MANATEE -- Manatee High football players dressed in full gear demonstrated how to balance school and sports Thursday as they visited Manatee Elementary in uniform to read to the kindergarten through fifth-graders and then joined the youngsters for lunch.
Junior Brooks Larkin, an offensive lineman for the Hurricanes, read "Game Day" by veteran Tampa Bay Buccaneer Ronde Barber and his brother, Tiki Barber, who also was a star athlete.
"Doing your homework is important if you want to play football," he told the kids.
Larkin has been playing for the high school team for two years and hopes to go to Duke, Princeton or Clemson.
"This is humbling," Larkin said. "It shows that a lot of people are looking up to you, which is something you don't get to see walking through the halls
in high school."
The elementary school students enjoyed hearing about the football players' experiences on the field.
"My favorite part was meeting the football players and when (Larkin) signed an autograph for me," said second-grader Lucy Flores.
Assistant coach Dennis Stallard said he considered the day a huge success.
"I know it meant a lot to the little ones, but it also was very impactful upon our high school kids as well," Stallard said.