST RIDGE
IN THE HUDDLE: LABRANDON GLOVER - PENSACOLA

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