Let’s play a game. Which two-year starting quarterback has completed 263 of his 422 passes for 3,753 yards and 34 touchdowns with just 12 interceptions? He finished his junior year taking the eventual 8A state champions to the brink of defeat in the 8A region final completing 16-of-22 passes for 201 yards – a secondary with four Division I prospects in the secondary.
If you still don’t know, it’s 2013 East Lake gunslinger Pete Dinovo. The 6-foot 2-inch 200-pounder sits as the No. 1 pro-style quarterback, and 11th overall prospect, in Tampa Bay according to Big County Preps rankings.
“It’s frustrating at times,” Dinovo said of the recruiting process.
Many schools have told him they like him; they love him; they want him to come play for their school – yet no one has pulled the trigger.
“It’s just the fact that someone has to go out on the limb and make the first offer,” Dinovo said. “Some might say I’m not tall enough, but I’m a winner. I’m a competitor. I’ve proved that to everyone.”
Another factor going in to his slow recruitment is the fact that East Lake is not well known on the recruiting circuit.
“It’s a tough thing,” says father Pete Dinovo Sr. “No one knows who East Lake is. No quarterback has come out of East Lake so why would you could by a school that hasn’t been proven before?
“If Pete was at a school known for producing quarterbacks he has 20 offers.”
The mood throughout the Dinovo household, which also riddles through his friends and family, is that of frustration, but optimism.
“It is hard for myself, my family, my friends and all my teammates,” Dinovo said. “Everyone is pulling for me so it’s hard in that sense, but you just go out there slinging it every day.”
His father echoes those sentiments, but like his son remains happy and humble.
“I’m very excited and happy about the process,” his father said. “He loves football, he has a dream, but if not – me and him will go fishing. We’ll coach together. Whatever. God has a plan.”
Without putting extensive pressure on Dinovo and his senior year, it’s easy find comparisons with Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. They too were overlooked by nearly everyone. Like Dinovo, recruiters found flaws in their game. Neither of them was big enough. Countless coaches told them they didn’t have a strong enough arm.
“It just drives me even more,” Dinovo said. “They can keep doubting me. I look forward to more people doubting me.
“They said the same thing about Rodgers and Brady. They tell me I don’t have the arm strength, but when I’m playing one of the best secondaries in the state and hit an 18-yard out-route to the far side of the field, on a five-step drop, what is that?”
After taking the Eagles deep into the playoffs it left Dinovo wanting more. He feels that 2012 could be East Lake’s year. He set a goal for himself after earning the starting job in his sophomore year.
“I want to throw for 7,000 yards in my career,” he said. “So over 3,000 yards is a mark I’m aiming for this year.”
The most important goal is both a personal and team goal.
“We want to be the first team in Pinellas county to win a state championship,” Dinovo said. “We have the team to do it, without a doubt.”
As Dinovo continues to grow and mature he’ll sit down with his family to plan his offseason visits. We wants to make stops the schools who have shown him the most interest.
Middle Tennessee, Ohio, Marshall, Central Florida, Florida Atlantic University and Houston have expressed the most interested in him.
“I’m very interested in all of those programs,” Dinovo said. “They all have great offensive coordinators and facilities and have great things going on. It’s just the process of me looking at them just like they’re looking at me.”
Kyle is a recruiting analyst for Big County Preps. You can email him at Bennett@BigCountyPreps.com and follow him on Twitter @KyleBennettBCP