Big Year for Edgewater HS
Rafael Vazquez
Rafael Vazquez
Scout.com
Posted Mar 21, 2007


The Fightin’ Eagles of Edgewater, in Orlando, (Fla.), have a lot to be excited about this season. At first blush, losing a seasoned quarterback in Robert Arnheim and the highly regarded University of Florida defensive signee Lorenzo Edwards might seem a big obstacle to overcome, but this Edgewater team appears up to the challenge.

The Eagles are coming off an 11-2 season and looking to soar this fall. Longtime head coach Bill Gierke spent some time with Scout.com to tell us about this year's prospects.


Michael Brewster

The highly recruited offensive lineman Michael Brewster is the big trench guy for coach Bill Gierke. He is on the dance card of a plethora of elite college football programs.

"He has a chance to be as good a football player as anyone I have coached," the well-respected Gierke said. "At 6-6, 300, he can run too."

"He is an awesome student. He will graduate early. He is as good as he wants to be. He has a great work ethic. Most big linemen don't have the work ethic, but he does."

"He is really not leaning to one school in particular right now. He's got it narrowed down to eight or nine."

The line will also include a relative newcomer in Rafael Vazquez. The 6-5, 290-pound offensive lineman had a unique entry into the Edgewater football program as he was discovered on the basketball court by the junior varsity coach.

"Football is the highlight of my high school years," the charismatic Vazquez tells us.

Coach Gierke also expects some big things from Vazquez.

"He is a very, very talented football player," he said. "Last year was his first year of playing football. His future is very definitely ahead of him. He is an extremely intelligent kid. He is in all the advanced placement classes."

"He will play offensive line again and may even play some defensive line. This is still a new game to him. The combine was his first time in that one-on-one environment as far as drills go."

Vazquez was named to the Scout.com All-Combine Team in Jacksonville, (Fla.) March 14.

Scout.com's Mike Bakas said of the gifted athlete, "With a good frame and good athletic ability, Vasquez was impressive on Wednesday. He did very well in one-on-one drills and showed why he'll be a Division-1 recruit playing next to Michael Brewster this fall."

Vasquez doesn't have offers yet, but coach Gierke has a theory on that.

"Often, when you have a guy like Michael Brewster, the others, at least until spring football starts, don't really exist. Rafael will have offers because he has the talent, and he has the grades," Gierke said.

Jeremiah Schwartz
Jeremiah Schwartz

Running back Jeremiah Schwartz, a 5-11, 239-pound power runner, was also named to the All-Combine Team in Jacksonville.

Mike Bakas says of this Eagle, "He probably doesn't want to hear it, but Schwartz is the best fullback prospect in the state of Florida. Why wouldn't he want to hear that? It's because he sees himself as a tailback. His quickness and explosiveness is excellent for a player his size. He can do it all -- run, catch, and block and will be a major recruit in the fall."

Coach Gierke agrees, "He is an unbelievable player. He ran for about 1,400 yards last year and scored 23 touchdowns as a fullback. He will play tailback this year. He is a tremendous football player."

When asked about the fullback/tailback argument coach Gierke tells us, "He could play at fullback, but he will likely be my tailback. Not all colleges run a fullback. Coaches are projecting him to play at the next level as a tailback. He catches the ball extremely well. He is a lot of fun to coach. He is a very good football player."

Nakeem Pittman
Nakeem Pittman

Wide receiver Nakeem Pittman (5-9, 170-pounds) ran a 4.53-40 yard dash at the Jacksonville combine.

Coach Gierke says of Pittman, "He caught about nine touchdown passes last year. He had knee surgery right before the season started. He had a little piece of cartilage taken out of his knee. He missed the first two or three games of the season. He played much better the second half of the season, probably because he was in much better shape. He is on the track team and will probably be in the state track meet. He will be used strictly as a wide receiver and a kick returner."

Keiaron Jackson
Keiaron Jackson

Keiaron Jackson checked in at 5-11, 223 pounds. The tight end prospect will try some defensive duties this fall when he steps in for some play at linebacker.

"He is probably the hardest working player on my team. A great student. He will probably be a 1AA player, but if he can project to play on defense, then that may change," Gierke said.

McKenzie Noel
McKenzie Noel

McKenzie Noel is a safety for his Edgewater team. The 5-8, 192-pound prospect ran a 4.67-40 yard dash at the combine.

"We will probably play him at fullback some and at linebacker some. He runs real well," Gierke said.

Ryan Middleton
Ryan Middleton

The newcomer to coach Gierke's posse is Ryan Middleton. The 5-9, 177-pound Lake Highland Prep transfer put up a nice 4.47-40 yard dash time.

"I have not seen him play football for me because he just transferred here. He is a very good athlete. He could play a multiple number of positions for me here. I know he is going to play in the secondary. He is going to play some wide receiver and running back. He has great strength, and he is really an explosive player. He seems to fit in real well here. He is a good student, and a very mature kid. He has one offer to Nebraska."

"I'm very excited about this total group of kids this year. One of the best groups we have had," Gierke concluded.

Stay with Scout.com as we continue to follow this Edgewater team throughout the 2007 season.


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 -by BuckeyeSports.com  Mar 19, 2007
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