Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Chant Goes Up for Defense Area's Best Dominated by Ball Hawks

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Chant Goes Up for Defense Area's Best Dominated by Ball Hawks

Article excerpt

Last season, the dominant high school football players in

Northeast Florida were almost exclusively made up of wide

receivers and running backs.

In 1996, defense will have its revenge.

Nine of the 1996 Florida Times-Union Super 11 play defense,

although a few play both ways. Bolles' William McCray and

Nease's Matt Howard are the only team members who play

exclusively on offense.

The others -- Gerard Warren, Bennie Alexander and Andrew Zow of

Union County, Travis Carroll, Sam Matthews and Char-ron Dorsey

of Bolles, Hamilton County's Alex Brown, Live Oak Suwannee's

Andra Davis and Palatka's Willie Offord -- all are projected to

play defense in college.

"It looks like another fine year in Jacksonville," said Florida

State recruiting coordinator Ron Cottrell. "Defensively, there

are plenty of players."

Under NCAA regulations, Cottrell cannot comment specifically on

any prospect. But there's little doubt that the top college

programs in the South could fill the defensive half of their

1997 signing classes with Northeast Florida prospects alone.

Dorsey, Carroll and Matthews may well be the most

heavilyrecruited threesome of teammates in the nation. Each has

qualified academically and will have his pick of big-time

programs.

Warren, a defensive tackle, is just as coveted. And Alexander is

regarded by some as one of the state's top five cornerbacks. His

early favorite is Florida, but Georgia and FSU also have shown

interest.

"We like to go for shutouts," said Warren of the Tigers'

defense. "We don't like giving up any yards, much less points."

As for Zow, a knee injury will sideline him for much of the

regular season. But he is expected back in plenty of time for

the playoffs, his specialty. …

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