Chris Hays: Ath­letes at small pri­vate schools rack up of­fers.

Orlando Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - Chris Hays Sentinel Re­cruit­ing Writer

Or­lando Chris­tian Prep foot­ball coach Guer­schom De­mos­thenes

al­ways has said that if a player de­served at­ten­tion from col­lege re­cruiters, they would find him, re­gard­less of the size of the school. His be­lief is com­ing true for nu­mer­ous small pri­vate-school foot­ball play­ers across the Or­lando area.

“It doesn’t mat­ter where a player is. If they’re com­mit­ted to the pro­gram and they stick to it, they will de­velop into what they can be,” De­mos­thenes said. “I’m a firm be­liever that if you are good enough and are play­ing at a high level and cre­at­ing value about your­self, they will find you . ... If you cre­ate good news about your­self on Fri­day nights, they will come find you.”

Class of 2019 OCP wide re­ceiver/corner­back Xavier Weaver, who has been pick­ing up Foot­ball Bowl Sub­di­vi­sion schol­ar­ship of­fers, is back­ing up De­mos­thenes’ phi­los­o­phy.

Fol­low­ing a re­cent visit to Troy, Weaver added to his list with an of­fer from the Tro­jans to give him four FBS of­fers. The other three are from Texas-San An­to­nio, Mid­dle Tennessee State and East Carolina, so far, and he also has of­fers from Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship Sub­di­vi­sion schools.

It’s a big deal for a guy like Weaver, a tal­ented ath­lete on both sides of the ball. The 6-foot-1, 165-pounder had a nice ju­nior sea­son with 43 catches as a re­ceiver for 929 yards and 11 touch­downs. He also had 17 tack­les and an in­ter­cep­tion on de­fense.

He said he’d pre­fer to play re­ceiver in col­lege, but he will play wher­ever a col­lege wants him to play as long as it’s the right fit.

“I feel pretty good. It’s a bless­ing to get all these of­fers out of nowhere and it just shows that hard work pays off,” Weaver said.

He isn’t the only player at OCP gain­ing at­ten­tion, with se­niors-to-be run­ning back Jalen Carr (5-9, 163) and corner­back Ar­nell Walker (5-11, 170) as well as 2020 WR B.J.

Wag­ner (6-2, 185) also turn­ing some heads. Wag­ner is the son of former Or­lando Preda­tors stand­out Barry Wag­ner and he picked up an early of­fer from Texas A&M last year.

“It’s pretty good be­cause ev­ery­body looks down on OCP and they don’t think we have tal­ent, but we ac­tu­ally have a lot of tal­ent,” Weaver said. “For them to ac­tu­ally no­tice is a pretty good feel­ing.

“The col­lege coaches usu­ally go to the big­ger schools and some col­lege coaches say they’ve never heard of our school, so it can be a lit­tle dif­fi­cult, but our coach does a re­ally good job ex­pos­ing us.”

OCP isn’t the only pri­vate schools with stars in the mak­ing. The Or­lan­doarea small school player who stands out the most is Mount Dora Chris­tian linebacker Je­siah Pierre, who is com­mit­ted to Mi­ami but also mulling of­fers from other schools like Ge­or­gia and Florida. FSU is also ex­pected to of­fer the 6-foot-3, 220-pound star a schol­ar­ship.

Faith Chris­tian also has ath­letes re­ceiv­ing at­ten­tion in corner­back/run­ning back Makai Bur­ris (5-11, 180), de­fen­sive end

Ja­son Terry (6-0, 185) and sopho­more re­ceiver An­dre Cooper II (6-4, 170). Win­ter Park Trin­ity Prep quar­ter­back Spencer

Fet­ter, a 6-foot-3, 170-pounder who is an ex­tremely ac­cu­rate passer and ex­cel­lent de­ci­sion­maker, has shined and is get­ting the most at­ten­tion this spring. Fet­ter, how­ever, has yet to re­ceive an FBS of­fer. His high aca­demic pro­file, how­ever, has gained him of­fers from schools like Har­vard, Brown and Cor­nell, among oth­ers.

Trin­ity Prep, mean­while, could have a star in the mak­ing at UCF. Tight end Alec Holler (6-3, 220) was over­looked as a se­nior this past fall and de­cided to walk on at UCF. He’s a tough kid with great hands and de­cent speed for a big guy.

Win­ter Gar­den Foun­da­tion Academy also has a few prospects, with de­fen­sive end War­ren Sapp Jr. (6-2, 235), yes, the son of that War­ren Sapp, be­ing the big­gest one. He’ll likely be pil­ing up of­fers as spring prac­tice opens Mon­day.

Over at Or­lando First Academy, 2019 wide re­ceiver Alex Shields (6-0, 182) should also start gain­ing some re­cruit­ing trac­tion.

Or­lando’s Bishop Moore al­ways has col­lege prospects and this year will be no dif­fer­ent, with Tim­ber Creek trans­fer ath­lete

Caleb Blake al­ready pick­ing up of­fers from schools like UCF, and 2019 class­mate wide re­ce­vier Dy­lan Brazil, run­ning back Jake Kiefer and line­man An­drew But­ler also primed for at­ten­tion. Faith Chris­tian coach

An­dre Dob­son said of­fers for some of his ath­letes are close and he’s ex­pect­ing some to come in dur­ing spring prac­tice.

“We’re still wait­ing. Guys have been vis­it­ing dif­fer­ent schools, but noth­ing yet,” Dob­son said of schol­ar­ship of­fers. “I def­i­nitely think we’re get­ting a ton of ac­tion. It’s just that no­body has pulled the trig­ger yet. I am ex­cited about this spring and when we go over and play Trin­ity Prep, with the amount of noise their quar­ter­back is cre­at­ing, there will be quite a few coaches around check­ing ev­ery­thing out.”

CHRIS HAYS/STAFF

Or­lando Chris­tian Prep WR/CB Xavier Weaver has been pick­ing up of­fers from Foot­ball Bowl Sub­di­vi­sion schools.

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