Youth movement

WTS Youth Movement......

Dec. 2 2015


Young Former Spartans lead Cambridge to State Finals


— Cambridge Christian’s journey to Friday’s Class 2A state championship game is the classic fairy tale.Never before have the Lancers experienced such a season. First district title. First region championship. First state championship appearance. First time in the playoffs.

And still undefeated.  Cambridge Christian (13-0), the No. 1-ranked team in 2A, will face Jacksonville University Christian (10-3) in the state final at 1:07 p.m. at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.

“It feels great,” sophomore running back Andrew Cunningham said after Friday’s 30-26 win against Naples First Baptist Academy in the state semifinals. “It’s something unbelievable, something we’ve been working for all year. It’s just a great feeling and nothing like it. It’s one opportunity and we have to make the best of it.”

The Lancers went 8-2 in 2014. It was the best season in program history — until now. Among the seniors graduating from that 2014 team was star quarterback Garrett Young, who amassed 3,145 total yards and 44 touchdowns. In the spring and summer, Bob Dare, now in his seventh season as the head coach, saw something special brewing among the new generation of players. “We graduated 13 seniors from last year’s team, which kind of were the building blocks of the success for the past teams,” Dare said. “And this year we have a pretty good nucleus of sophomores that were freshmen last year that were there to experience that 8-2 season and the leadership and their development as players and as young men has led to this season.”

Richard Gouraige, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound two-way lineman who is rated as one of the top sophomore recruits in the nation, has 51 tackles with a team-high six sacks and 17 quarterback hurries. Cunningham, another Division I prospect, has 1,538 total yards with 30 touchdowns.  The list of talented sophomores continues with middle linebacker Scott Ater, the team’s leading tackler; defensive back Derrick Powell, who has a team-best seven interceptions; Caleb Young, a two-way threat at receiver and cornerback; and quarterback Jaylin Jackson, Garrett Young’s successor, who has passed for 1,325 yards with 17 touchdowns and rushed for 447 yards and seven touchdowns this season.

“I’ve been so impressed with the tenacity and resilience that they’ve gone through,” Dare said. “Each of these playoff games, we knew they’d be tough and we didn’t know how they’d respond because in the regular season, most of them didn’t play in the second half. They hadn’t played a full game.” 

Until their regular-season finale against Carrollwood Day School, a 21-12 win that gave the Lancers their first district championship, the team had won each of its games with a running clock in the second half per the state athletic association’s 35-point mercy rule.

 “The whole team, we blend in together, but being young pups, we have to step up,” Cunningham said. “Even though we’re not seniors, we have to step up and lead.”

 With a win, Cambridge Christian would become the fourth program in Hillsborough County history to complete a perfect season. Only Armwood, Plant and Jefferson have accomplished the rare feat.  “That would be crazy,” Jackson said. “I would be so happy for my teammates, for my coaches, for everybody. But I already know they’re happy.”

 Until this season, Dare had won one playoff game in three decades as a head coach.

 “I’ve gone and watched enough of the state final championship game to know what the level of competition is,” Dare said. “As a coach, you’re never exactly sure if your players are at that level to compete. But I think as this season has gone on and their confidence has grown that we’re at a position where the boys really believe in their hearts that they are at a place where they can compete with anybody.”   This year’s Lancers haven’t lost a game. All they know how to do is win.  And there’s one more game to play.  “There’s a big wave here, a big swim that we’re trying to ride right now and it’s a fun place to be,” Dare said.


Nov. 30

All-Western Conference football teams announced 2015 

The following are the 2015 All-Western Conference (Hillsborough County Public Schools) Football Teams, as selected by the school district's varsity football coaches.  

  
National Division 
     

— In a slight twist on the traditional four-team spring football format, only three teams — Jefferson, Robinson and Plant — rotated quarters in Thursday’s jamboree at Jefferson.

In the first quarter, Robinson’s Anfernee Alston ripped off a 58-yard touchdown run and the Knights went on to defeat Jefferson 7-6 after the Dragons’ two-point conversion failed.





Big Dallas Parker to lead J-Boyz Line in 2015

Defensively, Jefferson’s front four boats college and NFL size. Dallas Parker, Jackie Moore, Jabreel Stephens and Glaze are no smaller than 6-foot-4 and 225. In the secondary, look out for freshmen Tyrese Spain and BJ Williams.

Jefferson will play Plant and Robinson in a three-way spring game at Jefferson. Jefferson has moved down to 5A and will be in the same district with Robinson that will also include Jesuit, Spoto and Middleton.

Being one of the lowest populated schools in 6A was always a battle,” Earle said. “Now in 5A, we’re one of the most populated schools so that events the field a little bit.”






2015 Looks Strong @ Plant with Spartans leading the way

TAMPA — Plant High head football coach Rob Weiner admits his team may not always win against some of the nation’s top teams, but one thing is for sure, his group will never shy away from playing them.

After playing Venice in the preseason classic, Plant will open the season against Colquitt County in Georgia, the No. 1 ranked team in Georgia and No. 6 overall team in the nation last season.

Some may ask why would Plant, which lost so many starters from last year’s team, schedule such an opponent. The answer is simple: At Plant, the goal is always a state championship, and to Weiner, his program will benefit from playing a caliber team like Colquitt, win or lose.

The Panthers don’t return many of the big names that helped the team reach the 8A region semifinals, but a talented group of young players has head coach Robert Weiner excited about the possibilities. That being said, the team currently practicing at Dad’s Stadium in South Tampa may not look like the team chasing its 11th straight district title in late November.

“We’re young and talented,” Weiner said.

Plant only returns three starters from last year’s team – junior quarterback Rex Culpepper and offensive lineman Felipe Fernandez and RB/WR Whop Philyor. But Weiner said he “really likes the guys” moving into starting roles this season – WR Juwan Burgess, WR Matt Hesson, RB Dane Frantzen and Culpepper’s younger brother, Judge Culpepper, a tight end. Also, Scoop Bradshaw, a starting defensive back and safety in 2014, will spend some time on offense, Weiner said, and the offensive line will also include Nick Hudek, Julius Jackson and Cameron Calderon.





BLOOD Brothers (Brown Boyz)  No other way to put it....

Who better to go to war with then my lil bro...we stay together, we pray together, now we play together #USF
'Who better to go to war then my lil bro ...we stay together we pray together now we play together #USF'



The Talent still flows for West Tampa in 2016

Stanford's first commitment of the 2016 recruiting class is a big one - both literally and figuratively.

