Apopka, Fla., is known for being a state championship contender every year in class 6A, Florida's largest classification. When you're one of the top teams in one of the nation's deepest talent pools, there are going to be Division I prospects and the class of 2006 is no exception for the Blue Darters.
The first and biggest, literally and figuratively, of the Darters prospects is Gary Gregory, a 6-foot-5, 295-pound behemoth.
"He has come a long way since the season started," Apopka head coach Ty Ensor said. "He was one of those kids where you could see him getting better each week. He obviously has great size, but his best asset is his intelligence."
Gregory runs the 40-yard dash in 5.7 seconds, has a 400-pound squat, a 255-pound bench press and 250-pound power clean.
"He's a real quick learner and he picks up adjustments well," Ensor said. "He is a leader for this team and helps the other guys make adjustments. He's a hard worker and an excellent kid. We haven't finished the highlight tape for any of our kids yet and there are already a lot of schools writing him."
Apopka runs an option oriented offense so in most cases their guards are bigger, such as Gregory and the smaller lineman play tackle like Jamar Bass.
"Jamar is a natural, gifted athlete," Ensor said. "He is really strong and is very fast for his size. I think that is why he will end up playing a rush end on the next level. He might play guard or center on the offensive side somewhere, but I think he'll end up on defense."
The 6-foot-3, 270-pound Bass runs the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds, has a 500-pound squat and 290-pound bench press.
"He is really physical specimen," Ensor said. "He has made a lot of progress since the first game this year. He is really picking things up and gaining a better grasp on the game. He was dominate for us in practice all year and made the guys on our team better because he is so physical."
Last year the Darters had game breaker Eric Sledge catching passes and his loss to graduation will hurt. However, coach Ensor is confident that wide receiver Joe Shuler will be able to fill the role.
"He's a lot like Jamar in that he is just very naturally gifted," Ensor said. "He has started since he was a freshman, this will be his fourth year of starting for us. He has really good hands and is one of those bigger wide receivers. He started his career at cornerback , but we've moved him to wide receiver and we're really expecting big things from him this year."
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Shuler runs the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds, has a 240-pound bench press and 350-pound squat.