Spread across six fields on a seasonably comfortable Saturday during Memorial Day weekend, you could find the best high school quarterbacks in Arizona gathered at the Scottsdale Sports Complex for the Nike GBAC 7 on 7 Tournament.
“Me, as a quarterback guy, I love seeing talented throwers and what they’re able to do. It’s always fun to see the collection of talent, to see gifted players out here, and gauge how much talent there is in the Arizona area,” NFL Hall of Famer and current Desert Mountain Offensive Coordinator Kurt Warner said.
It was a who’s who of gunslingers. An unmatched collection of talent. On one field, there’s Pinnacle’s Spencer Rattler, who has committed to Oklahoma, and is the number one ranked dual threat quarterback by ESPN and 247 Sports for the 2019 class.
You look to another field, and there’s Chandler’s Jacob Conover. The two time state champion recently committed to BYU after fielding offers from Alabama amongst others. And how about Desert Mountain’s Kedon Slovis, who just announced he will become a USC Trojan?
Then there’s Chaparral’s Jack Miller, who was spinning balls and shredding defenses. Miller is rated by 247 Sports as the number one quarterback in the country for the class of 2020, and has offers from Ohio State, LSU, and Florida State amongst others.
Also, don’t forget about Casteel’s Gunner Cruz who recently committed to Washington State and Higley’s Spencer Brasch who has offers piling up. Right after the tournament, Brasch was heading to Los Angeles to meet with UCLA head coach Chip Kelly. Saguaro class of 2020 QB Tyler Beverett (6’3″ 201 lbs), who will take over as the Sabercats starter this season, hasn’t taken a meaningful snap in a varsity game yet, but already has an offer from Indiana.
“The quarterback position in Arizona, I would say, is top 3 in the country along with California and Texas. There were about six major Division 1 prospects that came out last year, and there is more this year,” Rattler said.
“It’s great we’re putting Arizona on the map, especially at quarterback. We are all a tight knit unit. We all know each other and are happy with what’s happening,” Conover said.
“It’s awesome. Arizona is definitely a quarterback state and I think everyone knows that by now,” Miller said.
“People are starting to realize there’s talent in Arizona and people are starting to come through. It’s really cool when I get an offer, and then I see that same day Kedon gets an offer, or someone else in the Valley gets an offer,” Brasch said.
The ooh’s and ahh’s from spectators were audible throughout the tournament, and one opponent Cruz torched for a touchdown congratulated him after the td toss, “Hey, that was a good ball.” Cruz modestly replied “thank you”, and jogged back to his sideline.
As heralded as this group of signal-callers are, they will continue to work on their craft this summer while preparing for next season.
“Footwork, working on my speed, getting a little bit more mobility, and then bulking up in size,” Conover said.
“The mental part of the game, just working on reads. I’m pretty good at reading everything, but I need to learn protections and all of the things I’m going to need to know at Oklahoma. Really, I just want to be ready for that when I get there as a freshman,” Rattler said.
“Looking at coverages, looking at defenses, trying to master that part of my game. Going through all of my reads, knowing every single play where I’m going to go with the ball, that’s the biggest thing for me right now,” Miller said.
“Doing a lot of stuff on the white board, learning defenses, reads, coverages, pressures, fronts, stuff like that. And then becoming a little more athletic, being able to make plays outside of the pocket a little bit more, and then staying in the weight room getting stronger and bigger,” Cruz said.
Rattler (6’2″ 185 lbs), who threw for 3,946 yards and 45 td’s while completing 65% of his passes last season, told me his commitment to the Sooners is strong while wearing an OU visor. “There’s still a bunch of schools still contacting me and offering, but it’s 110% Oklahoma for me. I’ve always got to have something Oklahoma on me. Always.”
Conover (6’1″ 200 lbs), who averaged 308 yards per game with 32 td’s and just 2 interceptions last year, is happy to be heading to BYU. “I was ready to make that decision. It was clear as day. The head coach (Kalani Sitake) is truly amazing and they’ve got a great new offensive staff. I like what they’re doing there, getting the players to buy into the process, and they’re turning things around.” Conover said he will try to help recruit players to Provo before leaving for his LDS mission.
Slovis (6’3″ 195 lbs), who threw for 2,987 yards and 32 td’s while completing 64% of his passes last season, saw his recruitment really take off in the last couple of months and decided to pull a quick trigger on his commitment. “USC has always been a school that I looked at. I never thought I would get an opportunity to play there. I remember going to the USC-Texas game as a fan and thinking, wow, that would be awesome to play quarterback here, but I didn’t think about it realistically. Once they did offer, I was like, ok. I don’t know how much better it gets after this,” Slovis said.
Miller (6’4″ 215 lbs), who will be a junior next season, is still a ways away from making a college decision. “It’s been really fun. I’ve met a lot of new people and seen a lot of new places. I’ll probably end up deciding where I’m going to go after this season or before the season. I’m going to take a few more visits. Ohio State, LSU, Alabama, and Michigan State, and then I’ll probably be ready to decide,” Miller said.
Brasch (6’4″ 190 lbs), who threw for nearly 2,000 yards and rushed for almost 1,000 yards, and Cruz (6’5″ 220 lbs) who passed for 3,175 yards and 40 td’s while completing 72% of his tosses, each have close to 20 offers. Brasch’s schools include California, North Carolina State, and Vanderbilt, while Cruz, who carries a 4.6 grade point average, is being courted by Arizona State, Washington State, Baylor, Cincinnati, and several Ivy League schools amongst others.
“It (the recruiting) was crazy. It was all mellow then it blew up. It’s fun. It’s exciting, obviously it’s a little bit stressful knowing you’ve got to make the biggest decision of your life so far. I’m going to try and make a decision before the season starts, so that way I can just focus on football,” Cruz said.
By the way, Chandler, led by Conover, defeated Rattler’s Pinnacle squad in the championship game of the 38 team tournament. Conover and Rattler will be in Redondo Beach, California this weekend for the Elite 11 Finals. The pair are competing with 22 other quarterbacks from around the country. 12 QB’s will be selected from that group to participate in The Opening Finals at The Star, home of the Dallas Cowboys training center in Frisco, Texas. The Opening Finals will take place from June 30th – July 3rd.