Colorado walk-on Schrock off to good start

Freshman quarterback John Schrock has gone from walk-on to third string in less than two weeks at Colorado.

BOULDER – John Schrock is hardly a household name for Colorado fans.

In fact, there aren't many Division I schools that do know about him.

Yet, during the first couple weeks of his college career, the invited walk-on freshman quarterback from Shawnee Mission East High School in Kansas has made a good impression.

"John Schrock has done great," CU coach Jon Embree said after the Buffs' scrimmage on Saturday. "I've been very hard on him because he's made some mistakes that you can't make at the quarterback position. At the same time I have to remember he's just a freshman. (He has) good awareness of where to go with the ball. Has a good feel of the offense and the verbiage. He's done a very good job."

Schrock's grandfather is Boulder-based agent Jack Mills, who is Embree's agent. Through that connection, Schrock sent a highlight tape to Embree and then earned an invitation to walk-on. By Saturday, he had worked his way to a solid No. 3 on the depth chart - ahead of both quarterbacks the Buffs gave scholarships to in February: junior transfer Brent Burnette and fellow true freshman Stevie Joe Dorman.

Schrock threw for 1,634 yards and ran for 600 more as a senior, while accounting for 25 touchdowns. Although those numbers are good, Embree said the offense Schrock ran in high school "didn't really highlight his skills," which probably helped CU land him as a walk-on - rather than another Division I school sending him an offer.

Following Saturday's scrimmage, during which the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Schrock made several great throws, caught up with him to talk about how camp has gone so far.

Q: After two weeks of camp, coach Embree said you're in the lead for the No. 3 spot.

A: Coming in, I didn't really have high expectations for myself, but I also wanted to prepare as if I was playing. With (second-string Nick Hirschman) going down for a few days, coach told me I had an opportunity and just try to take advantage of it.

Q: What do you feel you need to work on?

A: I feel I need to work on everything. Right now, the things I need on most is just staying in the playbook, learning everything, and really getting every level of every concept. There's a few things I'm still kind of cloudy on. One thing that's completely different is protections. We didn't call protections in high school. Strengths, I think I'm pretty calm, I think I'm pretty poised. I got kind of a slow start (in the scrimmage), but as I got going I felt really comfortable with everything. I think everything will just get easier and easier every day.

Q: With Hirschman being hurt, how big was this scrimmage for you, to be able to run the second-team offense?

A: It's awesome. The past couple of days I've been running with the twos and it's been a great opportunity. Coach just told me that with this opportunity you just need to try to take advantage and that's what I'm trying to do - just stay in the playbook every single night, pay attention during meetings, the reps that I get try to take advantage of them. I think it's definitely paying off.

Q: You threw a couple of interceptions - how much are those needing to make better reads, and how much was bad luck?

A: I think the first one was probably bad luck. That was just a tough deal. I thought I put a good ball out there. As I grow and learn more stuff I'll make better reads. The second one was a bad read. I should have just taken off and ran. (The receiver) was covered. The more repetitions and stuff, the easier that will get.

Q: What (scholarship) offers did you get?

A: I didn't have any Division I offers. I had a couple of I-AA schools that were non-scholarship, kind of a walk-on deal. I had talked to my head coach (Chip Sherman) prior to the recruiting stuff. I just told him my dream was to play Division I football. He kind of helped to sift through a lot of the Division II stuff, so I think I had some (offers), but he just didn't tell me about them because he knew I was going to be pay attention.

Q: Coming from Mission Hills, Kansas, what led you here to Boulder?

A: My mom is from here. My grandparents live in Boulder. I have an aunt and uncle and some cousins that live in Lafayette. So, we grew up coming to games. My favorite memory was the CU-Nebraska game when Chris Brown scored six touchdowns. That was awesome. I was here for that one. I've always kind of been a Buffs fan. When coach Embree got the job, I just said, "This is really what I want to do." So, I just went after it and I told him that this is where I want to be and, "Can I have the opportunity to walk on here?"

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