Lakewood Ranch’s defense has struggled during a slow start to the season, but a pair of defensive backs have been a bright spot. Blauvelt Georges, a senior defensive back playing in only his second year of organized football, has shown flashes of the potential the Mustangs see in the longtime basketball player and Chris Hadley, a nickel back pressed into free safety duty, has been the sort of leader Ranch needs on its back end.
On the defensive side of the ball, they are the two athletes drawing the most attention from college coaches, and on Wednesday they both pulled in their first offers when Stetson extended a scholarship offer to both members of the Mustang secondary.
“They were sending us letters,” Hadley said, “and we both signed up for an unofficial visit.”
Both defensive backs will be in DeLand on Saturday when the Hatters, who compete in the Football Championship Subdivision, open Pioneer Football League play against Jacksonville.
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Ranch already has a preexisting tie to SU — Gabe Overmyer, a star offensive lineman for Lakewood Ranch last season, committed to Stetson last spring. Hadley has already spoken with him about the campus to get an early sense of what to expect this weekend.
“We have a former teammate that went there for football. He said that the campus is beautiful,” Hadley said. “He really likes the school.”
Hadley, who is the son of Mustangs defensive coordinator Carlton Hadley, has been pressed into playing free safety for Ranch this season and has been one of the most steady pieces of Lakewood Ranch’s defense, which limited opponents to 191 passing yards in its first two games.
His future, though, is likely at the emerging safety-linebacker hybrid role. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound senior is listed on the Mustangs’ MaxPreps.com roster as an outside linebacker and strong safety, and head coach Mic Koczersut said this is the role Hadley would ideally be playing this season. At the next level, his instincts suit him best to play one of those two positions.
Georges’ path is more unique. Until last year, Georges was exclusively a basketball player and played a key role in the Ranch basketball team’s run to the Class 7A-Region 2 finals last season. His length and athleticism immediately made him an intriguing prospect with major conference programs, including Minnesota, interested. There were growing pains for the 6-foot-1, 180-pound defensive back, but that’s part of what makes him appealing. He’s a mostly unknown quantity, so his ceiling is unknown, too.
“I actually had like friends telling me, ‘You should come out,’” Georges said. “I was athletic. I didn’t really know to play football, so it was like I was learning the whole way. Now I should click in fast.”
News and nuggets:
- Fast-rising junior Taylor Upshaw visited a Division I Florida program for the third straight week Saturday. The Braden River end traveled to Orlando to see Central Florida fall to Maryland, 30-24, in double overtime. Upshaw had previously gone to see Miami and South Florida, who have given him his only scholarship offer so far.
- It was an otherwise quiet weekend on the recruiting front, but Tarique Milton has his first out-of-state visit of his senior year scheduled. The Manatee wide receiver will travel to Ames, Iowa, on Saturday for Iowa State's non-conference game against San Jose State.