JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As an overjoyed Marilyn Sharpe watched her son, five-star offensive tackle David Sharpe (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence School), receive his U.S. Army All-American Bowl jersey as part of the Selection Tour Highlight Show presented by adidas Football, she could not help but remember the day her only child was born.
Early playing time is a key factor in David Sharpe's college decision.
“The doctor put his hand up and said ‘put the ball in his hands,’ and that is something he has been doing all of his life.” Sharpe said from the stage of the Jacksonville (Fla.) Providence gymnasium, following a school pep rally.
As a child, Sharpe was inseparable from the basketball court.
“I would take him to the court, pick him up and hold him as he put the ball in the hoop,” “He would ask me when he would be able to do it himself. I told him it would come one day and just now I told him, ‘this day is here.’”
Now, the 6-foot-6, 290-pound senior’s athletic progress is tied to a different ball entirely, but his future has never been brighter. Ranked as the No. 2 offensive tackle and No. 10 prospect in the 2014 class by 247Sports, Sharpe has seen his recruiting explode over the last year.
His potential as an elite offensive tackle, which will be on display Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014 at the Alamodome during the U.S. Army All-American Game, has put him on the wishlist of several prominent programs. At one point the recruiting process appeared to be trending toward a signing day decision for the five-star prospect.
That is no longer the case.
“Spots are running out, and he (David) wants to get it over with before the basketball season starts up,” said David Sharpe Sr., David’s father.
One program might have already run out of room, while another hopes to know Sharpe’s decision as quickly as possible.
Sharpe plans to schedule his official visits soon.
“Clemson and us, we are not on the same page, and we are going to probably drop them,” Sharpe Sr. said. “Florida would like to know which program David is going to go to soon. My son just wants to play early, so everything is going to be based on that.”
In less than 10 days, Sharpe will take the ACT for the first time, and the plan is to schedule his official visits to Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU and Tennessee. Those five schools and nearby Florida are the schools still in the mix for the top uncommitted offensive tackle in the country.
Sharpe will be taking a closer look at the depth charts during his official visits, two of which he is especially amped about right now.
“I really want to go check out LSU,” Sharpe said. “I also really want to see how Florida State is like on an official.
At the moment, two depth charts look especially appealing to Sharpe.
“Georgia and Florida really need a left tackle,” Sharpe said.
There are two coaches that Sharpe says he feels comfortable enough to call at any time, one of which has just recently thrown his hand into the mix.
According to Sharpe, the advantage of going to Florida, a program his does not feel the need to take an official to because of the proximity and frequency of visits in the past, would be playing close to home, an area which he says is full of Gator fans. Another appeal to Florida is an advantageous depth chart, although Sharpe is aware of the return of D.J. Humphries returning.
As for Georgia, Sharpe says Athens, Ga. feels like home, he enjoys the atmosphere and feels they need left tackles, but at this point he wants to do more research on the depth chart.
LSU offered Sharpe last month, two weeks after No. 1 overall prospect Cameron Robinson jilted the in-state Tigers for Alabama, a fact that Sharpe is well aware of.
“A lot of schools have been recruiting me from day one, but they waited to come after me until after they lost out on their No. 1 guy, so I did not really like that at the time,” Sharpe said.
Tennessee is a program Sharpe hopes to learn more about during his official visit, and says again that the depth chart will play a key in the Vols’ chances of landing him. As for Georgia Tech, Sharpe admits he has not thought much about the Yellow Jackets, but one of his coaches convinced him it would be worth a closer look.
Lurking in the group is in-state Florida State, a program that is still looking to sign a couple offensive tackles in this class.
“They have a great atmosphere, they need left tackles and Coach Rick Trickett is a great coach,” Sharpe said. “Again I need to see what kind of depth they really have though.”
It is apparent that a program holding out for a premier offensive tackle that presents an opportunity to play early will land Sharpe, a prospect with immense upside, in the next two months.