Prep Football Preview 2008
TBO.comALONSO - The Ravens certainly have the defense to make a return to the playoffs. Led by defensive tackle and FSU commitment Demonte McAllister, the defensive line creates a lot of pressure and major headaches for opposing offenses.
Published: August 31, 2008
Published: August 31, 2008
DURANT - Coach Mike Gottman has plenty back on defense and 1,000-yard rusher Ryan Rice and all-state lineman Cole Gilliam back on offense. Figuring out those Sarasota district foes will be key.
EAST BAY - The Indians have a plethora of starters returning on each side of the ball, and many opposing coaches in this district have pegged Brian Thornton's squad as a favorite to win a district title.
JESUIT - The Tigers have long been known for making the playoffs. A new spread offense, highlighting tight end John Plasencia and wideout Erick McGriff, can help this team return to the postseason.
TAMPA BAY TECH - The Titans put themselves in the position to force a tie in Class 4A-District 11 last year, which could have led to a playoff berth. With plenty of standouts returning, TBT is a key district win away from the postseason.
Player School Pos. Yr.Jeremy Deering Leto RB Jr.One of the fastest backs in the countyRonnie Johnson Riverview RBJr.Armwood transfer should play prominent backfield roleAndrew Meddaugh Robinson OL So.6-foot-4, 285-pound guard enters second season as starterKhiry White Wharton WR Sr. Will be QB Andrew Clifford's primary targetQuentin Williams Jefferson QB So.Already drawing comparisons to Stephen Garcia.
Player School Pos. Yr.Teddy Eumo Alonso DL Sr.With Demonte McAllister drawing double-teams, Eumo can take advantage of one-on-ones. Greg Hickman Middleton LB Jr.6-foot-3, 235-pound hitter will strike fear into running backs and quarterbacks. Theo Jackson Armwood DL Jr.Physical specimen carries nicknames of "Man-Man" and "Creature"Javonte Martin Plant DB Jr.Speedy player who earned All-Tournament Team honors at the Nike "7 On" Football Tournament.Sean Watson Brandon DB Jr.One of top playmakers in Eagles' secondary
1. Which transfer will have the biggest impact? Take your pick, because there were so many transfers this year. Watch for Plant tight end Orson Charles, a transfer from Riverview, and wideout Allen Sampson, from Gaither, to become favorite targets of quarterback Aaron Murray.
2. Which team will be this year's surprise? The turnarounds by Tampa Bay Tech and Sickles were two of last season's best stories, and it will be interesting to see what downtrodden program will step it up in 2008.
3. Which new coach will enjoy the most success with his program in 2008? Jason Strunk at Plant City inherits a program that has been to the playoffs the past two seasons, but something is stirring at Bloomingdale and Spoto, where Jason Stokes and Dale Caparaso, respectively, have taken over.
4. Will the ongoing recruitment of senior players impact their 2008 seasons? Only a handful of county prospects have committed to colleges, so it will be interesting to see how well those uncommitted players juggle the extracurriculars (i.e. recruiting visits) while focusing on helping their current teams thrive.
5. Who will emerge as threats to make a run at state title? On paper, Armwood, Plant and Chamberlain certainly seem capable, but no team should be counted out now. After all, not many thought Tampa Catholic would end up playing for a state title before the 2007 season started.
Keyword: Prep Report to view the Tribune prep sportswriters make their picks for 2008 district champions and runner-ups in each district with Hillsborough County teams.
•Go to keyword: Preps to watch the first Prep Roundtable video, where the Tribune's prep sports writers preview the 2008 season.