6-foot-3, 290-pound Berkeley Prep (Tampa, Fla.) defensive tackle
Bo Peek announced his decision to commit to the Cardinal on Twitter Tuesday morning. He chose Stanford over offers from numerous other programs, including Penn State, Wisconsin, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, and Georgia Tech.

That Peek happens to play perhaps the single biggest position of need for the Cardinal program is an added bonus for Stanford.

Why did Peek pick Stanford?

"My freshman year, before I really knew if I was going to be able to play college football I told Coach (Dominick) Ciao, my head coach, that was my dream school," Peek said. "So I had
always had them in mind. It's a great education, great football program, in California. (There are) just so many great things about it that you can't beat.

"It was just different, when they offered me it made me feel different than all my other offers. It's hard to explain. I really fell in love with the school when I visited. I love the campus, I love the coaching staff. So I really love everything about it."

The Cardinal's academic/athletic blend gave them the edge over Peek's other top choices.


"The combination of how great an academic school it is, so preparing me for after football when I do have to hang up the cleats, and then Pac-12, obviously a great football program (pushed Stanford on top)," Peek said. "As far as academics and football program goes, I think they are the best for combining those two. And the weather, that's unbeatable in California."

Stanford's inviting defensive tackle depth chart didn't hurt, either

"They told me I definitely have a shot to play early and that's what they're kind of expecting out of me," Peek said. "They're expecting good things. A lot of schools are recruiting me but they wanted me to make the transition to offensive line in college. Stanford's one of the schools that really believed I was a true nose for their defensive scheme. So I really appreciated that, being able to play d-line in college."

Still, Peek could have easily opted to postpone his
commitment to further explore his college options. With his mind made up, however, he didn't see any need to wait.

"I'm not really big into things being a surprise, I'm not too into doing the different hat choices or anything like that," Peek said. "I want Stanford to know that's my school. I want them to know early on that's where I want to be. And I just want to be able to have fun playing football again, not worry about recruiting, know where I'm going and just kind of get
prepared for the next level."

Though he wasn't aware of the fact before speaking with Cardinal Sports Report, Peek also takes pride in being the first 2016 prospect to deliver a verbal commitment to the Cardinal.

"That's awesome," Peek said when asked if there was any significance to him being the class' first commit. "I guess that is important to me now that I know that, starting off the '16 class. I know (
Jacob Mathis, my high school teammate), Stanford would be one of his tops if they offered. But I know in their scheme he first at more of a wide receiver than a tight end. So yeah, I'm looking to bring a lot of players with me."

Peek, who previously visited Stanford over summer to participate in the Cardinal's camp, plans to make a return visit to The Farm this spring with his father, who has not yet been to the school. He then plans to use one of his official
visits to The Farm next fall.

There's a chance Peek could also take trips to other schools, but he considers himself fairly solid to the Cardinal.

"I'm going to be pretty solidly committed to Stanford," Peek said. "I only plan on taking an official to Stanford but as the process goes along if I do have interest to see another school, just kind of check them out, then I might do that. But as of now I only plan on visiting Stanford."

Peek is a three-star prospect and the nation's No. 44 defensive tackle according to the Rivals.com rankings. He was recruited to The Farm by Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren, who has landed several big-time Florida prospects over the last few years.

 

February 3, 2015

West Tampa Product picks Wildcats

Kentucky received a much-needed commitment from a player at a position of need on Tuesday, the eve of National Signing Day.

Tampa (Fla.) Plant is a high school in a talent-loaded part of Florida that has sent plenty of players to the college ranks in recent years.
Derrick Baity is the latest from the school to make a commitment to a Power Five school, and his choice on Tuesday was Kentucky.

@4waydb
Derrick Baity picked Kentucky one day before Signing Day.
Baity announced his decision on WFLA, the local news station in Tampa, during the sports segment of the 6:00 p.m. news. The announcement was streamed live on WFLA.com.

A 6-foot-2 cornerback, Baity has the kind of length that Kentucky's coaches have coveted since arriving
in Lexington. They have recruited, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, players that are taller at the position than the ones they inherited.

Baity had initially narrowed his list of finalists to UK, USF and UCF before eliminating the Knights. He chose Kentucky, turning down South Florida, the more local option.

The Wildcats may look to add another defensive back before the end of Signing Day on Wednesday. Rivals100 defensive back Marcus Lewis will make his decision Wednesday and Kentucky is a finalist. Washington, D.C., defensive back Will Jackson chooses between Kentucky and Wake Forest, also on Wednesday.

Baity's commitment gives UK their 17th pledge of the 2015 recruiting class, moving them up to No. 44 nationally. While that's down from Mark Stoops' first two years on the job, it would rank as the second-best effort in the program's history during the Rivals.com era.


Spartans make  The Tampa Tribune’s 2014 All-Hillsborough County football team, Congrats Keep the PIPELINE FLOWING>>> 

First Team

 

DL: Bo Peek, Berkeley Prep, Jr. — Drew several double teams but still finished with 23 tackles for losses and 11 QB hurries. 

 

SECOND TEAM

WR: Derrick Baity, Plant, Sr.

  

DB: Johayward Bradshaw, Plant, Jr.

 

HONORABLE MENTION

 Blake: Julian Jackson 
Cambridge Christian: Derrick Powell. 
Freedom: Lee Carabali
Hillsborough: Zach Carter
Jefferson: Taj Jenkins, Maurice Moore, Arthur Wiggins. Jesuit: Kevin Newman Jr.
Riverview: Hal Roberson
Robinson: Anfernee Alston 

 

Riverview: OL Roberson embracing latest challenge

 R — Riverview runs an option-heavy offense that puts a lot of emphasis on having a good offensive line to clear the way for the running backs.

 Senior Hal Roberson is a key member of the Sharks’ offensive line and embraces the challenge.

 “If I mess up one time, I beat myself up. (The running backs) need to have confidence in the offensive line that we can block for them,” Roberson said. The Sharks should have plenty of confidence in Roberson this year. He has been playing football since he was 6 years old and has played offensive line most of his career. This year, Roberson also will see time on the defensive line. “Coach (Mike) Thornton always wanted me to play defensive line. This offseason I kept reminding him that I finally wanted to do it,” Roberson said.

 To prepare for his role as a two-way player, Roberson said he went on a diet and it has made him quicker for both the offensive and defensive line. “I was 330 pounds by the end of my junior year. Right now I am around 280,” Roberson said. “I am in the best shape I have ever been.” Roberson said he hopes to play in college, where he would like to study business. 

