Freedom: Transition from soccer easy for Thorpe
TAMPA - Larry Thorpe wasn't planning on becoming a Division I football prospect. He just wanted to kick the ball around a little. While growing up in Jamaica, Thorpe's favorite sport was soccer. But as a sophomore at Anclote High in Pasco County, he decided to try out to be the football team's kicker and punter, given his soccer background. "It was just me trying a different sport," Thorpe said. The coach had other plans and decided to play him at receiver. Thorpe finished his first football season with four catches for 64 yards, 13 tackles on special teams, had 28 punts for 867 yards and seven kickoffs for 320 yards.Two years later, Thorpe is regarded as one of the top defensive backs in Hillsborough County and owns scholarship offers from Youngstown State, Charleston Southern, Indiana and North Texas. "He's 6-foot-3, runs a 4.6 (40), he has long range and he loves to hit people," Freedom coach Tchecoy Blount said. "There's not a coach in this county or across the nation who wouldn't want that." Last season, Thorpe had 42 tackles, two sacks and two pass deflections. "He's become a sure tackler," Blount said. "He's starting to be able to shut down a whole side of the field. We can slide him down to linebacker and play him in man-to-man." Thorpe will also line up as receiver, but said he prefers defense. "I'm a hitter," he said. "It's the dark side. If you play defense, you're going to lose a screw. If your head isn't on the swivel, you can get your lights knocked out." Born with athletic ability, football just came naturally to Thorpe. "There's a lot of running in soccer and the only difference is you sprint more in football," he said. "I still have a lot to learn."