2018 Newhall (Calif.) Hart quarterback J.T. Shrout is keenly aware of his school's history when it comes to California quarterbacks. There was Kyle Boller, most recently, who became Jeff Tedford's first big project upon arriving in Berkeley in 2002. He went from nearly quitting the game to hearing his name called 19th overall in the 2003 NFL Draft. Long before that, though, legendary Bears quarterback and then coach, Joe Kapp, walked the Hart halls along with Shrout's grandmother, before playing in the 1959 Rose Bowl and winning a pair of Pacific Coast Conference titles in basketball under Pete Newell.
"It would be pretty cool to follow in the line of some great Hart quarterbacks," Shrout said. "Some great quarterbacks have gone through Hart and gone through Cal, and both made it to the NFL, so it's been a good road for them."
On Tuesday, Shrout got his chance to be the next Hart quarterback to make his way north, when he received a scholarship offer from quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo. Both Tuiasosopo and offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin had been well aware of Shrout before offering him. Shrout's predecessor as the Hart starter, Nick Moore, was Baldwin's quarterback target at Eastern Washington, committing just days after Baldwin took the OC job at Cal. Tuiasosopo saw Shrout at last year's UCLA summer camp.
"I met him at the UCLA camp last year, and caught his eye a little bit, throwing for him," Shrout said on Wednesday. "He said he'd be watching me through whatever little film I had this season, and he'd be waiting to watch me this spring. I've talked to him since he got up to Cal, and we've been building a relationship, and the relationship's been good. He finally got to come down and see me throw, liked me and pulled the trigger. I was really happy about it."
Shrout played in 5 games this season, completing 6-of-8 passes for 143 yards and 2 touchdowns to 1 interception, rushing 8 times for 80 yards and one touchdown, but what Tuiasosopo saw of the 6-foot-3, 185-pounder this week was enough.
"He said the ball just came off my hand really well, and said I could sling it as good as the best guys in the country, in his opinion," Shrout said. "It was really humbling to hear that from such a touted guy like him, a guy who's played at the highest level."
Shrout plays in a spread system -- the same system his father played in when he was at Hart -- but from what Shrout saw of Baldwin's offense at Eastern Washington, he knows he'll fit right in.
"I know coach Baldwin, and I've known him since last offseason, when I went up to Eastern Washington, and got to see what they do offensively," Shrout said. "They like to throw the ball a lot, and I think that's what I do best. I think I could fit in their system pretty well, and help them out a lot, with my skill set. They do a lot of the same stuff I do at my school right now. They got the spread in there, they've got some pro-style stuff, two-tight end sets, they've got a variety of things I can do, and that's what helps them be a very deadly offense. You don't expect one thing from them. They can do it all. They can run the ball down your throat, but they can also spread you out and sling the rock, too, so I like what they do offensively, up there."
Shrout wants to get up and visit Cal "as soon as I can," and will soon sit down with his parents in the next few days and figure out the details.
"I can't wait to get up there and continue building a relationship with coach [Justin] Wilcox and the staff," he said.
Academically, Shrout has a 3.3 grade point average, and took the SAT on May 6. He'll be getting his scores back in the next few days.