Dr. Phillips junior Nick Patti saw seven of his senior teammates sign to play Division-I football during National Signing Day this season.
Two more --
) and Darryl Monroe (Washington State) --already had signed and enrolled at their respective schools. And Chris Gallon decided on Bowling Green shortly after the signing day festivities.
The whole experience made Patti, the No. 4-rated player in the Sentinel’s 2012 Central Florida Super 60 rankings, even more excited for his senior year.
“I was telling someone I wanted to sign that day,” Patti said. “I mean high school is great, but [seeing signing day] was just exciting. It makes you want to work harder so you have that opportunity.”
But with so many weapons gone, including Hart and his state-record 50 touchdowns last season, Patti and the Panthers offense will have to adjust.
“It’s as big a loss as it sounds like,” Patti said. “Those guys were such intricate parts, not only on the field, but in the locker room, in the classroom, and role models for the rest of the team. They’re guys that everyone looks up to.
“They will be missed dearly, but just like any season, we’re going to have to retool and find new guys.”
One constant for the DP offense next season, however, will be Patti, who has been a quarterback since he was 7 years old.
“It’s pretty significant, me being a quarterback at such a big high school with such tradition,” Patti said.
Patti is the school record holder for passing touchdowns in a season (32). He also is the school’s career leader in passing yards (3,382), completions (216) and touchdown passes (42).
He has already generated lots of college interest. He lists Cincinnati, Georgia Tech,
, in no particular order, as schools he’s interested in, although he said it’s “really early.”
And despite his height the 5-foot-11 Patti knows he’ll be a quarterback at the next level.
“Most of the colleges [that are interested] are offenses that are spread out, that don’t need an overly tall quarterback, offensive systems that I can fit in and play,” Patti said. “I’m nothing but being a quarterback.