IT APPEARED THE SKY WAS THE
limit for Gerold Bright. He was the
starting running back for Pensacola’s
Escambia High School, but a nagging
injury eventually slowed him down.
“As a sophomore, we didn’t know
what it was,” Escambia coach Willie
Spears recalled. “He said his knee
was hurting, his knee was hurting. He
played the whole year with it. Then we
got his knee scoped in the offseason
and he is actually faster [since the
“It was just a torn meniscus,”
Heading into his junior year, Bright
175-pound athlete blossomed in the role.
was set to be the starting running back
when an injury to the team’s starting
quarterback forced Spears’ hand. The
coach approached Bright about mak-
ing the switch to QB, and the 5-foot- 10,
“He ended up having 1,500 rushing
yards, he caught a few TDs as a receiver, he threw for two as a QB and he ran
in 20 as an athlete,” Spears said. “He
can do it all. He could start at corner for
us, he could start at safety for us and he
could probably start at linebacker for
us. He is very athletic. He is a leader.”
The three-sport star (football, track
and basketball) bench-presses 315
pounds and squats 465. On the field, he
runs the 40-yard dash in 4. 5 seconds.
Since recovering from the knee in-
Escambia defeated both Pensacola
jury, colleges are starting to show more
interest. Bright has offers from Ohio
University, Troy, Alabama-Birmingham,
Louisiana-Lafayette and Charleston
Southern. He’s also getting interest from
Georgia Tech, Tennessee and Navy.
“We believe he will pick up between
five and 10 more offers this spring
[and summer],” Spears said. “A lot of
people like him but no bigger schools
have pulled the trigger on him.”
Bright remains completely wide
open in his college recruitment and
hopes to have a big senior year. A
year ago he helped Escambia to a 7-4
record – its best since 2002.
High and Pine Forest during the regu-
lar season in the same year for the first
time since 1985.
“By far, he’s our leader,” Spears
noted. “He’s really done a great job
and he knows what we expect.”
Nature Coast Tech
Star Now a Top
WHEN CHRISTIAN PELLAGE FIRST
took up football, the Nature Coast Tech
star had visions of being a pass-catch-ing playmaker the likes of Jason Wit-ten, Rob Gronkowski or Dallas Clark.
“I was pretty skinny then. I thought
I was going to be a tight end,” Pel-
lage said of his middle school days in
Brooksville. “My freshman year I was a
defensive end, but we needed offensive
linemen. Sophomore year was the first
year playing offensive tackle. I started
tackle at about 225 [pounds]. Then I
started learning my position more.”
Add in a couple of big growth spurts
and the transformation was underway.
Pellage began attending camps
during the offseason and continued to
work on his trade. He credits the many
combines he attended for helping to
hone his skills in the trenches.
He played this past season – his
junior year – at about 250 pounds and
has continued to add weight to his
6-foot- 7 frame.
“Last fall he played at about 250
The University of Virginia was the
to 260 [pounds], and then in our last
weight-lifting meet in April he was
290,” Nature Coast Tech coach Justin
Worden said. “And he’s still very
lanky at 290. He’s got those big broad
shoulders, long arms and legs, so he
doesn’t look 290.”
It is Pellage’s size, combined with
his agility, which has many of the na-
tion’s top college football programs
flocking to Brooksville.
first to offer Pellage a scholarship.
The Under Armour All-American now
has his pick of more than 25 schools.
“He’s got offers from Alabama and
FSU,” Worden said. “Florida has of-
fered ... USF and UCF locally. Tennes-
see has contacted me and Michigan
came back and talked to me. The one
thing – especially at the high school
level – you get a lot of 260-, 270-pound
kids, but you don’t get a whole lot of
them that are 6-7 like he is.”
Pellage said he plans to take his
time and explore all of his options
before deciding where he will play
football on Saturdays.
“Everyone is about even to me right
now,” Pellage said. “I’m thinking
right now sometime in the summer I’ll
break it do wn to a top five. I’m going to
do as many unofficials as I can before
I take my official visits. And I’m going
to take all five, too.”
Of the unofficial visits, he said, “I
want to get back to Miami again; FSU.
I’ll try to hit every school in Florida.”
“He’s going to be real big for us,”
Worden noted. “When he gets up to the
second level, he’s just going to cover
people to where they’re not even going
to see our running backs.”
Keep an eye on Pellage this fall as
he completes his transformation from
skinny tight end to hulking major-
Lafayette Quarterback Eyes
School’s Second Title
KERWIN BELL IS A BELOVED FOLK HERO IN
northern Florida. In 1981, he quarterbacked
tiny Lafayette High School to its only state football championship.
He would eventually walk-on at the University
of Florida, where he earned honorable mention
All-America honors twice and was named SEC
Player of the Year in 1984.
Fast forward to this season and some say the
school in Mayo has its best quarterback since
the Bell days in three-year starter Brycen Lee.
“Kerwin was kind of the first guy to put Lafay-
ette football on the map,” said Lafayette coach
Joey Person. “I think that is probably a natural
comparison because they’re
both from the same place. They
have some similarities. Brycen is
taller than Kerwin.”
Like Bell, the 6-foot- 5 Lee has
succeeded on the field but has yet
to see a scholarship offer from a
major college. His only offer head-
ing into spring football was from
Troy University in Alabama.
The Hornets went 7-3 during
Lee’s junior season and lost in
the playoffs to eventual state
champion Trenton. The rising
senior said a second state championship would be a big deal for
“We haven’t won state in a
while,” Lee said. “There’s only
been one state champion-
ship in football at my school
and that was a long time ago.”
Pearson expects the pro-
style quarterback to receive
more offers down the road.
He said Maryland, Miami,
Florida Atlantic, Middle Ten-
nessee and Wake Forest
were showing interest in ad-
dition to the Troy offer.
“He’s a great leader. His
height, he’s able to see the
whole field,” Pearson said.
“He moves well. Great poise;
he doesn’t get rattled easily.
Strong arm; can make all the
throws. We expect him to
have a huge year for us.”
Bouncing Back from a Knee Injury