Nature Coast Tech: Florida H.S. Football’s Best Kept Secret
Anyone who knows anything about football can tell you that the state of Florida is rich with talent. The NFL names that have been produced by the state can stretch from the Panhandle to the southern tip of the Keys. Each year college programs from coast to coast slide down into the Sunshine State hoping to stock up on talent like hurricane supplies.
With that being said one would have to wonder how a high school so over run with athletic talent can be overlooked but it’s happening. Tucked in the West Coast of Florida, 30 minutes North of Tampa, lies Nature Coast Tech High School located in a city called Brooksville. Brooksville is all of 5 square miles but even a city that small has managed to produce professional athletes, most notably the late Jerome Brown of University of Miami and Philadelphia Eagles fame.
Nature Coast Tech gears up for it’s sixth season of football this year. They are the first school in Hernando County, Florida to make it to the state playoffs in their first three years and they are also the first school to make it to the state playoffs three years in a row. Last season, their run to a possible state title was cut short by sanctions from the Florida High School Athletic Association after they were involved in a brawl with Groveland-South Lake High School. Despite losing 32 players from last year’s team, Nature Coast Tech boasts some of the most athletic talent in all of Florida.
Leading the way is Tevin Drake, a 6’0″ 205 lb running back that put up 1,200 yards a season ago and splashed into the endzone 20 times. His fullback is a state finalist in the sprint events. Antwan Story can boast a 10.61 100 meter dash time and piled up 688 yards on the ground last year from the fullback spot. Story’s younger brother JuJuan is faster than him clocking a 4.31 in the 40 yard dash. Look for him to make noise at wide receiver. You think it’s easy? Lest we not forget versatile QB C.J. Baker who completed 62% of his passes, threw for 700 and rushed for 441. Tight End Braddie Ellison is a beast and showed it at the Randy Shannon University of Miami camp this spring. Along with JuJuan Story and Ellison, Baker will also find comfort in finding the polished senior wideout transfer Jamal Byrd. Senior Justin Murray will anchor the defense from his linebacker spot and will have help from the wealth of athletes that surround him.
The story here is that Nature Coast is loaded with athletic talent however not many college football programs are aware of it. Perhaps it’s because they are relatively new or because they don’t have the press or have not won a state title. Whatever the case may be, they possess talent that can run up and down the football field and terrorize opponents for the entire duration of a football contest. Many of the kids named do not have the amount of offers that kids with half their talent have. It’s time that a spotlight be placed on this school in the tiny town of Brooksville.
Profiles on Nature Coast’s Top Players along with highlight video links are listed below:
- courtesy of assistant coach Robert Kazmier
RB/LB 6’ 205 lbs
Thus far in his high school career he has rushed for 3,580 yards on 458 carries – an average of 7.8 yards per carry and he has accumulated 53 touchdowns in the process. Tevin has proven he can start on both sides of the ball so he will be starting at a LB spot as well during his Senior season. Tevin was named the Overall Most Outstanding Performer at the University of Miami’s Football Camp this summer. Tevin currently holds offers from: Miami, Memphis, FAU and FIU. View his highlight video
RB/OLB 6′ 180 lbs
-As a Junior Antwan used his explosive speed to rack up 687 yards on 84 carries with 6 touchdowns (over 8 ypc). He also averaged 32 yards per return on kickoffs. On the track Antwan is the reigning district champ in the 100m (10.61) and 200m (21.93) and also anchors the champion 4×100 team. His speed translates to the field really well. He hits the hole extremely fast and once he is past the first level the defense is not likely to catch him. He will also be starting at OLB on the defensive side of the ball during his Senior year. View his highlight video
TE/OLB 6’3” 240 lbs
-Braddie knows that we don’t throw the ball much and he does not have a problem with it. He has learned to love blocking and does it extremely well. When we did throw he had 8 receptions for around 200 yards and 1 TD. On the TD catch caught the ball in front of the safety and got hit at the 15 yard line but proceeded to score while dragging the safety across the field. Braddie will also be starting at either LB or DL during his senior season also. He was named the MVP of the Tight Ends at the University of Miami’s Football camp this summer. Braddie currently holds an offer from FIU. View his highlight video.
DL 6’3” 255
-The work he does in the weight room shows on the field. He is strong and physical at the line of scrimmage. He explodes off the ball and he can blow up plays and has enough speed to terrorize the opposing QB. John had 58 tackles and 3 sacks as a Junior. As a Senior John should be unstoppable and the numbers will show it.
LB/DL 5’11” 205 lbs
-Justin gets after it in the weight room. He comes in on his free time to get extra workouts in and loves being there. During drills he is always a great example and he leads by it. His strength and speed is utilized on the defensive line and on special teams. He made one of the biggest hits I have ever seen during a kickoff return last season. He sprung our return man with it but just about gave himself a concussion in the process. I can’t wait to see what his hard work this offseason translates to on the field this upcoming season. He works as hard as he does in the classroom as the weight room as he also carries around a 3.5.
DB/DL 6’ 190 lbs
-Avery is highly athletic and very strong. He will have every opportunity to use those assets this fall as he will be playing some d-line where he can use both to his advantage to make a lot of plays. If he becomes as dangerous as he is capable down there the entire defense will benefit.
OL 6’4” 265 lbs
-Corey is our only returning offensive lineman. He is very athletic and has good feet due to also being a basketball player. He used this summer to add some strength and speed. It should really help him hold down his Tackle spot. He is the leader of our O-line and has a good head on his shoulders. He takes care of business in the classroom also with a 3.5 GPA.
QB 5’11″ 165 lbs
-CJ is 9-0 as a varsity starter. He has done a tremendous job running our offense. For his size he runs hard and is also very elusive. He also is not afraid to lead up in the hole and take a linebacker head on. When we throw the ball he does a good job making a decision. He also does a great job in the class room as he carries over a 3.2. Though he is a solid QB due to his size he could easily be converted a WR and has the athletic ability and ball skills to do it! View his highlight video.
TE/LB 6’2” 210 lbs
-Mike Lynch has all the athletic ability that you could want in a football player and he has a big frame and is absolutely solid. He works hard in the weight room and is very strong. He made a lot of improvement last season and did a lot of learning behind Braddie. He has recently been moved to the O-line so we can utilize his speed and strength to improve that area. He is strong enough to push the bigger guys around too. He will also be seeing a lot of time on the Defensive line.
WR/DB 6’2″ 180 lbs
-Another great athlete that has the chance to start on both sides of the ball, Byrd has really worked hard this summer and made himself an asset to his team. He has shown a lot of potential and will be in position to make a huge impact during his first and only season in NCT uniform.
WR/DB 6’4″ 182 lbs
- Ridiculous athletic talent with a 4.31 forty yard dash time on his resume. JuJuan is a 2011 prospect that scouts are sure to be drooling over. View his highlight video.