The six-week spring evaluation period for high school football began Monday and will run through the end of May. Since the majority of spring games in Southwest Florida will be played on May 16 and 17, it’s expected that most college coaches will visit during that time.
Additionally, high school teams hit the field on May 1 to kick off their spring football practices. Given that the recruiting process has sped up considerably over the past decade, the next six weeks (and summer camps) will be crucial to players searching for a Division I home.
Six Southwest Florida prospects have already verbally committed: Immokalee’s J.C. Jackson (FSU) and Jimmy Bayes (USF); Barron Collier’s Brady Pallante (Michigan); Estero’s Nick Nataro (Arizona); and Dunbar’s Ryeshene Bronson (Florida) and Tajze Battle (North Carolina). More than a half dozen other prospects hold D-I offers, headlined by South Fort Myers linebacker D’Ronzjiah Mathews, Immokalee running back Dee Johnson and East Lee County athlete Kendall Sawyer.
“It’s the most exciting thing ever, just being committed to such a program,” Pallante said. “The staff here is just incredible. To be committed to a program with such tradition and so much meaning, it’s just crazy. I’m only about 6-foot-1. I’m not 6-foot-3 or 6-foot-4 like most guys are, so for me the strengths that make me valuable are quickness getting off the ball, my ability to stay low and my leverage against guys that are 6-foot-4 or 6-foot-5 offensive lineman.”
Pallante camped at Michigan last summer and worked with defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, a mentor he’s thrilled to learn from in the future.
“He’s got so much experience and so much knowledge,” said Pallante. “Working with him was just great. There are so many things that he can teach you to make your game better. He’s so knowledgeable about the game. I’m excited to play for him.”
In other scouting news, Southwest Florida’s All-Star 7on7 team traveled to Tallahassee to play in the North Sectional qualifier for the IMG 7on7 National Championships. Unfortunately, the weather was uncooperative with a steady rain most of the day. The team went 2-2 with strong performances by quarterbacks Winred Ward, Sage Attwood and Quinn Farrell, along with Dunbar athlete Robert Byrd. Defensively, J.C. Jackson, Jimmy Bayes, and Wyatt Griffith had outstanding days. The team will head to Bradenton this weekend to play in the Southeast Regional at IMG Academy.