Wharton High senior Tanner Stocker learned something about himself last season.
Although he had spent most of his life playing quarterback, he turned out to be a natural on defense.
"I'm good at reading plays and tendencies, being on the offensive side for so long," he said.
Entering fall training camp last year, Stocker and Ryan Hatter were battling for the starting quarterback position, but Coach David Mitchell decided Stocker would serve best in the secondary.
Stocker didn't argue, and he ended the 2009 season with 52 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble.
"I'm willing to play anywhere to help the team," he said.
"He's a guy who is unselfish," Mitchell said. "Its not about him, it's about the team."
Stocker was able to play a few snaps at quarterback, going 13-for-38 for 141 yards. Not only did he have an opportunity to show his skills on both sides of the ball, but also on special teams. He led the county in punting with 2,085 yards, averaging 37.9 yards per kick.
Not bad for a guy who comes from a family of baseball and hockey players.
"I've gotten a lot stronger," Stocker said. "I'm a lot smarter than I was last year. I pick up on things very fast."
Mitchell hopes Stocker will be the defensive playmaker he showed signs of last season.
"His knowledge of the coverage and his hard work, that's what makes him better," Mitchell said.
Mitchell said those attributes also make Stocker a college prospect. He has interest from a handful of Division I-AA programs.
"I'm very coachable and respectful," Stocker said. "I'll give (any coach) my all. I love the sport. I'm not going to kid myself, but I would love to make it to the NFL."
Mitchell said Stocker will again share snaps with Hatter, who threw for 492 yards and two touchdowns last season.
"He's still in the quarterback scenario," he said. "He's going to live on the field."
Just like last season, that suits Stocker just fine.
"That's where I'm best utilized," he said.
Mitchell D. Muley Stadium, 20150 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., TampaCLASS-DISTRICT:
5A-7 (with Brandon, Freedom and Tampa Bay Tech)COACH:
David Mitchell (33-22 overall, fifth season at Wharton)LAST SEASON:
at SpotoSept. 10:
at GaitherSept. 24:
at ArmwoodOct. 1:
at FreedomOct. 29:
East BayNov. 5:
at Tampa Bay TechNov. 12:
No.NamePos.Ht.Wt.Yr.2David LarryRB5-9188Sr.3Mani OladapoDB5-10145Sr.4Shaq WilliamsDB5-10145Sr.6Xavier FisherWR-DB6-0175Sr.7Marcell WilliamDB5-11155Sr.8David PesaudWR5-11135So.9Tanner StockerDB-QB6-2190Sr.10Ryan HatterQB6-0170Sr.11Alex NobleK5-6170Jr.12Jabari CherryWR5-8140Jr.13Michael AikinDE6-2170Jr.14Chase LittonQB6-5175Fr.15Adam JonesWR5-4125Sr.16Jaylen DenardWR5-6130Jr.17Riley HolmesWR5-7148Sr.18Tunda TiamiyuWR6-0170Sr.20Shane MartinSS5-9165Sr.21Jonathon MahanRB-DB5-10170Sr.22John TylerDB5-6165Jr.23Darius HodgesDB5-5140Jr.24Vernon HargreavesDB6-0160So.25Quan BessLB5-11185Jr.26Jeremy SingletonDB5-8150Sr.27Jordan SabbWR6-0165Jr.29Bradley PriorLB6-1175Sr.30Rodney McSwainLB5-10185So.31Marcolm BanksRB5-8190Jr.40Darius PageRB5-7185Jr.42DeMarquise KendrickLB6-0200So.45Charles KrauseLB6-0195Fr.48Jacob ChaffinDE6-1175Sr.50Juwan CherryDT5-10245Sr.52Dominic BourneOL6-0235So.55James MaggertLB5-11170Jr.56Conrad JonesOL6-1225Sr.57Rocky EnosLB5-11155So.58Chris MyersLB6-0190So.59Reginald AugusteDL6-0210Sr.60Ali KhalilOL6-3315Jr.64Alex SandovalDL5-9220Sr.65Gabe NoldOL6-0260So.68Michael PerezDT6-0229Sr.70Forrest LeflerOL6-0200Jr.71Jordan JohnsonDL5-9235Jr.72Christian JonesOL5-10215So.75Rameez RaoOL6-0205Jr.77Jacob MeierOL6-0195So.78Malcolm Dallas-ChallengerDL5-6270Sr.80Nyere ThompsonTE6-0190Jr.81Marvin MurrayWR6-2190Sr.82Trent HowellWR6-0170So.85Darius CarterWR6-1176Sr.94Emmanuel SimonLB6-0190Sr.99Chowdel'e PierreDL6-3200Sr.