Elway Wishes to Blaze His Own Trail

His surname is one of the most well-known in all of football. Thus, it shouldn't come as a surprise that quarterback Jack Elway decided to leave the city in which his father enjoyed a storied career playing the same position. ASU isn't only his college destination; it's also a chance to get out from under the shadows of his Hall of Fame father, John Elway.

Jack Elway has been one of the most talked about newcomers in all of college football this year. His verbal commitment to the Sun Devils generated enormous buzz both locally and nationally, as evident in the all-day mention in ESPN's College Football ticker on October 20th of last year.

Media frenzy during his first few days at Arizona State? Bring it on says the former Cherry Creek (Colo.) High School signal caller.

"It's pretty obvious that it's gonna come up and I'm ready for it," said Elway. "I've been experiencing it my whole life. They are definitely more eyes on you than other quarterbacks. Everything I've done, good or bad, was blown out of proportion because of my name."

"Even though I'm going away from Colorado I know that a lot of media will be following me. I wanted to make my own name and that's why I never considered University of Colorado or Stanford (John Elway's alma mater)."

His junior season with the Bruins pales in comparison to his senior campaign. Nonetheless, Elway said that Oregon was showing some interest back then, and once his recruiting coach with the Ducks, Gary Crowton, accepted a position with LSU, the Tigers became one of his serious suitors as well.

His senior year saw the 6-3 200 Elway complete a near 180 degree improvement. His two-time Super Bowl champion father became his position coach, and his head coach, Gary Critchett, decided to revamp his squad's offense to better suit the skills of its signal caller.

Elway responded with 2,182 yards, 24 touchdown passes and only four interceptions during the 2007 regular season.

"My junior year we were in spread and shotgun all year," Elway recalled. "My senior year I was under center in a one set-back offense and double tight end. So when dropping back I had a lot of time to throw. I was really just wingin' it my junior year. In my senior year I knew actually what was going on, and I knew where I was going with the ball every time."

Elway stated that his father "helped me read defenses" last season, but also noted that previous to his dad joining the coaching ranks with the Bruins that "he always let the coaches handle that. But obviously he was always there when I would ask him questions."

At an earlier age, both father and son began to watch game tape together. The seasons where John won back-to-back Super Bowls are naturally remembered with great fondness by Jack.

Those cherished memories aren't only nostalgic to this Sun Devil newcomer, but they also taught Elway lessons that he applied throughout high school career and ones he will undoubtedly take with him to Tempe this fall.

"His determination – he fought for 15 years before he got that first championship," said Elway. "When I was little I lost like five championships in a row, and my dad always told me that he has gone through the same thing and that you have to lose some (championships) before you win some."

Speaking of cherished memories, Elway never denied that the longtime relationship Arizona State's Head Coach Dennis Erickson had with Elway's late grandfather, Jack Elway, was a significant part in his decision to don the maroon and gold.

The quarterback noted that when Erickson was hired by ASU, his father said that the Sun Devils are one program he should look at. "It definitely helped that my parents knew Coach Erickson," said Elway, "but I really didn't know him as a football coach before I started to look at ASU. I saw all the titles he won and it all came together."

ASU's recruiting coordinator and safeties coach Matt Lubick, as well his dad Colorado State coach Sonny Lubick, are also close friends of the Elway family. Lubick naturally was designated as Elway's ASU's recruiting coach and first visited him in that capacity a few games into his senior year.

"There was definitely more rapport with Coach Lubick than other coaches," Elway admitted. "He's a friend of the family, so it's not like you're trying to get to know him like other coaches who came by."

Elway made a point in 2007 to watch the maroon and gold more often on T.V. ASU's victory over his hometown college Colorado obviously hit home with the Cherry Creek standout on many levels. Yet, more than anything it showed him how similar his high school's offense was to that of the Sun Devils'. "That made a big impression on me," he recalled.

The official visit to Tempe resonated so strongly that on the way back home to Denver Elway told his father, who accompanied him on the trip, that ASU was the place for him. "All the people on the trip were so nice," recalled Elway, "I had a blast at the game, the weather was awesome, I got along great with all the coaches…I just loved everything that I saw."

John Elway remarked "here and there" about his impressions of the Tempe trip, but as was the case throughout the recruitment of his son, it was always up to Jack to make up his own mind without any pressures or swaying from his father or any other person close to him.

"In the end the decision was all mine," Elway stated. "I had a great trip to ASU, and Oregon picked up a transfer quarterback five days before I committed to ASU. It just all came together."

Elway will be arriving in Tempe on July 6, together with fellow Coloradoan and incoming ASU freshman Andrew Sampson. "I can't tell you how excited I am to start my college experience," he said. "Before I go there I'll be working out a lot trying to overall be a better athlete. I'm also going to hang out with my friends because I won't see them for a while once I start college."

Elway has been labeled as a signal caller who has a knack for making plays, but consistency and accuracy are areas that he could improve on. His five interceptions in his last high school game is something that Elway acknowledged that he always will be thinking about, but as with every defeat on the gridiron he knows there's a productive lesson to be learned.

His role at ASU is undefined for now, and Elway looks to continue his growth from his senior year. "I have more potential and I can become better and better," he said. "I know for a fact that I can improve on every aspect of my game, and I know that I definitely need to look more at defenses and get the mental part down.

"I think that I would redshirt my freshman year. I'm not expecting anything and I know that they got other good quarterbacks. But I'm coming with an open mind and ready to work."

Recruit Profile

Name

Jack Elway

High School

Cherry Creek (Colo.)

Position

QB

Height

6-3

Weight

200

Date of Birth

8/11/89

Birthplace

Denver, Colo.

Nickname

"I never had a nickname, but Jack would really be my nickname because my real name is John (Elway III)."

Favorite TV Show

"The Office"

Favorite Movie

"Gladiator"

Favorite Singer

"Hootie and the Blowfish"

Favorite Food

"Steak"

Favorite Drink

"Lemonade"

Favorite Athlete

"Peyton Manning"

Favorite Pro Team

"Denver Broncos"

Person you most admire

"Peyton Manning for what he's done on the field and meeting him off the field – he's one of the nicest people I've ever met."

First Football Memory

"I was like eight years old and I played quarterback. I remember going to my first practice and learning all kinds of things like what holes the running back runs through. We went undefeated that year until the championship game."

One Thing most people don't know about me

"I can do the Rubik's Cube in a minute and a half."

Why did you choose ASU?

"The coaching staff"

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"Hopefully playing football and having a family. If I'm not in football, maybe running a car dealership. My dad is doing that right now and we talked about that, so that's something I might do."

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