There’s a difference in Floyd quarterback A.J. Otranto this year. A big difference.
"I gained about 30 pounds since last year," the junior 5-11, 185 junior said. He definitely looked stronger at the Colonials’ early practices last week, so I quizzed him about his workout regimen.
"Serious weights?" I asked.
"Serious food," Otranto replied with a big grin. "My Dad even got me a mini-fridge for my room."
The mix of calories and curls (he definitely did hit the weight room) has produced a more confident quarterback who is excited about having all of his receivers plus electrifying All-Long Island running back Stacey Bedell on offense for the top-seeded team in Division I.
"I’m a lot more confident in the pocket," Otranto said. "When I watched film from last year, I could tell I was way too nervous. This year, I should be a lot more poised. It feels like last year was just a warm-up. I’m hoping to throw the ball much better."
Otranto played some varsity games as a freshman and was a fulltime starter all of his sophomore season when he guided the Colonials to a second straight appearance in the Class I Long Island Championship game. He hopes his improved size and strength will reverse two straight Floyd defeats to Freeport in the LIC.
"He’s worked hard in the offseason and you can see the difference," Colonials coach Paul Longo said. "He’s a lot bigger and a lot stronger. He’s much more confident than he was last year. That should translate into big runs and big throws. He’s elusive and he’s a tough runner."
Though Otranto’s passing statistics haven’t been overly impressive, Longo called him "a winner. As a ninth grader on the varsity, he came into the Longwood game and threw touchdown passes on his first two drives. Then last year as a sophomore, he started every game and led us to the county championship. He’s had an amazing career so far."
It’s a career that is only at the midpoint. His game and his body are still growing.