Given his tenacity on the field, Roberson will have no problem getting things done off of it. “Football is all about the mentality. We have to build that as a team going into the season,” Roberson said. 

Offense

 Riverview has a simple philosophy when it comes to offense.

 “We want to run the ball, control the clock and keep the opponents’ best players off the field,” head coach Mike Thornton said.  The strategy almost worked last year. Even though the Sharks went 2-8, they took East Bay to double overtime, had a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter against Bloomingdale and had the ball with the lead and less than two minutes to play against Freedom. In all of those games, turnovers ended up costing Riverview the game.

 “We felt a little snake bit last year. We had some inopportune fumbles and it hurt us,” Thornton said.

 Look for Howell Roberson and Reggie Desronvil to anchor the offensive line and clear the way for the running game.

 Defense

 The Sharks also like to keep it simple on defense. “We want to play mistake-free and force the other team to be disciplined,” Thronton said.  Though several key players from last season were lost to graduation, linebacker Cory Jones returns as a third-year starter. The Sharks also will get a lift from tackle Joe Lugo, who will be returning from a knee injury that kept him out of action last season.

 Outlook

 Riverview hasn’t won more than three games since 2007. Given how last season went, the Sharks have a chance to eclipse that total if they can stay away from the turnovers.

 “We have to stay away from the meltdowns in the fourth quarter. We have to rise to the occasion,” Thornton said.

 The Sharks will get a chance at revenge in their first game against East Bay. If Riverview prevails, Thornton thinks it might just propel the Sharks this season. “The East Bay game sets the tone. It can give us a shot of momentum if we win,” Thornton said.

 

Robinson’s fourth-quarter rally carries the Knights past Osceola

Published:

ROBINSON 30

OSCEOLA 21

— The Robinson Knights used a 16-point fourth-quarter rally to defeat Osceola in a preseason tuneup.

Osceola got on the board first. With good field position they drove down a short field culminating in a 2-yard QB keeper by Ryan Allan. But then it became the Jahrvis Davenport show. The Robinson receiver and Maryland commit took a 15-yard reverse handoff going untouched into the end zone. Then minutes later he caught a Malik Tyson (8-for14, 150 passing yards, 2 TDs) 20-yard bubble screen, and zigzagged his way for another touchdown. He finished with six catches and 130 yards.

Osceola came back with a strong running game throughout the half, capped by a Nick Gust 8-yard run up the gut to put Osceola up 14-13 at halftime.  Osceola scored the only touchdown of the third quarter as fullback Bronson Lynch (6 carries, 70 yards) took a draw handoff 20 yards up the middle, bulldozing his way to the end zone for the 21-13 lead after the 2-point conversion.

Robinson’s Anfernee Alston bulled his way up the middle with an 8-yard score and the 24-21 lead with six minutes left in the game.

 

July 19, 2014

 USF feels like home for Baity

For three-star cornerback Derrick Baity the trip to South Florida for the Sling and Shoot was a short one, but that doesn't mean his Plant team didn't come ready to compete. Baity and his team put on a good show on Saturday and aim to continue that on Sunday in the finale of the 7-on-7 tournament.

"The first day went well and we did a pretty good job. We went 4-1 and our lone loss came down to an extra point so it was really close," Baity said.

The Bulls have been one of the top schools for Baity throughout his recruitment and he says they are among his top schools.

"I have a top five and USF is in it along with UCF and Wisconsin and those three are probably my top three schools, but I'm not ready to officially say that yet," he said. "I still have a couple of other visits to take before I narrow it all the way down to three. I'm going to see N.C. State and Clemson soon."

Baity says whenever he visits South Florida he feels at home and that is part of the reason why they are a top option for him.

"USF feels like home to me and I get this good feeling every time I go there and I also feel like the staff wants me to be there too," he said. "Coach Reaves is recruiting and we talk a lot. I don't see him so much as a coach, but as a good friend and I like that about our relationship."

As far as a timeline goes, Baity says he isn't in a hurry to make a decision.

"I'm going to focus on our new team and I want to commit later in the season and maybe midway through it. We are focused on a state championship and I don't want my recruitment to get in the way of that," he said.

National Signing day 2014 Gets 4 Spartans!!!

 


Juwuan Brown, LB -
 Jefferson South Florida


Vincent Jackson, LB - Jesuit South Florida


Bernard Rogers, Ath -
 Plant Toledo

    Once the Friday Night Lights turn on, Plant's Alex "Buda" Jackson shifts into a higher gear. SCOTT PURKS/STAFF
Alex "Buda" Jackson, Ath -
 Plant Georgia Military

 

Column: No ceiling on talent of Tampa Prep’s Juwan Durham

Mon. February 3, 2014

Column: No ceiling on talent of Tampa Prep’s Juwan Durham

TAMPA
His high school career began in a tiny gymnasium in Naples, his first points coming off — predictably — a dunk.

But any kid who is pushing 6 feet, 10 inches can dunk.

It’s how Tampa Prep’s Juwan Durham got there that made it impressive, starting on the other end of the court by drifting down toward the basket and altering a shot, blocking the putback and in one smooth motion grabbing the outlet pass and heading up court.

He was 14 years old, all arms and legs in a gangly body, yet he deftly dribbled twice, went behind his back at the 3-point line, took two long strides and put the ball back in his right hand for the slam.

The whole thing, starting with the block, took six seconds.

Larry Durham watched his son and thought: Okay, so much for adjusting to the high school game.

“When big guys can do that,” he said, “that’s pretty special.”

Plays like those make people dream of Juwan’s potential, and his future.

Where will he go to college and how many years will he play there? What position will he play in the NBA, and how great can he be?

“I really don’t think about it,” Juwan says of the hype, the recruiting rankings, the colleges, the NBA. “I’m just trying to enjoy things now.”

• • •

Juwan wants to enjoy this, because it wasn’t easy getting here, where he can block a shot, dribble behind his back and dunk in one fell swoop.

He was born big, 9 pounds and 22 inches — “So big, oh my goodness,” said his mom, Charisse Hargrett. And, like most tall kids, he struggled growing into his body.

“I was the biggest, goofiest person around. It was sad,” said Juwan, now a sophomore. “I actually used to get picked on all the time about it.”

When Juwan would complain to his mother about towering over the other kids, she would explain that he was blessed.

