Thomas Stone Coach Steve Lindsay has seen plenty of athletes talented enough to play Division I college football come through his program.

And that's the biggest problem.

"The process has got to begin when they're freshmen," Lindsay said. "When you start, you're walking a very fine line when you talk to these kids about college scholarships. Something that was never in their minds suddenly becomes an overriding obsession."

Lindsay said it's his job to keep his players grounded. He has a chart showing the average heights and weights for players who sign with Division I-A programs, I-AA, II and III. Genetics, Lindsay said, eliminates most kids from pursuing a Division I scholarship right away.

He also emphasizes the academic requirements for NCAA eligibility.

What Lindsay hopes this information does is give his players -- many of whom are undersized for top-level programs -- the understanding that it's okay to chase a roster spot at a Division II or III school.

"Every inch you're off [in height], every pound you're off [in weight], every tenth of a second you're off [in 40-yard time], you need to compensate with your performance on the field and grades," Lindsay said.

-- ALAN GOLDENBACH