Monthly Archives

July 2019

Jackson Burkhalter: Football Athlete of the Week

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When people think of high school football, they most immediately shift their focus to Texas.  Recently, the southern state of Alabama has given the Lone Star State a run for its money. The Crimson Tide aren’t the only team in the state that features talented athletes, Spanish Fort High School features a plethora of Division One talents led by quarterback Jackson Burkhalter.  Jackson is a 2020 graduate and one of the best quarterbacks in the state. His current top three schools are all southern programs: UAB, Murray State, and Eastern Kentucky. It is clear that athletic prowess flows in the Burkhalter family as his younger brother is a nationally ranked tight end and has an offer from Ohio State.  Burkhalter came on the radar after an impressive last season including a game where he tallied 380 yards and four touchdowns, a performance he considers to be his most impressive.  

In the landscape of college recruiting, it is always vital to have unique skills that can separate you from your peers.  In Jackson’s case, he has both tangible and intangible qualities that have led college recruiters to venture to Spanish Fort.  He believes his vision, playmaking ability, arm strength and leadership are the biggest contributors to his success. With these skills in mind, it is no surprise his favorite athlete is Tom Brady but should be noted that his style of play is most similar to Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.  Although Jackson is already an accomplished athlete, he still remains a high school student and that is shown through in his love for music and Youngboy NBA, watching Breaking Bad, and playing NBA 2K.  

Burkhalter also understands the importance of education and the role it plays in the life of a student-athlete.  He has earned a 3.2 GPA throughout his time in high school and has enjoyed English the most out of all his coursework.  In addition to athletics and academics, Jackson likes to fish and has taken a keen interest in the business world. In his post-football life, he hopes to be able to own stock in either an NBA or NFL team.  Prior to a game, he prefers to listen to country music leading up to getting to the field where he then will switch to gospel music during the final preparation. As mentioned earlier, Jackson’s brother is also a football star and so it is unsurprising that his biggest mentor is from within the family.  Jackson named his dad as his biggest mentor and noted how he always reminds him to keep persisting through any and all adversity. Like almost all of the athletes we have honored at Press, Jackson’s ultimate goal is to make it to the NFL. But, unlike many other athletes at his age he has a clear plan to get himself there and to continue to succeed in life after football.

Christian Soto: Baseball Athlete of the Week

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FIU baseball coach Mervyl Melendez has been able to take different collegiate programs to new and considerable heights.  He has made the NCAA tournament and challenged the nation’s elite teams previously at Alabama State and Bethune Cookman. In his current role at FIU, located in the center of Miami, Melendez has put a premium on the importance of recruiting and specifically recruiting Florida’s fertile young talent.  One example of this initiative is the recent commitment of Central Pointe Christian Academy’s star infielder Christian Soto. Soto is a gifted athlete in the Class of 2022 from Kissimmee who currently plays for the well-respected FTB Tucci Cleveland 15U travel team. Although he is only entering his sophomore season, Christian attracted the interests of many programs before making his commitment to the Panthers. 

 Soto has an ultimate goal to make it to the major leagues and he certainly has a good role model to look up to.  Christian lists Javier Baez as his favorite athlete and revels in how he “plays the game lose and just has fun”. Of course, many high school baseball players have a similar dream about reaching the professional ranks but Christian’s work ethic and dedication separates him from his peers.  In this day and age, strength training has become a vital part of baseball development. Understanding this, Soto focuses on squats and deadlifts and is always eager to figure out new ways to help improve not only his skills on the field but his strength and stamina. On the diamond, Christian believes his hitting and his overall enthusiasm for the game are his best assets.  

Although baseball is Christian’s only competitive sport, he continues to play other sports for fun.  In fact, he lists his most impressive athletic moment as an instance combining multiple achievements.  Before a game, he dunked on his baseball coach during a 1 v 1 basketball game. Carrying that same energy into his game, he got a hit off future Cleveland Indians first round pick and flamethrower Daniel Espino.  This story encapsulates Christian’s enthusiasm and raw talent that makes him one of the best high school prospects in the state of Florida. Of course, Christian still is only a high school student and enjoys things such as playing Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and riding jet skis.  Something extremely interesting about him is that although he lives and grew up in Central Florida: home of Disney and Universal, he has never been on a rollercoaster. Coach Melendez and FIU have succeeded in bringing in talented Floridians to help bring the Panthers to the upper echelon of college baseball and should he not choose to go in the draft, Christian Soto is someone that fans in Miami need to be very excited about watching in the coming years.

