The decision to transfer to Philadelphia (Pa.) Northeast from Penn Charter was a signal that Class of 2009 wide receiver Je'ron Stokes is positioning himself for a breakout season. With an MVP performance at a National Underclassmen Combine under his belt Stokes appears ready to do just that. The 6-foot-1, 180 pound rising junior has no shortage of confidence in his ability.
"I think I'm an all around receiver," Stokes explained. "I'm polished as a route runner and speed is definitely one of my biggest strengths. When you get to that next level the defensive backs are going to be as fast as you are, though, so route running is something I've worked a lot on. You have to be able to get open somehow and you won't just be able to run by everybody.
"I feel like I have some of the best hands in the country. Some people might look at my size and underestimate me but I'm strong too. I get that in my genes from my dad, because he's a strong guy. I'm just an all around receiver. I can run the short routes and I can go deep."
That's a lot of confidence for a rising junior but it might be tough to argue with. Stokes runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds and has elusiveness in the open field that makes him tough to wrap up. He didn't catch too many balls last season but with the transfer and another year of development he's poised for a breakout season.
Stokes is still waiting for his first verbal offer but has been told not to worry - they're coming.
"Florida, Florida State, Rutgers and Ohio State are showing the most interest right now," Stokes said. "They're definitely all interested. I actually haven't got any verbal offers yet but they've all been keeping up with me. They said that when school starts, around the time when they can start to send out official offers, I should be expecting something. So I should know around then."
Does he have a favorite at this point?
"I don't know if there's just one, but I do like Ohio State a lot. I definitely like the Swamp so Florida's up there too. They've got a nice program. I've liked Florida State since last year too, so they're all up there."
Stokes recently participated in the Xtreme Xposure Camp, which wrapped up a series of camps for the summer. He was at Friday Night Lights recently, as well as the Ultimate 100 and the NationalUnderclassmen.com Combine. Stokes also camped at Ohio State, Tennessee and Florida State.
Since he has already seen so many schools he has a good idea of the qualities he will be looking for in a potential college destination.
"The first thing I'm going to ask myself is whether I can see myself being there for four years," he said. "If I'm going to be away from home I want to be comfortable. Then I'm going to find out if I think I can compete for a starting job when I first get there. That's something I'd like to do.
"I want a good atmosphere, good academics and I need to get along well with the coach. Being a receiver I definitely want the ball, so I'll find a school that likes to distribute the ball to the receivers. I'll basically just be looking at everything so I can find the perfect fit."