Jake Guarnera knows his freshman football season at Ponte Vedra High will be a challenge. That’s why he’s set realistic goals.
He hopes to make the varsity roster, but he will settle for a spot on the junior varsity team if it means more playing time.
After being selected to play in the 2020 Future Stars Game in June at Atlanta, either goal seems reasonable.
“I just want to play,” the 6-foot, 220-pound offensive tackle said.
Just 14, Guarnera played at Landrum Middle School last year. The Lions finished 9-2 after losing in the second round of the county tournament.
Guarnera tried out for the Florida eighth grade team recently in Jacksonville and earned a spot on the roster. He will play against all-star teams from Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina.
Players aren’t nominated for the all-star teams. They have to attend a camp to be evaluated by coaches while they compete against other players.
Players will stay and practice at Clark-Atlanta University for four days. According to the tournament’s website, in addition to practice, they will spend time in life skills sessions, such as academic requirements, weight training, nutrition, religion in the locker room, social media and life planning.
The tournament is June 10-13.
“He’s already self-determined from playing football and basketball,” said Rickie Simon, Director of Team Florida. “His talent is outstanding and he’s very technical.”
Knocking defensive players on their back is more than technical, Guarnera said. It’s exhilarating.
“It’s pretty fun when you pancake somebody,” he said. “People like to say offensive linemen aren’t smart, but we are. We have to know where we are on the field.”
The Future Stars Game started in 2011. Some of its alumni include: Trevor Lawrence of Clemson, Jamarcus Chatman of Florida State and Emory Jones of Florida.
Guarnera was a three-sport starting athlete at Landrum. In addition to playing football, he was a center on the basketball team and a pitcher/first baseman for the baseball team.
He also is a member of the Junior National Honor Society with a 3.7 GPA and is scheduled to attend all honors and AP courses at Ponte Vedra High.