Nature Coast coach Charles Liggett has an idea for new Sharks T-shirts: Iron Man, in a black and Carolina blue helmet, maybe adorned with an NCT logo.
“Right now it looks like that’s what we’re going to be,” Liggett said.
Iron men. Two-way starters, out of necessity.
NCT’s spring roster has almost 60 players, but many are young and still learning the physicality and strength needed to play varsity football. That could lead to more two-way starters — especially on the lines — than Liggett might prefer.
ILB Josh Benyola (92 tackles, two sacks last season) has bulked up and will play offensive guard, too. Nate Johnson will start on the defensive line and at the other guard position.
Expect Rohan Blackwood to start at defensive end but see time as a receiver, especially in the red zone. Sam Mazzia could also be important on the defensive line while taking snaps at tight end or quarterback. And DB Luis Espinosa is an integral part of the secondary but also one of the front-runners for the starting quarterback job.
NCT coaches are looking to next week’s spring game against Lecanto to gauge their team’s depth heading into the summer.
“How much of a toll is it going to take?” Liggett said. “And the guys that have to come in and give them a breather, are they going to be able to do so?”
Hernando ATH Tyrail Hawkins, by the numbers
1,865 All-purpose yards last fall as a junior
1,242 Rushing yards (second most in Hernando County)
33.3 Percent of his receptions that became touchdowns
19 Touchdowns scored
22.44 Season-best time in the 200 meters
10.95 Season-best time in the 100 meters
6 (at least) Positions played last season: RB, QB, WR, DB, PR, KR
1 College offers so far (Georgia Southern)
Key Seahawk additions
Two of Sunlake’s most impressive (sort of) new faces on the practice field have seen plenty of action at the Seahawks’ stadium.
Kicker Connor Gilboy starred for the school’s soccer team during its run to the region semifinals. He scored a team-best 27 goals while earning first-team all-conference and all-North Suncoast offers.
Now he’s giving a boost to Sunlake’s special teams, where he’ll handle kickoffs, punts, extra points and field goals.
“He’s got a cannon of a foot …” coach Bill Browning said. “He does a bang-up now. Now we’ve got to see how he does under pressure.”
Linebacker/receiver Brogan Ronske played two games last fall before medical issues sidelined him. Doctors recently cleared him to practice, and he has shown potential on both sides of the ball heading into his senior year.
“He is a very, very good athlete,” Browning said. “You’re going to hear a lot about him.”
Ronske — listed at 6-foot-1, 215 pounds last season — recorded 18 tackles and a fumble recovery before injuries ended his year.
Keep an eye on 6-foot sophomore Joe Jean-Baptiste, an athletic leaper who will spend time at free safety and split end.
Number of the day
93 Players Sunlake had on its first day of practice. The Seahawks have about 76 players still practicing.
Pasco DL Joey Ivie landed an offer from Vanderbilt late Thursday night, Pirates coach Tom McHugh said in a text message. The Commodores are Ivie’s fifth SEC offer.
South Carolina and UMass visited Nature Coast on Thursday, and Furman checked out Anclote.
Tweet of the day
@FivayHSAthletic: “It is better to give a lick than receive one. If anybody got in my way, I tried to run right through them. — Bo Jackson”