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HomeTeam Huddle: Patriots show patience in search for QB

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Mon. May 14, 2012 | Times Staff

HomeTeam Huddle: Patriots show patience in search for QB

LARGO — Pinellas Park coach Kenny Crawford has more than 70 players out for spring football, but his eyes will mostly be on three of them.

With the graduation of quarterback Brandon Hames, the Patriots don’t have a leading candidate to start in the fall.

Taron Williams, a transfer from Northeast, Kenny Brammer, a senior who missed last year with a collarbone injury, and Angel Addison, last year’s junior varsity starter, will get equal reps at quarterback this spring.

“That’s our biggest question mark,” Crawford said. “Everybody else has been with the program, and they’ll just slot in at their positions. But it’s a very even competition at quarterback.”

Whoever wins the starting job will operate a pro-style offense. Crawford said the Patriots will remain one of the few schools in the area that do not run a spread offense.

The Patriots did not participate in Saturday’s controlled scrimmages in Clearwater. They will play an intrasquad game Friday and don’t play their spring game until May 31 at home against Everglades. That gives them time to spread out their 20 practice days in the spring and take a long look at players.

Pinellas Park lost three other key players beside Hames. Linebackers Iman Smith and Jeremi Powell and running back Marquis Samuel are off to college. Crawford said there is no standout to replace them, but they have enough depth to fill the void.

“We’re going to have to do everything by committee this year,” Crawford said. “We’ve traded in our blue chips for blue collars.”

Getting some looks
A scout from Florida Atlantic was at Monday’s Pinellas Park practice. Crawford said the school is looking at tight end/defensive lineman Tyree Graves, offensive lineman Eric Hampson and defensive lineman Jaquan Clark. Graves has an offer from Ohio University.

Finding answers at quarterback
One of the biggest questions Dunedin had this spring was at quarterback. Anthony Diviney graduated, so the Falcons turned to backup Mackenzie Benson.

In a scrimmage against Lakewood Ranch this past weekend, Benson showed off some wheels, running around the end on some big plays and throwing a few touchdowns off bootlegs.

“We’ve tailored the offense around (Benson’s) strengths,” coach Max Smith said. “He does some things a little different than Anthony and I thought he played well.”

Recruiting updates
It has been a big month for Reilly Gibbons, St. Petersburg Catholic’s 6-foot-6, 250-pound rising junior.

In the past seven days he has received college scholarship offers from Rutgers and Nebraska, and Monday morning he received one from Purdue, giving him four BCS offers (he received one last month from Tennessee).

And he also has a new position: left tackle.

Gibbons has been a tight end in high school, but there has always been debate over whether he would be better suited for tackle, given his size, smarts and footwork, and questions about his speed and potentially outgrowing the pass catching position.

• Cincinnati has rolled through Tarpon Springs, extending offers to a pair of East Lake standouts.
Offensive lineman Mason Cole (Class of 2014) was offered by the Bearcats, giving him four BCS offers to go with USF, FSU and Ohio State. The 6-foot-5, 267-pounder also has an offer from South Alabama.

Compiled by staff writers Rodney Page and Bob Putnam.

Wide receiver Artavis Scott (Class of 2014) was also offered by Cincinnati. The 5-11, 160-pound playmaker also has offers from USF, FSU, Ohio State and South Alabama. Last year he led Tampa Bay with 54 catches for 1,158 yards and 12 touchdowns, and in two seasons at East Lake has 71 catches, 1,498 yards and 17 scores.

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