Coach: Robert Weiner (fifth season, 38-12) | Last season: 11-2 | Class: 4A, District 10 | Colors: Black and gold
A-listers Aaron Murray
The numbers speak for themselves: 4,000 yards, 51 touchdown passes, 53 scholarship offers. The Georgia commit returns for his senior year with plenty of new faces, so the question is whether his encore will live up to his fabulous first act.
The spotlight shines steadily on the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Charles. Physically, he already looks college-ready. The Riverview transfer is ranked the second-best tight end recruit in the nation and owns 25 offers, including Florida, Miami, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan and Tennessee.
His coach calls him lightning in a bottle. The Gaither transfer is undersized (5-foot-8, 150), but you can't tackle what you can't catch, and Sampson has 4.4 speed. The junior is one of Plant's starting receivers. He could set up wide, in the slot or even in the backfield in the shotgun.
Rising star Nathan Marvel
He was the Panthers' kicker last year, but when Plant tried him out at receiver, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound senior did it all. He has 4.5 speed and drew raves at seven-on-seven competitions. He could see time at wing back, defensive back and even defensive end.
Stunt man Frank Nicholas
Guy who does the dirty work
The Panthers' spread offense isn't hinged on 300-pound linemen, so Nicholas' job is getting the ball to the quarterback quickly. "In seven-on-seven he didn't have one bad snap," Weiner said.
Three things the Panthers need to avoid
1. Overconfidence. Plant has established itself as a winner in the county, but teams around it are improving, so progress in practice will be key.
2. Inability to jell. Despite plenty of talent, the Panthers return just three starters on offense and three on defense, so getting everyone on the same page might be the toughest task.
3. Looking around for heroes. During the Panthers' state title season two years ago, quarterback Robert Marve willed his team to win. Weiner said this season the team will collectively have to refuse to lose for a return to the state title game.
"I'm very high on Plant. They know how to throw and catch the ball. The have a good idea of what's going on in the passing game. They pass-block well. They run good routes. They have one of the best passing games in the state of Florida." — Chamberlain coach Billy Turner
Eduardo A. Encina, Times staff writer