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Around the county in 30 days
A daily spring preview of every football program in Hillsborough County
Coach: James Harrell (first season; second season overall, 7-3)
Last season: 9-2 (lost 49-21 to Wauchula Hardee in region semifinals)
District: Class 2A, District 5
Key losses: QB Bobby Eveld, K/P Tyler Feely, RB Robby Garcia, WR Ben Gutowski, LB Mike Lamoureaux, LB Adam McCrory, OL Randy Ramos, DL Calvin Ruff, WR Will Schaefer, DL Trace Williams, OL Charles Winship
Who’s back: C Robbie Amor, RB Miles Bennett, LB Parker Clonts, OL Robert Gibbons, DB Vincent Leto, WR Travis Johnson, WR Bryce Walker, DB Derrick Friga
What’s new: Where to begin? Harrell, a former NFL linebacker hired after one season as Freedom’s coach, seems poised to reinvigorate a program that hasn’t won a playoff game in six years. Case in point: Harrell says 80 kids have come out for spring ball. New offensive coordinator Chris Taylor, dismissed after an ultra-successful 13 seasons at Armwood, is installing everything from empty-set backfields to double-wing, double-slot looks. Rising senior Patton Chillura and junior-to-be Aaron Paulson are vying to replace Eveld at quarterback. Whoever wins the job will have immensely talented targets in Johnson and Walker, who teamed for 58 catches last season. At 6-4 and roughly 200 pounds, Johnson already possesses a Division I body. Bennett, who medaled in the 100 and 200 meters at the recent Class 2A state track meet, appears more than ready to replace Garcia as Jesuit’s feature back. The defense needs a major overhaul, but that’s Harrell’s forte.
Audible: “Miles Bennett is faster than any running back I ever had at Armwood.” — Taylor, who coached two state championship offenses while with the Hawks
Did you know? Harrell’s staff includes no fewer than a half-dozen Jesuit alumni. One non-alumnus on the staff is former Bucs/Browns/Jets/Panthers/Ravens/Cowboys/Patriots quarterback Vinny Testaverde, who regularly volunteers with the Tigers QBs. Testaverde’s son is set to enroll at Jesuit. …Offensive line coach Brian McNulty is high on 6-7, 275-pound guard Arturo Uzdavinis, a Tigers basketball player who never has played organized football. …Eveld’s younger brother, Tommy, is in the quarterback mix.
Spring game: One half vs. Sickles (at Sickles), 6:30 p.m. Friday
Aug. 27 vs. Countryside (preseason)
Sept. 3 vs. Lakeland Kathleen
Sept. 10 vs. Sarasota
Sept. 17 at Durant
Sept. 24 at Steinbrenner
Oct. 1 vs. Robinson
Oct. 8 vs. Lennard
Oct. 15 at Strawberry Crest
Oct. 29 vs. Middleton
Nov. 5 at St. Petersburg Catholic
Nov. 12 at Tampa Catholic