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Position breakdown: Hillsborough quarterbacks

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Mon. August 2, 2010 | Times Staff

By Joey Knight and Eduardo A. Encina

As the 2010 prep football season approaches, the Times will break down each position in Hillsborough County. Today we take a look at quarterback.

Top returners
1. Quentin Williams, Jefferson:
The reigning Times’ all-Suncoast offensive player of the year led the Dragons to the Class 3A state semifinals last season. With a bevy of receiving threats around Williams, who has absolutely dazzled on the seven-on-seven circuit this summer, a state title is the goal this year.
2. Phillip Ely, Plant: As local QBs go, Ely’s not the tallest, flashiest or fleetest, just the winningest (19-0 as a starter). Look for him to commit to a major Division I-A program next week.
3. Josh Grady, Armwood: Grady, who threw for 1,500 yards and 18 TDs in 2009, admits he’ll likely play another position at the next level, which is fine with him. Still, we consider him a quarterback who happens to be a great athlete, not vice versa.
4. Bennie Coney, Plant City:  Only a junior, Coney will be one of the area’s top quarterback prospects next year. He spent part of the summer in Maui learning from the likes of Joe Montana at Steve Clarkson’s Dreammaker QB camp.
5. Blake Rice, Robinson: Sure, Rice is surrounded by ultra-talented weapons, but he still has to be able to get them the ball. Rice completed nearly 55 percent of his passes last season, for more than 1,900 yards and 26 TDs.
6. John Melvin Hendrick, Sickles: Because of his mobility and the Gryphons’ option-heavy offense, Hendrick’s arm is widely unappreciated (913 passing yards, 11 TDs in 2009). And for a running QB, he stands fearlessly in the pocket when necessary.
7. Jonathon Williams, Tampa Bay Tech: Like Hendrick, Williams (977 passing yards, 11 TDs in ‘09) had been mostly overshadowed by Titans’ ball-carrying workhorse Maurice Hagens. Now that Hagens is at the University of Miami, watch for Williams to break out.
8. Je’Twan Smith, Durant: It only seems like Smith, entering his third full season as the Cougars’ starter, has been at Durant forever. Often overlooked because of his school’s remote rural location, Smith collected nearly 1,400 total yards as a junior.

Biggest battles
1. Hillsborough:
Coach Earl Garcia can only dream of having a Jarred Fayson and Tarean Austin under center. For the first time in a long time, the Terriers’ starter will be green beneath his Big Red uniform. Last year’s backup, Ryan Bird, transferred to Land O’Lakes. A pair of juniors, Jeremy Agrinzonis and Apoleon Moore, will fight for the starting job. Neither has taken a varsity snap.
2. Freedom: For now, Dominic Marino, playing at his third school in three years, is the man, having beaten out 6-foot-2 junior Jon Economou (Wiregrass Ranch) in a battle of transfers. But Economou’s rangy presence means Marino can’t afford to take his job for granted.

Keep an eye on
1. Nick Addison, Spoto:
An athlete playing quarterback, plain and simple. Then again, coach Dale Caparaso would be foolish not to get the ball in this rangy playmaker’s hands as often as possible.
2. Patton Chillura, Jesuit: The backup to Bobby Eveld last season, Chillura (6-foot-1) might be the best-kept secret in the county. Equipped with a strapping physique, high-caliber right arm, sound running game and at least two proven receivers, Chillura should break out immediately. Eveld’s 6-5 brother, Tommy, is the backup.
3. Ryan Hatter, Wharton: After sharing snaps with Tanner Stocker last season, Hatter (52-for-92, 497 yards) appears destined to be the full-time guy this year, though promising freshman Chase Litton is lurking.  A 6-foot lefty, Hatter has impressed in seven-on-seven action.

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