There is one word that comes to mind when I think about the quarterback class in Florida for 2012 - Potential. There are some very talented gunslingers in this class, but most of them are projects. Some would consider this a bad thing, but this is a very strong class when you look at what they can accomplish at the next level.
The 10 quarterbacks that made the final FlaVarsity160 are smart, dedicated, and have the will to be great. They are physically gifted and they all know that they will not reach their peak without hard work and drive. They are students of the game and have all put in the effort, on and off the field, to improve during their final high school season.
In July of 2011, I wrote an article on the top quarterbacks in the state of Florida and mentioned Bartram Trail's Nathan Peterman as the one to watch out for this season. Peterman proved me right and finished the year as our top quarterback for this class. He led the Bears to a 12 - 2 record, while throwing for 2,932 yards, 35 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Peterman put up terrific numbers all year long and led his team deep in the playoffs, before losing to Armwood. For his efforts on the year, the University of Tennessee commitment earned 6A Player of the Year and a 4-star ranking on Rivals.com.
The University of Cincinnati is getting a strong-armed, agile quarterback with a new mindset on life. Bennie Coney, Plant City high school, dealt with plenty of adversity prior to his senior year and was ridiculed for having a poor attitude and being a "me-first" player. That was far from the case during his final high season. On the year, Coney passed for 2,297 yards, 30 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions, while leading the Plant City Raiders to a 7 - 3 record. Coney told me, prior to the season, that he was focused on becoming a better player and a better person. He was focused on improving his life, on and off the field, while becoming a leader to his teammates. Needless to say, that was just the case for the future Bearcat. Coney has really grown up this year and if he continues on his path, he could be outstanding at the next level.
I have very high hopes for this class and feel that, top to bottom, it can be one of the strongest to come out of the Sunshine State in years. Here is the list of the 10 quarterbacks that made it into the final FlaVarsity 160.
Any questions or comments, contact Tom Loy on Twitter - @TomLoy2002 or via email - TomLoy2006@hotmail.com.
6-foot-2 | 210 | Bartram Trail
Buzz: Peterman proved me right with his play this year. He played terrific all year long and gave Tennessee fans a reason to smile. He is a gamer that will do very well in the SEC. He was selected as the 6A player of the year for his play this season.
6-foot-1 | 215 | Plant City
Buzz: Coney showed out this season and was widely considered one of the top quarterbacks in the state. He can make all the throws and has poise in the pocket. He dealt with some off the field issues before the season and it is clear that it is a thing of the past. He stayed focused all year and was a great leader for his team.
5-foot-11 | 190 | Dr. Phillips
Buzz: If Patti were 6'3, he'd be ranked among the top QB's in the country. He is very smart, can make all the throws, and is a gamer. Boise State should have no problem transitioning from Kellen Moore to Patti within a year or two.
6-foot-3 | 170 | Dade Christian
Buzz: Marshall throws with touch, accuracy, and has poise in the pocket. He is a dual threat quarterback that has long strides and is a threat to score with his legs on every snap. Some like him at other positions, but I think Marshall has all the tools to be a solid quarterback in the Purdue offense.
6-foot-4 | 200 | University School
Buzz: Holcombe has good mechanics and really puts the ball in the right spot. He doesn't have the strongest arm, but puts good zip on the short passes and can really spin it. His footwork has improved greatly this season, which speaks to his effort to grow as a quarterback.
6-foot-3 | 210 | Jupiter
Buzz: Cameron has good arm strength, solid accuracy, and as a senior, he really improved his overall game. The best comparison I can think of would be former Florida Gator Tim Tebow. Cameron is a dual threat quarterback that can beat you with his arm or with his legs.
6-foot-3 | 175 | Miami Northwestern
Buzz: Hilliard throws the ball with a lot of velocity and makes sound decisions. He is a mature quarterback that makes smart decisions and gets the ball out quickly. He could have headed to a bigger name school, but he is off to FIU, will compete for early playing time, and do very well under coach Cristobal.
6-foot-3 | 225 | Dwyer
Buzz: Bauta had some very impressive moments this season, as I was one of his biggest critics. I feel like he is a very good athlete, but he has a brighter future at a position other than quarterback. He has great size for a quarterback and has plenty of arm strength, but I question his accuracy. He is committed to Georgia and coach Richt should be able to do some very good things with him as a passer.
6-foot-3 | 220 | Countryside
Buzz: Crow has a very strong arm and has terrific size. He needs to improve his footwork, but that will come with time. He has a great deal of potential at the next level, but it all depends on how hard he works. He will have other talented players around him that will push him to continue improving his game.
6-foot-5 | 205 | Pasco
Buzz: Guy completed 70% of his throws this year, while passing for 42 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. He has the size that coaches covet and he can make all the throws. He is not the type to make many mistakes and he makes plenty of plays.
Schools in the mix: FAU, Florida, Ohio, UMass, Vanderbilt, Western Michigan