10 questions: Which Pinellas County transfer will have the biggest impact on his new team?



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Thu. August 4, 2011 | Times Staff

10 questions: Which Pinellas County transfer will have the biggest impact on his new team?

Over the next two weeks, we’ll pose and answer a question a day about the upcoming football season.

Which transfer will have the biggest impact on his new team?

With practice cranking up next week and the heat bearing down, the pressure will be on the newcomers to show they are ready to make a difference. There are plenty out there. Dondre Daley went from Anclote to Tarpon Springs. Rodney Adams switched from St. Petersburg Catholic to Lakewood. Domenic James left Dunedin to go to Clearwater Central Catholic. The list could go on. Now the transfers have to prove their worth. After all, a newly added player can change a team’s fortunes. But who will help his team the most.

What we’re saying
Bob Putnam:
Last year, Branden Leston transferred from Clearwater to Clearwater Central Catholic. But the receiver/linebacker was ruled ineligible because he practiced with an AAU team affiliated with CCC before he enrolled at the school.

So after sitting out a year, Leston decided to transfer back to Clearwater. His return should make a difference with the Tornadoes, who graduated nearly every skill player, including running back Bennie Niles, tight end Jon Hogan and receiver Heath Anderson.

What makes Leston so valuable is his versatility. At 6-3, 195 pounds, Leston has the body to play either receiver or tight end. And he is athletic enough that he can be used as a running back.

Leston already has showed what he can do by helping Clearwater to a strong showing at 7-on-7 tournaments this summer. That’s on offense. Defensively, Leston helps shore up a linebacking corps that lost some key starters, including Dylan Rubino.

Bryan Burns: I’m going to bend the rules a bit and suggest a pair of Admiral Farragut quarterback transfers — Colby Robinson from Leto and Kyle Craichy via Indian Rocks Christian— will make the biggest impact this fall.

Neither amassed noteworthy numbers at their previous stops. Craichy threw for seven touchdowns while splitting time with Casey Woods for IRC in 2010. Robinson followed coach Mike Jalazo from CCC to Leto and was part of a Falcons team that didn’t score until the seventh game of the season.

Their presence, however, frees up Rayshawn Jenkins to focus elsewhere. A multi-talented USF commit, Jenkins will be counted on to anchor Admiral’s defense from his safety position, and he’ll also be used offensively as the go-to playmaker at wide receiver alongside Alvin Cunningham.

Jenkins will still get some snaps from center. The Wildcat package was built for a quarterback with his athleticism.

But all indications are Craichy and Robinson will share quarterbacking duties for the Blue Jackets. Both have had plenty of positive moments during 7-on-7 competitions this summer and were generally solid throughout. Their ability to run the offense should be a huge boost for an Admiral Farragut team primed for a state semifinal run (Class 2A) in 2011.

What they’re saying
Largo coach Rick Rodriguez
: “Branden is a tall receiver who has made a lot of plays for Clearwater in 7-on-7 tournaments. He has good size and is a good target. He’ll help them surprise some teams this season.”

Admiral Farragut coach Chris Miller: “There’s no doubt that Kyle and Colby will help us. Rayshawn was our quarterback last year and he’s a huge threat. Now we can move him to receiver and he can pair with Alvin Cunningham to give us two great targets and some matchup problems for other teams. Kyle and Colby are both going to play this year. They each bring something different. Kyle has a great deep ball. Colby has some mobility. They’ve both picked up the offense pretty quick.”

Also in this series:

Can St. Petersburg Catholic’s Ryan Green rush for 2,000 yards?

Will the Robinson Knights regress or reload?

Will this be the year of the quarterback in Pinellas County?

What are realistic expectations for Fivay?

Who will start the season at quarterback at Gaither?

Which new head coach on the North Suncoast will fare the best in 2011?

Who will be tougher to replace, St. Petersburg RB Rashad Lewis or Countryside OL Tyler Moore?

How will Wiregrass Ranch respond after its first district title?

How will Middleton get the ball into Richard Benjamin’s hands?

Can Steinbrenner live up to expectations that come with a move to Class 7A?

Who will be the North Suncoast's breakout players?


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