August 30, 2003

Top LB Not a College Football Follower

Brandon Siler of Orlando (Fla.) Evans isn't your typical high school football prospect. Sure Siler is a gifted linebacker and one of the best in the entire state of Florida, but from talking to him, you couldn't tell. Before this summer, Siler never had time to follow college football, or any other sport in that respect.

Between attending school and participating in football, track, basketball and weightlifting, Siler's time was occupied and following sports outside of high school had to take a backseat. Siler was busy compiling a 4.2 GPA and working hard towards getting his high school diploma. It wasn't until after his junior season at Evans and attending a NIKE combine in Gainesville, that Siler's future as a college football player was revealed.

When Siler does have free time, you can find him in front of a PlayStation 2, mastering his skills at EA Sports NCAA 2004 college football game. But Siler told InsidetheGators.net this upcoming fall he is going to make it a point to follow the college football scene since gaining a scholarship to play football is an excellent way for Siler to attend the school of his choice.

"I don't even have a top five," Siler said. "I don't watch sports too often. I see how teams are in video games but I can't watch sports on TV so I am going to have to sit down and watch them this year. I don't know who's good or who's bad. I just listen to people and take in the good and keep rolling."

Siler has already rolled his way through opposing teams. Playing his main position at linebacker, Siler accumulated 140 tackles as a junior. Then helping out on offense as a tight end, he caught four touchdown passes. In the upcoming season, Siler is going to get playing time at numerous positions according to head coach Max Purcell's game plan. Although it may get tiring, Siler doesn't care because he has one goal in mind.

"I want to win state. I want to win state bad," Siler said. "I will do whatever it takes. I will play the running back position and even though I know I am one of the best linebackers, I don't care right now. I will play running back to try and win state."

Uncharacteristic of top football prospects, Siler did not attend any summer football camps. Instead, he was at home in Orlando working out, getting stronger and faster for the upcoming season.

Siler has been very quiet about the whole recruiting process. He has picked up about 20 offers from the likes of Southern California, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio State, Georgia Tech and West Virginia. He also noted that although he doesn't have any written record yet, Florida and Florida State both say they have an offer waiting for Siler.

Although Siler will have to focus on recruiting while the season is carrying on, Purcell has offered to lend a hand whenever it is needed and had some words of advice for Siler, letting him know everything will fall into place.

"He (Purcell) has told me focus on my senior year right now," Siler added. "He will have me playing a lot of different positions. I am starting at the running back and middle linebacker. I am also playing receiver, outside linebacker, tight end and he is moving me around a lot. He says that I can go anywhere right now because of my grades. He says don't worry about that right now and try and win state since I haven't been to or won a state title yet."

Siler has a three-star rating from Rivals.com who projects him as an outside linebacker on the next level. But Siler doesn't let the hype get to him that much.

"I try to keep it out of my mind because everybody ranks different," Siler said. "I have seen rankings that I have been this in the state and I have seen ranking where I have been way down and way up. I don't care right now about the rankings."

Coaches and scouts were out in full force during the spring to take a look at Siler. Siler noted that at least 9-10 coaches were in Purcell's office on a daily basis to talk to Purcell and watch Siler practice. He even remembers seeing Ron Zook of Florida at practice in a wheelchair because of Zook's water-skiing accident in May. It seems Zook couldn't wait to get a look at the 6-3, 220-pound linebacker.

In the midst of the mayhem, there is one thing Siler is looking forward to in all of the recruiting hoopla: travelling.

"I want to see the country. I want to see the different schools and make sure I don't miss out and commit early and not see what I really had the opportunity to do," Siler said. "I think the recruiting process is fun right now. Everybody is always around me looking at all the letters I get, all the mail I get at home and everything. Now I get so much mail, I don't open letters from schools I have seen before. In the beginning, every itty-bitty letter I was opening. Some of the letters now I just skim over, but if they are hand-written I read over them."

Since his freshman year, Siler has been a key player on Evans' varsity football team. However, one thing people are not aware of is Siler's abilities as a team leader.

"I have always looked at myself as a leader. Even my sophomore year, a lot of my teammates looked as me as a leader. I have been the leader all along, it is just that everybody sees me now because I am an upperclassmen," Siler said.

At this point in time, Siler is looking forward to attending college football games and taking in the whole experience. He doesn't even mind the fact that he has turned into a mini-celebrity at his high school.

"My name is slung around a lot and everybody likes to brag about me, so it makes me feel good," Siler noted.

Siler is wide open about his upcoming college choice but he has a vision of what he is looking for.

"I just want to be in the right place. I want to go where I am going to be most fortunate," Siler said. "I want to play in the NFL, like all the rest. I want to get a good education. I just hope I pick the right place."


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