“For a long time I hated being tall,” said Juwan, who now jokes with people who ask if he plays basketball that, no, he actually is into swimming and bowling.

He was clumsy as a kid, but as he figured out how the long pieces of his body worked together, he began to shine.

As a quarterback and wide receiver, he once caught 30 touchdown passes for the West Tampa Spartans. Other middle school basketball teams hated to play against him, and parents wanted to see a birth certificate.

“I get goose bumps all the time, watching him,” Hargrett said.

Eventually he just grew too tall for football, which was fine. Larry Durham and his brother, Cornelius, played basketball at Plant High, and Juwan grew up wearing their old practice jerseys and shorts as he shot alongside them at Kate Jackson and West Pines parks, and the Interbay YMCA.

“I always thought I’d end up at Plant,” Juwan said. “I fantasized about it.”

But when the opportunity to play at Tampa Prep presented itself, Hargrett said there was little debate because of the school’s academic reputation, her first requirement for her son’s future.

Playing for one of the state’s best basketball coaches didn’t hurt either. Juwan’s reputation preceded him to Tampa Prep, and he was offered by USF before his first day in school.

“I thought I was okay, but I didn’t think I was the hottest thing on the street,” he said. “I really didn’t pay any attention to that stuff. I was the new kid; I just wanted to fit in.”

Without Tampa Prep running a single play for him, Juwan led the team in scoring as a freshman. Coach Joe Fenlon was careful not to put any pressure on him, to ease him in, even if the pressure was there to turn him loose.

Hargrett took great efforts to protect him. That job got harder after last summer, when Juwan exploded on the AAU circuit.

“It was really hectic. Everybody was grabbing for him,” she said. “It scares me a little bit.”

Playing against the best prospects in the country, he showed off a full repertoire of skills unseen in many big men.

“The kid was born to play basketball,” said Jordan Fair, one of his AAU coaches. “He’s got such a good feel for the game, and his basketball IQ is so high. He’s really good, man.”

His talent attracted offers from all the Florida schools, Louisville, Indiana and many others. “Everyone who comes by and watches him offers him.” Fenlon said.

This season, Juwan has asserted himself for the Terrapins, seeded first in this week’s Class 3A, District 7 tournament. He is averaging 20.6 points, 11.8 rebounds and six blocks a game. He is shooting 74 percent from the field, has 18 double doubles, and had triple doubles in three straight games in January, with 11, 15 and 11 blocks.

And this, says everyone who knows and watches him, is only the surface, and it’s just being scratched. It boggles the mind that there are still two years of high school ball for him to play.

“All of us are chickens, and Juwan is an eagle,” his father said. “He has to do some adjusting. But he’s starting to see that a normal life is probably not going to happen.”

Juwan doesn’t want to be your everyday big man, to dominate merely by what he was given at birth. In a world where the traditional center is disappearing, Durham spends hours and hours on his game, his dribbling, his footwork. He wants to play the wing, where his idols Kevin Durant and LeBron James reside.

The bigger he gets, the harder it is for coaches to resist playing him in the post.

“I absolutely hate that,” he said. “It’s like caging a beast.”

Fenlon keeps the door to that cage wide open.

Larry Durham had a great grandfather named Henry, a farmer in southern Georgia, who stood 7 feet; Juwan says his mom’s family tree has a 7-footer as well.

But 6-10 seems to suit him just fine, no hindrance to effortlessly blocking a shot, taking an outlet pass, dribbling behind his back and slamming down two points in six seconds.

“I think by the time he’s done,” Fenlon said, “he’ll be the best to ever come out of Tampa Bay.”

 

‘Buda’ makes things happen for Plant

Once the Friday Night Lights turn on, Plant's Alex "Buda" Jackson shifts into a higher gear. SCOTT PURKS/STAFF
Once the Friday Night Lights turn on, Plant's Alex "Buda" Jackson shifts into a higher gear.
 TAMPA — When Alex Jackson was in elementary school, he said he had “a Buddha belly.” It was a perfectly round belly, and it hung over his belt.That’s how Jackson got the nickname, “Buda,” which is the way Jackson says he wants it spelled.
“I don’t really know anything about the real Buddha except that he was short and fat and people rubbed his belly for good luck,” Jackson said. “That’s why people rubbed my belly for good luck.”

These days, Alex “Buda” Jackson is a versatile Plant football star, and he doesn’t have anybody rubbing his belly for good luck.Buda has no belly.He has muscles rippling through his abdomen, and for that matter, through the rest of his 5-foot-8, 170-pound body.

He also runs the 40-yard dash in less than 4.5 seconds, has soft hands and can throw a football more than 70 yards, farther than any quarterback Plant coach Robert Weiner has ever had. And that is saying a lot, since Weiner’s list includes state champion quarterbacks Robert Marve, Aaron Murray, Phillip Ely and James Few.

“Buda will stand on the 50-yard line and throw a football through the goal posts,” Weiner said. “That’s 60 yards to the goal posts and it lands 10 yards beyond that. I’ve seen it many times.”

How does he do it?

“He just does,” Plant quarterback Colby Brown said. “It’s Buda.”

What else can Buda do? Well, this season he has rushed 94 times for 637 yards and five touchdowns, has caught 26 passes for 323 yards and four touchdowns, and returned a combined 21 punts and kickoffs for almost 400 yards. He’s also had a kickoff return for 99 yards, a rushing touchdown for 75 yards and a receiving touchdown of 70 yards.

Big Play Buda?
“You bet,” Weiner said.
In two of the biggest games this year — Sickles vs. Plant and last Friday’s Class 8A region semifinal, Orlando Dr. Phillips vs. Plant — Buda came up huge.

Against Sickles, trailing 20-17 with 2 minutes remaining, Buda completed his only pass of the season, a 44-yarder on a double-pass play. He followed on the next play with a leaping catch that involved ripping the ball from the Sickles defender in midair.

Plant went on to win 24-20.

Against Dr. Phillips, with Plant trailing 17-10 with 41 seconds left, Buda ran into the left side of the end zone and snagged a bullet from Brown just as Buda tapped his toes in bounds. Oh yes, Buda also ripped off a 44-yard touchdown earlier in the game.

Plant went on to win 24-23 in overtime.
This week — before Plant (10-1-1) plays in tonight’s Class 8A-Region 2 final against Fort Pierce Central (11-1) — Weiner said he knows Buda will be as good as ever, because the bigger the game, the bigger Buda shows up.

