As a member of the 2007 recruiting class, former four-star athlete Brandon Paul kept the Lincoln High School pipeline intact for the Seminoles. From the day he signed, there has been speculation about where the Lincoln speedster would line up once he arrived on campus. Even though he was originally to play cornerback, it quickly became apparent that the Seminole coaches wanted to see what he could do with a football in his hands. However, with Paul battling a nagging quad injury last season, his first year was spent watching from the sideline.
Now that he's finally healthy, the speedy freshman spent spring practice at running back, but is looking to contribute wherever he can.
"Kickoff return is where I plan to be at as well as running back," Paul told Warchant.com.
This summer, Paul has worked hard to get himself healthy as well as stronger. With the help of strength coach Todd Stroud's off-season workout program, that's exactly what has happened.
"Yeah, I'm feeling good," said the 5-foot-10, 175-pounder. "I have gained 15 pounds since I've been here. I'm doing everything Coach Stroud tells me to do, lifting all the weights so that is going good."
Paul, as well as the majority of the other players on the team, has settled into a comfort level with Stroud and his summer workout program. More importantly, Paul says he has bought into what the strength staff has asked him to do and it is paying dividends.
"It's not so much new, it's just he is getting comfortable with us and we are getting comfortable with him. We know how to work off each other," said Paul. "I mean, it's three days a week, but it feels like four because it is so intense in the weight room. After you come in there you get so sore that it feels like you are working out every day of the week."
Team chemistry amongst all the players has been a focal point this off-season and Paul is no exception. The redshirt freshman says the strong camaraderie has started with a couple of his former Lincoln teammates.
"Oh yeah, that is real cool. We'll be in the locker room starting fights and we have five of us so ain't nobody really going to try us one on one," joked Paul. "But I mean, it's good. Me and Seddrick (Holloway) are teaching them the ropes and keeping together going back to the Lincoln thing."
With the addition of three players from Jacksonville First Coast, the trash talking between rival high schools has already begun. Just last season, First Coast, led by 2008 class members Jermaine Thomas, Nigel Carr, and Avis Commack, eliminated Lincoln from the FHSAA Playoffs, and they haven't let the Trojan alumni forget it.
"The Jacksonville people, we have a lot of Jacksonville people in here, and they (First Coast HS) beat Lincoln in the playoffs and brought that up here," Paul said. "We said if we were there that wouldn't have happened. Mainly the Jacksonville people like Nigel and Avis."
Despite the friendly rivalry, Paul realizes they are all on the same team now and that it is time to get down to business. That means helping each other succeed, specifically the incoming freshmen.
"Oh yeah, we sit down and talk to all of them," said Paul. "It's like we are all already bonding even though they haven't been here that long. You work hard for them and they work off us."
Overall, Paul has been very impressed with the newest Seminoles of the 2008 class, but is quick to point out that one newcomer has really stood out.
"Basically Nigel Bradham," he said. "He is a monster. There is nothing else to say, he is just a monster."