Long journey lands new Triton QB in FD

Iowa Central’s Dever looking to reach FBS level again

Blake Dever has logged plenty of miles already in his college football career.

Dever drew plenty of looks from Sun Belt Conference and Conference USA teams after a standout high school career at Wellington in Florida. He eventually decided to attend Savannah State, playing in eight games as a true freshman.

Following the season, though, the program elected to drop down from the FCS ranks to Div. II in 2019, leaving Dever on the search once more. His next journey led to Arkansas State, one of those Sun Belt schools who originally showed interest.

NCAA transfer rules forced Dever to sit out last season, as Justice Hansen grabbed hold of the starting quarterback job.

As soon as Dever elected to find a new home, current Iowa Central — and fellow former Wellington standout — Jesse Montalto reached out.

“When I got my release from Arkansas State, Coach (Jesse) O (Ornelas) and Coach Montalto hit me up real quick,” Dever said. “They wanted to see what I was doing. I think I made the right choice to go JUCO instead of another D1 school.”

Dever was named first team all-county and all-state as a high schooler, throwing for 2,784 yards and 31 touchdowns in Florida’s Class 8A. In his lone season at Savannah State, he completed 44 of 98 passes for 506 yards with two touchdowns.

“He’s the real deal,” Montalto said. “He came here to get himself back to the FBS level. He’s that type of kid that will be ready to play next season.”

Dever didn’t come to Iowa Central alone, either, as he helped land several fellow FBS transfers at the wide receiver position including Kevaughn Dingle, Mannie Greene and Andrew Parchment.

“It made the transition a lot easier,” Dever said. “I’m from south Florida and to bring those guys with me, it’s allowed us to really get settled in here.

“Everything is good and if we keep working together, everything will fall into place.”

Dingle was previously at South Florida, Greene was at Central Florida and Parchment at Northern Illinois. All three are from Florida and join returning sophomore Carlton Todd and former Kennesaw State receiver Ezra Naylor as weapons for Dever.

“Blake was a big part of our recruiting,” Montalto said. “He has a little bit of a ‘swag’ about him — a moxy you want your quarterback to have. He’ll get after guys, but he can hang out with the offensive linemen, the receivers, the running backs, defensive guys; he just has that type of personality that guys gravitate towards.

“He’ll run the show. He’s smart and is an extension of us as a coaching staff on the field.”

Dever compared the Iowa Central offensive system to that of the one he was in at Arkansas State. The Red Wolves went 7-5 last year, averaging 342 yards passing, almost 153 yards rushing and scoring almost 38 points per game.

“It’s very similar,” he said. “We do a lot of the same scheme-like plays that Arkansas State has. It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch on the field and we are ready to get after it.”