MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
As the 2010 prep football season approaches, the Times will break down each position on the North Suncoast. Today we take a look at receivers.
1. Will Irwin, Land O’Lakes: The Gators’ second-leading receiver in 2009 had 676 yards, five touchdowns and a whopping 21.13 yards per catch. At 6-1 and 180 pounds, Irwin is expected to be quarterback Stevie Weatherford’s top target. The senior has the speed to break loose for big plays, good hands and various other targets to help diminish double teams. The Gators’ lack of a proven running back should help receivers such as Irwin bulk up on statistics.
2. Hakeeme Ishmar, Pasco: The 6-3, 190-pounder led a loaded receiving corps with 400 yards and four touchdowns last season. The departures of Chaise Dunn and Mitch Wozniak should make him an even bigger target for quarterback Jacob Guy. Hoping to draw more college attention, Ishmar should be hungry for the ball. He can burst loose, catching the ball in the flat on receiver screens, and he provides nice blocking on designated running plays. If he catches a pass, defenders better make the tackle because Ishmar’s strong legs can pump him out of many attempts to bring him down.
3. Dontaie Collins, Hudson: Yes, Collins was charged with burglary last week. But Cobras athletic director Andy Schmitz said Wednesday that no decision has been made regarding further discipline other than the initial 20-day suspension mandated by the school district’s handbook. So it’s conceivable Collins could return to the field in time for the season’s start. Therefore, he is certainly one of the North Suncoast’s top receivers after 500 yards and three touchdowns last year.
4. Dondre Daley, Anclote: Playing for the 0-10 Sharks might not garner a ton of attention, but Daley is a talented receiver worthy of recognition. The junior got our attention after a stellar spring performance against Gulf, which included a pair of touchdown catches, a blocked field goal and an 80-yard fumble recovery for a score. At 6-2, Daley showed an ability to use his size to out jump defenders and make plays.
5. Jason Tello, Land O’Lakes: The 6-2, 185-pounder had a breakout summer and is expected to be another one of Weatherford’s top targets. You might remember his brother, James, who finished with almost 1,000 yards receiving in nine games for Hudson. Jason proved reliable last season, good for a handful of receptions and scoring plays.
Others to watch
Ja’Juan Story, Nature Coast: The Florida commitment would have been tops on our list if not for his move to quarterback.
Chris Gregory, Gulf: Should play the next three seasons with fellow sophomore Will Fulmer, the quarterback.
Trey Dudley-Giles, Pasco: Yes, just one catch for 7 yards last season as a sophomore but he’ll have a breakthrough with more of a primary role.
Kent Taylor, Land O’Lakes: The Gators’ tight end is a huge target and just one more option for coach Matt Kitchie’s spread offense.
Dylan Buono, Mitchell: If Mitchell plans to open its passing game, Buono will need to have a big year.
Jamal Roberts, Zephyrhills: The Bulldogs offense needs Roberts and quarterback Chris Reaves to connect — often.
Other stories in this series: