Defensive tackle Xayver Arrington runs a drill during the first official day of practice for the Hurricanes at Coral Shores High School. KELLIE BUTLER FARRELL/Keys Weekly

The first day of August marked the official first day of practice for the Coral Shores High School Hurricanes football season.

On the field, running drills with his teammates, was a 6-foot-1, 280-pound incoming senior who has a lot on his plate this year.

“It’s stressful, being a little kid and thinking I want to get offers and do the big old commitment and everything,” said Canes defensive tackle Xavyer Arrington. “I always dreamed about it, but now I have it, it is a little stressful.”

Arrington is a standout athlete. He’s a weightlifting champion, he holds records in track and field for discus and shot put, he plays basketball; but his true passion can be found on the football field.

“He is a natural athlete, for sure. But, he’s also a really hard worker,” said weightlifting coach Erin Hamilton.

That natural athleticism, along with hard work – Arrington has a 3.58 GPA – has five colleges throwing offers his way. Arrington says Stetson, Cornell, Valparaiso, Kentucky Christian and the Naval Academy have all reached out. The Naval Academy just gave the 17-year-old an official offer.

“When you talk about Xayver, he’s the go-getter. I’m not surprised of his offers, I’m really not surprised, because there’s going to be more to come,” said Alphonso Bryant, one of Arrington’s football coaches.

Another coach, Herbert James, believes the sky is the limit for Arrington.

“I see him playing defensive tackle, maybe in the NFL,” said James.

Arrington was new to Coral Shores last year. He credits coaches James and Bryant for believing in him and working tirelessly to get him seen by college recruiters.

“They helped a lot,” said Arrington. “After my junior year, they reached out to every coach possible, talked to every coach, getting them down here and it was hard getting on the Stretch back and forth, but they got, I think, more than 10 coaches. So I talked to a lot of schools and it blew up my recruiting as a whole.”

Arrington plans to announce his commitment during halftime at the Canes home game on Aug. 26 against Felix Varela High School.

“I really just want to get it figured out now, get it done and over with, so I can enjoy my season,” he said.

Arrington looks forward to playing his senior year with teammate and younger brother, sophomore Dantay Diorio. 

Canes new head coach Ed Holly had this to say about Arrington.

“He has all the intangibles that you want, he’s a leader, he plays with great character, he has an unbelievable motor. 

“Listen, if you’re good enough to play for the Naval Academy, come on, you can play at Coral Shores High,” added Holly with a laugh.

For other young athletes hoping to get noticed by college recruiters, Arrington offers some advice.

“You’ve just got to put the work in, even when no one believes in you, you’ve just got to keep pushing, you’ll get there eventually, you’ve just got to keep believing in yourself.”

Kellie Butler Farrell is a journalist who calls Islamorada home. Kellie spent two decades in television news and also taught journalism at Barry University in Miami and Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, UAE. She loves being outside, whether spending time on the water or zipping down the Old Highway on her electric bike, Kellie is always soaking up the island lifestyle. Kellie and her husband own an electric bike rental company, Keys Ebikes.