BALDWIN – Living under 30 minutes from the Florida-Georgia border, there is a quarterback who is making a lot of noise at Baldwin High.
Gavin Screws is fresh off a sophomore campaign where he totaled 21 touchdowns (19 passing, two rushing) with 1,859 passing yards and nine interceptions.
The 6’1″, 185-pounder guided the Indians to a 7-4 record which included a Class 1A region semifinal appearance. Baldwin lost the game 42-7 to state semifinalist Madison County, but Screws says he felt like the game was slowing down for him that night.
“To me, it was like I locked in more for that game,” Screws told Prep Sports Scouting. “I knew something was on the line and that it was a win or go home game. Mentally we were all there, but it just wasn’t our night.”
For now, he’s working to get stronger. He’s grown an inch and gained five pounds since the end of last season. Screws wants to reach the 190-195 pound mark by August.
Baldwin will be making the move to 3A this season. For Screws, a transfer from Eagle’s View after 2015, he told me to expect big things from the Indians next fall.
“I think it is going to be great competition and a great obstacle for us,” Screws said. “I know we can handle it because our team is reloading. We lost a couple guys, but we have some guys stepping up to take their place.”
Starting his football life at age 5, Screws was an outside linebacker. He moved to quarterback a year later and never turned back.
Screws pointed to the Week 2 matchup against Englewood, a 37-7 win as a key turning point. He tossed a career-high five touchdowns and thought to himself that him and his team could be pretty good at this.
For the longest time, baseball was the path Screws was on. He began playing the sport at age 4 and it wasn’t until two years ago that football took over the spotlight due to his progressions there.
Along with football and baseball, he also plays basketball at Baldwin, a lifelong sport for him. He says it helps with his quickness and he simply loves to compete whether he is on a court or field.
In late February, Screws competed alongside a group of 60 quarterbacks at the 2017 DeBartolo Sports Jacksonville Quarterback Challenge. He was announced as the most accurate passer.
“All the coaching that was given to me. It was also about having a good time,” he said of the event. “I mean you aren’t going to get much from throwing to targets, but mechanically wise help comes out of camps like that. It was a great experience being around guys from my class that I can learn from.”
Screws has trained with DeBartolo Sports quarterback instructor Ryan Walker since freshman year when he met Walker at Mandarin Athletic Association.
He says since he began training with Walker that his reads, ability to use his eyes downfield and wrist flow have improved.
“The first day he [Walker] helped cut out my wide stride,” Screws said. “After that, my game got way better because the ball was coming out faster and my arm got stronger. DeBartolo has done a lot of stuff that I can’t thank them enough.”
Screws trains once a month with Walker in Jacksonville. He says Walker connects with him every week, talking about his grades, colleges and to see how he is doing.
Currently, Southern Mississippi and Troy are the two offers for Screws. They both came over the last few months.
He’s also drawn notable interest from Wake Forest, Kentucky, Florida, North Carolina, Penn State, East Carolina and Washington State.
Screws pointed to his pre-snap reads, reads through progression and accuracy as his biggest strengths. He’s aiming to get faster overall and improve his arm strength further.
At Baldwin, Screws is fortunate to play for longtime head coach Steve Shields. He had nothing but kind words to say about his coaching staff.
“He [Shields] pushes us. Him and coach [B.J.] Ruis demand perfect perfection out of us,” Screws said. “I love the way they push us and it is really a blessing to have coaches like them. I can’t ask for anything more.”
Screws is looking at the present when he says he wants to win a state championship and impact the people around him along the way.
After, that he’s planning to earn a scholarship to play college football and go to school for four years. He mentioned sport management or science as two possible areas of study for him.
Humble, confident and social. Those are just a few words that describe Screws as a person. On the football field, a switch turns on whenever he’s out there. He’s only hitting the peak of his potential right now and I fully expect him to shine as a junior and draw much more attention from Division-I programs.
Favorite players to watch – Former Gators QB Tim Tebow and Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
Playlist before games – Lecrae
Favorite movies – Pirates of the Carribean series
Favorite TV shows – Impractical Jokers
Fun fact about you that you think no one knows – “I play the drums and sing at my church (Evangel Temple Assembly of God). I’ve been doing that ever since I’ve been able to walk.”
Nickname(s) from teammates or friends – “Red Rocket” and “G”
Game film: Screws’ Hudl tape
Photo credit: DeBartolo Sports
Jake Perper is the founder of Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.