Last season, nearing the end of a high school career for Edgewater stars S Karl Joseph and WR Alton 'Pig' Howard, the duo made sure to see to it that those left behind were going to get their due attention.
Specifically, the pair pointed out soon-to-be senior, 6-foot-7, 275-pound defense end Malik Thompson, who is ranked No. 50 in the Sentinel's 2013 Central Florida Super60.
"This is the guy you gotta be checking on," said Howard late last fall, pointing at the big hulking Thompson walking through the Edgewater stadium tunnel after a practice.
The sun setting behind him made for a huge, omnipresent shadow that just kept looming larger as it approached. And with a big, firm handshake, the introduction was made to the next defensive star at storied Edgewater High.
On Tuesday, Thompson finally received word of his first NCAA Division I-A college football scholarship offer, and what seemed to be a long time coming for the big fella, finally hit home. NC State made the pitch and Thompson is now looking to keep the offers rolling in.
"I feel good. I feel great. I just want to keep going out there and keep doing what I'm doing and staying positive," Thompson said. "I feel confident. I feel like I'm going to have a great year and I feel like my team is going to have a great year."
In short, he's far from satisfied.
"It doesn't mean anything because I still gotta keep on working," Thompson said.
Thompson's offer is the first DI-A tender for incoming Edgewater seniors, among which there are several talented players. WR Tim Miller (6-0, 190), ranked 57th, and DT Darius Tolbert (6-5, 305), ranked 53rd, both have FAMU offers and are awaiting their first hit from a DI-A school, while others like LB Troy Dunnell (6-0, 195), ranked No. 45, RB John Altman (5-8, 170), ranked No. 60, and TE Keith Dilley (6-2, 192) are also hopeful.
Altman can remain optimistic because of what a similar running back to himself has garnered thus far in the recruiting process.
Comparable Olympia RB John Armstrong (5-7, 161) is smaller than Altman, but has somewhat of a more versatile repertoire.
Altman, however, is probably a better down-field runner than his counterpart and his cuts are a little more fluid and deliberate than those of the jitterbug Armstrong, who is faster than most CF running backs.
Armstrong's big counter punch is his ability to catch passes out of the backfield, giving him a legit shot at playing slot back at the next level. Armstrong led Olympia in receiving last season with 60 catches.
Dilley also should remain optimistic in this, the year of the tight end in Central Florida. So far, Lake Mary's Taylor Marini, Oviedo's Brian Griggs and possible tight ends Kris White of South Lake and Jock Petree of West Orange have all received offers, while Dilley, Lake Howell's Preston Haines (6-2, 230), Boone's Blake Orvis (6-4, 225), and Orange City University's Garrett Rothenburg (6-3, 200), among others, are all expecting some interest from various levels of DI-A football.Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting.