This is the second installment in our countdown of the top 10 players in the 2013 Super60 debut with the release of the top junior rankings in Central Florida scheduled for 4 p.m., on Friday right here at OrlandoSentinel.com/recruting.
It’s fun to watch the Orlando Freedom High offense when the Patriots coaching staff and quarterback Derik Abbott plot things out for junior wide receiver Jeff Badet.
Badet has great hands and great speed, but the coaching staff, which includes former NFL player Michael Timpson as the receivers coach, doesn’t just send him out on simple fly routes.
He gets the call on slants across the middle, bubble screens, quick shots to the sideline … all of which allow Badet to get out in the open and work his magic.
“We have our new receivers coach, and we don’t really throw downfield that much,” Badet said of Timpson. “He’s the kind of guy who’s not a real big fan of throwing downfield. He likes high-percentage passes.”
So Badet’s not just running past people. He’s swiveling his hips, cutting right and cutting left, leaving tacklers in a bewildered lump.
Badet likes it that way, Timpson likes it that way and the fans like to watch him work.
“That helps me a WHOLE lot,” Badet said of Timpson coaching this season. “He comes to practice and he tells us how he used to play with Jerry Rice and played against Deion Sanders. He knows how to get to the big stage and like he always tells us … he’s only here to help us.”
Badet also has the advantage of having Abbott as his quarterback. The senior has started since his sophomore year and owns every Freedom passing record.
“I like having Derik Abbott as a quarterback. It helps me a lot,” Badet said of Abbott, who threw for 1800 yards and nine TDs last year. “Derik is always working to make his receivers look good and we’re always working to make him look good.”
It’s worked out pretty well. Last season, Badet had 39 catches in the regular season, for just under 600 yards, scoring three touchdowns. His talent has earned him the No. 9 spot in the debut of the Sentinel’s 2013 Central Florida Super60.
“I’ve been waiting patiently,” Badet said of figuring attention would eventually come his way. “It means a lot to me. It means all the hard work I’ve been doing is finally paying off.”
Badet (6-0, 165) says he has no official college offers yet, but he is high on Florida schools and staying close to home.
“I’m a huge Gators fan, but I also I like USF, UCF, Florida State and a lot of schools in the SEC,” Badet said. “It feels like the hard work during the summers and working with the guys I have on my team who push me to get better is paying off. All that has been great for me. I workout with Lee Grant, another receiver, all the time and we push each other.”
Badet also knows this year may be his best year for gaining attention.
Abbott will be gone next year, as will the other seniors, like running back Austin Gamble, from a team that is expected to make the playoffs this season.
“Of course, It’s our year to get it done now,” Badet said. “The seniors, it’s their last year and we got to put it all on the table for them. I feel like we have a great chance to get to the playoffs and a good shot at beating Boone and a really good DP team.”
Yes, that DP school stands in the way again. Most have given Freedom the favorite’s role in that game. After two games, however, DP looks to have things back in order and the big showdown is not until the final regular-season game.
Fortunately for these teams, two schools advance to the 8A playoffs from each district.