Offensive Player of the Year: QB Pete DiNovo, Sr., East Lake
It has been a whirlwind two weeks for Pete DiNovo.
After competing in the Pinellas senior all-star game Dec. 12, DiNovo was in Orlando two days later for his official visit to the University of Central Florida, where he committed this past summer. From there, DiNovo went to Sebring for the Florida Athletic Coaches Association all-star game Dec. 19. Then it was back to school for final exams and officially being declared an East Lake High graduate.
So it was understandable that DiNovo fell asleep on the commute for a photo shoot as the Times’ all-Suncoast Offensive Player of the Year.
“I’m just looking forward to a few days of relaxation,” DiNovo said.
Sure, the past few weeks – and months – have been busy, but they also have been awfully good.
This season, DiNovo established himself as the area’s best quarterback, as well as the most prolific passer ever in Pinellas County. The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder set county career records for passing yards (6,733) and touchdowns (59), as well as Pinellas’ single-season record for passing yards with 2,980. He also threw for 25 touchdowns and led the Eagles to an 11-2 record and the Class 8A region finals, where they lost to No. 1 ranked Orlando Dr. Phillips.
“Pete was huge as far as his ability to play quarterback and be a leader,” East Lake coach Bob Hudson said. “You only get guys like that every once in a while in your coaching career.”
DiNovo only gets a week to relax. He returns from a graduation cruise with family and friends Jan. 5, the same day he reports to UCF for his first semester. He decided to enroll early so he could be ready for spring practice. The Knights coaching staff also wants him to serve as a host for incoming recruits.
“It’s been crazy everything that has happened,” DiNovo said. “I was excited for the season that we had, and I’m just as excited to start the next chapter in college.”
Defensive Player of the Year: CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Sr., Wharton
On nights when Jackie Hargreaves would cook and her husband Vernon Hargreaves invited his players over for dinner, their son would often find himself pulled into games of pick-up basketball.
Of course, it was a tall order for Vernon III to keep up with University of Miami football stars like Reggie Wayne, Jonathan Vilma and Vince Wilfork.
But Vernon III refused to back down, mimicking their swagger and convincing himself he was one of their peers.
“I felt like I was part of the team,” said Hargreaves, whose father was a linebackers coach at Miami from 1998-2005. “So I learned from them. And if I lost to them, I’d just start crying and getting upset.”
Years later, Hargreaves is poised to follow in the footsteps of his former houseguests.
A Florida commit and consensus five-star recruit, Hargreaves is our choice for all-Suncoast Defensive Player of the Year. Indeed, the 5-foot-11 and 190-pound senior might have fit in well on some of those old Hurricanes teams.
In the summer, Hargreaves asked his coaches to move from cornerback to safety so offenses could stop avoiding him. In the fall, he set about showing his coaches and opponents that it was the right move.
Hargreaves tallied 110 tackles, five interceptions, five forced fumbles and five pass deflections. He also made his presence felt in other phases of the game, scoring five touchdowns and five two-point conversions, serving as the holder and blocking a punt.
In his final high school game against top-ranked Orlando Dr. Phillips, Hargreaves put on one last Friday night show: 10 tackles, a forced fumble, two receptions for 27 yards - including a highlight-worthy one-handed grab for 21 yards, and 19 rushing yards.
He plans to take some of that old “The U” bravado to Gainesville, where he’ll likely focus solely on playing cornerback. Several fall Saturday trips to the Swamp have convinced him he’s ready for the challenge.
“They treated me like I was already on the team,” he said. “I can’t wait to get up there.”
Coach of the Year: Mike DePue, Robinson
Destiny threw a rod at DePue just before he reached the glorious final exit of his tenure. The Knights’ excruciating 24-20 loss to Tallahassee Godby in the Class 5A semifinals ended the coaching career of the retiring 60-year-old Port Tampa fixture, but not before he became the program’s all-time winningest coach (72-43). DePue’s final Knights team set a state record with 13 defensive touchdowns and established a program mark with 535 points.
QB Will Worth, Sr., Newsome: Engineer of Hillsborough’s No. 2-ranked offense accounted for team-leading 2,600 yards, 30 TDs and 104 tackles
RB Robert Davis, Sr., Carrollwood Day: Career county rushing king ran for 2,221 yards in 2012
RB David Emmanuel, Sr., Pasco: Averaged almost 10 yards per carry while scoring 17 TDs
RB Janarion Grant, Sr., Pasco: North Suncoast offensive player of the year accounted for 20 TDs and scored five ways
RB Jamarlon Hamilton, Sr., Durant: Punishing fullback tallied 1,340 yards and 20 TDs
OL Bruce Hector, Sr.,, Robinson: Agile two-way force was best of an all-senior offensive line
OL Mason Cole, Jr., East Lake: Four-star recruit made biggest impact in pass protection
OL Connor Rafferty, Sr., Robinson: Knights legacy was team’s most physical lineman
OL Cameron Ruff, Sr., Jesuit: USF commitment also had five sacks on defense
OL Isaiah Wynn, Jr., Lakewood: Six-foot-3, 285-pounder pushed linemen around all season
WR Artavis Scott, Jr., East Lake: Had 994 yards and 10 TDs despite missing time with ankle injury
WR Jonathan Moore, Sr., Jefferson: Established himself as latest great Dragons wideout with 1,037 yards, 12 TDs
WR Andrew Meyer, Sr., Fivay: Led Pasco County with 1,028 receiving yards and 12 TDs
K William Few, Sr., Plant: Set school record with 13 FGs, including a long of 48 yards
ATH Juwan Brown, Sr., Largo: Threw for 17 TDs and led Packers to undefeated regular season
KR Trey Larry, Sr., Clearwater Central Catholic: Big-play threat returned four kicks for scores.
