We continue our series of taking stock in the local recruiting scene by talking to coaches about players with college potential.
On Thursday night, we spoke to Brockton coach Peter Colombo about which Boxers are getting interest, and from where, at this point in the process.
Here are some tidbits we picked up:
— We started with Segun Okunlola, a 6-foot-4, 275-pound senior offensive and defensive lineman who had a terrific season. According to Colombo, Virginia and Yale are very interested in Okunlola, but a post-graduate year may be in the cards for him.
"I'd like to think the Brockton toughness added with a year of prep at one of those nice schools gives you the whole package," Colombo said. "It's worth it for our guys. We've had a lot of guys do it."
One of the reasons going the post-graduate route has been so vital for Brockton is that the players routinely leave the high school as younger than their counterparts at other programs.
"We're one of a handful of communities in the whole state that has been starting kids in school," Colombo said. "So if you're 4-years old . . . We call them the '-ber babies' in education. They're born in September, October, November, December. So they're already young. Most towns, they'd tell you that if your kid's going to turn 5 in December, he doesn't start kindergarten, you wait until the next year. In Brockton, we've been starting those kids in school. So, they graduate . . . Think about it. If you're a December birthdate, you turn 17 the month after football ends your senior year. So it's the opposite of reclassifying."
Colombo used a recent example.
"(Former Boxers linebacker) Marcus Bullard, he led Colby (College) in tackles," Colombo said. "He could have been playing high school football this year."
— Standout defensive tackle AJ Walker, at 5-9, 260, has had his height work against him when it comes to the scholarship programs, but is getting interest from Bridgewater State and Framingham State. Linebacker Treyvon Goodwyn and offensive lineman Joe Asare have been getting similar interest.
"(Those two schools) have been logical places for our kids to be," Colombo said.
— Senior safety Aaron White is also considering a prep year.
"He had a great year for us," Colombo said.
— Offensive lineman Matt Goldstone, a Big Three All-Star, is a National Honors Society student with an offer from Salve Regina to go along with Division 2 possibilities.
— Quarterback Michael Norman, whose younger brother, Matthew, is a junior signal-caller, is another National Honors Society student who should garner NESCAC interest.
— Moving on to the junior class, wide receiver/defensive back Isaiah Laguerre battled a lower leg injury toward the second half of the season, but is one of the program's best prospects with excellent speed.
There are plenty of skill position players in that class that gained experience this season, including running back Ahmik Watterson, defensive backs Ajani Horne and Devin Fortes, wide receivers Ted Tessa and Ademola Faleye, and tight end Trey Ciulla-Hall, who is likely going to play baseball at the next level.
Faleye, at 6-6, has already grabbed the attention of Boston College.
Other defensive players from that class who either started or saw significant time this past season are linebackers Achi Wonodi and Shawn O'Brien, linebacker/safety Josiah Asare, and defensive ends Giovanni Brown and Devin De Carvalho.
One junior who did not play this season but should get plenty of time next year is running back Eddie Ferreira, who suffered a knee injury in the summer.
— The sophomore class is one that has many around the program excited, starting with wide receiver/defensive end Nayvon Reid. At 6-4, 215 pounds, Reid has major interest from Boston College, and could grow into any number of positions at the next level.
"As long as he continues to do the great job in the classroom, which he has, then he's going to have a lot of options a year from now," Colombo said of Reid, who is also a standout basketball player. "I'm hoping he does the hoop thing with the high school, and then we've talked to him about getting back into football mode for the summer. He had the year he had this year where we didn't really have contact with him until August. If he gets in the weight room in the spring, and then, I would call it a little bit of a whirlwind tour of colleges in the summer, believe me, he'll have offers going into September.
"He played D-end, and at the end of the year, he's playing both ways, playing real good defensive end, coming off a shoulder injury. He was out for three weeks with a sprained shoulder without even doing the strengthening. We've got him on a program that he started with us where he's been lifting, and we're going to keep it going through hoop.
"Once he showed up, I mean, that was the beautiful thing. Didn't miss a practice. Didn't miss a rep. Very coachable,.He's just a baby football-wise. If he had the same experience football as he does hoop, we'd be talking about, you know, I don't know what. . . . We got him over to see the BC-Clemson game thanks to (BC defensive coordinator) Jim Reid, (who was) able to pull that off. And I think it was eye opening for (Reid), what the potential is. So I can't wait to see him next year."
— There are a number of linemen in that class who mostly played JV, but have the size and frame to be worthy of attention, and will replace a senior-dominated front from this past season.
Noa Moore is an offensive tackle at 6-5 with room to fill out. Pat Jeffers (6-0, 265), Nazaih Armor (6-2, 250), and Jose Depina (6-0, 255) are all part of that group, among others.
Depina saw plenty of action on varsity at defensive tackle toward the second half of the season.
"He's in the weight room already and he got reps out of nowhere as a sophomore," Colombo said.
On Armor, Colombo said, "We love him. Also a very good student. He wrestles, which we like."
— Sophomore running back Noah Olowu is 5-9, 160, so he obviously has room to grow, but is has impressive speed and will see more varsity carries next year.
— Quarterback Devonte Medley is 5-10, 170, and Colombo sees his role a little different on the next level.
"Devonte as an athlete," Colombo said. "We have him at QB, but he's a football player. He's working on his speed and his strength. I think he's going to have a real good year. I really do."
— Linebacker/fullback Rodrigo Lima should work his way into a starting role next season. He saw plenty of snaps in the Boxers' 13-10 win over Bridgewater-Raynham on Thanksgiving.
— Also keep an eye on Malik Miranda, who could see time at safety next year.