College recruiters don’t have to beat the bushes in Arizona to find some of the nation’s top quarterback prospects. They just have to locate one of the many 7-on-7 passing leagues taking place at this time of the year.
Kansas can have its bountiful wheat harvests and Iowa its corn production, but this state grows some of the best quarterbacks in the country. Maybe they’re forged by the desert heat.
More likely, it’s the opportunity to get outside year-round to work on improving mechanics and building a familiarity with next season’s receivers.
This year’s crop has been called by some analysts the best in recent memory.
Spencer Rattler and Tyler Shough have been getting the lion’s share of media attention. Rattler plays for Pinnacle High School in north Phoenix, where he has been the starting quarterback his first two years and now is generally considered the top prospect in the 2018 recruiting class. Shough is a senior at Hamilton High School who really blossomed as a junior and has progressed steadily since, becoming the first Arizona QB selected to play at the Nike Elite 11 competition in Oregon later this month.
The 6’5″ Shough has great size and arm strength to take him to the next level, which was recognized by North Carolina, which made him a scholarship offer he accepted last week. That offer was just one of 23 he received from some of the best programs in the country, including Michigan, Alabama, Florida State, and Georgia.
He threw for 2,079 yards and 27 touchdowns last year and is listed as the No. 16 quarterback in the country by Scout.com
Rattler has been on the college radar screen since his freshman year when he received offers from Arizona State and UCLA. But his stock has risen considerably since then, as he averaged more than 2,500 yards passing each of his first two years and threw 48 touchdowns, and now he also has offers from Notre Dame and Alabama in his pocket.
Jack Miller, too, has been receiving early attention. But when he got an offer from Ohio State as a 14-year-old freshman at Scottsdale Christian Academy, his name was all over the national sports wires.
The sophomore is already 6’3″ and weighs over 200 pounds and has the arm strength – he can throw the ball better than 50 yards, and with accuracy – and vision needed at the college level. Both Arizona Pac-12 programs have offered scholarships.
His numbers last season are off the charts. The dual-threat QB threw for 3,653 yards, ran for another 1,200 yards, and piled up 62 total touchdowns while playing for Scottsdale Christian. He recently transferred to Chaparral High School, where he should be able to help the perennial football power recover from an uncharacteristic 5-6 finish to last season.
Getting less media exposure, but nonetheless getting plenty of attention from college recruiters:
Jacob Conover is a junior at Chandler High School who threw for more than 3,000 yards last season to lead the Wolves to the 6A state championship. Conover will be leading a talent-rich roster in 2017 that will be an early favorite to be playing for a second straight title and provide the kind of support he needs to become one of the top recruits in the state going into his senior season. He received an offer last month from Oregon State.
Max Massingale will be a senior next season at Saguaro High School, where that program’s four straight state championships mean high visibility for its quarterback. Last season, Massingale contributed more than 3,000 total yards, throwing for 2,291 yards and 30 touchdowns and running for 1,012 and 12 more scores to help the Sabercats post a perfect 14-0 record. He has offers from Air Force and Navy, plus a handful of schools that have expressed interest.
Brock Purdy put up even more impressive numbers last season at Perry High School. The senior completed 64 percent of his pass attempts, piling up 3,333 yards and 42 TDs over 10 games. He also scored six times by rushing for 800 yards.
There are others, too, who will no doubt step into the spotlight in the coming season. That’s good for the college recruiters looking for a top quarterback, but also good for high school football fans in Arizona who will get to see some high-scoring games this year.