When those Friday night lights come on, Buda shifts to a whole other gear,” Weiner said. “He is the perfect example of a ‘gamer.’ ”

Buda said he doesn’t think about performing. It just happens. He steps onto the field and into “the zone.”

“When I’m playing under those lights I feel free,” said Jackson, who added that he appreciates this year even more after sitting out last season with academic issues. “Nothing can bring me down during a game. When somebody hits me, I smile. When they talk trash to me, I smile. When they hit me again, I smile. I smile because I know I’m going to break free at some point. I smile because I love it.”

Buda smiles, Brown said, “Because Buda is the toughest guy I know.”“I seriously don’t think he’s afraid of anything,” Brown said. “I’ve never seen him intimidated. I’ve never even seen him nervous, and seeing that gives you more confidence. Everybody feels good knowing Buda is out there with us.”

That’s why his name — Buda (spelled the way he likes it) — has appeared more frequently on Weiner’s typed pregame list of plays, which includes more of Buda at quarterback in the wildcat formation.

“I want to have that ball in my hands, because I feel I can make something happen for the team,” Buda said. “It’s what I’m supposed to do.”

"Durham Rises to see super heights as a Super Soph!"

6'9 Juwan Durham, Team Breakdown; Class of 2016. Ranked 17th overall in the Class of 2016 by ESPN (#1 in Florida) and already has offers by Louisville, Florida State and Florida

Spartans rise again with Plant HighSat. October 26, 2013

Football: Plant 46, Wharton 13

TAMPA — It was a chilly 59 degrees at Wildcat Stadium, and Plant coach Robert Weiner, just doused with a cooler full of water, was dripping wet. But the last thing on Weiner’s mind was how cold he was.

With a 46-13 win against Wharton on Friday, the Panthers were once again district champions. It was the ninth straight for Plant (7-1, 4-0 Class 8A, District 6), but the smile on his face looked as if it came from a first-timer.

“I don’t think you ever get used to it,” Weiner said.

The district clincher wasn’t supposed to be as easy as it was. Plant’s Colby Brown entered with 1,532 passing yards, Wharton’s Chase Litton with 1,600. The night was supposed to be a showcase of quarterbacks with big arms.

But soon after kickoff, it appeared only one got the invitation.

The Panthers scored quickly. Brown found a leaping Austin Hudson in the corner of the end zone for an 8-yarder.

That first score, Weiner said, set the tone.

He gives a pulse to this team every game,” Weiner said of Brown, who finished with 177 passing yards.

“Even a game like this, when we come and it was real quiet everywhere to begin with, he gives us that life. I think that (drive is) what sparked us the whole way.”

Wharton’s first drive would be its longest of the night, but it ended with consecutive broken up passes. One haunted Plant defensive back Derrick Baity.

The Plant offense teased the defense all week about its lack of interceptions. So when Litton threw the ball deep on third and 15, Baity tried to pick it off, but the ball fell to the ground.

“I’ve got to get it back for my team,” Baity said he told himself.

On Litton’s first pass of the second quarter, he did.

With 8:32 to go before halftime and Plant leading 14-0 after it tacked on a pair of field goals, Baity intercepted Litton at the Wharton 25.

He looked up, saw an open path to the end zone and ran for the first defensive touchdown of his career.

The Panthers went on to add three more touchdowns, two from Fletcher Barnes, before halftime, and the final one on a 60-yard punt return by Scoop Bradshaw in the fourth quarter.

But perhaps the stars of the night were the ones keeping the points off the board, not putting them on. Plant held Litton to just 37 yards passing in the first half, after which the Wildcats (6-3, 2-2) trailed 35-0.

“I don’t think he’s played a defensive line like the Panthers,” Baity said. “They were feasting on him. They were getting at him, and he had to get rid of the ball.”

Litton finished with 165 yards and a pair of touchdowns. But by the time he found his rhythm, it was too late.

After the game, Weiner was quick to commend the hard work of his team, which celebrated on the field around him. But he also couldn’t forget about district titles one through eight, which paved the way for Friday.

“Nine straight says what I tell them all the time,” he said.

'We’ve been standing on the shoulders of giants.’  ”


Plant 30 Newsome 14
Fri. October 18, 2013 |

TAMPA — Just when short-handed Newsome put some heat on Plant, Alexander Jackson doused the flames seconds later. Jackson returned a kickoff 99 yards, his third touchdown of the first half, to spark the Panthers’ victory Friday on homecoming and senior night.

Plant remained undefeated in Class 8A, District 6 play at 3-0. Newsome played without junior starting quarterback Spencer Preston, who injured his left knee in last week’s 9-3 win against Durant and is expected to be lost for the season.

Sparked by two touchdown passes from Colby Brown (14 of 24, 161 yards) to Jackson, the Panthers rolled to a 17-0 lead. Bruce Anderson scored the first of his two TDs with 2:03 left in the first half to get the Wolves on the board, but Jackson took the ensuing Austin Cobb kickoff at the Plant 1 and found the end zone 16 seconds later. “(My teammates) gave me good blocks,” Jackson said. “We’ve been practicing on that all week.” Brown accounted for Plant’s final TD on a 1-yard plunge after defensive end Sean Kissel recovered a fumble at the Newsome 35. Patrick Brooks led Plant in rushing with 119 yards on nine carries.It was the first meeting between the Hillsborough County schools since 2010, when Plant won 50-23 in the Class 5A region semifinals.

"West Tampa Spartan player produces numbers that sit at the top in the state"

September 10, 2013

 - Middleton High School

Players do not have to be great prospects to be great players and be highly productive. Prospects have specific skill sets and measurables that make them attractive college prospects. However, productive football players do not have to be prospects to help their team win are garnish attention because of their play.

Surprise here, but Middleton’s Anthony Rhynes is #14 in the state in receiving yards. Not a bunch of receptions, but big yards. Averaging 146 yards per game, Anthony has totaled 292 yards receiving on 8 receptions and 3 TDs.


"Performance of the Week"  PLANT HIGH"

Sept. 7, 2013

By the time Plant and Robinson kicked off their South Tampa rivalry game, most of the drama had played out. The lightning detection system finally relented, the waiting fans were allowed to file into their seats, the teams warmed up and prepared to play. And, notwithstanding the dark clouds that seemed to have Dad’s Stadium surrounded, the game began. Undramatically, the Panthers continued their domination over the Knights with a 28 – 7 victory to up their record to 1-0-1. Robinson dropped their second game of the young season and fell to 0-2.

