Gibbs quarterback Devontae White, one of the county’s top passers last season, won’t be playing in the spring game, but that may be good news for the rising senior and the Gladiators.
Because his future may be at running back, White will see most of his spring practice in the backfield as Devontay Williams takes the majority of snaps under center.
“We're moving him there because we’re thinking about his future and that’s where colleges probably see him,” said first-year coach Antonio Knox.
White transferred to Boca Ciega before this semester, but had a change of heart after six days and returned to Gibbs. But that also made him ineligible to play the spring game against Bradenton Manatee on May 27.
White could be the beneficiary of Knox’s planned emphasis on the running attack, though he’ll have to fight for carries in a stacked backfield that will feature Emmanuel Stewart. Knox said colleges have been asking about Stewart, and he is hoping to get his promising back at least 20 carries a game.
Vikings spike the wing-T
The biggest adjustment Mike Jalazo had to make since being hired as Northeast’s coach last month was getting players to adapt to a new offense.
For 33 years, the Vikings have been identified by the wing-T, first under legendary coach Jerry Austin, then under his son, Jay. But
Jalazo hired former St. Petersburg Catholic coach Dan Mancuso to conduct an offense that will include pro-style and spread-option formations.
“So far the kids are handling the transition well,” Jalazo said.
Jalin Hubbard, a sprinter who qualified for today’s Class 4A state track meet, will provide some speed as a tailback. Jalazo said he could be used in a variety of ways and will be counted on as a kick and punt returner.
Then there is Auggie Sanchez, who will be used primarily as a tight end whenever he is on offense. Sanchez’s main position, though, will be as a pass rushing specialist. Last year, Sanchez recorded 18 sacks.
Southern Cal assistant coach and former Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin has been making the rounds at schools throughout the county and also recently stopped by St. Petersburg Catholic’s practice to check out running back Ryan Green, a rising junior who should get plenty of attention from colleges this spring. Purdue also stopped by to see Green and teammate Todd Macon.
Recruiters from Eastern Michigan and LaGrange College visited Seminole’s practice to look at running Brandon Trezza and linemen Jacob Ryan, Jaxson Parker and Tyler Krauss.
Shorecrest is the only county school that will play as an independent in the fall. The Chargers have been an independent the past two seasons and decided to remain one for another two after they were assigned to Class 3A, District 5 with Berkeley Prep, Clearwater Central Catholic, St. Petersburg Catholic and Tampa Catholic.
Newbies in balance
The seven new coaches in the county are spread out evenly, with each district having at least one: Palm Harbor University’s Matt LePain (8A-7), Northeast’s Mike Jalazo (7A-9), Boca Ciega’s Antez Brinson (6A-7), Dunedin’s Max Smith (5A-8), Gibbs’ Antonio Knox (5A-8), St. Petersburg Catholic’s Steve Dudley (3A-5) and Canterbury’s Bill Jones (2A-5).
Name of the day
Shyzzam Shackleford, Countryside. He has the name, and the game, said Cougars coach Jared Davis. One of Countryside’s areas of need this spring is at cornerback, and Shackleford may be a fit for a starting job. He was the JV MVP last season, mostly as an explosive playmaker on offense and special teams, but also had a handful of interceptions.
Compiled by staff writers John C. Cotey and Bob Putnam