Brett Gerber, the son of Bradenton Christian head coach Allan Gerber and a promising junior linebacker, has transferred to Manatee, Allan Gerber said Wednesday.
Brett Gerber was Manatee County’s leading tackler the past two seasons and should provide a boost to the Hurricanes’ defense next fall.
Gerber, who had also been a starting forward for the Panthers’ basketball team, recorded 163 tackles this fall with 12 tackles for a loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and two blocked punts. He contributed as an athlete on offense, running the ball 11 times for 73 yards and a touchdown, and catching nine passes for 54 yards. He also converted four two-point conversions.
Allan Gerber, who is also Bradenton Christian’s athletic director, did not comment further beyond confirming his son’s transfer. He declined comment when asked about his future as head coach at the school.
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A second-team All-Area selection, the younger Gerber will provide a logical successor to Garrett Ware, who was a first-team choice, in the center of the Hurricanes’ defense. Ware, a senior linebacker with Football Championship Subdivision offers from Stetson and Valparaiso, ranked second in the area with 112 tackles and also contributed as a tight end. Gerber, who was offered by South Florida when Willie Taggart was the head coach, will have to adjust from Sunshine State Athletic Conference caliber of play to Class 8A.
While the Hurricanes’ defense struggled in 2016, allowing more than 35 points per game, it was a mostly inexperienced group. Only three starters returned from the previous year and multiple starters are set to return in both the secondary and linebackers corps. The Hurricanes are also working on replacing defensive coordinator Chad Choate, whom the program announced last month was stepping down from the position by mutual agreement.
Multiple phone calls to Manatee head coach John Booth were not immediately returned Wednesday.
Gerber’s departure leaves Bradenton Christian with a large hole to fill defensively. The Panthers allowed an average of 30.3 points per game during the fall and didn’t have another player record more than 56 tackles. Gerber led Bradenton Christian in tackles, tackles for a loss, forced fumbles, blocked kicks and quarterback hurries. He was Bradenton Christian’s only player named to the All-SSAC first-team and was a first-team All-Florida Athletic Coaches Association District 16 selection.
With Gerber’s help, the Panthers reached the postseason for the first time in school history as runner-up in the SSAC’s Coral Bay division. Bradenton Christian previously competed in the Florida State High School Athletic Association playoffs.