San Jacinto's Chasen Stangel would certainly never begrudge them their success, because he thinks they are all well-deserving. But Stangel certainly doesn't look at himself as a second-fiddle. "Those guys are great and they deserve all the publicity they have gotten," Stangel said. "But I don't think I'm too far away from those guys. In fact, I'd say I am right up there with them. I am real confident in what I can do."
Chasen would say that he's confident, but he'd also say that his confidence stems from the guidance he's received from his coach, who is also his dad. "He is 100 percent responsible for where I am at as a quarterback," Chasen said of his dad, Bob Stangel Jr. "He's taught me everything I know about the position."
What Chasen has heard from coaches at the next level have only cemented that confidence in his fundamentals, because that's what coaches really notice about what he does on the field. "Coaches say they really like my feet and they think I have a quick release," Chasen said. "That goes back to my dad. He's taught me how to move, where to put my feet, how to throw – you name it."
How that ability has translated on the field isn't too shabby either. As a junior, Chasen completed 62% of his passes, totaling 2,407 yards, scoring 19 touchdowns and only throwing five interceptions.
With those numbers and his 6 foot, 2 inch, almost 200 pound frame, whether or not you need Stangel to compete right away, the numbers say that he could. But it's not the numbers Chasen would prefer schools recognize his ability, because he thinks what you see it what you get. It's the other things he brings to the field.
"I know I work hard to get better every day," he said. "I'm a guy that other guys can look to, to get it done and to lead."
That's what you hear all kids say or most, anyway. But Stangel has a little something to back him up. It was a game, one of those games, the game that puts a player in a position, where he'll flourish or he'll fold.
In the playoffs last season, Chasen's team faced off against Verbum Dei. With only three minutes left in the game and Stangel's team up by only one, Chasen was about to go on one of the biggest emotional up-and-down experiences of his life:
"We had been running this play, the "54 Cross" the whole game," he said. "It's when the receivers slant in from both sides. Well, Akeem Ayers read it this one time, dropped back and he jumped the play, intercepting the ball, and taking it back like 50 yards for the touchdown. That made the score 27-21 them. That was a tough situation, but I knew that if we got the ball back, we could do something with it."
Verbum Dei almost left that possibility moot as they drove all the way down to Jacinto's 25-yard line, but they did indeed get that stop. Chasen and his offense looked at 75 yards to go and only 50 seconds to accomplish it.
In the two-minute offense with Chasen calling all the plays himself, they drove down, scored, sending Verbum Dei home and San Jacinto onto the next round of the playoffs. While it didn't end like the fairy tale, dropping their next game to Grace Brethren, it proved just what Stangel was talking about.
"My dad always taught me that it takes more than being physically tough to be a good player. You have to be mentally tough too," Chasen said. "When you get in situations like that, you have to be willing and ready to do what it takes to win."
"It was the greatest feeling of my life to do that. To go from losing to winning – I can't really even describe just how that feels. But I think that's a little of what I bring, because we may be down, but I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that we aren't out."
All of that leads to the point this year, where recruiting starts to take over as the predominant experience in his life. Chasen has offers from New Mexico, New Mexico State, Purdue, Idaho and UTEP, but the attention is coming from all over. Washington, San Diego State, Nebraska, Cal, Arizona, BYU and TCU, just to name a few, are all recruiting him actively right now.
That's just the warm up, because Chasen is putting on some miles in the very near future. "June 1st I am going to UTEP, June 8th and 9th I'm going to TCU. The 10th and 11th, I am going to SMU and June 17th, I am going to the Elite Quarterback Academy at Nebraska," he said. "Then in July, I am heading to Washington on the 1st and then on the 6th and 7th, I'll check out San Diego State. That's about all I know of for right now."
Nebraska is an interesting team for Stangel, but not because of its proximity or even because it's a west coast kid looking at a Midwestern town. It has to do with genealogy to an extent, because while he doesn't know a lot about the Huskers, the rest of his family does. "I have family from Nebraska (Tecumseh) and my grandparents are just huge Nebraska fans," he said. "They have the flags waving outside of the house, so there are a lot of people in my family, who are big Husker fans."
You can guess that the thought of Nebraska possibly offering is big. That makes this Academy, which really is a competition of sorts, even more significant for Stangel. He wants to look good, show Nebraska coaches what he can do, but he also wants to win. "It would be great come out of there with a Nebraska offer, but if it's a competition of any kind, I want to win," he said. "That's the kind of attitude you have to have, because if you aren't out there to win, what are you doing."
And if the offer comes?
"That would be great and you can put Nebraska as super high on my list," Chasen said. "I don't know a lot about them myself, but I have heard enough, that I know what kind of program it is."
"It would be really exciting to get an offer from them."
Like any kid looking at any school, Chasen will look for in Nebraska what he looks for in any other school. Does he get along with the coaches? Does the place have a great atmosphere?: Does the institution have solid academics? Chasen will throw another thing in there, because he's experienced it to a degree, and wouldn't mind being a part of something like that again.
"Me and my dad went to Tallahassee and that's what they call a college town," Chasen said. "It was Florida State this, Florida State that and it was just all about that program. That was great. It was just awesome to see, and that's what I would like to be a part of – just a town that kind of revolves around the program. That would be a lot of fun."
With all the visits scheduled and all the teams he's looking at, you'd assume that Chasen isn't wanting to waste anytime in figuring out where he wants to go. Like most kids heading into their senior year, he'd like to enjoy it for what it is, and have recruiting on the back burner.
If everything works out, that's just what will happen, because when the first snap takes place on his season, he'll know exactly where he's going to go. "I am hoping that by the end of July I know where I want to go," he said. "If I absolutely have to, I'll hold off and wait, take my official visits. But I'm hoping that I know by that time where I want to attend school, so that I can just go into my season and have a great year."
From the outside in, it would appear Nebraska might have a slight edge. Much of the family are fans and with Chasen himself, there's some definite affection. Stangel is pretty intent on sticking at least the summer out, though, because other schools have recruited him very well, and he wants to give everyone a chance to be heard.
"Washington has been real good to me, so it's important to check them out, and really, there's so much I want to see," he said. "I want to look at everyone, make sure I know as much as I can about each, and then figure out where I want to go."
"It's four or five years of my life, so you can't just jump to a decision. You really have to be sure. And I know that with my family, I'll be going to a place which is the best fit for me."
Don't worry about missing out on what Chase does, because Big Red Report will be there covering the entire Academy, start to finish. Will he win? Will he get the offer? Will he become the next Husker QB? Make sure to stay tuned and find out.