He’s another installment in the long list of Miami-Dade County quarterbacks who made their name with solid careers coming out of the city of Miami. You’ve heard of Teddy Bridgewater, Jacory Harris, Quentin Flowers of course. Meet Chatarius Atwell. The 2018 quarterback is a two-time national champion at Junior Pee Wees from the Liberty City Warriors Optimist youth football program in Miami, Fla.
Atwell’s stellar youth career produced a great amount of hype surrounding his eventual high school choice. Today, all the guesswork stopped as Atwell’s youth coach Robert Jones announced on Facebook that he and the young signal caller would be headed to Miami Northwestern Sr. High School for football. Jones just accepted a job as the offensive coordinator on the junior varsity team.
“He’s unbelievable. That kid is the closet thing I’ve seen to ‘Winke’ (Quentin Flowers-Miami Jackson High/University of South Florida commit) on the park. But in my opinion, I think he’s better, but if not the closest team to him.”
It’s no wonder one of the major powerhouse programs in the nation out of South Florida in St. Thomas Aquinas inquired about Atwell’s services.
“He took an official visited, they offered him a scholarship” Jones said of the Raiders football program. But ultimately the decision to continue under Jones’ leadership was too good for Atwell to pass up on the next level.
The scouting report on the 5’10 eighth grader is solid. He’s got a live arm, fast feet and is incredibly smart.
“He’s soft spoken, he’s not the vocal type. But he takes control of his huddle. But it’s not as hard as you would think it would be because his teammates have so much confidence in him,” said Jones of Atwell’s prowess.
“He’s one of the fastest kids on the team. He’s probably a 4.4-4.5 right now.”
For Miami Northwestern, a program trying to return to the greatness of the late 90s and early 2000s when state and national championships were the norm, Atwell’s a welcomed addition. Jones explained why Atwell made the decision to attend Northwestern.
“To be honest with you, he always wanted to go to the West. Of course I”m an alum, class of 94. I want to say it’s because of his comfort zone with me because they offered me the offensive coordinator job on Junior Varsity at the school.”
Having his coach from his youth days moving up with him to the next level isn’t a bad thing.
“I just told him that I wouldn’t be coaching Midgets, he asked me why? I told him that I didn’t think there was nothing more to prove.”
Nothing left to prove after Jones’ team’s have played for a Pop Warner National title three out of the last four years and won two.
“When I got offered the position at the West, I talked to him and told him I’m not recruiting him to go to the West but what better situation would you have in high school than at the West?” Jones explained.
Jones pledges to run the same offense that he used during this past season at Liberty City coaching Atwell out of a playbook he learned from mentor Antonio ‘Dela’ Brown, a former NFL pro. It’s what probably would make Atwell, according to Jones, the most comfortable transitioning to high school.
“I just told him, We can get this one year on JV in and see what happens. So we went and talked to his mother, and she said whatever [Chatarius] wants I support.”
With his mother in agreement, there was nothing left but to make the choice public and end the speculation. It also doesn’t hurt that many think coach Brown is the front runner for the open head coaching position at Miami Northwestern. As Quinton Flower’s tutor, Brown would be a great future mentor for the young quarterback who holds just as much promise.
“The system that we’ve been in, that’s Antonio Brown’s system. This past season, I went out there to coach on the offense. I just learned as much as I could and took whatever I learned and installed it in my offense. So to answer the question of what I did in the off season…the answer is is [Miami Jackson High’s] playbook. The two years I won nationals, that’s who I’ve been brain picking, that’s where I’ve been getting my tutelage from as far as play calling.”
And after two national championships, Jones remarked “all I can say is ‘look at the results.'”
Florida State’s Devante Freeman who is now heading to the NFL as a running back was the starting quarterback for the Liberty City Warriors in the early 2000’s. He was widely considered one of the best at the time. Jones thinks Atwell’s got a similar trajectory.
Atwell will likely begin as the JV starter and work his way up to Varsity by the end of his freshman season and potentially will start in 2015. Because of his position and his reputation as a leader, it is likely that several other members of that 2013 Liberty City Warriors Junior Pee Wee National championship team may also head to Miami Northwestern, instantly transforming their football program after several years of instability.