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Maryland star Will Likely goes back to his fertile football grounds

willlikelywebFor years, William Likely Jr. saw more than two dozen high school football players from Belle Glade, Fla., and surrounding rural communities in western Palm Beach County near Lake Okeechobee, reach the NFL.

The father of star Maryland cornerback Will Likely III played with a handful of them at Glades Central High and watched others from neighboring Pahokee High do the same, including former Ravens Anquan Boldin and Pernell McPhee.

“The talent runs deep,” the elder Likely said in a telephone interview this week. “The list goes on and on.”

There are dozens more who left the place everyone calls “Muck City” with more of a past than a future. That is why the elder Likely knew what it would take for his oldest child to have a chance to be one of those who made it out, perhaps all the way to the NFL.

“There’s plenty of Will Likelys here, they don’t have the grades,” the elder Likely said. “That’s a stigma the area has. Out of all the players, Will was the only one of two I know who did it academically and on the field. The other was Wayne Messam, who played at Florida State and is now the mayor of Miramar [Fla.]

That’s what helped attract former Maryland coach Randy Edsall and several others to recruit Likely, a four-star prospect who had his own stigma to overcome when it came to playing major college football – his size.

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