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July 21, 2008
PAISLEY, Fla. ? Vero Beach (Fla.) High standout Zeke Motta picked up a nickname at the Football University Top Gun Showcase Camp these past few days. Campers and instructors called him "Baby Hercules" because, well, Motta is big, strong, chiseled and tough.
"It's cool," Motta said.
But will it stick?
"We'll see," Motta said with a laugh.
Motta is a 6-foot-2, 207-pound prospect who plays safety in high school, but chances are he will develop into a strongside linebacker at the next level. Rivals.com calls Motta the most physical safety in the 2009 class, and he said he's fine playing either position in college.
"It still can kind of go either way," Motta said. "(Coaches) want to see how I grow. Most of the schools are kind of both ways. They'll say I'll come in as a safety, but ? I'm going to grow with the type of weightlifting programs they have. We'll see how that goes."
His junior season went well, and Motta, the No. 14 safety in nation, finished with 152 tackles, six blocked kicks, four forced fumbles and an interception. Motta said Monday he hopes to improve those numbers, especially his interception total.
"One of my goals every year is to do better than I did before and keep improving, and hopefully that will happen," he said.
Motta already has taken numerous visits this summer. He has offers from Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Stanford, Wake Forest, West Virginia and others. His father, Bill, played at Auburn, and the Tigers also have offered.
He worked out at Florida this summer and arguably was one of the most impressive prospects at the camp, but Motta said the Gators told him they want to see how he performs early in his senior year to determine if he will get an offer. Florida wants him as a strongside 'backer.
"I'd like a Florida offer just because I'm interested in them," he said. "We'll see how it goes. They have a great coaching staff and they're going to be competing every year. I'm going to go up there Friday to see if I can take an unofficial visit and take a look at the business program. When I've been up there, all I've really seen is just the football facilities. This time, I want to see the dorms and the classrooms."
Notre Dame also is one of Motta's top choices, but he said he has not narrowed down anything yet.
"Their tradition (stands out)," Motta said. "Their prestige and tradition and I really like that it's a really good academic school and you're going to be pretty well off after you graduate from there, so that's one of the reasons why I really like them."