Posted: 3:38 pm Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

2008’s best passer? The East Coast will hate this 

By Jason Lieser

There is a prevailing thought that 2008 will be a season without a clear-cut star quarterback from this area. I disagree, but there is some merit to that logic.

Some of the most talented kids taking snaps are unproven. Even their head coaches can’t predict what they’ll get out of players like American Heritage junior Darius Milines (a dual-threat QB in the mold of Justin Feagin) and Glades Central’s likely starter, L.J. Thomas.

Dwyer will use the tandem of Bradley Wallace and Jacoby Brisset, but Wallace (like Pahokee’s Nu’Keese Richardson) is clearly more of a receiver-runner and Brisset struggled in the spring — though coach Jack Daniels said he has looked solid this summer.

Royal Palm’s Marvin Payne is another quarterback likely to rely more on his legs than his arm. In the Treasure Coast, Fort Pierce Westwood’s Isaac Virgin is an impressive specimen and throws a great deep ball, but his big-time prospects appear to be at tight end.

We should see big passing numbers out of Boca Raton’s Eddie Sullivan, Seminole Ridge’s Tyler Wilhelm and Jupiter Christian’s Marshyl Rothman, but those players would have trouble keeping up with the rocket right arm of Glades Day senior Bo Schlechter.

As a rookie starter last season, Schlechter completed more than 50 percent of his passes for 1,897 yards and 12 touchdowns. His only interception came in the second week of the season. Those numbers translate to a 104.8 passer rating, using the NFL formula.

Schlechter is 6-3, 205 pounds (he hopes to be at least 215 by spring) and has drawn interest from Liberty, UCONN and Florida Atlantic. Sure, that list doesn’t blow anyone away, but coaches from Miami have been in touch with him. Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen was so impressed by Schlechter’s performance in camp up in Gainesville that he asked for additional game film, Glades Day coach Pete Walker said.

He spent the summer improving his accuracy in the 30-40-yard range, and did agility to drills to address another weakness. Schlechter said his footwork in the pocket is much better than it was a year ago.

Another knock on Schlechter last season was that he locked in on Glades Day’s stud receiver Anthony Norton. That was not necessarily his fault — Walker likened it to feeding a star running back — but college recruiters want to see a player go through his progressions. This season, Glades Day does not have any individual receiver as talented as Norton, but that might be a good thing. The Gators have at least four quality receivers — led by Jarrett Swaby and Deandra Jackson — and tight end Alex Mann is a decent pass-catcher, as well.

We’re a long way from the beginning of the season, and certainly a lot can change over the course of the fall, but right now, Schlechter has the premier combination of talent, supporting cast and motivation. At this point, he looks like the area’s top passer.

Let the hate mail begin.