Zeke Pike never thought he’d be sitting on double-digit scholarship offers before the end of his junior campaign.
It wasn’t because he was ignorant to the process. Zeke’s father, Mark Pike, played linebacker and defensive end at Georgia Tech before a 12-year NFL career with the Buffalo Bills.
Instead, the surprise comes because Pike – a lifelong linebacker and defensive end like his father – didn’t start building on his talents as a quarterback until two years ago.
“I just played a lot of defensive end last season, and the only offense that I’ve played before now is tight end,” said the 6-foot-5, 225-pound Pike. “It was one of those things where I was just looking for a position, and someone told me I had a natural arm. From then on I would wake up on Saturday mornings play quarterback for our Junior Varsity team just to get reps. Now that the guys ahead of me graduated, I’m the starter for the first time.”
The excitement for Pike kicked into high gear when he tore apart the National 7on-7 Championship in Tuscaloosa this past summer, standing out in a group of quarterbacks that included five-star Miami commitment Teddy Bridgewater.
Though new NCAA rules stipulate that written offers can no longer be sent to juniors on Sep. 1, Pike’s mailbox is getting more full by the day.
“I get between 50 and 100 pieces of mail everyday,” he said. “Coaches say they can’t put anything into writing, but I probably had 15 or 16 verbal offers before September, and I’ve picked up more since then. Most schools will send some hand-written mail saying that I have an offer waiting on me.”
Pike camped with Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky and Cincinnati last summer, and all four schools have offered.
Another Southeastern Conference program that extended an early scholarship to the Fort Mitchell, Ky. native: LSU.
“LSU’s another school that I am looking to come see, and if it’s not for a game then I will do some visits next summer for camps and it would come then,” Pike said. “The coaching staff all seems pretty cool. I’ve been able to talk to coach Miles and some of the assistant coaches, and they said I’m one of their priorities for the 2012 class.”
With two scholarship arms that are both juniors and one committed name for 2010, the Tigers are about as short on quarterback depth as anyone in the country, a major selling point for Pike.
“Coach (Frank) Wilson said that they only recruit the best, and they need someone to come in and play right away. Right now he and coach (Gary) Crowton feel like I can be that guy for them.
“I look at LSU and I feel like the offense can adapt to my style. They have (Jordan) Jefferson as a bigger athlete now and he plays with his feet. I’m definitely a mixture of both, and by the time I get to college I think my arm will have developed to where I need it.”
- - Pike has thrown for 1,850 yards and run for 950 yards this season, and he’s added 18 touchdowns through the air and 14 touchdowns on the ground.
- - Pike’s early offers include Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Iowa, LSU, North Carolina, Penn State, USC and Wisconsin.
- - Due to scheduling conflicts, Pike has stuck close to home on his visits this fall. His stops included Louisville, Kentucky and Purdue.
- - If he travels to any remaining games, Pike said the stops would be between Florida, Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Tennessee and Clemson.