Lakeland Dreadnaughts Find New Quarterback

So I know I said I wouldn’t do much breaking news, but this will kind of fall into that category and I just couldn’t ignore it.

All indications are the Lakeland Dreadnaughts have a new quarterback, and the move is sure to ruffle a few feathers around town.

Jadrian Clark, who threw for 290 yards and three scores in the Eagles’ near upset of Lakeland last season, has transferred to Lakeland. I first saw the news in the comments section of PolkPreps, but knowing how off-base some things can be on there I wanted to double check.

I didn’t have to look hard, as Clark has officially changed his school on Facebook from Jenkins to Lakeland. He also has plenty of discussion on there about making the decision and even working out with Lakeland since his transfer this week.

I haven’t confirmed this with either coach Bill Castle at Lakeland or coach Matt Thompson at Jenkins, but this is a done deal. Bright House also reported the news this week and got confirmation from county A.D. Don Bridges on Friday.

“The school district did not approve him to go to Lakeland,” Bridges told Bright House. “We denied their transfer request last week. The families then all moved into Lakeland’s zone. We now will make sure they are at that new residence 100% of the time.”

Two other Jenkins players transferred, as well, but I don’t know their names.

As a junior last season, Clark threw for 1,685 yards and 22 TDs and was an ideal fit for Thompson’s spread offense in the coach’s first year at the school, and it looked like they had a chance to lead Jenkins to a possible playoff berth with the district changes next year. Lakeland and Jenkins are still in the same district, but Kissimmee Osceola is no longer there and the teams’ Class 7A district now includes Ridge Community, Haines City and Lake Region.

Lakeland was going to have a new starting QB next season with this year’s starter Tim Evans graduating. His backup, Raheeme Dumas, was a only a junior but saw lots of time on defense as Lakeland battled a banged-up secondary all season.

Castle has not traditionally run a wide-open offense, which again is the style that would seem to fit Clark’s strengths. But Castle has always had a strong offensive line and running backs to lean on, and it remains to be seen whether that will be the case next season. If those areas aren’t quite as strong, it’s possible Lakeland could throw the ball more. So while it’s doubtful Clark will put up the same numbers he did at Jenkins, he can expect to win more and still get noticed by scouts.

And I really don’t want to speculate on why he would decide to leave. Coach Thompson can be intense at Jenkins and I know he had high expectations for Clark, but Castle won’t be any different so I can’t imagine this just being a personality conflict.

At any rate, this is big news and is sure to pour jet fuel on the rivalry that really heated up last year. Both sides accused the other of poor sportsmanship after Lakeland’s 43-41 win last season, so it will be interesting to follow this one.

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8 Responses to Lakeland Dreadnaughts Find New Quarterback

  1. Corey says:

    This is rivalry sort of like the hammer and the nail are rivals.

  2. Larry F says:

    Don Bridges made that comment because people around town already know that this kid’s parents rented some dump apartment for $300 a month so they can use an LHS address. They have no intentions of actually living there. At least the county denied the transfers so that LHS can’t add to their “academy” in which area football players have a sudden interest in Veterinary Medicine.

    • Robbie says:

      They as a whole need to investigate this Lakeland Boosters along with the way they requrit players from other scbools. But you also need to know that Jadrian has no Dad and he lost him a few years back, she is a SINGLE MOM. So with that said, the School Board needs to quit turning a Blind Eye to what goes on with there program and the way they play. I say let Jadrian play and make the best of it and see if he can change the way Castle’s Offense runs or Pass.

      • Jim Hickey says:

        In response to Robbie’s comment that Jadrian has no father, I must dispute that as I am alive and well in San Francisco. Even though I don’t live in Florida, Jadrian and I have a good relationship. His mom is doing an excellent job of raising him and he is a smart, nice young man and excellent athlete. It is my view that he has made a good decision in changing schools; he must do whatever he believes is in his best interest for his future. I stand behind his decision and wish him the greatest success at Lakeland, both in sports and scholastic achievement.

  3. A C Troutman says:

    As a Coach you hate to loose a talent like that, but you can’t fault a parent for wanting to place his or her child in what they believe is the best opportunity for their child to succeed. Good luck to both teams next season.

  4. Larry F says:

    AC, while I agree with you in a general sense, Jenkins had a good thing going all by themselves. With the kids they had coming back, I don’t see what kind of better opportunity they thought they would have at Lakeland. It’s not like Lakeland is sending QB’s on to greatness.

  5. JAO says:

    Larry F, you make a great point. Based on everything I read from this past season Jenkins looked to have a very promicing upcoming season for 2010-11. I don’t understand why this Clark kid would want to transfer when there was such potential for him to be the hero in leading Jenkins to the first victory of a Polk County team to beat Lakeland since 2003. He obviously got a lot of attention at Jenkins so why mess with that success. He had an offense designed to showcase his talent. As you said, Lakeland is not known for “sending QB’s to greatness”. As for these other two kids; don’t know who they are but my guess is hanger ons hoping to ride the coat tails of Clark. And on one last note; I would not count Jenkins out this next year. This new coach is intense. I am sure he will lead his team into battle. What better motivation than the defection of these team members. I believe the coach of year is one that takes the talent he has and makes them great, not one that lures talent to a “program.”

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