By Larry Blustein
Nobody has to tell Daryle Heidelberg about building a football program. He knows exactly how to do it - and plans on getting it done again.
After finishing second and then winning a state title a few years back at his alma mater, Norland, Heidelberg and his Vikings sundered through a few lean years. Last year, he moved into a district that included nationally-rated Miami Central, Carol City, Northwestern and Homestead. While his team failed to grab a playoff spot, there was a move in bringing this program back in the spotlight.
Off season additions - including veteran Defensive Coordinator Luther Campbell - has put this program back in the spotlight, and while many of the experts are still not picking this team to be one of the two that qualify for the playoffs in 6A, Heidelberg likes that roll just fine.
"In the past I think our teams have done better when we are doubted - not counted on the be the team to beat," he explained. "I think people will be very surprised at the kind of talent we have on this team."
While everyone fully understands that Duke Johnson, Erick Flowers and Bam Brown aren't going to walk through the front doors of the school and immediately infuse this program, but for those who know what kind of athletes are available to program each year, know that talent is not going to be a problem.
The senior class will showcase a quality defense. One that features Ohio State defensive back commit Carlton Davis (6-2, 180), who leads a very talented secondary that also includes D’andre Smart (5-11, 175), Elliot Miller (5-10, 165), Cameron Cooper (5-10, 160) and Kevin Hollis (5-9, 170).
"We knew going into the season that our secondary would be very strong," said Davis. "I am very excited to work with Coach Campbell and real impressive group of defensive players."
The Vikings are also very strong up front on defense with end Rayshad Jackson (6-1, 190), and interior players Anthony Hall (6-0, 270), Jahim Lawrence (6-0, 205) and Dwayne Spencer (6-4, 290).
Offensively, the senior class boasts linemen William Gordon (6-4, 300), Jabari Barnwell (6-0, 320) and and Lowell Richardson, a 6-4, 275-pounder. In addition, talented and versatile receiver Steven McIntosh (6-0, 175) and Clarence Walker (5-6, 160), and running back Ruben Bresier (5-9, 175).
"We are happy about the seniors we have on this team," Heidelberg said. "They are going to be very productive and really lead our younger players as well."
The future of this program will indeed be with the gifted underclass. The Vikings do have a quality group of 2016 prospects - led by Rodrick Robinson (6-2, 175), running backs Chavis Wright (5-7, 170) and Tyson Dorvillier (5-7, 170), receivers Damian Barry (5-11, 180), Jordan Robinson (6-2, 175) and Terrell Scott (5-11, 170).
The Vikings also feature a number of impact linemen as well. Prospects such as Henry Pierre (6-1, 240), Deundre Gatlin (5-11, 240), Joshua Greene (6-3, 255) and even Class of 2017 prospect Kadeem Telfort, a 6-6, 310-pounder.
The Class of 2016 will also be a place where defensive standouts will make major strides this year. Linemen Eric Mitchell (6-2, 230) and Reoshard Donald (6-2, 190), linebackers Keon Holder (5-10, 185), Emmett Rice (6-3, 190), Edlet Satil (6-0, 220), versatile Vosean Joseph (6-1, 190) and Dejardins Paul (5-10, 185).
As the season begins, Norland may be the team on the outside looking in, but with a tremendous amount of talent and a coaching staff that knows how to teach and win, anything can happen - and the Vikings are banking on it.
We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. All you have to do is send a You Tube or Hudl link and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein at Floridakids1@aol.com.
Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.
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