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.