Lyndi Rae Davis: Softball Athlete of the Week

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Odds were Lyndi Rae Davis was going to be big-time in the sports world. Born into a football family, she has made her own name for herself by playing softball. The football blood runs deep in her family, with her father and uncle coaching football at her high school, her other uncle, Bobby Lamb, is the head football coach at Mercer University, her cousin is a graduate assistant at South Carolina, and her grandfather is in the Georgia Coaches Hall of Fame. While football and softball have their obvious differences, Lyndi Rae claims the competitive drive of her family has helped her to accel in the sport she loves. The class of 2021 star has used that competitive edge to accumulate offers from some of the nation’s top schools such as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and LSU. Ultimately, Lyndi Rae will be spending her four years after high school at the University of Georgia. 

While Lyndi Rae’s athleticism is unquestionably impressive, she gets things done in the classroom, too. She currently sports a 4.0 GPA at Calhoun High School in Georgia and her favorite subject is history. When she’s not on the diamond or in school, she enjoys hanging out with her friends and cooking. Also, she loves to fish, but with the demands of being a student-athlete, she doesn’t get too much time to do so. Lyndi Rae has big dreams for her softball career, which we at Press Sports believe she can achieve with her abilities. First, Lyndi Rae wants to win the Women’s College World Series, which is something that Georgia has never done. Second, she wants to play for the USA Olympic Team. She has already led her high school team to the Georiga 3A State Championship in 2017 and with her hard work, faith, and dedication, we believe Lyndi Rae will be the one to get this done. 

Lyndi Rae is also a huge fan of the MLB and an even bigger supporter of her hometown Braves. Her favorite athlete is Charlie Culberson, partly because she believes he is the most underrated player in baseball and because her father used to coach him. Also, she models her swing after the Braves superstar, Freddie Freeman, and we at Press Sports agree with this comparison. We are excited to watch Lyndi Rae dominate her remaining high school seasons, and even more excited to follow her collegiate career. You, too, can follow her hard work, commitment, and success on the Press Sports App @lyndiraedavis0!

Kobe Head: Baseball Athlete of the Week

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Throwing a no-hitter is something every young pitcher dreams about their whole life. Kobe Head has already turned that dream into a reality. In only his sophomore season at the Community Christian School in Georgia, he pitched a 13-strikeout no-hitter, while going ⅔ at the plate on the day. In that same year, he finished the season with a 1.2 ERA, and 35K’s in 30 innings of work. While pitching is his passion, he is not to be taken likely when he steps up to the plate. Kobe once hit 2 home runs and went 7 for 8 in the Elite 8 baseball tournament. On top of that, he batted an astounding .523 in his sophomore season.

Kobe graduates in 2020 and playing ball in college is his dream. Currently, he is juggling offers from Alabama A&M and Claflin University, but he is talking to several other coaches and not in a rush to make the right choice. Kobe’s college decision will not be purely based on athletics, as he is stellar student-athlete sporting a 3.7 GPA, consistently on Honor Roll, and is a First Team Academic All-American. He enjoys the subjects of math and science and also plays basketball for his high school. 

While it is no question that Kobe is dedicated to his game, he also likes to have a good time with his friends in his little free time. When he’s not on the diamond, he is either playing PlayStation and listening to music or even rapping himself. His favorite artists are Lil Keed and BabyTayRose, and his favorite movie is Friday. Kobe aspires to make it to the MLB, but would also be happy with playing overseas as he loves the game so much. At Press Sports, we are excited to see where Kobe attends college and are looking forward to following his promising future.

You can stay up to date Kobe’s achievements on the Press Sports App @kobehead2