For class of 2015 quarterback prospect Christian Alexander (Lakeland, Fla./Lakeland Christian) there was no better way to learn how to be a top quarterback than to get on the field and go through the ups and downs of a freshman year.
Under the tutelage of former University of Florida quarterback and current Lakeland Christian head coach Wayne Peace, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound sophomore said he learned a lot during the 2011 season.
"Every game wasn't great, but I got something out of them," Alexander said. "Coach Peace showed a lot of faith in me last year and each week I tried to get better and correct my mistakes."
Alexander threw for more than 1,600 yards and 20 touchdowns in his freshman campaign. He was careful with the ball, only throwing seven interceptions, but he knows that his accuracy must improve.
"Last year I was a little over 50 percent with my completions and I know the team needs me to be more accurate and keep drives moving," Alexander added. "Coach Peace wants me over 60 percent this season, so that's a goal."
In Friday's kickoff classic, Alexander was 10-of-11 for 145 yards and a touchdown in just one half. It's a good start for a rising prospect who has already gotten the attention of the big programs.
"It was a great offseason for me. I had a chance to have a great workout with Coach [Brent] Pease from Florida and the staff at Florida really wants to keep an eye on me," Alexander said. "That was a good thing to hear."
Alexander also went to South Florida for a camp and Peace believes that by the end of the season his quarterback could have several options.
"Christian has all the tools to play big-time college football and his name is starting to get around," Peace said. "He knows he has to continue to work hard and do the things that are asked of him for this team.
"I think his potential is off the charts."
Florida is slowly becoming a state known for great quarterback play and there are several prospects in the next few years there are several names that could be known nationally.
The Future Stars
Quinton Flowers (Miami Jackson, 2014): This dual-threat prospect is widely considered to be the most dynamic quarterback in the class of 2014. Flowers has tremendous athleticism and can easily escape a pass rush, but his arm and his accuracy on the deep throw separate him from the pack. His talent should easily outweigh concerns about his size (5-11, 175).
Nicodem Pierre (Miami Coral Reef, 2014): The Coral Reef junior class might already have the top wide receiver in Jake McCrary and with this 6-3, 220-pound prospect throwing him the ball, expect a lot of big plays this season. Early offers include Clemson, Duke, Louisville and South Florida.
D.J. Gillins (Jacksonville Eagle's View, 2014): After throwing for more than 2,500 yards and 31 touchdowns as a sophomore, the 6-3, 185-pound Gillins is on everyone's radar. West Virginia, Vanderbilt, Texas Tech and North Carolina are among the schools that have reached out early.
De'Andre Johnson (Jacksonville First Coast, 2015): How successful was Johnson's freshman season? Well, he threw for nearly 3,000 yards and 29 touchdowns while leading First Coast to the Class 7A state championship game. Last month the 6-foot, 175-pound sophomore gave his verbal commitment to Florida State.
Brad Mayes (Tampa Berkeley Prep, 2015): The 6-foot, 180-pound Mayes spent most of last season as a backup and didn't benefit much from Nelson Agholor's on-field heroics. Still, Mayes has shown a lot this offseason and is expected to lead Berkeley Prep for the next few years.
Akeem Jones (Miami Carol City): The 6-2, 200-pound senior appears to be in a bit of a holding pattern. There's little doubt he will end up at an FBS program but it could be at another position. Still Jones' best attributes tend to make him a better quarterback at the next level. He has all the tools necessary and tremendous leadership. Schools are more than willing to take a chance on him as a receiver or a safety, but he's hoping to convince them to take a second look at him as a quarterback.