Long Garnering More Attention

2014 quarterback A.J. Long has been receiving interest from a lot of schools, including Maryland.

Pius X (Bangor, Pa.) sophomore quarterback A.J. Long has been entertaining some visitors recently. Lots of them, actually.

“This week Colorado is supposed to come in but since we don't have school on Friday they're going to figure out another time to come,” said Long. “Buffalo is coming tomorrow. Connecticut was here last week and Michigan State was here yesterday.”

In fact, just a few months ago, Long received his first scholarship offer from UCLA.

Yet with the numbers the sophomore posted this past fall, it's no surprise he's garnering attention from some of the top programs in the country. After leading his team to a District XI title this past fall, Long ended the year with outstanding statistics: 3,700 yards on 212-315 passing and 46 TD to go with 931 yards rushing and 17 TD on 110 carries.

“The best thing I can say about A.J. is that he's a kid who doesn't waste his talent,” said Pius X Coach Phil Stambaugh. “For as gifted as he is, that's not always the case with most athletes. He pushes himself every day and wants to be the best. So that right there puts him in a category above a lot of guys I've coached.”

The 6-foot, 183-pound quarterback has been hitting the road with his father Ace since the season ended, making recent stops at Rutgers, Penn State and Temple, twice. “They're probably recruiting me the hardest now,” said Long of the Owls. “I was there for their last spring practice and their spring game.”

While Long has been getting looks from multiple new programs, one of his original suitors still remains in the mix: Maryland. After attending the Terps' prospect camp last summer, Long caught the eye of now ex-offensive coordinator Gary Crowton, who began calling Long around once a week. According to Ace Long, A.J.'s father, Crowton liked the way his son's dual-threat game fit into his spread offense.

However, despite Crowton's departure, Maryland is still making the effort to remain in good fortune with the 2014 star. This past Monday, Long got a card from wide receivers Coach Lee Hull expressing the Terps interest in the rising junior. “I'll be talking to him shortly,” said Long.

With such impressive numbers in the air and on the ground, some might be quick to categorize Long as more of an athlete than a quarterback. But those people would be wrong, as Long's coach points out. “A.J. is not an athlete who plays quarterback. He's a quarterback who's an athlete,” says Stambaugh. “I think there's a real line that needs to be drawn for that because he's a quarterback that can throw and he can hurt you with his legs. It's very important for him to find a system where he's going to be able to utilize all his skills.”

In terms of this summer, Long will be making his rounds across the east coast, camping at schools like Maryland, Syracuse, Ohio and possibly Penn State. And while the attention of so many Division I programs may seem like a little much for a 16-year-old to take, Long has been handling it all liked a seasoned veteran. “He's calm and cool under pressure and confident in himself,” said Stambaugh. “He wants to be a Division I player and he works for that, so he wants all this attention and he handles it well.”

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