2016 Player Rankings: Day One

We’re continuing to move forward towards the high school football season with our unveiling of position rankings for the 2016 season. This will be a multiday series, giving you our top five in every position. The big thing to remember about this list is that it is NOT a college prospect list, these rankings are based on presumed production for this high school season. If these rankings doesn’t mirror what’s on our Fire Rankings, that’s because they’re not supposed to. These rankings are built on what a player did last year, and what we think they’re going to do this year, based on the team’s play style, players around them, etc.

Today, we’re breaking down the top five Pro Style QBs, Dual Threat QBs, and RBs in the area.

Pro Style QBs:

1. AJ Colagiovanni, Manatee, 2017: 

AJ Colagiovanni will have another incredible year in 2016.
AJ Colagiovanni will have another incredible year in 2016.

Colagiovanni is coming off of a year where he threw for 2,500 yards in an offense that was seen as one of the best in the state. This was a Hurricane offense in 2015 that scored 38.3 PPG, something that will be hard to duplicate. Colagiovanni threw for 21 touchdowns in 2015, and he added two in the Spring Game against Countryside. In this version of the Manatee offense, Colagiovanni will have RB Josh Booker to open the passing game more with his running ability, and WR Tarique Milton will be a dangerous weapon for Colagiovanni to pass to. Will he eclipse that 2,500 yard mark this season? I think he will, especially if the Hurricanes make a deep run to the playoffs. Look for Colagiovanni to fight to be the leading passer in the Bay Area once again.

2. Tate Whatley, Lakeland Christian, 2018:

Whatley, our Xecutives and Ignite Showcase MVP, will be in his first season with the Vikings after transferring from Strawberry Crest in the offseason. He comes into a play style where they will definitely use his passing ability, something that we really wanted to see. Look at Christian Alexander (now at FIU) for an example of that. He’s a great passer, and he can even run if he’s flushed out of the pocket. Whatley had 1,399 passing yards as a Charger last year, but with only five touchdowns. That will change in 2016, especially if he finds a gifted receiver (which at LCS isn’t hard to do).

3. Jakob Parks, Clearwater Central Catholic, 2017

4. Griffin Alstott, Northside Christian, 2017

5. Holden Hotchkiss, Lakeland, 2017

Dual Threat QBs:

1. Austin Sessums, Tampa Catholic, 2017:

Austin Sessums led the Bay Area in passing yards last year - look for him to do it again in 2016.
Austin Sessums led the Bay Area in passing yards last year – look for him to do it again in 2016.

Sessums led the Bay Area in passing yardage with 2,777, and he’ll look to do the same in 2016. He certainly has the talent on the outside to do that with Darius Corbett, Bentlee Sanders, and Ahmarean Brown. With the offensive balance the Crusaders can enjoy with Devan Barrett in the backfield, Sessums will be able to call virtually any play in the playbook which will keep the defense on their heels. Sessums threw 32 touchdowns in 2015, which can be replicated with the amount of weapons they have. Plus, Kijah Kelly will be coming back from a knee injury suffered in the offseason. Can Sessums throw for more than 2,777? Yes, he should be able to, if everybody stays healthy.

2. Michael Penix Jr., Tampa Bay Tech, 2018:

We’ve watched Penix evolve over the past few weeks into a quarterback that is going to be a big issue for Hillsborough County secondaries. He’s a tall quarterback, one that can see over the top of defenses, and his arm is going to be spectacular. Penix threw for 1,131 yards as a member of the Pasco Pirates last year, with 12 touchdowns. His production will grow, especially with Daquon Green on the outside. Anthony Payne will be another one of Penix’s favorite targets this year. Penix will have a big offensive line returning,so he may not need to run around as much, but we know he can certainly do that if it’s needed.

3. Larry DallaBetta, Mitchell, 2017

4. Austyn Causey, St. Petersburg, 2017

5. Jaylin Jackson, Cambridge Christian, 2018

Running Backs:

Malik Davis will be an important piece of the puzzle for Jesuit in 2016.

1. Malik Davis, Jesuit, 2017:

Davis will be the leading returning rusher the Bay Area has to offer in 2016. Last season, he had 2,337 yards last year – one of only five backs to run for over 2,000 yards. Davis added 28 touchdowns last year en route to a Final Four berth for the Tigers. His quarterback, Danny Boon will be a better passer this year, which will give Davis a chance to up his YPC since there won’t be as many people in the box when he runs the ball. In 2015, Davis’ YPC was 8.1. Can he increase that? With the balance that Jesuit has (a lot of the same faces will be returning on the offensive side of the ball), Davis will be able to create a lot more opportunity with his feet in 2016. Another big year will be in the cards for both Davis and the Tigers.

2. Devan Barrett, Tampa Catholic, 2017:

There were only five backs that had a better YPC than Barrett did in 2015. There were seven backs that had a YPC at or over ten – which Barrett was a part of, but rushing for 10.1 YPC is pretty special. Barrett ran for 1,891 yards in 2015, and he also ran in 21 touchdowns. Already mentioned, the Crusaders will have a stocked offense, and now Barrett will be able to work off of the pass game to have more holes in the defense. Just like Davis. There will be a contest for who will have the best production out of the two, we think Davis, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Barrett came out on top in the rushing yards department at the end of the season.

3. AJ Davis, Lakeland, 2017

4. Josh Booker, Manatee, 2018

5. Brian Snead, Armwood, 2018