Spotlight on | Recruiting

Ken Mastrole coaches FSU QB E.J. Manuel into NFL Draft


Special to The Miami Herald

When Ken Mastrole speaks to the students at his many passing clinics, he explains that hard work will lead to open doors. That philosophy recently came true for the one-time Cardinal Gibbons standout quarterback.

After years and years of making quarterbacks better and changing the course of many futures, Mastrole, who played collegiately at the University of Maryland and Towson State, watched his own “stock rise,” if you will.

Mastrole’s many connections through the years — in high school, college and professionally — led him to Florida State University quarterback E.J. Manuel. A gifted and talented prospect, Manuel had never maximized his talents with the Seminoles.

What Mastrole did was come in and put the gifted passer through every test imaginable. By last week’s NFL Draft, many had felt that his improvement and ability was worthy of a first-round pick. When the Buffalo Bills made the selection, Manuel and his instructor were center stage.

“I felt all along that if E.J. expected to be picked high in the NFL Draft, there would be a lot of work to do,” Mastrole said. “You knew he had the desire when he began to improve in the first few weeks. By the time he began throwing for teams, many had made up their mind that there wasn’t a better all-around quarterback in the draft.”

While the selection of Manuel began to focus in on Mastrole, those who have known and worked with him for years knew it was a matter of time. He had worked with several marquee quarterbacks in the state, getting them better and bringing all regional, state and national attention.

His prized students in the upcoming class include Sean White of University School and Washington State-bound Peyton Bender from Cardinal Gibbons to name a few. His weekly clinics have opened the door for several local players who have taken full advantage.

Plans to move his Mastrole Passing Academy events across the state are among his immediate goals. His clinics and combines have been split between south Florida and the Fort Myers area, which he calls home these days.

“We all knew that Coach Mastrole was special,” said White. “He cares about developing and making sure that you maximize what you have. He is one of those people who is on the fast track to the top of his profession.”

Mastrole evaluates several quarterbacks throughout the state as well as the Miami-Dade/Broward County area. He offered a look at some for the Class of 2014. Their names, followed by a quote from Mastrole:

•  Sean White (Davie University School): “Generates velocity with a compact stroke and can make all the throws required at Division 1 level.”

•  Peyton Bender (Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons): “Bender is very savvy in the pocket avoiding pressure and keeping his eyes moving through 2nd and 3rd progressions.”

•  Treon Harris (Miami Booker T. Washington): “Excellent athlete and the ability to be a game changer for the offense.”

•  Quinton Flowers (Miami Jackson): “Strong arm who makes plays inside the pocket and is even much more dangerous on the edge.”

We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. All you have to do is send a YouTube or Hudl link and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein at .

Read more Larry Blustein stories from the Miami Herald

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