Tyler Shough's surname name is pronounced the same way as the arduous, food-prep activity parents normally foist upon children -- shucking corn. It doesn't take much work -- or that much peeling -- to see the gold in Shough. With 22 offers and a 4.4 grade point average, the 6-foot-5, 195-pounder completed 62.3% of his passes for 2,079 yards, 27 touchdowns and 9 interceptions last season for Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton. He has programs from the Pac-12 to the SEC vying for his services, and on Tuesday, California jumped in.
"I've been talking to coach Tui [quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo] and coach [Charlie] Ragle for a while now, because they obviously had a commit earlier, but I think I've been on their board for quite a bit of time," Shough said. "They came out to see me twice, and then he said he really loved what he saw, and he was handing it off for later. I talked with coach Wilcox, today, and he offered me."
Ragle -- who coached at Phoenix (Ariz.) Moon Valley and Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral -- is well-connected in Arizona high school coaching circles, and saw Shough first a month ago, before coming back with Tuiasosopo in tow several weeks ago.
"They definitely knew him, because he was coaching in Arizona for a long time," Shough said of his own coaches. "They knew who he was, talked with him. I'm pretty sure they had a connection with him."
As for Tuiasosopo, his quarterback resumé speaks for itself.
"He's awesome. I love him as a coach," Shough said. "Pretty cool guy, and obviously, he played the position. That's what I like about coaches, that they know what they're talking about because they did it. It's a cool deal."
Tuiasosopo, after his viewing, was impressed with Shough's composure and the way he ran his offense.
"My command over my guys, and I kind of just had a leadership over them, and he loved my arm, my footwork and my build, as well, and he thinks that I could be the guy there. He had a lot of good things to say," said Shough, who added that his strength is in making plays. "I think I'm a playmaker. I don't like to specifically hone in on, well, 'I can run,' or 'I can throw,' because basically, everyone, when you get to the next level, is going to have a good arm. I like to say that I'm a pretty good leader for our team. We've been through a lot of diversity together, so just stepping up into that role these past couple years is what I take pride in, and academics, as well, just staying true to what I'm good at in the classroom, and my family tradition of that. From a football standpoint, I'm a really good decision maker. I'm always there for my team."
Shough's father was born in Michigan, and went to Arizona State, but it's the Wolverines -- and not the Sun Devils -- who have been thought to be the school to beat.
"I've visited [ASU] quite a bit, because they're only 25 minutes away, but I don't know if I'm really too interested in them. I'm looking to get out of Arizona for college," Shough said.
Shough has already visited Ann Arbor, and wants to make a decision relatively soon. But, he wants to take a few visits before that happens. One of those will be to Berkeley.
"I'm hoping to come out for a visit mid-to-early June, see how my schedule works out," Shough said. "I have the Elite 11 this weekend, and then I'll be visiting North Carolina and South Carolina June 8. Hopefully, some time after that weekend, I can get out for a visit."
A former Gamecocks quarterback, Brandon McIlwain, recently committed to join the Bears as a transfer, playing both baseball and football. Shough, until this year, was also a baseball/football athlete, but put down the bat to focus on quarterbacking. Baseball, though, took him out to California multiple times throughout his youth, and his two older sisters -- Beth Serino, a 30-year old OB/GYN, and 28-year old Corey Shough, a nurse and phlebotomist -- live and work in Ventura County.
"They both live in Ventura, just north of L.A. The youngest lives in Camarillo," Shough said. "I basically live there, because we visit so much. I kind of grew up -- I'm obviously a West Coast dude, so I grew up out there and living here. California's just so close that we're always out there a lot, whether for football or baseball tournaments. It's always been a destination, especially for family."
It's location, partly, that stands out for Cal.
"The location, being closer to family, but I'm just excited to get to know the coaches and see what they have to offer, and how much they like me, and the offensive system and what they've got going on there," Shough said. "Coach Tui and I talked a little bit about their depth chart, and who they have coming in, with that dual-sport guy."
Cal's history of producing quarterbacks -- three NFL draft picks in the last 12 years, including two first-rounders -- is also an eye-opener.
"They've had some QBs come off the board the past couple years, so I've gotten to watch them," Shough said. "I'm excited to get to know them."
Academics, too, are important for Shough, who's taking Advanced Placement U.S. Government, English, and Calculus, as well as Honors Spanish.
"They're huge. Both my parents are teachers, so I grew up with academics," Shough said. "Wherever I go, where I make my decision, academics are going to be a part of it. Obviously, an opportunity to play, as well, and the relationship with the coaches and the school."