I had far more information than space in Sunday’s story on why Florida high schools have only produced three first-round quarterbacks in the history of the NFL Draft. A couple leftovers that didn’t make the final version:
* Maybe it’s just a fluke.
That’s a paraphrased version of Scout analyst Jamie Newberg’s theory. Newberg said he’s looked into the issue many times over the years, asking scouts, recruiters, college coaches and high school coaches.
“There was no common answer,” Newberg said. “It’s funny. I still haven’t put my finger on it.”
Some more evidence toward Newberg’s theory: Florida might have had others, if not for injuries (see: Plant products Aaron Muray and Robert Marve). But every other state has had injured quarterbacks, so maybe that’s irrelevant.
* Florida has a claim in three other first rounders: Matthew Stafford was born in Tampa, while Steve Spurrier and Rich Campbell were both born in Miami.
* The consensus is that this year’s draft class might be the start of a trend. Whether it’s because of 7-on-7 football, more spread offenses or better coaching, the state’s quarterback crop is improving.
“I’m starting to see guys now that have the potential to be draft picks,” said Ken Mastrole, the south Florida-based director of the Mastrole Passing Academy.
“There’s more opportunities for kids to get specialized training at the quarterback position,” said John Kaleo, who runs his quarterback academy in Tampa. “You’re going to see more polished and more quarterback ready kids coming into college and producing.”
Darin Slack – who founded the Quarterback Academy in Orlando – thinks more colleges are going to go toward mobile quarterbacks instead of pro-style passers. Florida is known for its athletes, so maybe that can change things, too.
“The love affair with 6-3, 6-4, 6-5 kids is over,” Slack said. “They don’t care any more. They want to know if they can run.”
* Some good news for USF fans: Mastrole loves one of his pupils, Mike White, who threw for 1,083 yards in six appearances as a freshman last fall.
“I feel very strongly he can be the next guy that can be (like Bridgewater or Bortles)…” Mastrole said. “He’s still learning. The edges are so rough, but there’s so much there that he can absolutely explode on.”