Football: The quarterback guide for the 2022 season

Last season was a special one for area quarterbacks with many setting school records for passing yards and touchdowns, all while leading their teams in deep playoff runs. This season could be memorable, too, with a few signal callers returning to title-contending teams and others moving to put programs in a position to make a run. Here is a breakdown to get ready for the season.

The quarterback carousel

Transfers were abundant in the offseason. And perhaps no position had as much movement in the Tampa Bay area as quarterback. Some signal callers moved to other areas of the state. Others switched schools either to raise their recruiting profile or get more playing time. But make no mistake, the quarterback carousel spun at a furious pace. To keep up, here is a guide to figure out who ended up where.

NameNew schoolOld school
Brooks BentleyVeniceGaither
Noah BryantWhartonChamberlain
Brendyn ColellaZephyrhillsWiregrass Ranch
Clinton DanzeyStranahanPlant City
Landen HolleyNorthside ChristianClearwater Central Catholic
Kyle HorvathSunlakeLand O’ Lakes
Evan JacobsonNortheastSunlake
Jackson JensenWhartonCarrollwood Day
Braden JoynerCentralBishop McLaughlin
JC MirasolaPlantJesuit
Jayce NixonGaitherZephyrhills Christian
TJ RussellAlonsoCambridge Christian
Luke SatherWhartonTampa Catholic
Parker StinkorbZephyrhills ChristianDunedin
Myles SwisherNorthside ChristianClearwater Central Catholic
Aaron TurnerRiverviewLennard
Trey WhirleyClearwaterIndian Rocks Christian

Two incoming freshmen who started as eighth graders also switched schools, though they are not considered transfers because this is their first true year of high school. 

NameNew schoolOld school
Dereon ColemanPlant CityFort Meade
Will GriffinJesuitNorthside Christian

Quarterback competitions

Most teams are settled at quarterback. But there are some who are using the next three of practices to figure out who their starter will be. Here are the most intriguing battles to watch.


The defending state finalist Wildcats have a team capable of making a championship run. They just have to figure out their quarterback situation. Three transfers — Noah Bryant (Chamberlain), Jackson Jensen (Carrollwood Day) and Luke Sather (Tampa Catholic) — are vying to be the starter. “It’ll be fun,” Wharton coach Mike Williams said.


Jack Lennon, who started last season, graduated. The two candidates trying to replace him are Trey O’Malley and JC Mirasola, who transferred from Jesuit. Whoever emerges will have plenty of playmaking targets in the passing game.

Northside Christian

The Mustangs had to find a replacement for Will Griffin, who left for Jesuit after starring as an eighth grader last season. The competition is between a pair of transfers — Landen Holley (Zephyrhills Christian) and Myles Swisher (Clearwater Central Catholic).

Clearwater Academy

For the past five years, the Knights were set at quarterback with Luca Stanzani, who twice threw for more than 3,000 yards in a season and finished his career with more than 12,000 yards. His graduation means Clearwater Academy has to start over at the position. Evan Chuba and Danny McMullen are currently battling to be the starter.


The Bears were unable to decide on a starter in the spring, so Braden Joyner, a transfer from Bishop McLaughlin, and Matt Dehart will continue to compete for the next three weeks.

Veteran passers

The three teams that made the state finals last season — Berkeley Prep, Jesuit and Tampa Bay Tech — all have one thing in common. They each return their starting quarterback from last season. Having continuity at that position, especially in an offseason where there was so much movement, gives that trio an edge in their quest to return to the finals. Here are the three who are back with their title contending teams.

Luke Knight, Jr., Jesuit

Last season: Threw for 2,511 yards and 30 touchdowns while leading the Tigers to a state title.

Troy Reader, Sr., Berkeley Prep

Last season: The Notre Dame baseball commit threw for 799 yards and 12 touchdowns during the Buccaneers’ run to the title game.

