Monday, August 03, 2009

PrepNation 101 Preseason Countdown: No. 17 Lakeland continues the most comprehensive package of preseason high school football rankings ever published. We are counting down the PrepNation 101 Preseason High School Football Rankings, from No. 101 to No. 26, leading up to the release of the official preseason National Prep Poll on August 3.

17. Lakeland (Fla.)
Last season: 14-1, Class 5A state runner-up
Coach: Bill Castle
Key players: QB Jarred Haggins (6-1, 180, Sr.), LB William Lucas (5-11, 205, Sr.), LB Quayshawn Nealy (6-1, 210, Sr.), RB Rodney Watson (5-9, 170, Sr.), WR Javeres McRoy (5-9, 165, Jr.), RB Ben McRoy (5-9, 160, Sr.)
Outlook: The six-time state titlist Dreadnaughts perennially field a championship-caliber defense, and this year should be no exception. Lakeland returns seven starters on that side of the ball, including a pair of Division I-caliber linebackers. Lucas (Purdue) and Nealy (uncommitted) each totaled more than 100 tackles last season. The secondary should be excellent too, with three starters returning. On offense, Florida St. recruit Haggins returns for his third year as a starter. Watson and McRoy are experienced ball carriers. Castle says his biggest area for concern is the development of a rebuilt offensive line. For the third time in four seasons, Lakeland will hop on a plane to play an out-of-state game against a top national opponent. In 2006, Lakeland traveled to Cincinnati and defeated St. Xavier. Last season, the Dreadnaughts defeated Pittsburgh Central Catholic in Wheeling, W.Va. This year, perhaps the biggest game in Lakeland history: September 25 vs. No. 18 De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Calif.

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