Times' all-Hillsborough County football
Offensive Player of the Year
QB Quentin Williams
Whether it was with his feet or his arm, Williams was simply the county’s most dangerous offensive player. In leading a Jefferson team full of juniors to the Class 3A state semifinals, he completed 64 percent of his passes while throwing for 3,377 yards and 34 touchdowns, both bay area highs. What the stats don’t tell is how the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Williams always made the big play and showed leadership down the stretch in bringing the Dragons’ program back to prominence, much like former stud quarterback Stephen Garcia. He’s a player who is cool in the pocket, easily shaking tacklers around his hips and feet, has great downfield vision, but also is an emotional player driven by a chip on his shoulder. And the comparison to Garcia is fair. Williams broke the current South Carolina starter’s single-season school touchdown record.
Most impressive accomplishment: On a damp and cold night two hours from Tampa in front of a raucous crowd, Williams led the Dragons to a 35-6 win over Citra North Marion in the 3A region final. Jefferson’s game plan heading into the week was to run a hurry-up offense, but the weather forced Williams to improvise, and he did. He rushed for two touchdowns and ran the offense with precision. In that game, Jefferson faced third and 6 or longer 11 times, and Williams orchestrated conversions eight times. That included a third-and-19 and a third-and-33, both key conversions that led to touchdowns. “We were on the road, and I think people still doubted us,” Williams said. “Those guys were talking noise about how we were small and they were going to run it down our throat.”
Future plans: Williams will play quarterback in college — he’s too good a huddle leader and has too good an arm — and he already owns a Division I offer from FIU as well as one from I-AA Towson. Jefferson coach Mike Fenton believes more offers are ahead. Williams has already received interest from Florida State, Rutgers, USF, Connecticut and Miami. After football, he’d like to return to school and become a teacher, focusing on world history or physical education, and definitely coach football.
Did you know: Williams is often caught biting his tongue while playing, a habit he has had since he was a youth league ballplayer. … Speaking of youth leagues, he once shared the same backfield on the East Tampa Boys and Girls Club Eagles football team with offensive player of the year James Wilder, Armwood running back Matt Jones and Hillsborough fullback Jamie Knott. They ran the wishbone. … Williams’ favorite player is Saints quarterback Drew Brees, whom he likes because he proves shorter quarterbacks can be successful at the highest level.
Defensive Player of the Year
DE James Wilder Jr.
No real reason, aside from the fact his postseason effort bordered on legendary. A two-way workhorse chiseled from the same mold as his ex-Buccaneer dad, Wilder barely came off the field in the Class 5A state final against Manatee. By night’s end, he had 137 rushing yards, four tackles, two sacks (including one on fourth down) and a pass deflection resulting in an interception. In the playoffs alone, Wilder, whose 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame appears bereft of body fat, had three double-digit tackle efforts, seven sacks and three 100-yard rushing games.
Most impressive accomplishment: Though his defensive numbers (129 tackles, 19 sacks, six pass deflections, four caused fumbles) were staggering, Wilder’s junior season likely will be most remembered for two ESPY-worthy TD runs. On fourth and 3 on the opening drive of the state semifinals at Lakeland, Wilder nearly was brought down inside the Lakeland 10 before carrying roughly a half-dozen Dreadnaughts into the end zone. Against Manatee a week later, he took a handoff up the middle, emerged from a logjam, bounced off three Hurricanes defenders at the Manatee 30, then lumbered down the left side for a 41-yard score.
Future plans: Wilder, who could play essentially anywhere he wants, last week reiterated his five favorite colleges — Florida, Southern California, Miami, Tennessee and Georgia. “I think I’m going to wait (before deciding) because I don’t know if I’m going to play running back or linebacker yet,” he said. “When I find out that will eliminate a couple of choices. If I play offense, that’s going to eliminate Florida for sure I think, because they want me to play linebacker. If I play defense that will eliminate Miami because they want me as a running back.”
Did you know: Wilder’s mom may be the only person on the planet who refers to him by his middle name, Cameron. At Plant, he’s widely known as J-Dub. … A highly superstitious sort, Wilder sleeps in his jersey the night before a game and doesn’t partake of the team’s pasta-based pregame meal. “I only eat the bread,” he said. “I can’t eat before the game, I don’t know why.”
Coach of the Year
Robert Weiner, Plant
Of Weiner’s three state championship coaching jobs, this one may have been his best. Besieged by injuries at the season’s outset, Weiner kept his team focused after preseason and season-opening defeats en route to 13 consecutive wins. Along the way, he made stars out of scout-teamers (see David McCarthy) and outcoached state prep icons Bill Castle (Lakeland) and Joe Kinnan (Manatee).
QB: C.J. Bennett, Alonso, Sr.
Threw for 2587 yards and 29 touchdowns
OL: Chaz Green, Tampa Catholic, Sr.
Two-way behemoth is county’s most coveted O-lineman
OL: Garrett Wolfe, Jefferson, Sr.
Dominant tackle owns offer from Syracuse
OL: Andre Mondor, Plant, Sr.
Cornerstone on Panthers’ O-line has three state title medals
OL: Cody Waldrop, Armwood, So.
Only sophomore to make first-team Western Conference
OL: Andre Gunn, Hillsborough, Jr.
Six-foot, 290-pound lineman was anchor of Terriers’ line
RB: Cary White, Sickles, Jr.
Carried Gryphons to playoffs with 1,594 rushing yards
RB: Hank McCloud, Tampa Cath., Sr.
