Rochester coach Derek Leonard is excited about this year's football team.
"We're 7-0 and ranked first in the state. Things are going well for us. It's been a fun year for sure. We had a great run last year. We came up a yard short from winning a championship. Hopefully we'll give the title a run this year."
Sean Robinson quarterbacked the Central State Eight team last season and is now a freshman at Purdue. Present senior Riley McMinn is a defensive end committed to Iowa. Now along comes Wes Lunt, younger brother of Will, a quarterback at Western Illinois.
"I've been blessed, perhaps lucky is a better word as a coach," Leonard admits.
Rochester has seen some population growth in recent years, but not as much as some might think according to Leonard.
"We kind of get that label but we're actually down a little bit this year. I think we will grow. We're basically right next to Springfield, so people are starting to move out here. Ten years ago it was growing at a pretty quick pace, but now it's not as fast as we get portrayed.
"It's funny. We've been in Class 4A the last 7, 8 or 9 years. But just this week we're in the 3A playoff outlook. We may be 4A by the end of the year, but we're right in between 3A and 4A."
Regardless, Lunt is making a big impression in his junior season. He was Robinson's understudy last season, so his talent wasn't widely known until recently.
"Sean was really good," Lunt relates. "He taught me a lot and helped me. I'm just glad I finally get to play."
Leonard offers high praise for Lunt's abilities.
"I've had two big-time quarterbacks, and obviously Wes is going to be a third. He's about 6'-5", 6'-5 and 1/2". He can throw it around. He's got about the best natural release I've ever seen from a kid. Great instincts, he's a great leader, a smart kid. He's your prototypical pro-style quarterback. He can fling it.
"He's as good as those other two right now. In terms of natural ability, he's the best I've ever seen. I've had some good ones and seen some good ones, and he's at the top of the list. He's a big-time recruit."
While Lunt is not known for his running ability, Leonard says he has the ability to avoid a rush.
"He's not Sean Robinson, he's not a Tim Tebow-like guy. He's a fast kid, and what he has is great instincts in the pocket. He moves around in the pocket great. He's got that natural point guard instinct. He moves up and back, side to side in the pocket. He's kind of like a Tom Brady in the pocket. He feels the rush. Since he's 6'-5" and can throw like he can, he's gonna be special.
"So many look the part and can throw the ball a mile, but the key truly is the instinct. He has the natural ability to step up and pull the trigger at the right time. He gets it. He's a natural. He's the total package."
Lunt is less generous with self-praise.
"I'm definitely a pro-style, drop back passer. I'll run if I have to. The short game is probably my best. My height is a good thing. Quarterbacks have to be pretty tall. It definitely helps a lot."
He knows what he wants to improve.
"Definitely my footwork. Also, reading defenses and making good decisions."
Leonard purposely kept quiet about his young prospect, at least until he proved himself in game action.
"After Sean and Riley, we really kept a wrap on him so far. I didn't want to put pressure on him. He didn't have any playing experience. The kid's got to prove he can pull the trigger, and obviously he has. He's been awesome."
A number of coaches are beginning to inquire about Lunt, but few have seen him play yet.
"Coaches at Boston College, Michigan State and Nebraska have seen him in person. Coach Vic Koenning from Illinois has been over once. They told me he's special. He hasn't gone to any camps, but he will senior year. Everyone else calls, but they haven't seen him throw."
Lunt provides a more complete list of the schools making contact.
"Northwestern, Michigan State, Illinois, Northern (Illinois), Purdue, Boston College and Duke are the main ones."
Did he have any favorite growing up?
"No, I like watching all of them really. I have no favorite."
What is he looking for in a college?
"An offense that fits my personality, good academics and a coaching staff I like."
Lunt, who thinks he might want to study Business or Law in college, is looking forward to his big game with Chatham this weekend. Rochester be on it's way to a state championship, and this year might be the best one for Lunt.
"We're very senior-dominated. Me and a wideout are the only juniors on offense. As long as everyone stays healthy, we'll see what happens."