His football coach thinks that he is one of the best players in the Washington area. The same holds true in basketball. And though he has thus far avoided the pressure to choose one sport over the other, Suitland junior Navorro Bowman said it is beginning to mount.

"I feel it right now," Bowman said. "When I was younger I didn't. But now, as college is getting closer and closer, I'm going to have to pick one soon."

Bowman still has plenty of time. Although it has sped up recently, the recruiting calendar usually does not hit full stride until the spring of an athlete's junior year. But Bowman knows that with a college scholarship hanging in the balance, he might want to fully dedicate himself to one sport or the other.

It is an unusual dilemma for someone who is 6 feet 1, weighs 208 pounds and plays running back and linebacker in football. Normally, two-sport standouts are taller, their height providing an advantage in basketball. Bowman, though, is a hard-hitting, physical football player who plays guard in basketball.

"I think he has his priorities set," Suitland football coach Nick Lynch said. "Some kids are that special that you allow them to kind of juggle [things] and you work with them.

"I don't know if he knows how good he is [at football]. Some of the things he has -- his football instincts at running back and as well as at linebacker -- some stuff you can say, 'I coached that.' Nah, he just has that natural ability."

So far, Bowman's only scholarship offer is from Maryland to play football. There almost certainly will be others, though, and then for the first time since he began playing both sports at age 9, Bowman might have to make a choice.

Others to Watch:

* Edgar Amaya, Northwestern: Led team with 118 tackles last season as a junior, as the team posted three shutouts and earned only the second postseason berth in school history.

* William Little, Gwynn Park: A powerful fullback, but the junior also should be fierce at the middle linebacker spot that has produced standouts for the Yellow Jackets.

* Allen Whitaker, Forestville: Entering just his second season of organized football, the senior played defensive end last season and already has scholarship offers from Syracuse, Cincinnati, Kent State and Akron.

-- JOSH BARR

Suitland High School junior Navorro Bowman is a hard-hitting, physical football player who also plays guard in basketball. He excels in both sports but may have to choose one over the other before long.