As the 2009 prep football season approaches, the Times will break down each position in the county. Today we take a look at quarterback.
1. Jimbo Chmelik, Countryside: The incoming senior beat out a multitude of competitors to win the starting job last season and shined in leading the Cougars to a playoff spot. Of all the returning starters, he has the most talent around him, with an experienced offensive line and considerable depth at running back and receiver. That should result in big numbers this season.
2. Ryan Singer, Dunedin: With offers from Presbyterian and Western Michigan, Singer is the most sought-after college prospect. He has the size (6-4, 180 pounds) and arm strength to move the ball down the field. But he is coming off a broken collarbone sustained in the spring game and there are questions on the offensive line and at receiver, positions that lost a lot of personnel from last season.
3. Josh Rembert, Gibbs: He is following in the family footsteps as a third-generation starting quarterback with the Gladiators. Now in his third year, Rembert is one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the county. And he'll be operating out of a spread offense with plenty of weapons around him to succeed.
4. Jesse Hevia, Pinellas Park: After transferring from Dixie Hollins to Gibbs and then to the Patriots, Hevia has a chance to emerge as the starter. He led the Rebels last season and has the mobility to make plays.
5. Shaquille Bradford, Boca Ciega: Inserted as the starter last season, Bradford went through some growing pains. But he now has experience, as well as some explosive receivers.
6. Sam Shaffer, East Lake: Coach Bob Hudson made Shaffer the starter last season. There were some bumps with East Lake going through an uneven season, but the payoff should come this season with Shaffer having a year of experience as the starter.
7. Hunter Tremaine, Shorecrest: A dual-threat quarterback, Tremaine threw for 1,092 yards and ran for another 692 last season. He should be put up similar numbers this season.
8. Eric Miller, Clearwater Central Catholic: Last year, Miller played a key role in some big wins, including an upset of Tampa Catholic. He has the wheels to make big plays on the run.
9. Chris McKay, St. Petersburg Catholic: He benefits from the return of plenty of players at the skill positions. The only question is the offensive line.
10. Chris Culbreth, Northside Christian: The elusive quarterback can make plays with his arm or feet. He also will be counted on in the return game.
1. Largo: Ryan Eppes has graduated and the Packers are to trying to fill the void with Jamar Riley and Alex Skinner. Riley was the Packers' junior varsity quarterback last season and started the spring game against Bradenton Manatee. Skinner is a move-in from Canada. The two offer a contrast in styles, with Riley more of a scrambler and Skinner a pure, drop-back passer. Both should see playing time with offensive packages designed to utilize their skills.
2. Lakewood: The Spartans went into the spring with Sermetrius Dennis and Alphonzo Evans splitting time at quarterback. That changed this summer with the addition of Jermeil Douse, who transferred from Dixie Hollins. Dennis has moved back to receiver, his natural position. That leaves Douse and Evans as the front-runners.
3. Tarpon Springs: The Spongers have an open competition at quarterback with Josiah Fisk, Louis Pappas and Wyatt Wikle battling for playing time.
Keep an eye on
1. Devan Terrell, St. Petersburg: A first-year varsity starter, Terrell showed his potential in the spring game against St. Petersburg Catholic with two touchdown passes.
2. Josh Burch, Admiral Farragut: The Blue Jackets switched the versatile athlete from receiver to quarterback to take advantage of his athleticism. Burch also brings a ton of experience as the only senior on the team.