JACKSONVILLE – Kyle Lee nearly missed the event altogether.
Despite a battle with a fever and a migraine, the 2021 Fernandina Beach High quarterback made the 60-minute drive down to participate in the 2017 DeBartolo Sports Jacksonville Quarterback Challenge on Sunday.
It turned out to be worth the trip as Lee won the event held at Mandarin Athletic Association out of a field of 60 quarterbacks.
The 5’11”, 167-pounder put together a strong performance in the finals led by his work in Gauntlet Drill (14 points).
After winning the challenge, Lee said it felt great to come away on top.
“It means everything,” he said. “At first, I thought I was going to lose or not do as well with me being sick, but then I pushed through and fought my hardest I thought I could beat everybody.”
Lee says he wanted to be competing very badly despite not feeling well the night before.
“I knew if I came that it would show I was tough and the chance of me winning was great,” he said. “People will know once I win that even with a fever it is possible.”
His favorite drill of the day was the Fade Throw Drill where quarterbacks are asked to make a 20-yard throw after a three-step drop. They make three throws from each side for a total of six.
Starting his football career at the age of 8, Lee has never played an organized game as a quarterback. In fact, this is his first year at the position exclusively.
He’s spent the last two years training with DeBartolo Sports quarterback instructor Ryan Walker. The 25-year-old played college football at Jacksonville and Florida International before suiting up professionally for the Florida Tarpons in what is now called Arena Pro Football.
Walker ran the entire event along with experienced coaches that be brought on for the day. He puts his quarterbacks through rigorous training and always finds ways to help them on and off the field.
For Lee, he says he’s noticed his footwork improve tremendously since beginning his training with Walker. He’s now working the hardest on his loads, getting the ball up and his quick release.
Soon to be a high school athlete, Lee says his chances to be the starting quarterback next year at Fernandina Beach are great. He confidently said that he’ll most likely be a starter.
He’ll play in Class 4A-District 2 with the likes of Bolles, Raines, West Nassau and Jackson.
Let’s see if Lee can boost his confidence even more after winning the 2017 Quarterback Challenge.
—Complete results can be downloaded here: 2017 Challenge Results
Top Performers by Grade:
Kyle Minckler – Spruce Creek High School
The 6’0”, 185-pounder had the third most points overall (35) in the preliminary challenge drills. Minckler posted scores of nine on the Long Ball and Escape Throws along with a nine on the Accuracy Throws. The rising senior scored a nine on the Gauntlet Drill and a seven on the Andrew Luck Drill in the finals.
Salem Farmand – Bishop Kenny High School
Farmand had a very steady day, finishing second overall in points (37). The 6’0″, 176-pounder delivered a 10 on the Accuracy Throws, a nine on the Long Ball and an eight on the Escape Throws. He was one of two quarterbacks to connect in the finals on the newly released Moving Target Drill. Farmand also finished second on the Andrew Luck Drill with eight points.
Corey Wilsher – Belleview High School
No one had a better preliminary round than Wilsher. The Belleview 2019 quarterback delivered a score of 39 which included three nine’s on the Long Ball, Escape Throws and Fade Throws. The 6’2″, 189-pounder finished in second place in the finals with a score of 19. He had 13 on the Gauntlet Drill and six on the Andrew Luck Drill.
Noah Carter – Baker County High School
The 6’2″, 164-pounder went into the finals with a score of 35. Carter had the second-best performance on the Accuracy Throws with 12 points. He also had eight points on the Escape Throws and Long Ball. Carter posted scores of 10 on the Gauntlet Drill and eight on the Andrew Luck Drill in the finals.
Devon Lingle – Ponte Vedra High School
Lingle recorded 30 points in the preliminary round. Led by his nine-point Long Ball and eight point Fade Throw output, the 6’1″, 162-pounder made things happen. He scored seven points on the Gauntlet Drill and six points on the Andrew Luck Drill in the finals.
Ben Netting – Mandarin High School
The 6’0″, 133-pounder showed well with a score of 28 in the opening round which included an eight point Fade Throw output and a seven point Accuracy Throw output. Netting ended the afternoon tied for third place in the finals. He was the only quarterback to score a 10 on the Andrew Luck Drill. Netting also was one of two passers to hit on the Moving Target Drill in the finals.
Santino Marucci – Jupiter High School
The 6’1″, 186-pounder is a big kid for a rising freshman. Marucci flashed his strong arm with a 56-yard pass on the Long Ball where he scored nine points. He also added eight points on the Accuracy Throws and had an overall score of 29. Marucci was one of four players to post 10 or more points on the Gauntlet Drill in the finals with 11.
Kyle Lee – Fernandina Beach Middle School
Lee ended up in second out of 11 quarterbacks in his class in the opening round with a score of 21. The 5’11”, 167-pounder had eight points on the Accuracy Throws and six points on the Long Ball. In the finals, his Gauntlet Drill was top notch (14 points) while he added six more on the Andrew Luck Drill.
Other top performers:
Longest Throw – Providence High’s Carter Bradley (73 yards)
Note: Five players threw a pass 60 yards to finish behind Bradley (Camden Orth, Tyler Huff, Caleb Lynum, Ryan Kasper and Gavin Denboer).
Most Accurate – Baldwin’s Gavin Screws and Ponte Vedra’s Jack Murrah each led the way with 13 points.
Note: Gainesville’s Luke Matthews and Baker County’s Noah Carter came close to the top score with 12 points.
Fade Net – Gaither’s Shaye Scott was the only passer to record double digits with a 12-point performance.
— DeBartolo Sports (@DeBartoloSportU) February 27, 2017
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