We've all heard it. I've written it. Kevin Anderson and John O'Korn, for two, have taken offense to how 2013 is considered to be a down year in Florida for quarterback prospects.
They should take offense. This is their time to shine. In respect to those two quarterbacks and a few others around the state like — Parker Boehme of Jacksonville Sandalwood, Tyler Cogswell (Arkansas commit) of Plantation American Heritage, Cord Sandberg of Bradenton Manatee, Asiantii Woulard of Winter Park — there has been some evidence to at least perhaps pull the "down year" label off the position critique.
One other quarterback who is committed from the 2013 class is Orlando Boone's Alton Meeks, who has selected Cincinnati for his post-secondary football future. Many like the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Meeks as a LB/TE prospect, but Meeks jumped at the opportunity to take the Bearcats' offer to play QB.
Time will tell how these rising seniors will evolve. Some are more polished than others, but the shine has certainly gotten brighter on each one.
In moving ahead to the Class of 2014 — and even beyond — however, the early stages tell us it should be a bumper crop.
Jacksonville Bishop Kenny's John Wolford is the early claimant to the top spot for rising junior quarterbacks. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Wolford has 2013 Florida Gators' commit Ahmad Fulwood as a receiver, which obviously helps. Wolford has a nice arm, tremendous accuracy and very deceptive 4.69-second 40-yard-dash speed.
As a junior he threw for 2,700 yards with 35 touchdowns with just three interceptions, completing 63 percent of his passes (152-241). He also ran for 500 yards and eight more TDs.
THREE picks in 241 attempts. Wow. I like that number. Wolford has no offers, but they're standing in line for this kid waiting for someone to make the first move.
The rest of the Florida top 10 for 2014 for me would be, alphabetically, Trey Congdon (6-3, 195) of Lakeland Lake Gibson Zack Darlington (6-1, 190) of Apopka, Jason Driskel of Oviedo Hagerty (6-2, 210) D.J. Gillins (6-3, 185) of Jacksonville Eagle's View Academy, Evan Jager (6-3, 19) of Lake Highland Prep, Chase Litton (6-6, 195) of Tampa Wharton, Alex McGough (6-2, 190) of Tampa Gaither, Nicodem Pierre (6-3, 220) of Miami Coral Reef, and Sean White (6-1, 199) of Hollywood Chaminade Madonna.
I watched Congdon, with his arsenal of receivers led by Eric Carter, pick apart what was a much ballyhooed bunch of Osceola defenders in the spring game. He threw four TD passes and looked good doing so. Osceola's defense may have had a part in making him look good on this night, but I was equally impressed with Congdon's ability.
Driskel, we all know, is the kid brother of Florida Gator QB Jeff. The younger Driskel prefers to do most of his damage with his arm, and although he will — and can — run the ball like his brother, he likes to survey the field. He has a decent group of unheralded receivers who could make for an interesting season at Hagerty.
Pierre carries around a big frame as well as a howitzer for a right arm. Teammate Jacob McCrary is one of the best receiver prospects in the country for 2014. Pierre is as strong as you will find for a QB throwing across his body or off his back foot under pressure, and he's equally accurate. This kid could be the top quarterback of the class and he already holds offers from USF, Kansas State and Duke.
Gillins, a dual-threat QB who has North Carolina, Texas Tech, Troy and UMass offers, has the size to be a QB prospect at the next level, but he also could fall into that ATH category. Eagles View coach Ryan Keith has said Gillins would be his best defensive back if he played both ways.
A bit of a sleeper in this class is a guy that has Tampa Catholic coach Bob Henriquez changing philosophies and rolling out a form of the spread offense this season with young, thin, basketball-playing QB Chivarsky Corbett (6-5, 190).
If I had a receiver like Tampa Catholic's Zach 'Big Bird' Benjamin (6-5, 210) on my team I'd probably be switching to the spread also, but the coach finally feels comfortable with the ball in first-year-starter Chivarsky's hands. Plus, his running backs keep transferring.
I really like McGough for his combination of toughness and ability. He's an Opie Taylor-looking teenager off the field, but put the ball in his hands and he's a gun-slinging field general. He has a nice arm and can also scamper. He's fundamentally sound and will sit back and let things happen before making decisions.
Quinton 'Winky' Flowers at Miami Jackson has had great success as a quarterback, but if Jackson High had someone else to throw the football I'm guessing Flowers would be split out wide. He's a tremendous athlete and wide receiver might be his future. He does not, however, have that elite wideout speed.