His 1,761 rushing yards included 541 in the playoffs
RB: Maurice Hagens, TBT, Sr.
Scored county-high 18 touchdowns to go with 1,301 yards
WR: Andre Davis, Jefferson, Jr.
County’s most dynamic receiver led Hillsborough with 18 TDs and 1,201 yards
WR: Charles Lovett, Hillsborough, Jr.
Terriers’ top offensive weapon had 1,106 receiving yards and nine TDs
UT: Christian Green, Tampa Cath., Sr.
Totaled nearly 1,700 yards for Class 2B runnersup
TE: Jordan Prestwood, Plant City, Jr.
Division I prospect had 26 catches for 311 yards
PK: Tyler Feely, Jesuit, Sr.
5-for-6 on FGs; 24 of his 52 kickoffs were touchbacks
QB: Tarean Austin, Hillsborough, Sr.
OL: Andrew Calvano, Alonso, Sr.
OL: Jon Vega, Plant, Sr.
OL: Jahari Moore, Freedom, Sr.
OL: Ian Sarginson, TBT, Sr.
OL: Demetrius Best, Gaither, Sr.
RB: Dazmond Patterson, So., Plant City
RB: T.J. Glover, Plant, Jr.
RB: Robby Garcia, Jesuit, Sr.
WR: Chris Nahat, Sickles, Sr.
WR: Chris Moore, Jefferson, Jr.
UT: Nelson Agholor, Berkeley Prep, So.
TE: Michael McFarland, Blake, Sr.
PK: Alex Landeta, Freedom, Sr.
DL: David McCarthy, Plant, Jr.
Undersized (170 pounds) but overachieving (16 sacks)
DL: Theodore Jackson, Armwood, Sr.
“Man-Man” had 76 tackles, nine sacks, six caused fumbles
DL: Anthony Chickillo, Alonso, Jr.
72 tackles, 121/2 sacks, six pass deflections
DL: Ian Hopkins, Sickles, Sr.
Tallied 10 sacks despite consistent double teams
LB: Mike Mirabella, Plant, Sr.
His 136 tackles led the Class 5A state champs
LB: Fred Overstreet, Jefferson, Sr.
Heart of Dragons’ defense averaged 12.5 tackles a game
LB: Jermaine McKinney, Armwood, Jr.
“Juice” tallied 119 tackles, 13 sacks, two INTs
LB: Rodney Williams, Spoto, Jr.
Unquestioned force behind defense that shut out four foes
DB: Terrence Mitchell, Hillsborough, Sr.
County’s most coveted — and fastest — defensive recruit
DB: Nick Addison, Spoto, Jr.
His seven picks included one against Plant
DB: Javonte Martin, Plant, Sr.
Top cover man in county, despite size
DB: Jeremi Wilkes, Tampa Cath., Sr.
Star of Crusaders secondary has committed to Syracuse
UT: Scott O’Donoghue, Sickles, Sr.
Gryphons’ two-way star played QB in playoffs vs. Armwood
P: Luis Rodriguez, Leto, Sr.
40.5 yards a punt and tallied 1,500 total punting yards
KR: Frankie Williams, Robinson, Jr.
Collected 1,500 all-purpose yards and scored six ways
DL: Tyler Gimbert, Sickles, Sr.
DL: Garrett Fuglaar, Newsome, Sr.
DL: Alton Bailey, Armwood, Jr.
DL: Trace Williams, Jesuit, Sr.
LB: Adam McCrory, Jesuit, Sr.
LB: Tevin Newman, Robinson, Jr.
LB: Greg Hickman, TBT, Sr.
LB: Josh Varon, Plant, Sr.
DB: Ruben Gonzalez, Robinson, Jr.
DB: Jerome Speights, Sr, TBT
DB: Quinton Brown, Jr, Armwood
DB: Tyree Clark, Sr., Alonso
UT: Sean Watson, Sr. Brandon
P: Tanner Stocker, Wharton, Sr.
KR: Allen Sampson, Plant, Sr.
Armwood – Ash Dudney, Matt Jones, A.J. King, Eric Striker; Berkeley Prep – Schyler Myles; Carrollwood Day – Darius Bing, Billy Embody, Deuce Gruden, Matt Monteilh; Durant – T.J. Davis, Ruben Garcia, Josh Halferty, Jacob Johnson; East Bay – Alex McKeithan, Forrest Meredith, Calvin Sanders; Freedom – Anthony Harrell, T.J. Mutcherson; Gaither – Jamal Allen, Derrick Bavol; Hillsborough – Rodney Johnson; King – Chioke Marshall; Jefferson – Ramik Wilson; Jesuit – Bobby Eveld, Calvin Ruff, Bryce Walker; Lennard – Leroy Campbell, Demyco Winston; Leto – Jeremy Deering; Newsome – Niko Anthony, Michael Montague, Conner Powers, Joe Worth; Middleton – Justin Sanders; Plant – Chris Finn, Tony Posada, Drew Russo; Plant City – Gordon Bertrand, Bennie Coney, Art Knight, Noah Studstill; Riverview – Will Bramlett, Ronnie Johnson, David Ray; Robinson – Andrew Meddaugh, Quinton Preston; Spoto – John Akins, Jamar Burns, Donald Smith; Tampa Bay Tech – Riaz Gwyn, C.J. Jackson, Sam Jones, Cludner Lacount; Tampa Catholic – Hunter Joyer; Wharton – Eric Hammond
Eduardo A. Encina and Joey Knight, Times staff writers