By Keith McGonigle.
North Florida Christian (FL) has three players that Clemson is interested in: one of the best players in the country Travis Blanks (offered), Dual-Threat quarterback Matt Dobson, and athletic linebacker Dallas Griffiths. Head Coach Robert Craft gives his insight on the three high school stars.
How long have you been coaching/who is the best player(s) you have ever coached?
I been coaching for seven years this is my second year at North Florida Christian. Before that I coached in South Georgia. I have coached a few good guys: Florida State DT Cameron Erving DT, Vance Cuff who was recently at the NFL combine and Ty Smith committed who recently committed to Gerogia. Travis Blanks is right up there with those guys. He is the most heralded kid I’ve coached.
What are Travis, Matt, and Dallas’ strengths?
All three of them have tremendous leadership skills. It is the things they do before they get on the field. The things they do off the field, their character, leadership are their biggest strengths. Not every high school student has the maturity that they have when they have. It is very surprising to see out of 16, 17 or 18 year old kids.
What do they need to continue to improve on?
All three of them are young and can continue to get better.
Travis – Experience in the secondary. College defense are much more complex then what we run.
Matt– He only played QB for a year, but he was a great safety for us before that. He is a tremendous athlete; his knowledge and football savvy are his best asset.
Dallas – He is very physical and has great size, he just needs to develop a better understanding of the game which will come with being around the game more.
When did you realize that these guys had division 1 talent?
Most of them were division 1 guys before I even got here. You know pretty early for a lot of these guys. In 9th grade they were head and shoulders above everyone in their class.
They are all gifted physically but leadership and their ability to take coaching is what makes them different. Dallas led the team in tackles, Travis had 100+ tackles, returned punts and interceptions for touchdowns, and Dobson was our leading rusher and passer. They are physically just a step ahead of most.
What type of person are they off the field?
All three of them are very strong academically. Matt has a 4.3 GPA. He and Travis are both class officers and in the national honor society. All of them run track. They are just football guys. They workout and train year round, they run track really just to work on speed for football.
What positions do they play for you?
Travis – Corner, safety, and receiver. Most are recruiting him as a safety or receiver not sure what Clemson is doing my guess would be safety. He also returns punts.
Dallas – plays middle linebacker.
Matt – No doubt he is a division 1 quarterback and that is where he prefers to play. He could play safety at the next level. If that is where teams want him to play he will because he is a ‘team first’ guy. He started at safety as a freshman. If we kept him there last year he would probably have a lot of offers. Teams often take longer to offer quarterbacks because they only take one a year they don’t want to mess up. Teams take three to four defensive backs, so he would have had a better opportunity if he had stayed there.
How do you project him at the college level?
Travis is looking for a place where he can play right away possibly as a freshman. A lot of people are telling him he can do that. He will be a top 25 or top 50, prospect in the country.
Matt and Dallas – There both different then Blanks, but when you have the work ethic and character like these kids do it usually means a bright future.
How many offers does he have?
Travis – Most heralded player I have coached in terms of scholarships, he has a lot.
Dallas –Georgia Tech.
Matt – Georgia Tech and FIU.
What do you think the chances of Clemson offering Matt or/and Dallas?
Matt is going to camp this summer so they will get a good look at him. The Clemson coaches have said that Dallas is on their board. They have offered a couple guys, but he is in the next group of guys.
Which teams/coaches are recruiting Travis the hardest right now?
Florida State, Georgia, Clemson, Auburn, and Alabama. I get calls from everyone. Nebraska Notre Dame, USC, I mean they all are trying to get him. I think he wants to stay in southeast. I think he will potentially go out of the state of Florida. But I think Florida State, will be in it until the end because of their location.
What school do you see Travis fitting in best?
He really likes Clemson and Georgia a lot because of their coaching staff. He is looking for a coaching staff that he relates well to and a place he can play early at.
Who is another player that you would compare these guys to?
Travis draws a lot of comparisons to Antonio Cromartie because he is tall, and has good speed and plays corner.
Matt is just a great athlete he is 210 lbs. runs a 4.5 and is really strong in the weight room, a lot of people are looking at him as a spread offense type quarterback because he is a dual threat.
Dallas is a Matthews or Hawk type linebacker. He is a big strong middle linebacker.
Travis- 6’1 ½ ” 195 lbs.
Matt -6’1 ½” 210 lbs.
Dallas – 6’2” 225 lbs.
All of them are 4.5 guys they’ve run lower and higher it just depends on the day. All three of them play so fast though. Some guys time fast and play slow, but these guys play even faster than their times, it probably has a lot to do with their work in the weight room.