FORMER FLORIDA STATE
quarterback Charlie Ward, who
won the 1993 Heisman Trophy,
knows the importance of a skilled
left tackle to protect his blind side.
Now in his third season as the
coach of the Pensacola Washington Wildcats, Ward has that type
of player in Alex Leatherwood, a
6-foot- 5, 310-pound senior.
Leatherwood is a key player in
what Ward hopes is a Wildcats
turnaround. The Wildcats haven’t
made the playoffs since 2006,
finishing 4-6 and then 2-8 in
Ward’s first two years as coach.
“Alex has good footwork and
quickness as well as long arms,”
Ward said. “He is massive and has
good balance. Because of that
combination, he has the potential
to be pretty good. He just needs to
Leatherwood is athletic but
raw – this is only his fourth season
playing football. But Ward said
Leatherwood is much improved
from last season.
Colleges have taken notice.
Although Leatherwood committed
to Alabama, that hasn’t stopped
other schools such as Miami, LSU,
FSU, Florida and Michigan from trying to get him to change his mind.
“I’m interested in other schools
because I haven’t seen them yet,”
said Leatherwood, who has a 3. 1
FSU – which is where Leather-
wood’s mother went to school –
seems to have the best chance at
prying him away from Alabama.
“It’s going to come down to the
offensive line coaches,” Leather-
Leatherwood, who wants to study
engineering, plans to graduate high
school in December, enrolling in college in January. Ward said he won’t
try to steer Leatherwood toward his
“I want him to go where he has
the best opportunity and the best
fit,” Ward said. “I will support him
wherever he goes, and that’s the
same for all our kids.
OL, PENSACOLA WASHINGTON
WATCH THE TAPE. IF A PICTURE
is worth 1,000 words, the video of
North Fort Myers running back Zaquandre White breaking 12 tackles
in one play speaks volumes. White, a
senior who has committed to Florida
State, scored 17 touchdowns last
season – 12 rushing and five receiving. But none were as spectacular
as the 60-yard masterpiece he
produced in a spring game against
The 6-foot, 205-pounder took a
handoff and broke to his right for
three steps before cutting laterally
to his left. That’s when a defender
got two hands on White’s jersey
and swung him around. Three more
defenders came in for the kill, and
they all hurled themselves at White
like bowling balls.
But White didn’t go down. He cut
back to his right and made a dash
to the pylon. Two defenders had an
angle on him, but White outraced
one and hurdled the other for
the incredible, improbable and
That play showed what White
could do at his best. His worst
moment, however, came just a few
months later, when he got into a
fight during a North Fort Myers fall
preseason game. White reportedly threw a punch, costing him a
White, who ran for 956 yards in
five games last season, averaging
16. 1 per carry, was repentant.
“I let my team down,” he said.
“I have to be stronger mentally.”
North Fort Myers coach Earnest
Graham, a former running back
who played eight years for the
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, said White
has learned a lesson.
“He’s a fiery kid,” Graham said
Just check the tape.
of White. “But I’ve seen signs
of maturity. He’s been targeted,
and he hasn’t acted in a way that
would hurt him or his team.”
If White can keep his temper
in check, he could be virtually
unstoppable – much just like he
was against Sarasota Riverview.
RB, NORTH FORT MYERS