For the first time in six seasons, a starting quarterback with the last name of Wells is not under center for the Fort Mill Yellow Jackets.
After Rylan and Rogan Wells piloted the Yellow Jackets’ offense the previous four falls - before moving on to college football at Jacksonville and Valdosta State, respectively -, senior Ryan DeLuca takes over.
He’s entering his third year of playing football at Fort Mill after spending the last two seasons primarily on offense as a wide receiver. DeLuca caught 14 passes last season for 393 yards and four touchdowns in 12 games.
The past two seasons Fort Mill has made the playoffs - and three out of the last four - but with the move into a new 5A classification, things have only gotten tougher for the Jackets.
Knowing he was going to take over for Rogan Wells, DeLuca started preparing when last season ended.
“He has made leaps and bounds since last season,” said Fort Mill coach Ed Susi.
Fort Mill quarterbacks coach Eddie Therrell echoes Susi’s sentiments about DeLuca’s progression since he has taken over at the position.
“Leadership-wise he is good,” Therrell said. “His running is good. The biggest thing now is when he sees pressure in the live stuff.”
We have been working all offseason. He has done a hell of a job and has gotten a lot better.
Fort Mill coach Ed Susi on new quarterback Ryan DeLuca
At 6-feet tall and 170 pounds, DeLuca is pretty nimble moving with the football.
“If I have an opportunity to run I will take it,” he said.
Going under center isn’t anything new for DeLuca. While living in Massachusetts, he played quarterback in middle school. Still, Susi called in some help for DeLuca in the form of former Duke University quarterback Anthony Boone, who played in high school at nearby Weddington in North Carolina.
“He is such a great guy and I like the way he coaches me,” DeLuca said.
Boone helped DeLuca with things like his mechanics and tuning his game for the upcoming 2016 season. DeLuca said when he knew he was going to be the quarterback position was going to be coming open, he wasted no time in letting Susi know he was right for the job.
“I knew a leadership position was what I wanted to do,” he said.
Wells’ brothers’ success at Fort Mill
Rylan Wells - quarterbacked the Yellow Jackets in 2011 and 2012, rushing for a combined 1,517 yards and 16 touchdowns. A college junior, Rylan Wells has a good chance to start at quarterback for Jacksonville University this fall.
Rogan Wells - quarterbacked the Yellow Jackets in 2013 thru 2015. Rogan Wells ended his prep playing days as the Yellow Jackets’ career leader in rush attempts, rushing touchdowns, pass attempts and completions, passing percentage, passing yardage, and total touchdowns. Rogan signed a scholarship to play football at Valdosta State (Ga.).