Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Archive

Is Pirate headed to Wesley Chapel?

One signature could turn Kenny Roberts from a Pirate into a Wildcat.

Roberts said Monday he has registered for classes at Wesley Chapel. That means the junior-to-be has technically withdrawn from Pasco, where he was a standout linebacker and backup tailback last season and would have competed for the starting quarterback job.

But instead of reporting to coach Ricky Thomas' first practice Monday, Roberts was at Weightman Middle School, watching Wesley Chapel's first ever practice.

The school choice form is the final document that his mother, Princess, needs to sign to complete the transfer. But she said the family hasn't made that decision.

"It isn't final yet," she said.

School choice allows Roberts' younger brothers, Kenny and Chris, to attend Wesley Chapel. So the chance to play with them, Roberts said, plus a preference for the school's academic style, has him leaning toward Wesley Chapel.

"I might never get another chance to play with my brothers," Roberts said. "And I think I can get a football scholarship no matter where I go, but I have to get into college first. It's nothing against coach Thomas. It's something I thought about doing all summer."

The new school's administration is processing Roberts' paperwork and said the Florida High School Activities Association has said his transfer does not affect his eligibility to play for the Wildcats.

But once his physical is completed and he steps onto the practice field, either for the Wildcats or the Pirates, there is no going back. He would be eligible to play for that team only this season.

If Roberts finalizes his transfer, he could step into the Wildcats' starting quarterback position almost immediately if he wishes to.

That wouldn't have been the case at Pasco, where Roberts was the heir apparent until a strong spring by senior Nick Trehuba.

The two would have competed for the job, Thomas said, and he didn't expect to make a decision until right before the Sept. 3 game at Robinson. Or Thomas could have moved Roberts to fullback to replace departed 1,000-yard rusher Ron Croson.

Both sides downplayed any controversy that might arise from a transfer.

"Coach Thomas is a friend of mine. So to have this happen is strange," Wildcats coach John Castelamare said. "But I can only worry about the kids I have here."

Said Thomas: "Anybody who isn't here, I can't comment on. I'm not going to get caught up in that kind of stuff. I'm not that kind of guy, or that kind of coach, to antagonize anybody."

The situation is reminiscent of a similar controversy last year, when Zephyrhills quarterback Jaimie Sullivan transferred to Pasco.

Wesley Chapel principal Andy Frelick said he doesn't want a repeat of that kind of ill will.

"He's a super-good kid," Frelick said. "I just hope the adults can be adults about this."