Celebrating Military Appreciation Night, the Panthers took the opening kick off and appeared to have their air attack on high alert. Senior quarterback Colby Brown hit junior receiver Jordan Reed with a long pass, but the drive stalled and Plant was forced to punt. Robinson responded with an opening drive of short passes to move the ball into Plant territory. The drive came to an end when Wisconsin commit Austin Hudson picked off his first pass of the season.

Plant put together a tidy drive that culminated with a touchdown pass from Brown to junior Clarke Miller , who managed to out-leap the Knight defender in the back potion of the end zone. Brown then found senior linebacker/tight end Andrew Beck in just about the same spot of the end zone with the 2-point conversion and the Panthers took an 8-0 lead.

The two teams then traded unsuccessful drives and wasted opportunities to close out the opening quarter. On the first play of the second quarter, a snap over the head of Robinson’s punter rolled through the end zone and Plant was awarded a safety and led 10-0. However, Plant was unable to capitalize on the opportunity, as the ensuing kick was fumbled.

A few punts later, running backs Alex Jackson and Trey Gilbert combined to lead Plant’s ground attack. Jackson hit pay dirt with a 51-yard run and then added the 2-point conversion to give the Panthers an 18-0 lead. Robinson then used a converted fake punt to put them in field goal range, but a 44-yard field goal attempt in the waning minutes of the first half was partially deflected and the teams went into the locker room at half time with Plant leading 18-0.

The Panthers struck first in the second half. After forcing Robinson to punt, and operating behind sophomore QB Rex Culpepper (filling in for an injured Colby Brown), Plant moved the ball downfield. Fellow sophomore Trey Gilbert slashed through the hold created by Plant’s offensive line and raced 27 yards for a touchdown. John Houston’s extra point was good and Plant had themselves a 25-0 lead.

Robinson’s Brandon Peters showed that he is offer-worthy by returning the ensuing kick off 60 yards. The Panther defense was able to contain Knight running back Michael Duclos and when they went to the air, Plant was ready. Junior Derrick Baity, getting his first action of the young season, picked off his first pass of the season, as well.

Once again, the teams traded punts. Plant began the final drive of the 3rd quarter at its own 40 yard line. Culpepper twice hit senior Fletcher Barnes with 6-yard completions to move the sticks and at least four Plant running backs ran the ball on this drive. Eventually, a chop block penalty against the Panthers stalled the drive and Houston connected on a 40-yard field goal to open the 4th quarter.

The Knights got on the board a short while later when Robert Priester came down with QB Travis Forehand’s high, arching pass to cut the lead to 28-7. Behind almost 50 yards rushing from senior running back Jake Buxton, the Panthers were able to control the ball and run out the clock in the final several minutes of the game.

The Panthers return to action next Thursday night when they travel north on Dale Mabry to play Gaither.



Jesuit 31, Lakewood Ranch 7

 

"Spartans @ Jesuit Shine"

TAMPA — Kevin Newman had more than 200 yards of total offense and a touchdown, and Vincent Testaverde passed for two touchdowns to lead Jesuit past Lakewood Ranch for its first victory of the season.After a scoreless first quarter in which Lakewood Ranch was unable to momve the ball into Jesuit territory, Tigers kicker Rhett Waldron connected on a 27-yard field goal to give the Tigers a 3-0 advantage.

Visiting Lakewood Ranch’s lone touchdown of the contest came on a botched snap to quarterback/punter Chad Rex that the junior managed to scoop up off the ground and toss to James Jeffcoat, who made several defenders miss en route to a 77-yard score that gave the Mustangs a 7-3 lead midway through the second quarter.

 Jesuit answered with a 21-yard pass from Testaverde to Trent Wessel that gave the Tigers a 10-7 lead. Wessel scored on a 13-yard run on the Tigers’ next series.After Lakewood scored its touchdown, Jesuit responded with 28 unanswered points. Lakewood Ranch’s lone bright spot on defense came from Brandon Luckett. The junior defensive back recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass in the third quarter.



 USF lands commitment number 12

July 17, 2013

Tampa (Fla.) Jefferson outside linebacker Juwuan Brown becomes the 12th verbal commitment of the 2014 recruiting class for USF. Juwuan is the sixth Tampa Bay area commit for the Bulls - and is the second outside linebacker verbal commit (Jimmy Bayes). The 6-foot-2, 210-pound prospect has been high on USF since the spring - and a commitment seemed to be inevitable.

He chose USF over Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, and Toledo.

Runningthebulls.com broke the story of Brown's commitment.

"I just committed to USF," Brown said. "I'm real committed to my hometown and I don't want to leave Florida. USF showed a lot of love. I love every time I come down - love the

Brown is the second commitment from Jefferson High School - along with Deiondre Porter.

"I'm going to like that a lot," Brown said about playing with his teammate at the next level. "He's a good teammate - he just motivates me. We work good together and all that."

"I've been talking to Coach Reaves a lot - he was the one recruiting me. And the linebackers coach (Raymond Woodie) - they both real cool and straight up with me. The linebacker coach pulled me into his office - he showed me about the linebackers and all that. He said once the

two linebackers leave I'll be competing."

It's a big relief for Brown to commit before his senior season. "It's big. I don't really have to think about it all season - I just know where I want to go. I don't have to worry about any other schools.

"I bring good speed, explosiveness, and I make plays."

 Gators offer Tampa Prep's Juwan Durham

Billy Donovan has become the latest in-state college coach to offer Tampa Prep freshman Juwan Durham a scholarship.

Terrapins coach Joe Fenlon confirmed Monday evening Durham, a 6-foot-9 low-post standout, has received an offer from the University of Florida. FSU and USF previously offered Durham, as have "many" out-of-state coaches, Fenlon said.

The Terrapins' most coveted college prospect since mid-1990s big man Casey Sanders (Duke), Durham led Tampa Prep in scoring (14.0 ppg), rebounds (9.0 rpg) and blocks (2.5 bpg) in his inaugural prep season. He was a second-team pick on the Tampa Bay Times' all-Hillsborough County team. 

  

Red Raiders offer Florida LB
May 2013

The Red Raiders need to add a few linebackers in the 2014 class with the eminent departure of Will Smith and others looming within the next two years, and Tampa (Florida) Jesuit outside linebacker Vincent Jackson seems to be one of their early targets.

 

 

Jackson was offered by Tech on Tuesday.

