Phoebus High coach Stan Sexton knows local high school football fans have come to expect quite an autograph show from the Phantoms on National Signing Day.
On Feb. 4, former Phoebus coach Bill Dee had nine of his players sit at a table at the high school with pens and national letters of intent in front of them. Nine players. That's more football players than many area high schools have had sign letters of intent in their entire histories.
Sexton, who is entering his first season as Phoebus' coach after coaching at Warwick High for the past four years, isn't sure the signing day pace will continue next February. Yet, he anticipates the 2010 class might come close.
"We've just got a lot of guys that (colleges) say they just want to see early tape of from this coming season," said Sexton, who graduated from Phoebus in 1983 and was an assistant at Phoebus under Dee for 14 years. "I think after the first two or three weeks of the season, Paul and some of those guys are going to see a lot more attention."
Paul is senior quarterback and safety Paul Morant. Linebacker Chaz Robinson, running back Colby Goodwyn, lineman Micah Blakely and Morant are all certainly going to have a few college options. As the remnants of the core of Phoebus' defending Group AAA Division 5 state championship team, the foursome already has drawn some attention.
Of course, the annual recruiting bonanza already has started for Phoebus. Wide receiver Andre Griffin committed to Hampton University.
Morant, who is 6-foot and 185 pounds and is being recruited primarily as a safety, has a scholarship offer from Old Dominion. He's also receiving a lot of interest from Marshall, and East Carolina is taking a look.
"Actually, if he had his druthers, he'd prefer to play wide receiver," said Sexton of Morant. "He's playing quarterback right now because he knows that's where we need him. He'll do anything for this team."
As a matter of fact, ECU and Marshall are taking a long hard look at several of the aforementioned rising senior Phantoms. Like Morant, Robinson, who is 5-10 and 200 pounds, has garnered a lot of interest from Marshall, and some from ECU as well.
Goodwyn, who is 5-11 and 191 pounds, likely will play safety or cornerback in college, but he also has been recruited as a tailback by some schools. Sexton said Marshall and several Mid-American Conference schools, including Temple, have been checking out Goodwyn.
Blakely, who is 6-2 and 270 pounds and carries a grade-point average near 3.3, has ECU looking at him as a defensive lineman. Schools including Richmond and James Madison are recruiting him as an offensive lineman.
Sexton had some success at Warwick last season helping to get one of his linemen in to college at an elite level. Kevin Harrington, a 6-3, 280-pound offensive lineman, will be a freshman preferred walk-on this fall at the University of Virginia. In his last year at Warwick, he lost 30 pounds and dropped his 40-yard dash time from 5.5 seconds to 4.9.
"He's done a great job," Sexton said. "He's totally transformed his body. He looks like a football player now."
Ferguson trimming listJ.R. Ferguson, a 6-3, 270-pound senior defensive end at Hargrave Military Academy, plans to have his list of potential college destinations trimmed to 10 by the end of the weekend, according to his father, Ego.
Ferguson is the top player on the Daily Press' Fab 15 recruiting rankings for the class of 2010. Ego said he knows Miami, Louisiana State, Southern California, Notre Dame, South Carolina, California and Oklahoma — all of which have offered J.R. — will definitely be on his son's final list of 10. The last three spots were still open as of Friday afternoon.
One school that was on J.R.'s list of 21 schools but won't make the final list of 10 is Virginia Tech. Ego said he and his son have made a grid with categories for each school that include coach, school prestige, campus environment, business program and ability to play right away. They're ranking each category with a one to five score for each school.
"We couldn't put anything down on Tech because they haven't really called," Ego said. "I know they offered, but we haven't gotten any calls or literature from them."
Ego said he and his son also had conversations with U.Va. coach Al Groh and defensive backs coach Anthony Poindexter, but the Cavaliers haven't yet offered a scholarship.
Norm Wood can be reached at 247-4642 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more recruiting news, visit dailypress.com/recruiting.