QB Zain Gilmore, Sr., Robinson
RB Jarvis Stewart, Jr., Largo
RB Matt Breida, Sr., Nature Coast
RB Martin Ruiz, Sr., Robinson
RB Diquan Walker, Jr., Clearwater Central Catholic
OL Terry Linton, Sr., Anclote
OL Brandon Pertile, Sr., Countryside
OL Will Allen, Sr. Springstead
OL Alex Wood, Sr., Durant
OL Zach Hiller, Jr., Newsome
WR Karel Hamilton, Sr., Strawberry Crest
WR Marquez Valdes, Sr., Lakewood
WR Brad Hyman-Muhammad, Sr., Admiral Farragut
K Brandon Ray, So., Pasco
ATH Alvin Bailey, Sr., Armwood
KR Malik Johns, Jr., Pasco
DL Morgan Flournory, Sr., Pasco: North Suncoast defensive player of the year tallied 22.5 sacks
DL Harry Brown, Sr., Largo: Wreaked havoc with 60 tackles and six sacks
DL Ernest Suttles, Sr., Gaither. Iowa State commit logged 88 tackles, 12 sacks
DL Joey Ivie, Sr., Pasco: Florida commit dominated with 89 tackles and 12 sacks
LB Rocky Enos, Sr., Wharton: Hard-nosed defender had one game with fewer than 10 tackles
LB JJ Johnson, Jr., Robinson: His six defensive TDs included three in one game
LB Mitchell Wright, Sr., Plant: USF commit tied for team lead with 10 sacks, had 109 tackles
LB Luke McLeod, Sr., Springstead: Led Eagles to district title with 149 tackles and four sacks
DB Leon McQuay III, Sr., Armwood: Nationally coveted free safety had five INTs, 54 tackles
DB Mike Stevenson, Sr., Clearwater Central Catholic: Wake Forest commit had 94 tackles and three INTs
DB Jeremiah Green, Sr., Hillsborough: Reigning state triple jump champ had five INTs, 54 tackles
DB Shaquill Griffin, Sr., Lakewood: UCF commit had three interceptions for stout Spartans defense
P Sean Covington, Sr., St. Petersburg: UCLA commit averaged more than 46 yards per kick
UTIL Derrick Doss, Sr., Largo: Pinellas County defensive POY had 73 tackles and an INT
DL Justin Madison, Sr., Robinson
DL Vincent Jackson, Jr., Jesuit
DL Rohan Blackwood, Jr., Nature Coast
DL Jordan Adderley, Sr., Clearwater Central Catholic
LB Shaquem Griffin, Sr., Lakewood
LB Adekunle Olusanya, Sr., Sickles
LB Jeremiah Jackson, Jr., Hernando
LB Quentin Cumings, Sr., Palm Harbor University
DB Tyrail Hawkins, Sr., Hernando
DB Tyler Serpo, Countryside
DB Keivontae Turk, Sr., Jefferson
DB Paris Bostick, Sr., Plant
P Nick Feely, Sr., Armwood
UTIL George Campbell, So., East Lake
Admiral Farragut: Todd Macon; Anclote: Willie Barrett, Tymere Carter; Armwood: Kyle Gibson
Carrollwood Day: Andy Embody; Countryside: Mike Love, Zach Rosinski, Ryan Pandy, Ryan Yates; Fivay: Tyler Degen, Davion Sutton, Kevin Faulkner; Freedom: Max Orr; Hernando: Robert Hill Bronson; Hillsborough: Nigel Harris; Lakewood: Rodney Adams; Largo: Frankie Hernandez, Cordell Hudson; Mitchell: Foster Artlip, Sam Miller; Nature Coast: Josh Benyola, Frank Sampson; Northeast: Auggie Sanchez; Pasco: Ajee Carr; Pinellas Park: Tyree Graves, Eric Hampson; Plant: Wesley Bullock; Sickles: Ray Ray McCloud; Springstead: Pedro Estrada, Nick Bailey; Sunlake: Eddie Burgos, Aaron Protch, Connor Gilboy; Tampa Bay Tech: Richard Benjamin; Wharton: Chase Litton