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Future bright at First Coast

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – First Coast High has enjoyed plenty of success in recent seasons, including going 34-4 the last three seasons. While the program has been one of the top producers of talent in Northern Florida the last half-decade or so, the best could be yet to come, highlighted by a loaded 2015 class.

2015 linebacker Sherrod Pittman has more than 20 verbal offers.



Johnson and Pittman lead in 2015
When talking about the future of the First Coast program, the talk generally begins at the quarterback position. The reason is simple, junior to be De’Andre Johnson (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast) burst onto the scene as a freshman leading the Buccaneers to the state championship game.

A few months later, July 20, he committed to Florida State where he remains solid despite a number of programs giving chase.

“I’m still 100 percent committed to Florida State, but I also have a lot of other options as well,” Johnson said. “Like I said though, I’m 100 percent committed and will be at both FSU camp sessions this summer – June and July.”

The 6-foot, 180-pounder has over 4,800 passing yards and 83 touchdowns accounted for in two years headed into the 2013 season.

Joining Johnson as the headliner of the talented class is linebacker Sherrod Pittman (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast). The 6-foot-1, 215-pound linebacker that played in the shadows of Daniel McMillan and Tyrell Lyons a year ago, may be the most heavily recruited prospect currently in the program.

“My latest offers were Michigan State and Purdue,” Pittman said. “I have 22 or 23 offers now,”

When it comes to the current leaders of the pack, the in-state programs north of Orlando are a safe bet.

“I used to like them Gators,” Pittman said. “It’s the tradition. They always go hard and I used to watch Tim Tebow. I know I’ll be at FSU camp this summer, and hopefully Florida.”

Freshman Byron DeSue will be the next nationally recruited wide receiver at First Coast.

Joining Pittman at linebacker in the class is Calvin Stokes. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder is receiving interest from SEC, Big East and Big 10 programs, and is expected to see his stock rise next season.

Two other FBS prospects in the loaded class are safety Peter Knox (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast) and wide receiver Tristan Payton. The 6-foot-2, 165-pound Knox lists Miami as his favorite followed by Florida State and Alabama. His cousin is former Florida defensive back Wondy Pierre-Louis. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Payton lists USC, FSU and Florida as programs he hopes to be recruited by.

Offensive linemen William Sweet and Kip Daniels also figure to develop into FBS prospects. The 6-foot-6, 235-pound Sweet lists Louisville, UCF, Purdue and Ole Miss as programs showing interest; and he plans to camp at UCF. Daniels, 6-foot-2.5 and 275-pounds, is getting spring looks from Louisville, Florida State, and UCF among others. His father played college football at Savannah State.

Playmakers in 2016
Now a days, it’s never too early to start taking a peek at the next class as the process continues to get earlier and earlier. At First Coast in 2016, a trio of speedy playmakers are already receiving praise from the Buccaneers coaching staff.

Wide receivers Byron DeSue and Kevin Stepherson are expected to make a splash in 2013 with DeSue receiving rave reviews from teammates on Thursday. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound DeSue lists Miami as his early favorite of schools he hopes to be recruited by.

“I hope to be offered one day by the University of Miami, Alabama and USF. The University of Miami has always been my favorite. It’s a passion for them that has been passed on from my daddy.”

The 5-foot-11, 155-pound Stepherson lists Florida as his childhood favorite with Florida State second.

Safety Billy Gaines is a third freshman at school with an enrollment of 2,300 that is expected to make an impact in 2013. The 6-foot-1, 176-pounder lists Florida State as his childhood favorite, and also has a strong interest in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Arkansas. His cousin is wide receiver Marquel Wade, formerly of the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Rutgers is the latest to offer 2014 cornerback Kam Lott.

Don’t forget 2014
Not to be forgotten at First Coast is the class of 2014. While the class may not feature top national prospect of seasons past, it’s a group with impressive depth in the secondary.

Cornerback Kam Lott is the headliner.

“I got offered by Rutgers yesterday,” Lott said Thursday. “Coach Prince came by the school and told my coach I had an offer. I also have offers from Akron, Iowa State, Indiana and Minnesota. Ole Miss, Georgia Tech and USF are also showing interest and could offer.”

Joining Lott in the secondary is Reggan Northrup. The 6-foot-1, 191-pound younger brother of Florida State linebacker Reggie Northrup has verbal offers from North Carolina, Rutgers and Akron along with interest from USF, Purdue and Louisville.

Defensive end Spencer Williams (6-4, 230) has an offer from Memphis, while running back Ashton Hall is receiving heavy interest from Big East, ACC and C-USA programs.

Speedy slot receiver Jerad Washington is another that is receiving interest as is defensive end Raashed Kennion and wide receiver Tyrone Woods.

First Coast has had prospects sign with Florida, Florida State, Louisville, USF, Alabama, North Carolina and West Virginia among others in the last three classes.

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