With much of the attention on the west coast of Florida is focused on Bradenton schools Manatee and Southeast, it's easy for the talented athletes at nearby Palmetto to slip under the cracks.
Case in point: junior linebacker DaQual Randall. It's early in the season but it looks like the 6-foot, 215-pounder is making things happen. He had another double-digit tackle game in a loss to Manatee this week and he said he looked forward to the challenge of facing four-star running back Mike Blakely.
"Mike and I have been going against each other since Pop Warner days," Randall said. "He's one of the best in the nation right now and I'm trying to get there so facing players like him is only going to make me better."
Randall is committed to improving his skills and spends plenty of time at the IMG Academy football program Football Academy working on his techniques. He also attended the USF SuperBull showcase along with a one-day camp at Auburn and the National Underclassmen regional in Tampa.
"Coming into the camps I knew my coverage was a little shaky," Randall said. "And I learn a lot over the summer about breaking on the ball quicker and shifting my body to get in better position.
"I also learned more about film study and what I'm looking at on the offense and from the quarterback."
Randall is getting plenty of interest. Georgia, South Florida, Nebraska, Western Kentucky and Georgia Tech are among the schools that are already sending out information to Randall. He is going to continue to be as active with his recruiting during the season as he has been on the field.
"I'm thinking about going to games at Georgia Tech and South Florida right now," Randall said. "I'm also looking at taking unofficial visits to UCF and Western Kentucky once the season is over."
Randall has a connection at Western Kentucky as his former head coach Raymond Woodie is now an assistant with the Hilltoppers.