Xavione Washington, Sr., Tampa Bay Tech

Last season: The electrifying playmaker threw for 2,464 yards and 24 touchdowns and ran for 526 and eight more scores to lead the Titans to a championship game appearance.

College bound

Lakewood’s Anthony Colandrea, who threw for 3,335 yards and 41 touchdowns last season while leading the Spartans to the state semifinals, has already put his future in motion. Last month, Colandrea announced his commitment to Virginia. He is currently the only quarterback in the Tampa Bay area who has committed. The three-star recruit also is the highest-ranked among any area signal callers.

Big shoes to fill

Last year was a memorable one for quarterbacks. Yards were compiled at a dizzying pace, so much that many set school records. Others led their teams on deep playoff runs. Now comes the hard part. Replacing those who have moved on to college or transferred to other schools. Here are a few to watch that currently have that difficult task.

Riley Blevins, Hudson: The Cobras have confidence in their new signal caller, so much that Blevins could end up putting up similar numbers to his predecessor, Hunter Young, who threw for a school record 2,567 yards and 28 touchdowns last season.

Elijah Brown, Wiregrass Ranch: After some turnover on the roster, Brown became the heir apparent to Rocco Becht, the record-setting quarterback who is now a freshman at Iowa State. Brown will have the benefit of working with a talented group of skill players, led by Ohio State commit Bryce Rodgers at receiver.

Evan Chuba and Danny McMullen, Clearwater Academy: The two are currently competing to replace Luca Stanzani, who threw for more than 12,000 yards in his career.

Mason Clarke, Land O’ Lakes: The first-year starter replaces Kyle Horvath, who transferred to Sunlake after throwing for 2,067 yards and 28 touchdowns with the Gators last season.

Liam McDowell, Lennard: The likely successor to Gavin Henley, who set nearly every school record during his career with the Longhorns.

Trey Whirley, Clearwater: The Indian Rocks Christian transfer takes over for Aidan MacLean, who set the Pinellas County for most touchdown passes in a season with 42.

Dual threat district

The newly formed Class 1, District 3 in Metro is loaded with dynamic dual threat quarterbacks. Two quarterbacks, Carrollwood Day’s Alvaunte Brown and Clearwater Central Catholic’s Jershaun Newton, are both taking over as full-time starters this season. The other two, Cambridge Christian’s Chris Stephenson and Seffner Christian’s Jordan Magwood, are the veterans of this group who have already established themselves with the arms and their feet.

Did you know?

Berkeley Prep’s Troy Reader and Nature Coast’s Jackson Hoyt are two-sport stars who likely will not be playing quarterback at the next level. After all, both are big-time baseball prospects who have already committed to major colleges. Reader, a senior, will be going to Notre Dame. Hoyt, a sophomore, is Florida-bound.

Stat leaders

Passing yards
Anthony Colandrea, Lakewood3,335
Luke Knight, Jesuit2,511
Xavione Washington, Tampa Bay Tech2,464
Will Griffin, Jesuit2,449
Kyle Horvath, Sunlake2,067
Brandon Royal, Sickles2,035
Parker Stinkorb, Zephyrhills Christian2,026
Jacob Drackett, Calvary Christian1,802
Murdolph Jones, Armwood1,649
Evan Jacobson, Northeast1,500
Ty Robinson, Steinbrenner1,484
Jackson Jensen, Wharton1,450
Jeremy Thomas, Largo1,355
Jayce Nixon, Gaither1,333
Jake Bechtel, East Lake1,214
Greg Smith, Sumner1,214
Charles Coney, Bloomingdale1,210
Dereon Coleman, Plant City1,181
* Kyle Horvath (Land O’ Lakes), Parker Stinkorb (Dunedin), Evan Jacobson (St. Petersburg), Jackson Jensen (Carrollwood Day), Jayce Nixon (Zephyrhills Christian) and Dereon Coleman (Fort Meade) all compiled their numbers at their previous school.