IN THE HUDDLE: Trent Pupello

In a class filled with quality two-way football talent, here is yet another one who has several colleges looking in his direction. One of the emerging stars of the Sunshine State is showing off his many skills this summer.

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: Trent Pupello
POSITION: TE/DE
SCHOOL: Tampa Jefferson
HEIGHT: 6-2
WEIGHT: 250
40 SPEED: 4.7
HEAD COACH: Mike Simmonds
www.floridakids.us Pre-Spring Rating: 73

As someone who watches thousands of high school football players each year, I tend to know what athletes will emerge faster than others.

As I watched the Miami Monsignor Pace-Tampa Jefferson south region final last year in Miami, my eyes were tired from checking out so many quality football players on both sides of the ball. From huge linemen to quick running backs to emerging star quarterbacks, you had a sense that the names and faces on that field would become the household variety over the coming years.

While Pupello wasn't the best football player on the field that evening, he certainly showed me a great deal with his blocking. He did the very same thing the following week against Jacksonville Bolles in the 3A state championship contest in Gainesville.

In camps in combines in the off season, I noticed someone who was becoming more athletic and showcasing his ability as a football player.

Coach Mike Simmonds usually talks highly about all of his players, but I have known him long enough to know which athletes he believes will advance the furthest. Pupello definitely fits that mold.

STRENGTHS: Having the chance to watch him up close and personal during the Sling & Shoot event at the University of South Florida, I saw an athlete who has very good hands, knows how to get off the line of scrimmage and catch the ball up field, in traffic.

He is big, strong and moves very well. Maybe a bit too short to play the tight end position at the elite level, but has what it takes to continue playing this game for a long time.

WHAT HE NEEDS TO WORK ON: In my opinion, when he gets to the next level, he will play on the defensive side of the ball, so that's where he needs to start working more on. He will be a defensive end who has plenty of skill level and a great mind for the game. His father played at Florida.

He did have 60 tackles and 12 sacks on the defensive side of the ball last year, which further illustrates why I believe he will end up there.

OVERALL: There is little doubt that Trent will be a hit at the next level. He brings too much to the table to sit wherever he goes. He may be tried as a run-blocking tightend at first, but when coaches see his value to a team on the defensive side of the ball, with his quickness and strength, it will be a no-brainer!

COLLEGES ON THE HORIZON: Florida State, Mississippi and South Florida have all offered, and for good reason, but UCF, Miami, Florida and LSU are all possibilities as well.

Get IN THE HUDDLE with some more of Florida's emerging stars:
IN THE HUDDLE: SAM SHIELDS III - SARASOTA BOOKER
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
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IN THE HUDDLE: CHRIS UHRIG – TAMPA JESUIT
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IN THE HUDDLE: SAM YOUNG – FORT LAUDERDALE ST. THOMAS AQUINAS
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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
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IN THE HUDDLE: STERLIN JAMES – SPARR NORTH MARION
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IN THE HUDDLE: MARKEVIOUS POWELL – ORLANDO EVANS
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IN THE HUDDLE: PRESTON PARKER – DELRAY BEACH ATLANTIC
IN THE HUDDLE: SABBATH JOSEPH – MIAMI CENTRAL
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