When it comes to making a run at a state championship, you can’t overlook the importance of having consistency at the quarterback position. For most programs, your quarterback is a primary leader in everything that you do. Offensively, they are your game manager. They touch the ball every play and their poise and focus sets the tone for the team. This past season, our coverage area had five quarterbacks lead their teams to a state championship appearance. Here is a quick break-down of the overall bodies of work for those guys from the 2021 season.
2023 (reclassified) QB Ryan Browne – 6’5” 212 pounds – Venice – 8A
Passing: 175-290 (60.3%) for 2,636 yards and 31 touchdowns – 7 interceptions
Rushing: 106 carries for 534 yards and 8 touchdowns (5 yards per rush)
Browne had a terrific senior season. He has great size and a strong arm. He was efficient through the air, and also dangerous with his legs. Interestingly, he recently announced that he is re-classifying as a 2023 prospect. He has met graduation requirements at Venice and is fully qualified, but he will attend a prep school this upcoming fall. In my opinion, this is a great plan that should work out well for him. The transfer portal and extra year of Covid eligibility has significantly oversaturated the amount of available talent across the country. This has negatively affected the recruiting landscape as a whole, but it seems to be worse for quarterbacks right now. We are seeing quarterbacks enter the transfer portal on a daily basis. There are simply less opportunities. Regardless, Browne should be a major mid-year target in the next class. I feel confident that we will see him signing with a Power 5 program this December.
2022 QB Andrew McClain – 6’1” 180 pounds – Apopka – 8A
Passing: 54-92 (58.7%) for 716 yards and 8 touchdowns – 4 interceptions
Rushing: 50 carries for 196 yards and 3 touchdowns (3.9 yards per rush)
Note: Apopka still has not entered their statistics from the 8A state final
Everyone knows that Apopka makes its living by running the football down their opponent’s throats and playing excellent defense. McClain did what was asked of him this season. The senior was a good leader and efficient in some clutch situations. Once again, due to slow quarterback recruiting, his options for the next level are still developing. He will end up in a good situation once the dust settles.
2023 QB Xavione Washington – 6’1” 190 pounds – Tampa Bay Tech – 7A
Passing: 159-277 (57.4%) for 2,464 yards and 24 touchdowns – 9 interceptions
Rushing: 149 carries for 526 yards and 8 touchdowns (3.5 yards per rush)
Washington is a dynamic quarterback and is fun to watch. He did a great job distributing the ball to his playmakers at Tampa Bay Tech all season. The Titans fell short in the title game, but he still put on a show. He had 257 total yards and 1 passing touchdown against St. Thomas Aquinas. He is a proven winner and Tampa Bay Tech will have high expectations again next fall with him behind center.
2024 QB Luke Knight – 5’10” 171 pounds – Jesuit – 6A
Passing: 171-237 (72.2%) for 2,511 yards and 30 touchdowns – 9 interceptions
Rushing: 35 rushes for -77 yards (Major credit to Jesuit for the honesty!)
Knight, a sophomore, is the youngest quarterback in this group, so we will be blessed with two more years of outstanding performances from him. He was extremely efficient and consistent all season. He is beyond his years in many critical areas that are important to the quarterback position. The Jesuit offense should be is great shape for the next two years with him running the show.
2023 QB Troy Reader – 6’1” 185 pounds – Berkeley Prep – 3A
Passing: 36-81 (44.4%) for 799 yards and 12 touchdowns – 3 interceptions
Rushing: 5 carries for 13 yards and 1 touchdown (2.6 yards per rush)
Like Apopka, Berkeley Prep ran the heck out of the football this season. The Bucs took advantage of a strong line and some dynamic running backs and their offense was tough to stop. Reader did what was asked of him and he helped lead his team to a title game appearance. He is a bright kid with a very strong arm. Reader is also a stud on the diamond, and is currently committed to Notre Dame to player for their baseball program.