Jackson, who was offered by Tech on Tuesday, said that he's been watching Tech football for a while and remembers the 2008 season fairly vividly.

"Texas Tech offered today," he said. "We've been talking for a while, they just haven't seen me in person. They just didn't want to wait and offer me too late. The year that Crabtree played, I watched them a whole lot. But, since then, I haven't known much about the school as a whole. I know they have a pretty good program."

Jackson has been talking to Tech GA Marcus White. The two have hit it off early, and the Red Raider staff loves the way that Jackson can move as a defender.


"I've been talking to Coach White. They like me to play linebacker like most schools," he said. "Everyone likes my size, they like how I can move, and I have great closing speed on film. They just like the way I play the game."

The two have built up a solid relationship so far, and the Tampa native loved what Coach Kingsbury did as the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M.

"I think he's a great guy. I think it's great how young he is, and how young the entire Texas Tech staff is," he said. "I actually loved what Kingsbury did at A&M I love the way that he changed Johhny Manziel into a star. I like him a lot."

As far as other schools, Jackson has received a ton of interest so far. He's received nearly 30 offers from many major schools so far, and he's looking to make a top five list at some point in the late summer or early fall.

The Red Raiders may be one of the schools that make that list, as Jackson is planning a summer tour of Texas. The linebacker isn't quite sure as to when he'll be in the state, but he's planning on hitting up all the major Lone Star State schools.

"I'm trying to when I go out to Texas. I'm trying to plan something where I can hit the major Texas schools this summer. Summertime will definitely be when I do it."

Jackson currently holds offers from Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Auburn, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, West Virginia, Oregon, Missouri, Michigan State, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State among others.

atmosphere of the school."

June 2013 USF Sling - N - Shoot

TAMPA, Fla -- With the Sling N Shoot this weekend, the USF coaches got to check out local talent on their own practice facility. The 7on7 shows off skill players athletic ability, route running, coverage, and ball skills. For one player - he balled and the USF coaches took notice.

Plant (Fla.) 2015 Cornerback Derrick Baity is physically gifted with his height - standing at 6-foot-2 167-pounds. Baity didn't hold a college offer - or receive an abundance of interest from schools either - but that all changed when USF offered after the camp ended.

Baity was estatic about the hometown Bulls offer - to say the least.

"Offer number one," Baity said with a big grin. "Happy moment - happy moment."

"It's (USF) is close to home. I want to see my mom all the time - that's my number one girl - I gotta see her all the time. She's going to be happy to know I'm going to be close - I'm going to be home."

The recruiting process is just now beginning with a bang for Baity - but he's planning on staying humble.

"(I'm) Keeping a small head - don't get a big head. I worked hard to get this one offer so I'm not saying I want a ton of them - I want to keep a small head and not get too cocky with it."

Baity and his teammate - three-star cornerback Mazzi Wilkins - will be lockdown all season long for Plant. "With two 6-foot plus corners, I don't know what they (other schools) can do. He (Mazzi) has taught me everything."

USF was the first to pull the trigger on Baity - many other schools will soon follow suit.




Linebacker Brown looking ahead to official visits

April 30, 2013

The summer hasn't even arrived but one Florida linebacker is already looking well beyond that and into the fall and winter.

Juwuan Brown is one of Kentucky's top linebacker targets and the 6-foot-2, 210-pound prospect from Tampa (Fla.) Jefferson is an emerging recruit whose profile is getting bigger and more attractive each week.

Kentucky, Louisville, USF and Indiana are the BCS conference schools that have offered Brown so far. This week Brown admitted to Cats Illustrated that one is standing out.

"I want to say USF is kinda standing out," Brown said. "They're showing a lot of love. I've been there and I just loved the atmosphere of (the school). I like the school a lot.

But there's plenty of time left and Brown doesn't plan to shut down the recruiting process any time soon.

Indiana was the first school to offer and both Kentucky and Louisville have offered since. The Wildcats and Cardinals seem to go head to head for recruits all over the country nowadays, whether they are in Ohio, Florida or anywhere in between.

"I'm going to take one of my (official) visits to Kentucky," Brown said. "I do like Kentucky. I just don't know much about them yet. Coach (Chad) Scott is recruiting me and he's been telling me about how the head coach wants me bad.

"Louisville, I like Charlie Strong, so yeah, I have some thoughts on them too."

Though the spring evaluation period is in full swing Brown said not many assistant coaches have stopped by his school yet. That should change next week as Kentucky will be making the rounds in Florida.

Brown said he plans on "taking advantage of" all of his official visits before making his ultimate college decision.

Last year at Jefferson he led his team with eight sacks in only six games of action. He missed four games because of a sprained ankle and minor lower back issues.



Sling -N-Shoot June 2012

Plant edges Armwood for UCF 7-on-7 crown

Despite missing nearly two dozen players because of SAT testing, Plant High found a way to win Saturday’s championship at the UCF 7-on-7 tournament in Orlando.Oddly enough, the title game was between two county rivals: Plant, last season’s Class 6A champion, and Armwood, the defending 8A champion. Led by quarterback Kyle Groh—one of several candidates for the starting job under center this fall for the Panthers—Plant prevailed 21-13.“Kyle was outstanding all day but I think it says a lot about our program to come in without so many of our guys and still be able to win a tournament this competitive,’’ said Plant head coach Robert Weiner. ‘‘It shows we have a lot of depth and, more importantly, character. They somehow found a way to win.’‘Weiner said the win showcased several of the Panthers hoping to make an impact this fall as they try to win a fifth state title for the school’s football program in the last seven years. Besides Groh, some of those turning in strong performances Saturday were rising Junior Bernard Rogers, Wesley Bullock, Mitchell Wright and Mazzi Wilkins.Plant went 3-1 in pool play, with its lone loss coming to Orlando Freedom. In the semifinals, the Panthers beat Chamberlain.While it was no surprise to see Plant and Armwood in the championship game, the fact Chamberlain made it to the semis was. But first-year Chiefs coach D.J. Majo says his squad has the chance to be much better than last year’s 1-9 team if it continues to make progress.“We showed some good things today,’’ Mayo said. ‘‘We didn’t beat Plant. But we were there playing them in the semifinals and came down to a fourth-and-goal. We’re moving in the right direction.’‘Mayo said some of his standouts Saturday were Ronnie Scott, Terrell Scott, James Martin, JaMarcus Russ and, of course, running back Xavier Johnson.  