Other names that could emerge over the next two seasons are: Kilton Anderson (6-2, 200) of Naples, little P.J. Blazejowski (5-9, 150) of St. Johns Bartram Trail, Hunter Boyett (5-11, 168) of Miami Westminster Christian, Reid Carlton (6-3, 220) Ocala Trinity Catholic, baseball player Cody Henry (6-0, 190) of Pensacola Catholic, Michael Scarnecchia (6-3, 182) of Fleming Island; and Alin Edouard (6-2, 190) of Hialeah.
Some sleepers could also emerge in Nick Jeanty (6-2, 190), a Fort Lauderdale Archbishop McCarthy transfer, now at Miramar, Garrett Kruczek (6-0, 170) of Winter Park Lake Howell, Stucky Mosley (6-3, 170) of Orlando Timber Creek; and , Ryan McFarlin (6-1, 200) of Jacksonville Atlantic Coach and Wade Freebeck (6-4, 172) of Western High in Davie, just to name a few others.
First-time varsity starter Connor Blair (6-3, 190) at Daytona Beach Seabreeze is also a name that will emerge. Blair broke his ankle last season and is almost back to 100 percent. He got the tar beat out of him last week during the Sand Crabs spring game against Apopka — Seabreeze is very lacking up front — but he kept bouncing up and sticking his nose back in there. It's the first time most of us were able to see Blair but I really love what this kid shows for potential. His passing skills are obvious, but he can also run the ball.
On the other side of the ball in that Seabreeze-Apopka matchup was Darlington, another tough-nosed junior-to-be QB who also took a few shots Wednesday but kept hopping back up. Darlington, who was an honorable-mention performer at the U.S. Army All-American National Combine in San Antonio in January, has run-minded father and coach Rick Darlington airing out the ball in Apopka. Zack threw five TD passes against Seabreeze.
Proof of Darlington's toughness, he took a shot to the back at one point late in the game and was staggered with what was later determined to be a possible bruised kidney.
The effect of the hit caused the youngster to nearly black out when he tried to re-enter the game on the next series, and he was even vomiting on the sidelines to the point where EMT's on the scene called for an ambulance. The emergency vehicle was waived off, however, and Zack even played a few more downs in the 35-7 rout.
Hard-nosed and hard-headed — you didn't read that, did you coach? — those Darlingtons live football. Team football mom Shelly is the real boss of the bunch, which includes seven children. Oldest child Ty arrived at Oklahoma on Monday where the Apopka High valedictorian and high school football all-American will play for the next four years.
Another player somewhat like Blair in that he did not see a lot of action last season is Hayden Griffitts (6-2, 200) of Winter Garden West Orange.
Griffitts showed signs of things to come in a start against Boone last year. He was 11-of-17 passing in his varsity debut for 145 yards and a touchdown, and also engineered a game-winning scoring drive. He eventually gave way after two starts, however, to then-injured senior Sean Kelly for the rest of the season.
Kelly wound up throwing for 2000 yards and Griffitts, in spot time after his one start, had 356 yards and two TDs in 65 pass attempts
But back to the subject matter. Those are a few of the top 2014 QBs and we'll surely see someone come forward who we did not even know.
And if you are not shopping for a QB for a few more years, there are some darned good ones coming up in the Class of 2015. Leading the way is Jacksonville First Coast star De'Andre Johnson. He guided First Coast to a 14-0 record as a freshman with the team losing in the 8A state final to Sandberg and Bradenton Manatee.
Johnson, who received his first college offer from Clemson as a 14-year-old freshman., now has Florida State, Florida, UCLA, UConn, USF, North Carolina and Middle Tennessee State offers.
There's a new kid on the scene who you will be hearing plenty about in the next three seasons. Deondre Francois of Orlando Olympia made his varsity debut in the Titans' spring jamboree games against Jacksonville Sandalwood and Orlando Evans. He was sharp, accurate and showed the ability to go deep and also use some touch. He made one mistake in both games and even the pick he threw could have been partly blamed on the receiver's short-routing the play.
Other rising sophomores of note are Christian Alexander of Lakeland Christian, Tucker Beirne of Miami Columbus (6-2, 210), record-setting Tucker Israel (6-0, 180) of Orlando Lane Nona and Brad Mayes (6-1, 190) of Tampa Berkley Prep.
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting, and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun