During the summer and into the season, 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: Sam Shields
SCHOOL: Sarasota Booker
40 SPEED: 4.39
HEAD COACH: Fred Gilmore
www.floridakids.us Pre-Spring Rating: 17
Booker High's football stadium is known to its many fans, and of course to the many opponents who have left North Orange Avenue on the wrong side of the scoreboard, as "Tornado Alley".
When the purple, gold and white of Booker head out onto the playing field, the group usually has as many as 15 Division 1A football prospects on display.
Two years ago as a sophomore, during a season when the Tornadoes were among the best in the state, Samuel Shields III was quickly pointed out for the way he ran.
There are some athletes who have blazing speed, but cannot play the sport of football. That is the reason why combines are nice, but they often represent 30 percent of a football player's total value to a team.
With Shields, it was more than just being able to blow past the defensive back or streak past seven other players on a kickoff or punt return. This was someone, from the very beginning who demanded respect, and even from the younger players on his team.
Last year, before the season began, I had the pleasure of sitting down with coach Gilmore and talking about his team. While he did admit that it would be a rebuilding year, he did warn me to keep an eye out on a few juniors.
As he spoke about Michael McRae, Marquis Johnson, Darian Platt, Devon Irwin, Tyler Rossnagle and Joel Jones, he also said to watch out for a talented wide receiver who could be one of the best he had ever been around.
Even though he missed time (five games) last year with an injury, Shields managed to finish with 568 yards and 10 touchdowns.
"In this state, you have so many quality football players who can make a difference when they are on the field," said Gilmore. "Sam is one of those major athletes."
STRENGTHS: If you are physical enough to keep Shields on the line of scrimmage and maybe knock him out of his game for a play or two, it won‘t last. He has far too much athletic ability and is so quick, he will make you pay over and over again.
Watching Shields play is keeping an eye on someone who has a tremendous future in this game. While he has already committed to attend the University of Miami, which has always been one of his favorites, you can see exactly why he'll make a major impact with the Hurricanes - from the very first time he steps on the field.
He runs tremendous patterns, has breakaway speed and his not afraid to mix it up with defensive backs - or even safeties.
If you play soft on him, you better be ready to call for backup. He and his quarterback are on the same page, so if they see a cornerback too far back, they run a short hitch and then let Shields do the rest. If they pickup that the defensive back is being too aggressive, he works his magic to get open and then make something happen - quickly!
WHAT HE NEEDS TO WORK ON: Sam is the kind of player who likes to get into it with the defensive secondary. He has to understand that he will be someone who everyone will get up to play, so he needs to stay focused.
OVERALL: This is a football talent that you can appreciate as soon as you watch him. He is a rare combination that his parents Sam and Michelle have raised the right way.
On the football field, Shields gets it done by using speed and athletic ability. In the classroom, he has been able to maintain a 2.7 grade point average.
COLLEGES ON THE HORIZON: Has made it clear that Miami is his choice. Even though, he still gets calls from other colleges who are hoping that maybe he could change his mind.
Get IN THE HUDDLE with some more of Florida's emerging stars:
IN THE HUDDLE: KEVIN PEREZ - MIAMI KILLIAN
IN THE HUDDLE: JORDAN DELEGAL – CHAMINADE-MADONNA
IN THE HUDDLE: ROBERT BALKUNAS - BOCA RATON
IN THE HUDDLE: MICHAEL GUILFORD - BLOUNTSTOWN
IN THE HUDDLE: JOSEPH MYERS - MIAMI PALMETTO
IN THE HUDDLE: DEVIN JACKSON - KISSIMMEE POINCIANA
IN THE HUDDLE: MARK ALLEN - ST. CLOUD HARMONY
IN THE HUDDLE: DARON LOVE – PALM BEACH GARDENS DWYER
IN THE HUDDLE: CORY MATHIS – LAKELAND GEORGE JENKINS
IN THE HUDDLE: MARKIHE ANDERSON – FORT MYERS DUNBAR
IN THE HUDDLE: TONY WILSON – DAYTONA BEACH MAINLAND
IN THE HUDDLE: TERRY WILLIAMS – MIAMI CENTRAL
IN THE HUDDLE: JAVARRIS JAMES – IMMOKALEE
IN THE HUDDLE: IAN EVANS – CLEARWATER COUNTRYSIDE
IN THE HUDDLE: TERRON SANDERS – BRADENTON SOUTHEAST
IN THE HUDDLE: DANIEL WENGER – FORT LAUDERDALE ST. THOMAS AQUINAS
IN THE HUDDLE: DEANDRE MCDANIEL – TALLAHASSEE GODBY
IN THE HUDDLE: ORLANDO FRANKLIN – DELRAY BEACH ATLANTIC
IN THE HUDDLE: TRAVIUS THOMPSON –LAUDERDALE LAKES BOYD ANDERSON
IN THE HUDDLE: BRANDON THOMPKINS –PALM BEACH LAKES
IN THE HUDDLE: JOSH LONG –FORT MYERS
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
IN THE HUDDLE: Sam Shields
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