Varsity Preps

Sunshine State Report, Edition III

Varsity Preps presents the Sunshine State Report, a look deeper into the talent pool available in the state of Florida. In this report, we’ll cover players capable of playing major college football from Pensacola to Key West, from Ft. Myers to Jacksonville, the Sunshine State Report will be a weekly feature that highlights three prep players ready to make an impact on the Division I level.

Gerald Hearns, 2014 RB/FB, Dwyer

Palm Beach Gardens, FL

HT: 5’9 WT: 205 40-YD: 4.61

Gerald Hearns is a tough, physical blocking back for Dwyer. He’s also a threat to run from the fullback position, possessing enough speed to get downfield to move the chains. He caught several passes last season on play-action calls and is a problem to bring down for just one defender. Hearns prides himself on his lead blocking, in which he’s very effective in removing the first would-be tackling threat away from his running back.

He reports that he’ll be in the rotation at running back as Dwyer makes the switch to a no-huddle offense. “I’ll see some snaps at tight end and fullback, but my coach is telling me I’ll get a lot more carries this season.”

Schools interested: “Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern, Marshall, Cincinnati, Michigan St., and Louisiana Lafayette have scouted me,” Hearns stated.

Which program is recruiting him the hardest: “It’s Georgia Tech. They’ve requested my transcripts and film, and the coaches are saying I could be an A-Back for them, which is a slot, motion back in their offense.”

CAMPS: “Texas, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and I already attended Al Golden’s camp.”

Strength: “I have good leg power and I never stop my feet when I’m blocking. I also think my vision is an asset.”

Varsity Preps assessment: Gerald is a bruising back and an effective runner with decent speed. He’s an outstanding blocker and could be a good fit in an option offense. As just a blocker, he’s a little light to project as a FBS fullback, but definitely has DI ability.

 Nickolas Gonzalez, 2014 WR/SS, Hialeah High

Hialeah, FL

HT: 6’0 WT: 180 40-YD: 4.56

Nickolas Gonzalez posted 55 tackles and five interceptions with one returned for a touchdown in 2012. He’s just starting to see his recruitment take shape; he holds verbal offers from Colgate and Illinois St. He reports interest from several other programs. “Appalachian St., Marshall, Western Kentucky, and Florida Atlantic are recruiting me.”

Gonzalez spoke about the programs interested in him. “FAU just started recruiting me. I’ve been on their campus before, I’m familiar with them, and I plan to camp.

Appalachian St. has been recruiting me for a while. They have a good program and they’re moving into the Sun Belt, so I’m anxious to see what’s going on up there.

Marshall attended my spring game and my coaches told me they really liked what they saw.

Western Kentucky also attended our spring game and I’ve been told I’ll hear more from them.”

CAMPS: “FAU, FIU, Miami, Florida St., Tennessee, and Appalachian St.

Academics: “I have a 3.3 GPA and 19 on the ACT, but I plan on retaking both the ACT and SAT tests.”

#1 factor when choosing a program: “It’ll be between academics and my family. I want a quality education and it’s a possibility that I might stay closer to home to play college football.”

Varsity Preps assessment: Very good awareness on the field, has a knack for making plays. DI ability, would fit in nicely at schools such as Appalachian St. or South Alabama. Full-qualifier that would provide quality depth to a defense right away.

Darrell Beard, 2014 DT, Ft. Lauderdale High

Ft. Lauderdale, FL

HT: 6’2 WT: 322 BP: 315

Darrell Beard is an immovable force upfront, not letting many ball carriers by at the line of scrimmage. He’s also a pass rushing threat, registering five sacks and 32 total tackles last season.

With talented defensive tackles coming at a premium, Beard commanded plenty of attention during the spring evaluation period. “I’ve been offered by Florida A&M and I’m also hearing from Florida, Arkansas, Rutgers, and Coastal Carolina.”

Ft. Lauderdale’s big lineman described his contact with schools recruiting him. “Florida is showing me the most attention right now, actually. I get letters and emails from them frequently; they’re keeping tabs on me.

“I get letters from Arkansas once in a while.

Coastal Carolina came by to visit and watch a spring practice. I’m still hearing from them some.”

CAMPS: “I’ll be attending camps at FAMU and Florida, maybe a few more.”

#1 factor when selecting a program: “The biggest thing for me is if the school has my major. I like playing video games and I would like to design them one day; I’m good with computers.”

What he’s working on: “I’ve been concentrating on improving my agility and speed. I’m getting in better shape, building my wind and endurance up.”

HC Richard Dunbar’s assessment: “He’s best in the gaps, a two-technique; he can control both A gaps. We’re working on getting his weight down a little to improve his lateral movement, but from tackle-to-tackle, he’s a beast. The only way to counter him is by running away from him. Beard’s a solid nose tackle, can play the three-tech, but his specialty is controlling those A gaps.”

— Michael Bradley




  1. Pingback: Sunshine State Report, Edition III | deepsouthrecruiting

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