Josh Johnson always had his sights set on the NFL. The former Pasco High standout completed his four seasons as a defensive back at Purdue in 2012 and was invited to Chargers camp in 2013 as an undrafted free agent.
But he was released before the season started. Not quite ready to give up on football, Johnson needed a place to play. He was told the Canadian Football League's British Columbia Lions were interested. ...
Tracy West has been named director of the Valspar Championship, the annual PGA tournament played at Innisbrook in March. West replaces Kevin Krisle, who took over in December 2010.
West has spent the past five years as the senior director of development and signature programs for the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital, where she led fundraising efforts. Prior to that, she spent 18 years managing tournaments for the Champions Tour, including the Verizon Seniors Classic held at TPC Tampa Bay....
07/01/14 World Cup
The U.S. was trying to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002. So what went wrong against Belgium Tuesday and what does the national team need to do going forward? We asked Tampa Bay Rowdies general manager Perry Van Der Beck, who earned 23 caps with the U.S. national team from 1979-85.
What things stood out to you in this crazy game?
(U.S. goalkeeper) Tim Howard played an extraordinary game. He had 16 saves and was just solid in goal. As the game went into extra time, it turned out to be too little too late for the U.S. We did start to push up, which was good. And Julian Green scored on his first touch. But we just couldn't get that equalizer. Unfortunately we did not play our best. I've seen them play better. But that's the pressure you're under in the World Cup. … They gave everything they had. They have a lot to be proud of. ...
Freedom forward Taylor Emery, one of Tampa Bay's most prolific scorers the past two seasons, announced on Twitter her intentions to play basketball at Tulane.
Emery made an official visit to Tulane the weekend of June 23 and orally committed Sunday. She chose the Green Wave over Mississippi, Georgia Tech and Seton Hall.
Emery, a 5-foot-10 slasher who also likes to stay busy defensively and has worked diligently on developing her outside shot, averaged 25.9 points a game last season to lead Hillsborough County, including a 41-point effort against Tampa Bay Tech....
Jack Maguire left St. Petersburg High School as the 2013 Class 2A state golf champion. He entered Florida State University as one of its top recruits — and didn't disappoint. Maguire ended his season with a 70.92 stroke average, won two tournaments (USF Invitational and the Mason Rudolph Championships) and finished tied for fourth at the ACC Championship. Golfweek named him a second-team All-American, he became the first Florida State freshman All-American and was named ACC Freshman of the Year. During a break between the college and summer seasons, Maguire talked about his first year at Florida State....
Alex Carbonelli readily admits he's competitive — whether it's in the classroom, on the soccer field or even in his own family.
While at East Lake, he received only two B's, in freshman English 2 and Spanish 5. And he is quick to point out both were 89s, one point short of an A.
"I've tried to never settle for a B,'' Carbonelli said. "But some teachers just don't budge.''
In four years, he played for teams that won district and region championships. He was the central defender on this season's Eagles team and was crucial in its run to the Class 5A state semifinals. He also played club soccer for West Florida Premier, coached by East Lake's Alex Stenson....
Player of the Year | Kyle Tucker, Jr., Plant
Two years ago, outfielder Kyle Tucker had just two home runs in his freshman season at Plant, one of which was inside the park. So this season, when the Florida commit blasted nine balls over the fence during his junior campaign, the slugger admits he was a bit taken aback.
"I just felt comfortable up there," said Tucker, who tied for the state lead in homers. "It jumped to nine and I was like, 'Wow.' I try to just keep that going."...
HOLIDAY — It may have been blistering hot Tuesday morning at Anclote for the first Westside 7-on-7 games, but Gulf's Keshaun Peters and Avery Welch couldn't have been happier to be on a football field.
Both players missed the Bucs' spring practices due to academic ineligibility, but are now eligible and will be fighting for playing time at quarterback.
"Watching on the sideline was the worst thing ever," Welch said. "I'm just trying to get back into shape.''...
Keith Weisenberg has 20 guns pointed at him, and he isn't even fazed.
Osceola High is playing Northeast in an early season baseball game, and Weisenberg is mowing down Vikings as major-league scouts point radar guns and jot down notes. When his work is done after the fifth inning, the scouts pack their bags and head home.
