COLUMBUS -- As if stepping on a high school football field for the first time isn’t hard enough, imagine doing so as the starting quarterback, in primetime, in front of thousands of fans chanting, “Freshman! Freshman! Freshman!” In the fall of 2012, that’s the exact environment 2016 Sparta (N.J.) Pope John XXIII quarterback Sonny Abramson was walking into in the first high school football game of his career.
“It was exciting,” Abramson told GoBlueWolverine. “First game, it was Friday night lights, we had like 4,000 people out there watching us, everyone screaming and yelling. We were away so for me they were booing but it was crazy to be out there, night game, and first game as a high school quarterback.
“It was an incredible experience throughout the whole year and I couldn’t have done it without my linemen, receivers, my defense -- any of those guys.”
Despite the 27-18 loss to Randolph (N.J.) high school, Abramson and Pope John XXIII were able to rattle off seven straight victories in league play before ending the season losing two straight. The young freshman gunslinger finished the season starting all 10 games, throwing for 2100 yards and 22 touchdowns.
“It was definitely a huge confidence builder,” said Abramson. “You’re out there and you’re experiencing all of these things, like, yeah, I can compete with these guys and yeah I can do this stuff. It’s huge going into your sophomore year and we only lost one senior on the offense so going into this year with all of our guys back -- we as a team have complete confidence.”
Already holding scholarship offers from Rutgers and South Florida, Abramson says Alabama, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, USC, Missouri, Michigan State, and Florida are among several to visit his school this spring.
The Michigan Wolverines also dropped by Pope John XXIII in recent weeks, asked about the Maize & Blue, Abramson admitted he grew up a fan of their rival to the south, the Ohio State Buckeyes.
“My coach did not mention that when he talked to Michigan,” said Abramson laughing. “But he had a good vibe.
“I know they’re kind of like a Stanford of the Midwest type of thing. It’s a great school. I met some of their coaches, have talked to them on the phone some, and it sounds like a very interesting possibility.”
With contrasting offensive philosophies, Ohio State employing a spread attack while Michigan is back to a downhill, pro style attack, Abramson says he’s well versed in both systems.
“Youth football, we were a pro style offense but now in high school we’ve kind of gone to a spread,” he said. “I feel I can fit into either system, just kind of getting the terminology down, footwork down -- it’s a little bit different here and there but I feel like I can play in either system.”
Competing in Sunday’s Nike Football Training Camp in Columbus, Abramson enjoyed the amount of talent in attendance, knowing he belonged.
“It was great,” he said. “The competition was very high. There were a lot of great players out here. The receivers were awesome, other quarterbacks in my group were able to sling it around really well, and the defenders -- it was challenging to go against those guys but it was a lot of fun.”
At 6-foot-2, 209-pounds, Abramson has above average size and arm strength at this stage in development, also showing nice touch on his deep balls, an area he’ll continue working on as he gets back with his Pope John XXIII squad full time starting June 13.
“It’s a lot of work, working on being able to drop in a pass and being able to distinguish what type of throws are appropriate for what type of situation,” said Abramson. “That’s something I’ve tried to focus on is really pinpointing what type of throw I need for what type of situation.”
Abramson plans to camp at Rutgers and Penn State in the coming weeks, with no plans for any added unofficial visits this summer.