Clearwater Central Catholic coach John Davis has a reputation for turning out Division I-A quarterbacks, like his son Jay (North Carolina State), Harrison Beck (Nebraska-North Carolina State) and L.D. Crow (Stanford).
That reputation has Marauders quarterback Nick Newton excited about his future.
While former coach Mike Jalazo did a very good job getting college coaches out to watch his players, Davis' ability to fine-tune his signal caller could mean a bevy of offers for the relatively unknown Newton by the end of the fall season.
Last season, Newton was a wide receiver and a free safety until an injury to starting quarterback Eric Miller forced him under center the final five weeks of the season. With limited practice time and instruction, Newton went on to throw for more than 1,000 yards and earned second-team all-state honors.
"It was just, 'go out there and throw the ball,' " Newton said. "We didn't work on drops at all. Last year technique was nothing. But with Coach Davis, he's been working with me every day on three- and five-step drops, reads, progressions. It's all technique. Now, I get yelled at if I don't use the right technique."
Newton is 6 feet 4, 190 pounds, has been clocked in the 40 at 4.65, and is hard to miss on the football field. He says he has already noticed rapid improvement after his first spring with Davis, with a number of minor adjustments leading to more productivity.
In CCC's spring game, he threw for a touchdown and moved the Marauders offense in a surprisingly convincing 40-20 win over Wildwood.
But Newton — whom Jalazo once compared with former CCC and Florida star Riley Cooper due to his versatility — is such a good athlete, he may end up with more college offers at positions other than quarterback.
Colorado State has offered him as an athlete, saying it likes him as a free safety or wide receiver. Charleston Southern and Youngstown State have expressed interest as well.
Growing up, Newton played just about every position, including linebacker and even kicker.
"I love playing defense," he said.
Newton will compete in some 7-on-7 tournaments and camps (including one at Colorado State) this summer to further improve on his passing skills. He says he is striving to be Pinellas County's best quarterback (he's clearly one of three or four in the conversation) and hopes colleges notice.
"I definitely want to play college football," he said. "This is definitely a big year for me."
NOTES: Berkeley Prep's explosive playmaking wide receiver Nelson Agholor (6-1, 175) picked up oral offers last week from Florida and Southern Cal, vaulting him to the top of the Class of 2012 recruiting list along with Armwood's Matt Jones, who has offers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. … Sickles' Cary White got his first two offers last week, from Western Kentucky and Towson (Md.). White had almost 1,600 yards rushing last year and 230 in one half of the Gryphons' spring game against Jesuit. Though undersized at 5-9, White weighs 200 pounds and is strong. Quickness may be an issue, but his production is not … St. Petersburg Catholic kicker Kevin Krueger (6-1, 200) recently competed in Kohl's Southeastern Kicking Showcase in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and was the only kicker to close out the field-goal competition with kicks from 55, 55 and 60 yards consecutively.
Send recruiting news to John C. Cotey at firstname.lastname@example.org
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