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January 30, 2012

Some players wait it out - others elect to walk on

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The buzz around February 1 this year has been ratcheted up to a new frenzied level as we're less than 24 hours away.

But what about the ones who thought they'd be signing with a division I school - playing college football before a national television audience and in one of the major conferences?

What about the guys who will be waiting after signing day - waiting on test results, or delayed offers?

Some of them will be playing Div. 1-AA (football championship schools) and some are still waiting for a concrete offer.

For Miramar safety Marrell Jackson, an offer from UCLA may be in the future - if he gets a better ACT score.

"I didn't do that great on the ACT," Jackson said. "I'm taking it again in February."

Players like Jackson, who sports a 3.1 GPA, are more common. Standardized tests have been known to be difficult for some, forcing them to travel down the road of 1-AA or Div. II instead of a division I offer and career.

"It's ok," Jackson said. "I know I've got some work to do. I went out to UCLA this past weekend (Jan. 26-29) and they said they'd offer me if I get my test score up."

Jackson has received interest from Florida, Kentucky and UCLA - along with an official visit to Wake Forest.

Jackson led the state in interceptions with 12, while playing in the same secondary as FlaVarsity 8A Player of the Year Tracy Howard.

Jackson is a safety with good size who is effective against both the pass and the run. He is willing to come down into the box and make a tackle," said Rivals.com Florida recruiting analyst Chris Nee. "He is very physical when making a tackle. He also has a tendency to put himself in the right spot to make a play on the ball in the air, as he showed with recording 12 interceptions as a senior. He shows very good range in the defensive secondary"

A pretty good review for Jackson, yet the offers haven't been rolling in.

The challenge for Jackson and others waiting for offers is - schools fill up quickly with commitments and official Letters-of-Intent and once they're full, only a grey-shirt (delayed enrollment) can be offered.

For Calvary Christian quarterback Javan Shashaty - the numbers are staggering.

Shashaty broke the state record for passing touchdowns in a career Yet , the offers to play at Florida, Florida State - even locally at Florida Atlantic - never came. "God had a plan for me and I just had to wait on him to reveal it. I went to Liberty (University) and fell in love with the campus. I'm a 'Flame' and ready to play."

Shashaty threw for 112 touchdowns in his career, breaking the state record held by Tampa Jefferson QB Quentin Williams (109). Shashaty also became only the second player to pass for over 10,000 yards, finishing with 10,140 - just behind Williams.

Williams knows a little something about being overlooked. He led the Jefferson Dragons to the state championship in 2010 and later signed with Bethune-Cookman.

Shashaty is looking forward to playing football in Lynchburg, VA.

"I'm thrilled to be a Flame. I went up there for a visit and just fell in love with the campus, the coaching staff and the opportunity. God has me right where he wants me."

Shashaty shined in the South Florida all-star game, throwing for 290 yards on a 14-of-20 performance. He was named the MVP.

"Shashaty showed over his high school career that he just has a knack for making big plays through the air," Nee said. "He had a prolific career racking up big stats and showed the ability to attack through the air or make something happen with his legs. His forte is putting it up in the air and going vertical allowing his receivers to run underneath it."

"Shashaty lacks the prototypical size that colleges were looking for, but he will be a playmaker at a lower level."

Something Shashaty has heard all year.

"I think everyone's looking for the prototypical 6-4, 215 pound quarterback," Shashaty said. "it was frustrating because I know I can play at that level."



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