That's the way it was for Weisenberg all season. He was the main attraction, a flame-throwing, 6-foot-5, 195-pound right-hander who lured scouts to his every start even though they know he had committed to Stanford....
Pinellas County sent three players to the Florida Athletic Coaches Association all-star game in Sebring on May 24-25. The two-day event attracts major-league scouts from just about every team.
Clearwater Central Catholic third baseman Brenden Overton, East Lake pitcher Brad Deppermann and Osceola pitcher Keith Weisenberg each had a chance to play. Weisenberg has drawn scouts all season and was no surprise. Deppermann and Overton each jumped onto scouts' radar screens with good high school seasons and the FACA invite....
05/31/14 Tennis Preps
Player of the year: Dan Stefan, Jr., Boca Ciega
Why we picked him: Stefan was unbeatable this season. He cruised through regular-season, district and region tournament play. At the Class 2A state tournament, Stefan did not lose a set in earning his second straight overall state championship. He also teamed with Nikita Goldenberg to win the individual bracket state doubles championship. The only blemish to his season was the overall doubles match, which he and Goldenberg lost 6-1, 6-0 to Gulliver Prep. "I couldn't have asked for a better season," Stefan said. "Last year, I didn't really know what to expect. This year I was more relaxed and had fun." As for next season, Stefan said he will definitely be back at Boca Ciega, but he's not sure he'll play tennis....
at St. Petersburg
Tarpon Springs 10, Northeast 0
Gibbs 18, Tarpon Springs 7
Gibbs 14, Northeast 7
Spring game-breakers: In the win over host Northeast, Tarpon Springs running back Sergio Troncoso had a hard-fought 7-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the second quarter to ice the game. …Sponger quarterback Brandon Casler hit 3 of 4 passes in the second quarter for 65 yards. …Tarpon Springs tight end Mitchell Wilcox will be a prime target in the fall. He caught two passes for 38 yards and was overthrown on two others. …In the second game, the Spongers struck first when a Gladiator fumble was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. …Gibbs replied with a 9-yard touchdown catch by Quandel Inmon. …Gibbs quarterback Verqueze Mitchell threw for 47 yards and two touchdown passes. …Craig Watts Jr. led the Gladiators with 60 yards on the ground. …The Tarpon Springs offense was paced by Damarian Gulley, who caught two passes for 33 yards and totalled 81 kick return yards. …Gibbs' Reggie Hinton concluded the scoring with a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown that included several broken tackles. …In the third half against Northeast, Gibbs threw for two touchdowns. Mitchell hit Javon Morgan on a 20-yard pass and Jermaine Ivory hit Sam Jones on a 25-yard TD pass. …Northeast quarterback/running back Devin Bowers was a bright spot. He rushed for 92 yards in both games and scored the Vikings' only touchdown in the second quarter against Gibbs. ...
Gibbs has been a popular place for college recruiters this spring. Coach Rick Kravitz, a longtime college assistant, has hosted several coaches and has plenty of players for them to scout. Topping the list is defensive back Craig Watts, a rising junior who holds several offers, including from Ohio State. Watts will rarely leave the field in the fall. He also will carry the ball and return kicks. "There are a lot of schools in the mix for Craig," Kravitz said. "And there's going to be even more."...
East Lake linebacker Carson Lydon orally committed to Virginia Tech after Wednesday's practice.
Lydon, a rising senior, picked the Hokies over N.C. State and Wisconsin. He initially planned to announce his decision after Friday's game against Osceola but decided he didn't want to wait any longer.
"I made up my mind about a week and a half ago," Lydon said. "I thought now would be the best time to do this so I didn't have it hanging over me the next few days and I could concentrate on getting ready for our game."...
Jacquan Fuller has waited since his sophomore year to become the main ball carrier at St. Petersburg Catholic High School. The rising senior is finally getting his chance. If the May 23 spring game against Avon Park is a glimpse of things to come in the fall, Fuller is poised for a big season. He caught two touchdowns and gained 28 yards on seven carries in the Barons' 27-12 win. We talked to Fuller about the season to come:...