Football: The 2023 Pinellas County quarterback guide (Classes 2-1M) — June 6

Last season was a notable 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 plenty of signal callers returning to contending teams. Here is the breakdown in Pinellas County in Classes 2-1M to get ready for the season.

CCC’s Newton does it all

Clearwater Central Catholic’s Jershaun Newton is one of the most coveted college prospects in the area – and nation. 

The biggest task for colleges is figuring out where the dynamic playmaker will be utilized at the next level. 

Some schools want him as a quarterback. Others prefer him on defense. And there are a few that view him simply as an athlete. 

After all, Newton, a junior, is simply too good to take a seat. 

Last year, he threw for 2,219 yards and 23 touchdowns and ran for 1,355 and 15 more scores.

And that was just on offense.

He ended up having an impact on defense, too, especially in the playoffs.  

Against Carrollwood Day in the region semifinals, Newton recorded seven tackles, two sacks and had a forced fumble. He continued to play a vital role on that side of the ball during the Marauders run to the Class 1M state championship game. 

Those numbers also play a role in why he is ranked among the top 35 athletes nationally in 247Sports composite list for the 2025 class. 

Will Newton continue with the same  this season? 

It depends on the team – and situation. 

“We’ll sit down with Jershaun and discuss that soon,” CCC coach Chris Harvey said. “We don’t want him on defense all the time, but if we need a key stop against a quality team, he’ll probably be in there. He has that kind of impact on both sides of the ball.”

New Spartans signal caller

The biggest question for defending Class 1M state semifinalist Lakewood was who would replace Anthony Colandrea, the county’s all-time career leader in passing yards. 

The answer, at least for now, is Nick Trier, who transferred from Braden River this offseason. 

It is a tough task. After all, Colandrea is already creating a buzz as a freshman at Virginia. 

But Trier does have experience as a starter. Last year, he threw for 797 yards and six touchdowns while leading the Pirates to a 4-4 record in his eight starts. 

There is not much time to ease into the transition considering Lakwood’s schedule includes seven teams that make the playoffs last season.

College bound

Calvary Christian’s Jacob Drackett is the only county quarterback who has already made his college plans official. 

Last month, he announced his commitment to Air Force.

By getting his decision out of the way, Drackett can now concentrate on his senior season.

Last year, he threw for 2,606 yards and 33 touchdowns. He has a chance to improve upon those numbers considering that four of the Warriors’ top six receivers all return.  

Quarterback battles

There are three quarterback competitions worth watching once practice officially starts in three weeks. 

Clearwater’s Jaylen White, a holdover from last season, won the starting job after a strong performance in the spring. But he still will compete for playing time with Dylan Nahra, a transfer from Countryside. 

Gibbs, under new coach Emmerson Clarke, are working with a two quarterback system that includes Fernando Maynor and Tomarcus Starnes, both juniors. 

Maynor threw for more than 200 yards and two touchdowns in the spring game. Starnes will provide an added dimension with his strong arm and running ability, Clarke said. 

Boca Ciega, which still is trying to install a new offense under first-year coach Myron Dillard, has three quarterbacks – Parker Dugan, Walter Flounory and Colby McClendon – competing for the job.

McClendon, who threw for 151 yards last year, is the one of the competitors who has experience directing the Pirates on offense. Dugan (Pinellas Park) and Flounory (St. Petersburg) came from other schools. 

The battle does not include Talon Hughes, who still is recovering from an ACL tear from last year.  

End zones

Northside Christian will start Chase Burrill, a freshman, at quarterback. The Mustangs could be set at the position for years to come with sixth-grader Jack Griffin, the younger brother of Jesuit quarterback Will Griffin, likely playing at the JV/middle school level this year….Indian Rocks Christian’s Keatin Emener, a junior, should make great strides this year after throwing for 786 yards and eight touchdowns while leading the Golden Eagles to a 9-2 record and a Class 1M region semifinal berth in his first full season as a starter in 2022.