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July 3, 2002To say that Tampa ( Fla. ) Jefferson is loaded with talent still might be an understatement. There are eight players on the roster that have Division I scholarship offers including, Andre Caldwell, Reshaun Grant, Mike Taylor, Jamesly Jene, Jonathan Bailes, Donnie Woods, Josh Balloon, and Jermaine Lemons. There several others on the roster that will end up eventually getting offered by Division 2-A programs.
What's the secret to the success of all this talent getting interest for college scouts?
The answer might be assistant coach Lane McLaughlin. The former Oregon State wide receiver had been the main man for the past four years in terms on helping the Jefferson kids getting noticed by college coaches.
"Coach Simmons is busy with game preparation, and he asked me to handle the recruiting duties," McLaughlin said. "My goal is to help get as many kids get into college as possible, especially Division-2A types. The college scouts always seem to find the Division I kids. Tampa Jefferson is a magnet school and kids that come to our school know that we will work as hard as we can to get them into a college."
"So what type time an effort does it take to take to accomplish his goal of helping kids get full-rides?
"I run a marketing business full-time," McLaughlin said. "The girls in the office spend about 50% of the time helping me with the recruiting. My wife has set me up with an office in the garage equipped with two VCR's, television, work bench, space heater and a fan. After work, I spend from 8:00 PM to 12:00 Midnight working on films. In February I work all night. So far this year I have sent out over 200 hundred tapes of highlights. I have a set of coach's business cards in my office that are stacked eight-inches high."
McLaughlin's hard work has paid serious dividends for Jefferson high. Last year, he helped get 14 kids get football scholarships. He credits his success towards his hard work and his good contacts he picks up from attending recruiting fairs.
McLaughlin has seen talent but not to this years level, and he has heard some of the most interesting comments from college scouts on this years Jefferson crop.
"Last year, five of our kids signed Division I scholarships," McLaughlin said. "This year, is the best group Jefferson has ever had. All of our kids should qualify. Coach Saben of LSU thinks that Caldwell is the best wide receiver in the nation, and he seen about all of them including Cromartie. The Tulane coach told me that this is the best senior class in the nation, and he said that he would gladly take our leftovers. A Wisconsin coach told me that Mike Taylor and Jamesly Jene are their No. 1 safety and tight end prospects."
McLaughlin is one of many dedicate assistant coaches that should be commended for their hard work behind the scene. He dedicates lot of his time for very little money in order to help kids live their dream of playing college football. With people like him, this world is a much better place.