Posted: 9:57 am Wednesday, March 17th, 2010
By Jason Lieser
When Summit Christian basketball coach Murray Smith tried to think of a player similar to Jean Prophete, the name he came up with was Warren Sapp, who played basketball at Apopka before going on to a stellar NFL career.
It is an interesting comparison, especially considering Prophete plans to go out for football in his senior year.
“I know for sure I’m going to play,” Prophete said.
He played middle linebacker and fullback on Summit Christian’s varsity team as a freshman, but gave up football and focused on his basketball career. Prophete has been one of the area’s best players the past two seasons.
This fall, he plans to suit up for the Saints as a tight end and defensive end, with the hope that he can land a scholarship at either position.
He is 6-4, 260 pounds and claims a time of 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash
“If I’m doing well in football and I like it — If I get a football scholarship, that would be great for me, great for my family,” Prophete said.
Last year, Glades Central basketball star Clive Walford went out for football and received a scholarship offer before playing a single game.
One issue for Prophete will be the transition from football season to basketball season, which was problematic for Walford and Dwyer’s Jacoby Brissett this season. Walford and Brissett each played football into December and needed time to adjust to basketball tempo when they were done.
“I’m aware of it,” Prophete said. “I’m fully ready to sacrifice my time to get back in basketball shape. I’m up for it.”
Another factor is the physical abuse that comes with football. Walford played through a knee and shoulder injury this past basketball season.
He also said he will not participate in May football practices because he is playing on a traveling basketball team. That will make it tougher for him to get noticed by college coaches who flood this area every spring.
One advantage for Prophete, though, is that Summit Christian’s football team is unlikely to play beyond mid-November. The Saints would be a long shot to make the state playoffs this fall.
Smith, who believes Prophete could work his way up to an FBS scholarship, said he is fully supportive of his best basketball player trying football.
“I’m not overly concerned,” Smith said. “The only advice I gave him was only do it because you really want to do it, not because everybody is telling you to.”