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August 21, 2007The city of Savannah (Ga.) isn't exactly known as a recruiting hotbed.
According to the Rivals.com database, over the past six recruiting cycles, the city has produced four players who went on to sign with a D-I college. Only one (DeMarcus Dobbs - UGA) signed with an Southeastern Conference program in that time frame.
Which makes the commitment of H.V. Jenkins running back Franklin Green and defensive end Chaz Sutton to defending National Champion Florida even more impressive.
Before heading south to Gainesville, the two have some unfinished business to attend to at the high school level.
Coming off a disappointing 5-5 record in 2006 - which saw the Warriors lose three games by less than a touchdown - Jenkins appears to be on the verge of a breakout season.
If it is to happen, according to Jenkins' head coach Tim Adams, it will be spearheaded by Green and Sutton.
"Both of them are four-year starters," said Adams. "The program was really down when we first got here and these two kids have been a big part of the growth process here. We expect to compete. As a staff we talk about raising the bar. The expectation this year is to make the playoffs."
At close to 6-foot-4, 242-pounds, down from a high of 250-pounds prior to the start of two-a-days, Sutton has the height, weight, frame and strength (335-bench) that major college programs are looking for these days.
However, despite his ideal size, Sutton's game is all about speed. Earlier this spring, at the Atlanta NIKE Combine, he ran a 4.79 forty (the fastest among defensive ends attending the event) in less than ideal conditions according to Student Sports, who included this disclaimer in their writeup of the event:
Note: The 40-yard dash and 20-yard shuttle at the NIKE Combine in Atlanta were timed on outdoors on grass in sub 50 degree temperatures.
Exactly how good of an athlete is he? At that combine, of the 1,225 prospects in attendance, Sutton recorded the 11th best SPARQ rating.
Performing in a much more suitable setting, Sutton reports that he has been timed as low as a 4.53 (at a Georgia Southern camp) in the forty.
Perhaps that time isn't just the product of a quick trigger finger on a stop watch. After all, Sutton does run the anchor leg of Jenkin's 4 X 100 relay team, which happened to be the 3-AAAAA Region Champions.
As a matter of fact, it was during that track meet that Urban Meyer and Greg Mattison visited the duo over the spring evaluation period.
"Both of them have a great combination of size and speed. Chaz in particular, for someone his size, can flat-out run. He moves extremely well," Adams said.
Sutton played running back last year, gaining over 800-yards on the ground, and will line up at tight end on offense this year. However, it is on defense where he is expected to make a major contribution.
"Last year he played running back on offense, but this year, we need a little more help up front. He'll still carry the ball some from time to time, but we'll have him playing tight end a little bit more for us," said Adams.
"We want to be able to put him on the line and let him get after the quarterback. If he can get comfortable at one position, where we don't have to move him around, he has the potential to be a difference maker."
When asked about his three-star, 5-foot-11, 205-pound back, Adams had this to say, "Franklin's just a phenomenal athlete who has been gifted with a lot of physical abilities that a lot of kids, to be honest with you, don't have."
Last season he recorded 1,920-yards on 175 carries (11.0 avg) on his way to earning the WTOC Offensive Player of the Year honors.
Although he had some issues with holding onto the ball last year, Adams is expecting even bigger and better things from Green this coming season.
"He has unlimited potential," said Adams. "He's come a long way for us on and off the field. He's a kid we are depending on to have a big season."
The duo had quite a few suitors before deciding that they were ready to announce for the Gators.
"Chaz had West Virginia, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Purdue and a few more. Franklin had some of the same schools except West Virginia and Virginia Tech didn't offer him," said Adams. "There's a couple of more schools like Indiana, South Florida, Louisville and Rutgers that also offered."
The commitment to Florida hasn't stopped other programs from inquiring about the duo's availability.
"The coaches will call me and say, 'Hey tell the kids we said hey or we called to check in on them,'" said Adams. "I still get calls from a couple of the big schools, South Carolina and Rutgers have been in the hunt since day one and they're still interested in getting them there."
"They'll call and ask how serious the commitment is to Florida. When I ask, they (Sutton and Green) tell me they're committed to Florida."
On Tuesday InsidetheGators.net spent the day at Savannah (Ga.) H.V. Jenkins High School observing practice, weight room workouts and a team meeting in order to get a closer look at University of Florida commitments Franklin Green and Chaz Sutton.
Check back over the next couple of days for video interviews, video of practice and workouts as well as a photo gallery and junior season video highlights of the duo.
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