Posted: 12:09 am Friday, August 20th, 2010
By Matt Porter
After the graduation of Darius Millines, James Potts and Isaiah Howard, American Heritage senior wide receiver Herve Coby is the team’s best player — and prize recruit.
“He’s tall, he’s tough, he’s a competitor,” said Stallions coach Doug Socha. “He’s had a great offseason, really working hard in the weight room. He’s consistently in the 4.5s. He’s up to 175 pounds now [on a 6-foot-1 frame].”
All that has major colleges interested. Coby has plenty of looks, but nothing in-state.
“West Virginia and Illinois, and I think Purdue’s messing around a little bit,” said Socha, who said Wake Forest is interested, too. “He hasn’t got the Florida schools yet. He’s wide open.”
Interestingly, Socha and Coby say they haven’t had a single conversation about recruiting. Coby has no favorite, and no in-season visits planned.
“I’m focused on this, right here,” he said after last Friday’s practice ended. “We’re trying to go back to states. It’s going to come … I’m going to have time to make my decision. But right now, it’s about this team.”
It would make sense for Coby to join Millines, who led the Stallions to last year’s 1A state title and now calls Illinois home.
“I talk to him once a week, to see how he’s doing,” said Coby. “Before they started camp, he came down here and we worked out a little bit. We’re still close, so of course he trying to recruit me to come up there.”
Millines has been a model for Coby, showing him how a Big Ten receiver trains.
“He tells me all their workouts, and what they do. He gives me pointers. He told me, and I didn’t ever know this, but the way you run faster is you stretch in between everything.
“Up there [during drills], all the wideouts go, all the slots go, and all the tight ends go. So while all the other people are going, he’s stretching. And that keeps his speed up. I’ve used that, and I feel like I’m getting faster.
Coby said last time the team ran the 40-yard dash, he ran a 4.5 flat the first heat, and a 4.48 the second. He’s got Division 1 speed, and from talking to him, a Division 1 attitude.
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Couple other notes from American Heritage practice:
The Stallions’ schedule is pretty brutal, and that’s just the way Socha wants it.
Take a look at their first three games:
“We’re going to play First Coast, a 5A school out of Jacksonville, who has 10 Division 1 prospects. We’re going to play Chaminade, who beat Pahokee by 35 last year. We’re playing Glades Central,” he said. “We want to be challenged.”
Heritage also has an Oct. 8 date with Pahokee.
“We have visions of bigger and better things. We want to prove we can play with anybody. It’s not going to happen overnight.”
Replacing Potts, Millines, Howard and seven other starters won’t be easy, but Socha believes his team will be there at the end.
“We don’t have the numbers, but we try to overcome that with kids who are mentally and physically tough,” he said. “We’re confident we have a chance to be pretty good.”
AH’s Kickoff Classic is Aug. 27th, against Belen Jesuit, last year’s 3A state runners-up.
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Recruiting trail: Aside from Coby, Socha said rising junior Cameron Posey, a 6-0, 175-pound WR/DB who runs a 4.5, is getting a lot of interest.
Senior lineman Robby Nassif (6-4, 260) is “getting MAC looks, and FAU is heavy on him,” said Socha.
A wild-card, if he can get healthy is senior-to-be Nester Lantigua. He brings elite speed, but hasn’t been able to shake a nagging groin injury.
“He’s the fastest kid on the team, but he’s hurt,” said Socha.
Despite the injury, Lantigua is drawing college interest. He impressed at a Florida Atlantic camp this summer, and smaller Division 1 programs are speaking up.
“What he’s got to do is get on the field and get some film,” said Socha. “We haven’t seen much of him.”
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The Stallions have quite the QB battle brewing.
Millines overtook then-junior Billy Strode last year, and the team ripped off 11 straight wins and took home a state title. Stode, however, has an 11-4 mark as a starter. Rising sophomore Marcus Davis transferred from Boynton Beach, where he threw for 1,333 yards and 9 touchdowns (12 INTs) as a freshman starter. Junior Nick La Sala has size and a good arm.
Coby, for his part, doesn’t have a preference of who delivers the ball.
“They all got their special traits,” he said. “Nick, he’s big; we call him Tim Tebow. Marcus, he’s like a shorter Darius. And Billy, he’s not fast, but he can throw. He can get the yards. They all have something special.”
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One to watch: Running back Greg Bryant.
The kid just turned 15, but he’s built like a senior. Approaching 6-0 and 195 pounds, the rising sophomore has been a factor for the Stallions since the eighth grade. He carried 24 times for 185 yards and 2 TDs last season, and 23 times for 172 and a TD in the playoffs. He’ll split carries with junior Jeramy Gaskins (5-11, 180), who had 15 carries for 88 yards last year.
For updates from area practices, and more news and analysis, follow Matt Porter on Twitter @mattyports.