While college coaches flock to this region of the country every year to find those elite and nationally rated defensive backs and receivers, there are other positions that have made some major strides to direct the spotlight in their direction.READ MORE: There's No Business Like Shoe Business & The High End Sneaker Business Is Booming
One of those positions – thanks in part to more offseason emphasis being put on that area of the game – is quarterback.
Yes, we have been able to produce many quality signal callers throughout the decades, but the national recognition that California continues to receive far overshadows even our most impressive quarterbacks.
South Florida has certainly been able to produce some big-time quarterbacks that have gone on to productive careers, but that steady flow of pro-style passers that many other areas produce, has not been the calling card that college coaches look for when coming to the area.
But that is starting to change.
As we head towards spring, we continue our look at the impact players that fans need to keep an eye on; athletes that have put themselves in this spotlight.
Today, we bring you some of the quarterbacks who are looking to make that impression, putting themselves in a spotlight for all to see.
Here are 11 quarterbacks to keep an eye on. We will always update throughout the year – as many of these – and others – will either watch their stock rise or even drop as more eyes are fixed on their every move:
Jake Allen, QB, 6-4, 204, St. Thomas Aquinas: You watched him play last year and lead his team to a state title. This year, the University of Florida commit comes back to pick up where he left off. Allen has a great arm and excellent understanding of the offense and how to distribute the ball to a very talented team. He will only get better in year No. 2 as a starter.
Chatarius “Tu-Tu” Atwell, 5-8, 160, Northwestern: One of the more gifted athletes in South Florida, Atwell has been playing a major role since his youth football days. While many continue to project him as a slot receiver and kick returner at the next level, all this young man continues to do is give the Bulls the best chance to win when he’s under center. He is a solid athlete and remember, he is just going to be a junior this coming season.
Matthew Bethel, QB, 6-2, 230, Dr. Krop: Here is a football player that really need to be looked at more. Bethel is a big, strong and very quick athlete who can throw the ball and lead his team up and down the field. While some view him as a future tight end or even an H-Back, this could be one of those athletic young men that will be a quality run/pass quarterback. Bethel is a major talent for the Class of 2017.
Jason Brown, 6-3, 190, Plantation American Heritage: We saw this quality young man when he first started playing – as a hard-hitting and instinctive linebacker. But hard work and being around some tremendous coaches and players has put this versatile quarterback in a position where colleges are making offers. Not only can Brown do damage as a passer, but he also is a powerful runner with the ball in his hands – rarely going down on the first contact.
Henry Colombi, 6-3, 195, Chaminade-Madonna: Perhaps nobody has climbed the ladder of success and exposure than this gifted athlete. Another elite prospect who has every college in the nation looking in his direction after leading University School to the playoffs a year ago. With several prospects around him, look for records to fall in Hollywood this coming season. Colombi is a great athlete who has learned to make things happen.
Beau Fillichio, 6-3, 195, St. Thomas Aquinas: This Class of 2018 standout shows how deep this program is. Fillichio is a very gifted athlete who brings so much to the table. He’s gained a presence in the quarterback community with strong performances in offseason competitions and has continued to learn about the offense and game management. Fillichio is a quality football player who has been around the game all of his young life.
Nick Holm, QB, 6-4, 180, Deerfield Beach: This Calvary Christian transfer will spend his final season surrounded by some of the most talented receivers and linemen in south Florida. Holm is a very talented passer who will have the chance to elevate his game – as he gets to compete at the Class 8A level, He’ll also turn the heads of coaches who will flood this school this spring and summer. He has the potential to be very special and will get plenty of looks against top-flight competition.
Legend Moore, 6-0, 185, Hallandale: Talk about an athlete who has slid beneath the radar screen, here is a quality 2018 prospect who is not only an athletic quarterback but someone who has a feel for what it takes to be a productive passer. Moore has rather large shoes left by the school’s all-time leading passer, Tyler Huntley. But this Hialeah American High transfer can also play receiver and is a gem for the Chargers’ offense.
Daniel Richardson, 5-10, 175, Booker T. Washington: There had not been that type of buzz for a freshman quarterback ever in South Florida. As his first year playing in high school ended with a state title, Richardson exceeded expectations in a major way. Now, the excitement rises even more for the Tornadoes as they look to head to Daytona Beach in December. Also, the return of legendary coach Tim “Ice” Harris Sr. will also help in his growth process as well.
