In physics, potential refers to energy held by an object due to its position relative to other objects, internal stress, or it’s electric charge.
In football, potential isn’t much different. A player’s potential is often defined, not by how good a player is right now, but by how good he might be in the future. The contributing factors might be the amount of work the player is willing to put in — an internal drive– and his raw, athletic ability.
Players possessing those athletic traits are often described as “electric.”
You wouldn’t be mistaken in using the words potential, electric, or driven to describe Millard South’s junior quarterback TJ Urban.
Urban has always had that potential. Head Coach Andy Means has known about him for a while. But when Urban burst onto the Metro football scene in the fall of 2018, even he was a bit surprised.
“We didn’t see it coming that soon,’ Means said. “He was really good as a freshman and when he was in the youth leagues he was pretty dominating. But, yeah. We knew it would come sooner or later.”
Sooner was the correct answer. Urban was named Millard South’s starting quarterback as a sophomore. In his third game as a starter, he lit up the stat sheet.
Against crosstown rival Millard North, Urban rushed 19 times for 199 yards and three scores. He added a passing touchdown, pacing the Patriots in a 35-10 win. It gave Millard South a 3-0 start for the first time since the 2010 season.
It was hardly the last time Urban would take over a game. He finished the 2018 season with 887 yards passing, 1,285 yards rushing, and a combined 23 touchdowns. Electric indeed.
Most of Urban’s damage was done with his legs. His 4.6 40-yard speed was on full display time and again during his sophomore campaign. He was an effective passer, but knew that he needed to improve.
Recruiting expert and host of YurView’s “Over The Middle” podcast, Jeremy Crabtree, offers this analysis of Urban.
“He keeps getting better and better and will need to continue to develop in the passing game, but he could be a guy that has multiple offers from schools by the end of the season.”
With his sights set on making himself an attractive recruit, Urban hit the camp circuit with a determination to get better, to fulfill his potential.
After camps at Iowa State, Notre Dame, South Dakota, and Northern Iowa, colleges started to take notice of Urban’s skill. An invite to the Nike Elite 11 regional only ramped up the interest.
“North Dakota State, they were talking to me a little bit,” Urban said. “Iowa State and now Northern Colorado and Colorado State. Those have been fun.”
According to his head coach, all of the work put in has made Urban stronger and faster. It’s not something Metro defensive coordinators will be happy to hear. They may be even less pleased to know that he’s become a more thorough dual-threat quarterback.
“We had to change some things with his throwing motion,” Means said. “He’s a lot more accurate. A lot more power behind the ball when he throws it.”
He’ll need power and accuracy if he’s to achieve his self-imposed goals for 2019. Urban says he aims to surpass 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing. The numbers are lofty, but Urban recognizes the necessity of pushing himself, saying “You have to set them high.”
And, of course, there’s a team goal as well. He wants to lead his team to a state championship. It’s a feat not done at Millard South since 2009 when Bronson Marsh, on his way to state-record passing numbers, led the Patriots to the top.
Time will tell if Urban can hit the targeted numbers and end his season by hoisting the trophy in Memorial Stadium But if he does,his energy won’t be potential. It will be positively kinetic.
Don’t miss TJ Urban and Millard South take on Millard North on Friday, September 13th on GameTime at 7pm and streaming live on YurView.com.