April 10, 2008

Panhandle gem already with offers

In a state as deep and talented as Florida, there will always be names that miss the initial buzz of the recruiting season. For whatever reason, some players miss the hype and some players get thrust into the limelight.

While Mariana, Fla. athlete Bradley Battles hasn't been a common name among recruiting circles, there are several college programs that know all about the 5-11, 190-pounder. Battles already has five offers to prove it. According to Mariana head coach Rob Armstrong, Battles currently holds offers from Kentucky, Iowa State, Colorado, Purdue, Wisconsin, Northern Illinois and Akron.

Coach Armstrong has certainly developed an appreciation for the talented prospect, both as running back and as a defender.

"He's a good player," Armstrong said. "We've had some good backs here and he's as good as we've ever had. He's a 10.7 100 meters kid. He can play DB also. A lot of people, especially the Big 12 schools, offered him as a defensive back."

An all-state performer in Florida's 2A classification, Battles was all over the field for his program but found the time to rush for 2200 yards and 23 touchdowns on just under 250 carries.

"He had over 2000 yards and he really didn't carry the ball that much," said Coach Armstrong. "He probably could've carried the ball a lot more. We'll try to hand him the ball more this season."

With more carries as a senior, it is scary to think what Battles can do but don't expect him to carry the ball at the expense of defense and special teams. A player as talented as Battles, never manages to spend much time on the sideline.

"He does everything for us," said the coach. "You watch some of those tapes and he breaks one of for 70 then he's got to turn around and cover the kick. On defense he's pretty much everywhere. We move him around but most of the time he lines up at safety."

Battles, who sports a 3.0 GPA, managed to tally 70 tackles as a junior, two tackles for loss, one sack, two interceptions and one fumble recovery.


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