Quarterbacks get the headlines, the pressure and the scrutiny — even in spring ball.
The North Suncoast didn’t graduate any superstar passers, but it lost several veteran starters and ended last season with a few battles still brewing under center.
Here’s a quick look at some of the quarterback situations worth keeping an eye on this spring:
Both Ethan Weilant and James Pensyl saw their share of playing time as sophomores.
Weilant is right-handed and more of a running threat, while southpaw Pensyl has the stronger arm.
“They better be competing,” receiver Kamal Wells said. “I love it.”
Weilant said he thinks it will go “neck and neck” through the spring.
Both quarterbacks got plenty of throwing reps during Wednesday’s first day of practice, as very few running plays were called during 11-on-11 drills.
With star running back Matt Breida gone and more of a spread attack rounding into shape, expect something different in 2013.
Junior Ryan Quigley and freshman Jamison Carnegie are the front-runners to be under center when the season begins.
Quigley played quarterback in nine of 10 games last season, throwing for a 48 percent completion rate with three touchdowns and three interceptions.
Carnegie played against Springstead late in the season, attempting one pass in Nature Coast’s 14-7 upset victory.
Mike Smith threw 12 touchdown passes as a sophomore for the Bulldogs. Zephyrhills also picked up Ty Tanner after he transferred from Wesley Chapel, where he completed 59 percent of his passes as a sophomore.
John Forgione threw 22 touchdown passes over the past three seasons and became a pillar for Anclote, which finally broke through with a postseason appearance last season. The Sharks’ only returning quarterback with a pass attempt is Andrew Janus, who threw two passes and rushed six times as a junior.
The Seahawks keep reloading with dual-threat quarterbacks, from all-North Suncoast quarterback Jacob Jackson to Cameron Stoltz to Josh Zifer. Next up could be Esteban LeWallen, who played sparingly as a junior (45 passing yards, 52 rushing yards) but competed in last week’s Tampa Quarterback Challenge.
FIU and Minnesota became the latest programs to offer Nature Coast DE Rohan Blackwood, Sharks coach Charles Liggett said. The 6-foot-5, 208-pound senior-to-be also holds nine offers, including USF, Wisconsin, Mississippi State and West Virginia.
• Anclote DL Josh Parsons signed with Webber International. He racked up 52 tackles and three sacks during his senior season to help lead the Sharks to the playoffs.
Number of the day
97 percent Amount of rushing offense River Ridge loses due to graduation. The Knights lose their top four rushers, top four receivers and only quarterback with a completion. Quentin Snead was the team’s top, non-senior rusher last fall, rushing six times for 37 yards.
Duck, duck, goose
Hernando’s linemen worked on speed and footwork with a modified version of the childhood game duck, duck, goose. Linemen broke out of their stances and chased each other around a circle — with 6-foot-5, 300-pound senior Connor Foradas cackling while he chased his prey.
Tweet of the day
Wesley Chapel assistant John Holley @coachjohnholley: “Had a lot of “deer in the headlights” faces today at practice lol. Just give it some time. Soon it’ll all be so simple.”
Correspondents Derek J. LaRiviere and Darek Sharp contributed to this report.