Chip Long’s hunt for quarterback talent took him to Texas this week.
The Irish offensive coordinator traveled to St. Pius X High School in Houston to check out Grant Gunnell, who might have posted the best stat sheet of any quarterback in the country last season, regardless of class.
Gunnell completed 271-of-387 attempts (70 percent) for 4,973 yards (414 yards per game) and 65 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. He added 389 rushing yards and five scores.
Gunnell finished his sophomore season with an eye-popping 140.3 QB rating.
That performance caught the attention of the college football world, with 28 offers already on his list. His top offers include; Alabama, Arizona , Arizona State, Arkansas, Baylor, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, LSU, Nebraska, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Oregon, TCU, Texas A&M, UCLA, and Wisconsin.
Long wanted to get a first-hand look at Gunnell and obviously liked what he saw.
“They came to my practice and the (offensive coordinator) watched me throw and that’s when he offered me,” Gunnell said. “I for sure will visit (Notre Dame). I just don’t know when. I just have to sit down with my family.”
Long made a strong impression.
“I like him a lot,” Gunnell said. “His offense is based on the quarterback and they’re always going to do that with their offense and the (run-pass option). We do a lot of that at our school.
“They have a rich history of great quarterbacks and the program itself. I know that for sure. I need to look into things more recent, but everyone is always talking about them.”
The star signal-caller doesn’t have a top group quite yet but said a couple in-state programs have made strong early impressions. However, he also said he’s considering heading out of state for college.
“Texas A&M is really sticking out and TCU,” Gunnell said.
Surprisingly, Gunnell’s elite arm was not put to use until he transferred to one of the top high school football programs in Texas, St. Pius X.
“I just started playing quarterback freshman year, actually throwing the ball,” Gunnell said. “I played running back and safety. In middle school, I played quarterback but we ran the veer, so I didn’t get to throw much. I only threw, like, once a game, maybe. That was the public school I was zoned to. I ended up going to a private school. The public school wasn’t willing to change (the offense) and at the private school, we throw the ball a lot.”
St. Pius X has an elite football program, owning 14 Texas 5A state titles. Gunnell gushed about the leadership within the program and the talent around him.
“I think we have the best coach in high school football, coach (Stephen) Hill,” Gunnell said. “My receiving corps is unreal. Bryson Jackson also has a Notre Dame offer, Jacob Jefferson is committed to Northwestern. Then a receiver in my class named Chase Lane has an A&M offer and is unreal too, then (wide receiver) Trenton Waggoner. And my offensive line is great too. We’re always competing.”