STADIUM: Dad's Stadium, 2415 S. Himes Ave., Tampa CLASS-DISTRICT: 8A-6 (with Alonso, Bloomingdale, Newsome, Riverview, and Wharton)
COACH: Robert Weiner (102-19, 10th season)
LAST SEASON: 10-2
Offensive line plows ahead for Panthers
This appears to be the best offensive line in Plant's history and possibly in Hillsborough County.
The proof, of course, remains to be seen, but on paper the optimism begins with “The Big Three”: senior tackle Ray Raulerson (committed to the University of Tennessee), center Richard Bush (considering several schools) and junior tackle Jake Fruhmorgen (recruited by a long list of major colleges).
What separates this group is not only their size (all over 6-foot and 280 pounds), but their strength, speed, knowledge, versatility and compatibility.
“They can all (pass block and run block) and that is a rare thing to have three guys who can do both as well as they can,” Plant coach Robert Weiner said. “Needless to say, we are very excited to see what these guys can do this year.”
Because the offensive line is so versatile and powerful, expect Plant to be even more unpredictable and explosive than in past years — throwing or running on just about any play at any time.
“This is our time,” Bush said. “We're going to make the most of it.”
The heir apparent is Colby Brown, who may not have a great deal of game experience (played in six games in 2012, completing 32 of 59 passes for 470 yards), but has the benefit of playing under Weiner, a wizard at developing quarterbacks.
Austin Hudson (committed to Wisconsin), Cam Winter and Jordan Reed all possess speed, agility and great hands.
Hudson, who played in only one game last season after severely straining his groin, might be the best kept secret in Hillsborough County. He is fast and tall and isn't afraid to fight for the ball in a crowd. In his one game, by the way, he caught seven passes for 113 yards and a touchdown in a 52-20 victory over Jefferson.
One of the county's best is Andrew Beck, who has committed to the University of Texas. Beck led Plant last year with 126 tackles and there is no reason to believe he won't improve on that total this year.
Plant lost three would-be starters to injuries -— Caperton Ellias (broken femur), Cameron Staley (separated shoulder) and Alex Leroy (separated shoulder) — and their return date is projected two to four weeks into the season.
Weiner is looking for Chandler Reed, Brenden Bomar and Kyle Henderson to step up.
Gone are defensive backs Paris Bostick (University of Georgia) and Tristan Cooper, but returning is Mazzi Wilkins, who provides a Division I-caliber presence for pass defense.
Overall, Weiner said expect the Panthers to get “back to core values,” which means less individual highlights and more swarming to the ball.
Aug. 29: at Tyrone, Ga. Sandy Creek
Sept. 6: Robinson
Sept. 12: at Gaither
Sept. 20: Bloomingdale
Sept. 27: at Tampa Bay Tech
Oct. 4: at Riverview
Oct. 11: Sickles
Oct. 18: Newsome
Oct. 25: at Wharton
Nov. 1: at Alonso
No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr.1 Mazzi Wilkins DB 6-1 165 Sr.