SEFFNER – Lakewood High School’s Dante Fowler Jr., is hearing plenty of outside influences try to persuade him to cancel his commitment to Florida State, but for now at least, he’s not budging.
Those outside influences include everyone from Miami, LSU and Florida, to Armwood running back and Gator commit Matt Jones.
“Matt’s been giving me a hard time, too,” Fowler Jr. said at Sunday‘s Elite Scouting Combine in Seffner. “It’s just fun.”
The 6-foot-2 defensive end was planning on attending Saturday’s Orange and Blue Debut with Jones and Jefferson defensive end Tyriq McCord but had to cancel in favor of taking the ACT. He said that he is likely visiting Florida for the first time next month.
Fowler Jr., called his commitment to the Seminoles “solid,” but said it won’t keep him from taking his visits.
“I guess we’ll see what happens on Feb. 2,” he said.
He certainly performed well at Sunday’s event. Fowler Jr., ran his fastest ever time in the 40-yard-dash, clocking in at 4.59. He also won defensive MVP for the day.
He said that he has primarily talked to head coach Will Muschamp and tight ends coach Derek Lewis at Florida.
Speedy receiver plays beyond his size
Listed at 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, South Lake wide receiver James Brooks was far from being the most imposing frame at Armwood High School on Sunday. However, the 2012 grad walked away with something only two other players at the combine got, an MVP trophy.
Brooks won offensive MVP and continues to make a name for himself at combines although he is yet to truly launch his recruiting process.
He just transferred from Ocala Forest in early March because his mom said that the atmosphere was slowing him down.
Brooks was disappointed in his performances early in the day after he ran a 4.5-second 40-yard-dash after running a 4.4 at a recent Under Armour combine. He made up for it in the one-on-one drills, constantly jumping out and beating some of the top defensive backs in the area.
“My coach was telling me, just keep trying to get up there and skip people if you have to,” Brooks said. “He said you just call out the guys that are making plays, don’t call out the guys that aren’t making plays.”
He has yet to receive any offers but was invited to attend Florida’s spring game on Saturday. Brooks said he enjoyed meeting the players, especially former South Lake grad Jeff Demps and Jonotthan Harrison.
“Any kid out here wants to play at Florida because it’s Florida,” Brooks said. “It’s something that whether or not at some point in the future you change your mind, at one point, you thought about it.”
He said he is open to help from anyone during his recruitment and will use Sunday’s MVP award as motivation to come back and get more.
Plant City linebacker seeking interest from Florida
Jalen Butler made his first combine appearance since winning linebacker MVP at the March 26 Big County Preps Ignite Combine.
He said that he has received interest from schools like Florida, Florida State and Boston College.
While Florida was once his top choice, he said they have started showing less interest in him recently after he did not attend junior day. Butler said he has been recruited by running backs coach Brian White.
At 6-foot-1 and 179 pounds, he said that Northwestern and Boston College have both told him he will be receiving offers soon.
Butler has visits planned to Miami, FSU, FAU and USF this summer.
Never too early
Kaylaun Edwards won’t be worrying about which college to sign with this summer. He’ll have his hands full with summer reading for his freshman year of high school.
The guy with the brightest yellow shoes on the field was an eighth grader and the youngest participant at Sunday’s combine.
He also ran the 40-yard-dash in 4.7 seconds and held his own in one-on-one defensive back drills.
Edwards’ parents didn’t tell him what kind of competition he’d be going up against when they brought him out along with his brother, Armwood’s Wade Edwards. His dad said that Kaylaun never mentioned anything about the other guys and happily went up against players who were three and four years older than him.
Let the count to 2015 begin.
Gator Country reporter Bryan Holt can be reached at BryanHolt@GatorCountry.com. You can also follow him on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/BryanHoltGC.