Shabazz Telfort, QB, 6-4, 210, Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson: When asked by several college coaches who recruit this area, who will end up at the head of this class when all is said and done? Nearly every coach pointed to this gifted quarterback who has as much physical ability as anyone in south Florida. He just needs to continue learning to read more complex defenses and playing his senior year and everything will take care of itself. Anyone who overlooks this outstanding athlete may be kicking themselves in the near future.
Maurice Underwood, QB, 6-2, 160, Miami Central: After his freshman season at Hialeah Champagnat Catholic, where he learned so much as a varsity starter, the stakes now raise to a national level as he comes to Central to battle for a starting position. Underwood just needs to use the many things he has learned throughout the years to show the Rockets coaches that he has what it takes to help get that explosive offense back on track. Underwood is a very talented young man, and as he grows and matures, the nation will see what makes him so special.
MORE CLASS OF 2017 PROSPECTS TO WATCH
This list begins with Tyler Adderly (6-0, 165, Piper, Angel Alvarez (5-11, 155, Doral Academy), Eddie Brill (6-1, 167, Miami Beach), Alec Brown (6-2, 168, Deerfield Beach) and Colten Causa (6-2, 165, Cardinal Gibbons), but also includes Dylan DiBello (5-10, 165, Palmer Trinity), Rashawn Fraser (5-10, 170, Piper), and Nicholas Gonzalez (6-1, 182) from Christopher Columbus.
Also, prospects such as Tyler Goodman (6-0, 165, Douglas), Tyre’k Hepburn (5-10, 180, Flanagan), Bryce Holliday (6-2, 205, Carol City), John Jaramillo (5-8, 165, Southwest Miami), Hugh Lowson (5-8, 140, Palmetto), De’Andre Miles (6-1, 180, Miami Springs), Roger Morgan (5-7, 155, Calusa Prep), James Powell (5-9, 165, Coral Springs), Marcelo Rodriguez (6-3, 185, Miami High), Jordan Schulefand (6-0, 165, Pine Crest), Malcom Vigile (5-10, 180, Edison) and Coconut Creek standout Karinzo Ward (6-0, 160) are special as well.
2018 PROSPECTS ARE STARTING TO RISE
This is the junior season for the Class of 2018 and that means that this once young group will be counted on in a major way.
Besides the 2018 prospects we mentioned above, here are some more, with film, that you need to check out:
Roshard Branch, 6-0, 170, Dillard
P.J. Brennan, 5-9, 160, St. Thomas Aquinas
Cameron Brooks, 6-0, 180, Coral Glades
Alec Carr, 6-0, 195, Miami-Dade Christian (Norland)
Michael Cox, 6-1, 175, Southridge
Cory Del Prado, 6-1, 180, Florida Christian
Quinn Dempsey, 5-11, 165, Archbishop McCarthy
Nicholas Dominguez, 5-11, 157, Coral Reef
Tyler Goodman, 6-0, 165, Parkland Douglas
Derek Jackson, 5-8,145, North Miami
Dejaun Kearse, 5-10, 155, Flanagan
James Micioni, 5-10, 150, Monarch
Wendell Morrison, 6-0, 155, North Miami Beach
Tijuane Morten, 5-10, 171, Central
Marlon Serbin, 6-0, 170, Mater Academy
Santiago Venegas, 5-9, 170, Belen Jesuit
Demetrius Warren, 6-2, 215, Hollywood ISB
Steve Romelo Williams, 5-11, 170, Everglades
Antoine Wright, Jr., 6-4, 182, South Miami
CLASS OF 2019: IMPRESSIVE ALREADY
The mark that both Richardson and Underwood left after their first year in high school, more and more attention is being paid to the underclassmen. Keep in mind that we will continue to update until this class graduates. That is our commitment. Here are some of the other rising sophomores to keep an eye on:
Curt Casteel, QB, 6-1, 165, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas
Daryn Jones, 6-0, 180, Goleman
Kamran Kadivar, QB, 6-0, 170, Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy
Skylar Pearcy, QB, 5-9, 155, Calvary Christian
Matthew Ruiz, 6-1, 176, West Broward
Kane Vandemark, 5-10, 150, Christopher Columbus
Christopher Vidal, 5-11, 157, Goleman