The state of Florida is known as a bastion of football talent. Upper echelon schools throughout the nation venture to Florida to augment their talent base and enhance team speed. It's common to see high schools with multiple Division 1 caliber players. One school, Chaminade-Madonna High School, is a bit rare. Chaminade-Madonna High School Head Football Coach Mark Guandolo happens to have six players capable of playing on the next level. Four of the six have been offered a scholarship by the University of Pittsburgh
"Pittsburgh has offered four of my players: running back Xavier Stinson (5-foot-9 inches, 215 pounds), offensive lineman Emeka Kwankwo (6-foot-4 inches, 290 pounds), cornerback Akeem Auguste (5-foot-11 inches, 175 pounds) and safety Eain Smith (6-foot-1 inches, 180 pounds)," stated Coach Guandolo. "This is a rare year for us. We have had yeas when we have one or two Division 1 players, but never this many high profile players. We have football programs from everywhere in the country coming to practices."
Running back Xavier Stinson (pictured above) is the most sought after prospect on the team. A rugged and muscular battering ram, he currently holds offers from Pitt, Auburn, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Florida International and Iowa.
"Xavier is still wide open. He truly wants to go to a school committed to the run. Pitt has a big advantage in that department," stated Guandolo. "He's open, but I know he's very interested in the Panthers. Xavier knows the type of offense that Coach (Dave) Wannstedt want to run. He's perfect for that system."
Stinson has been a standout on both sides of the ball. He was named the Broward County Defensive Player of the Year as a junior. Xavier rushed for over 500 yards as a part time starter at running back. He is the nephew of former NFL fullback Tim Lester.
"Emeka Knwankwo (pronounced A-mecka Wank-wo) has only played football for a year. He transferred here from North Miami Beach High School," stated Guandolo. "He has offers from Pitt, Florida, Georgia, Auburn and Georgia. I'm expecting many more to come."
Knwankwo is capable of bench pressing 270 pounds, squatting 400 pounds and running the forty-yard dash in 5.0 seconds. He has a solid 3.36 grade point average.
"Emeka is a big kid that happens to be an athlete. He's a strong football and basketball player," said Guandolo. "What separates Emeka from other linemen is his mobility. He moves incredibly well for his size. Emeka has great feet, he's very intelligent and he uses his long wingspan to his advantage."
Knwankwo projects as an offensive tackle on the next level. The Panthers are taking a close look at his teammate Ed Ferguson (6-foot-4 inches, 325 pounds). Ferguson is a massive specimen that projects a guard on the next level.
"Emeka would like to go into medicine. I know that Pitt has a great medical school. That could be a key selling point with them."
"(Eain) Smith (pictured right) is very interested in Pitt," state Guandolo. "He's been a two-year starter for us. Pitt, Auburn, Virginia and Florida have offered him scholarships. The Panthers were the first to offer and I know he really wants to get up there and visit."
"Eain is a physical, hard hitting safety. When you watch him on film, the one thing that stands out is his aggressiveness. He flies around the field and he's not scared to hit someone. Eain is excellent when it come to run support."
Smith is capable of running a 4.5 forty-yard dash. He registered 70 tackles and 2 interceptions as a junior.
"Coaches are looking for safeties capable of covering like cornerbacks. Eain fits that mold. His can cover a wide receiver like a cover corner."
"(Akeem) Auguste is strictly a cover cornerback. He can shut down a wide receiver," said Guandolo. "He's getting a ton of attention from big time schools. Pitt, South Carolina, Iowa, Florida, Auburn, Virginia and Mississippi are just some of the schools that have offered him a scholarship."
Auguste (pictured right) registered 25 tackles 7 interceptions as a junior. Two of his interceptions were returned from touchdowns. He is capable of running a 4.4 forty-yard dash. Akeem as been a three-year starter in the secondary.
"Akeem is everything Pitt is looking for in a cornerback. He's a physical cover corner that hits like a linebacker. He can help you in the return game as well. I believe that Ole Miss has been recruiting him the hardest but he's very interested in Pitt."
When Coach Guandolo was asked if his four blue-chip players would consider playing for the same school, he was quick to reply, "Well, anything is possible. They have talked about it. Maybe they'll end up in a Pitt uniform."
Harry G. Psaros can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Head Coach Dave Wannstedt and staff have put a priority on recruiting within the talent rich state of Florida. The Panthers have offered a myriad of quality Floridians. One school, Chaminade-Madonna High School in Hollywood, FL, happens to have four players holding offers from PITT.