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THE BLITZ: County seeing surge in QB talent

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Gwinnett County has always been known producing great running backs. The county is home of Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers from Duluth. Over the last 10 years, Gwinnett has produced record setters like Darius Walker (Buford) and Micah Andrews (GAC) and other top-notch RBs like Kenny Irons (Dacula), Kenny Miles (Brookwood) and Caleb King (Parkview/GAC) just to name a few.

The county has never been really known for standout quarterbacks. Obviously, David Greene (South Gwinnett), Terry Harvey (Dacula) and Mikey Tamburo (North Gwinnett) come to mind, but the list isn't as long as the running backs.

That could change very soon. With more teams going to a spread-type offenses and more emphasis on 7-on-7 passing leagues in the summer, it seems like the quarterback talent in the county has grown tremendously.

This might be the deepest the quarterback talent has ever been in the county. I got to see two -- really three -- of the top quarterbacks on Friday. North Gwinnett's C.J. Uzomah is arguably the best quarterback in the county. Although the Auburn commitment does see significant time at wide receiver as well.

I saw Collins Hill's Taylor Heinicke play a couple of times last season, but the senior has improved tremendously. I've seen him play the last two weeks and his pocket presence and his arm have been impressive.

South Gwinnett's Kent Rollins led the county in passing yards with more than 2,000 last season. He'll likely eclipse that mark this year. But when you look around the county, it's more than just Uzomah, Heinicke and Rollins.

Christian Davilla is tearing it up for Hebron, just like he did last year at Winder-Barrow. Eman Westmoreland could be the top QB in the county in two years. The sophomore from Central Gwinnett went into Friday's game leading the county in passing yards.

Xaviier Briggs has helped breathe some life into the Berkmar offense as a dual-threat quarterback. Same thing for Duluth's Anfernee Stewart, a junior drawing college interest. Even Grayson, which isn't know for its passing game, has a very good quarterback in Nick Schuessler. Ben McLane (Brookwood), John Russ (Mill Creek) and Alex Ross (Buford) are also strong quarterbacks.

That's 11 quarterbacks, 11 good quarterbacks. It could be five or 10 years from now that we are talking about all the great QBs the county has produced and not running backs.

Who do you think is the best quarterback in the county this season?

Best backup QB in the county

I mentioned earlier that I saw three really good quarterbacks in the North Gwinnett vs. Collins Hill game. Uzomah and Heinicke were the starters, but it was North backup Scotty Hosch that stole the show. The junior was 12 of 13 passing for 227 yards and three touchdowns on Friday in relief, but Hosch doesn't think of himself as a backup.

"Me and C.J. have a great relationship," Hosch said. "I don't feel like I'm the back or the starter, we just share it."

Hosch ended up playing most of the second half at quarterback with Uzomah at receiver. Head coach Bob Sphire said that wasn't part of the plan and that it just worked out that way.

"I may be psychotic by the end of the season," Sphire said of the quarterback juggling. "I just want to read the best matchup and play the hot hand. There's so many variables that come into play."

Fast 50

North Gwinnett's win over Collins Hill was head coach Bob Sphire's 50th at the Suwanee school. Sphire is by far the most successful football coach in the school's more than 50-year old history and has the the team ranked No. 14 in the nation by USA Today. Sphire is in his fifth season as North's head coach, which got me wondering what other Gwinnett coaches reached 50 or more win by their fifth season. Here's the list.

Jess Simpson, Buford 68

Mark Crews, Brookwood 54

Cecil Flowe, Parkview 53

Jimmy Chupp, GAC 51

Dave Hunter, Brookwood 50

Big week for blowouts

Did you notice anything about last week's game? Just about every Gwinnett game was a blowout. GAC's 11-point loss was the closest margin, but it really wasn't that close with all of Spartans' points scored in the last five minutes.

The average margin of victory in last week's games was 35.5 points. Not exactly great games to watch, unless you're on the winning side of the blowout.

Three teams scored more than 50 points last week, led by Peachtree Ridge's 57 points.

I'd like to think last week was an anomaly, but with two second-year programs playing in Class AAAAA, Meadowcreek moving to the extremely tough Region 7 and offenses being so much better, I feel like there will be a lot more points scored this season.