Jesuit sophomore Jackson lands offers from Miami, Purdue, MSU
Posted Mar 13, 2012 by Bill Ward Updated Mar 13, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Still on only a sophomore, Jesuit linebacker/tight end Vincent Jackson landed another major college scholarship offer this week when he picked up the University of Miami, Tigers coach James Harrell announced Tuesday.

Harrell said the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Jackson also has received recent offers from Purdue and Mississippi State.

The Hurricanes, Boilermakers and Bulldogs join Cincinnati, Duke, Notre Dame, Rutgers, USF and UCF as the schools making a pitch for the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Jackson. Harrell said several other schools are expressing interest in Jackson, including Florida and Missouri.

Jackson recorded 62 tackles at linebacker last season for Jesuit, which captured the Class 5A-District 8 crown and advanced to the regional finals. Jackson also saw time at tight end, where he was an effective blocker with three pancake blocks from that position.



Jesuit DB Brown lands Ball State offer
Posted Mar 12, 2012 by Bill Ward Updated Mar 12, 2012 at 01:29 PM

Apparently, Ball State is making the rounds in Tampa in search of defensive backs.

Jesuit junior cornerback Reggie Brown, a 5-foot-11, 165-pound starter last season for the district champion Tigers, landed an offer from the Cardinals, coach James Harrell said Monday.

Brown joins Sickles defensive back Adekunle Olusanya with a scholarship pitch from Ball State. Brown also has offers from Bethune-Cookman University, the University of Massachusetts and Temple.

Last fall, Brown recorded 31 tackles and three interceptions. He also produced significant numbers at wide receiver, where he made 22 receptions for 315 yards and four touchdowns. Ball State recently signed Tampa Catholic senior defensive back Tyree Holder, a three-year starter for the Crusaders.



January 29, 2012
Gary Ferman CaneSport.com
Publisher Stay connected to the Canes.
Plant High School CB Antonio Crawford

Tampa (FL) Plant High School CB Antonio Crawford has switched his commitment from Georgia Tech to Miami. He entered an official visit to UM this weekend a soft Yellow Jacket commitment. After enjoying himself on campus he went home, talked things over with his family and gave his pledge to UM. "I committed to Miami," Crawford said. "I called the coaches, had to talk to my family about it first, make sure my coach knew."I committed to coach (Paul) Williams. He was happy, welcomed me to the family, said they're proud that I'm a Cane."

Crawford adds of Williams that "I spent a lot of time with him (on the visit). He's a cool guy. I got to know him. He's funny but laid back at the same time. I can't wait to go and play for him."Crawford says on the visit "I got to meet the players, coaches, saw how beautiful the campus is. I already knew it was a great city."

Crawford landed a Cane offer after his state title game and says even going into the visit he was leaning toward Miami. "I already had my mind made up when I came there," he said. "I just had to confirm and make sure it was everything I thought it was."The highlight of his time on campus?"

Getting to know the coaches better, bonding with the coaches and players," Crawford said.He was hosted by another Crawford - Dallas Crawford (no relation)."It was my first time meeting him," Antonio said. "He's a very cool guy. He's nice to hang around with. I also hung out with Phillips Dorsett a lot because they're roommates."Crawford's roommate on the visit was commitment Angelo Jean-Louis."He's a funny guy," Crawford said. "That's my boy right there. I can't wait to get there and chill with him (in the coming season)."Crawford's goals as a Cane?"I'm ready to go and compete and help the team as much as I can to win a national championship," he said.

Crawford spent this past season playing defense for the first time. Before that he was only an offensive player.He says he made the move to defensive back this year because "I wanted to do anything to help my team win. They needed me more on the defensive side."He finished with five interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, along with 60 tackles and 28 passes broken up. He had two kickoff returns for scores as well, adding over 550 rushing yards and seven touchdowns at running back.

"We moved him to corner because we didn't have anyone else - he was primarily an offensive guy his first three years here," Plant High DB coach Matt Johnson said. "He has very fluid hips so that's why we moved him to corner. And obviously anytime you get a natural athlete it's a bonus as a coach. With Antonio I was able to get really specific with technique. He was more comfortable as a man corner than he was as a zone cover corner. He liked being in that tight space and be able to make contact off the line."Asked if he sees Crawford playing as a freshman at Miami, Johnson said, "He could possibly play right away. With only being a fulltime DB and only being focused on it one year there's lots of room for growth for Antonio. He needs to work on footwork - I can see him maybe being a nickel back his first year and as he grows and becomes more comfortable with the techniques he could move into a full-time corner position."*

Crawford called his position coach at Georgia Tech to tell him he was decommitting before calling UM with the news."They were kind of disappointed," Crawford said.



Hillsborough's Austin steps up as Lobos starter
Former Terriers QB will start for New Mexico against UNLV

By BILL WARD | TBO.com
Published: September 24, 2010 Updated: September 24, 2010 - 4:45 PM
TAMPA --
As a result of injuries to players ahead of him on the depth chart and a solid performance as a substitute, former Hillsborough High quarterback Tarean Austin will be the starter under center Saturday when his University of New Mexico team takes on the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Entering last week's game against Utah, Lobos starting quarterback B.R. Holbrook was out with an injury. And just before halftime of that game against the No. 14 Utes, backup Brad Gruner left with an injury. That left the Lobos with the 6-foot-2, 205 pound Austin, a true freshman at New Mexico. New Mexico lost to Utah 56-14 but Austin got plenty of playing time in the second half, throwing for 128 yards and one touchdown, an 18-yard hookup with receiver Bryant Williams. For the game, Austin was 15 of 27 with one interception, one TD and was sacked twice.

"I think Tarean, in his first extended action as a true freshman, did some nice things," said Lobos coach Mike Locksley. "I think the experience he gained in the game, if needed next week, he will be able to build upon it. It was great to see him get some game experience." Austin said he was a little nervous as he huddled up his teammates for the first time but soon got into a rhythm. "The guys calmed me down and after a few plays, I felt pretty good," Austin said. "I knew coming in this was a possibility. I just had to be ready mentally when the opportunity came." Austin said he is ready for his first start, Saturday in Las Vegas against UNLV. "Now, they're counting on me and I just have to step up and play, " Austin said.

Before leaving Hillsborough, Austin eclipsed the school record for passing yards. As a Terriers senior, Austin passed for 2,157 yards and 20 touchdowns. As a junior, he produced 1,598 yards and 17 TDs and during his sophomore campaign threw for 857 yards and six TDs.

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