Junior QB strives to be one of the best

When you talk about quarterbacks for the class of 2007, the name that comes instantly to mind is Jimmy Clausen. So much so, there's plenty of quarterbacks just trying to scrape up a little attention for themselves. There will be some, of course, and one of them could be Peter Lalich of Springfield, Virginia. He doesn't have much of the press now, but if his All-American Junior Combine results say anything, it says that he soon will.

I don't know about you, but it seems like we have been talking about Jimmy Clausen for about four years now. The talented junior quarterback has been the hottest commodity in the country for arguably an entire year as we haven't even approached his final season of play at the prep level.

It's not really surprising, though, as Clausen, this last season, completed 67.4% of his passes, averaged 213.7 yards per game, threw 30 touchdowns with only five interceptions, and his team won a third consecutive Division XI championship. And his sophomore statistics were even gaudier, Clausen throwing 58 touchdown passes, only six interceptions, while completing 69% of his passes.

If you want any part of this kid's limelight, you better bring a lunch………….maybe a couple.

West Springfield high school's Peter Lalich isn't worried about the press. Yes, he'd like to have his name uttered in the same sentence with the Clausens of the world, but reality is what it is and Lalich isn't one to think he's going to change it anytime soon.

However, he isn't against chipping away a little at a time.

During the 2006 U.S. Army Junior All-American Combine, Peter showed a little of what he has to offer during his final season of prep-ball. He certainly has the height, standing right around 6 foot, 5 inches tall. He's got good size, weighing 225 pounds. Lalich even has a pretty darn impressive pro agility run, the Virginia prep-star notching a 4.38 during the testing portion of the two-day All-American event.

The good stuff, though, that's when he takes the field and shows you just what he can do with all that physical potential.

During the course of quarterback drills, you only learn so much, mostly due to the fact that when you have some 70 quarterbacks, no one QB is going to get a lot of time. Lalich made the most out of his, exhibiting a pretty quick release for someone having arms as long as his. He also showed good footwork, good arm strength and his accuracy was amongst the combine's best. It was enough to get him named the first-team QB for the All-Combine team.

For Peter, this is just the start of what he hopes will be a prosperous year. "I want to go out on top," Lalich said of where he'd like to be as not only a team member but as an individual. "I think it would be pretty hard to top Jimmy Clausen, because he's got all of the media already, but I'd like to be considered in the top four."

Lalich will build off of last year's performance, where he threw for 2,700 yards, completing 60% of his throws, hitting 25 of his throws for scores. In an offense that Lalich describes as half "spread", half "west coast", he was able to showcase his arm, but intentionally or not, it also showcased his intelligence. "I call all of my own plays," he said. "So, that gives me an opportunity to mix it up, which I like to do."

That's something a quarterback at the high school level, calling all his own plays. And as a junior, having only had two years within that system, it's even more impressive. So, you can understand why he doesn't look at the systems at the next level as all that intimidating.

What's funny is that while most quarterbacks from high school look at systems in college closely resembling what they do now, Lalich is going the other way. "I don't want to run the spread in college. I want to run what translates the best to the NFL," Peter said. "That's kind of what I am looking for, plus coaches that have NFL backgrounds."

The letters are coming in bundles for Lalich right now, schools like Notre Dame, USC, Michigan, Florida, Cal, UCLA and Nebraska all showing lots of interest right now. And Peter holds two offers currently, coming from Virginia and the University of Ohio.

The Fighting Irish and Trojans were childhood favorites of Lalich, which would be hard to argue with, especially right now. Peter said, though, that he currently has no favorites and even his preferences as to region have some flexibility at this point. "I like schools on the west coast and in the south, but I got to see Nebraska when I was younger, and a big name like that, you have to look at them, too."

Peter will be looking and he said that his preference for regions or even schools won't limit him from exploring every option that's out there. In fact, he's not limiting anything that could pertain to his future, both on and off the field.

He's reaching for the stars in 2006, but don't mistake his eagerness for greed. He's not greedy. He doesn't want all the stars. By the end of the year, five will suit him just fine. "I think everyone wants to feel like they are the best at what they do," Peter said. "I guess I don't care if I am the best, but I have the ability and more importantly, I am willing to put in the work to get as close as I can."

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