Choctaw's Jonah Lianusa Is A Gamer

There are always debates that occur in college football meeting rooms across the nation about high school prospects. You read all year long about the 5-star, 4-star or 3-star prospects. But there are players that get missed in the process. One player that may have been severely missed or underestimated is Choctaw quarterback/athlete Jonah Llanusa.

My major reason for attending the regular season ending game between district champion Lawton, which defeated third-place and playoff bound Choctaw, was to eyeball for myself Llanusa once again.

The 6-1, 200-pound Llanusa has played quarterback the past two seasons for head coach Todd Dilbeck's resurgence project at Choctaw, where there has been little football success over the years. This season the Yellow Jackets are 7-3 (4-2 district) and will open the playoffs Friday in Tulsa at Booker T. Washington.

Llanusa has put the program on his back. Here on Scout.com, Llanusa was not even listed until we added him. On Rivals, he has been listed but is not rated, in other words has no stars. He is also not listed on 24/7.

"The kid is as good as it gets and as good as I have coached," said Dilbeck, a longtime high school and college coach, after the 42-28 loss to district champion and 9-1 Lawton. "He may not be a Division I quarterback but he will play somewhere for somebody. He could play at receiver or on defense."

I agree! Against Lawton, Llanusa was 22-of-36 passing for 325 yards and he threw two interceptions while rushing for 132 yards on 25 carries including all four of the Yellow Jackets touchdowns. He had a spectacular 40-yard run that set up one touchdown. Down 28-0 in the first half, Llanusa brought Choctaw back in the game.

On the season he has thrown for 1,994 yards and rushed for 757-yards while accounting for 39 touchdowns. His career number are even more impressive, and remember many of these have been achieved playing for a program that has been fighting its way up from the bottom of Class 6A football in Oklahoma. He has throw for 5,346 yards with 47 touchdown passes and 41 interceptions. He has rushed for 2,019 yards and 33 touchdowns while averaging almost 4.5 yards a carry in his career.

His defensive experience is light as Choctaw has needed him on offense, but he has seven career tackles and two fumble recoveries showing that nose for the ball. He is unselfish and does not put himself above the team.

"I'm blessed to have a group like this and you know we haven't been to the playoffs in such a long time and it is exciting," Llanusa said after the game with Lawton. "We're excited and our community is excited and we can't wait to go up to Tulsa and play next week. That is what is important right now. We've matured as a team and the game has slowed down for us a lot."

Now to his college prospects, you can see by eyeballing him that he is a legit 6-1 and weighs right around the listed 200 pounds. He looks the part in uniform and plays the part on the field.

Navy has offered and they generally know what they are doing in their recruiting. Arkansas was there to watch on Friday and Oklahoma State is evaluating him.

"Right now I have an offer from Navy to play quarterback, and I have an offer now from OBU (Oklahoma Baptist) and my dad says Oklahoma State may be recruiting me as an athlete and Arkansas was here tonight looking at me in the same way," Llanusa said when asked about his future. "I just want to play football in college. I will try to wait until it happens (to get excited about it)."

There are a lot of kids that say they want to play college football, but when the work begins, and it takes a lot with football and school at that level combining to feel like two full-time jobs, they aren't as interested. It shows in talking to Llanusa that playing college football and continuing to play football is very important to him.

"Just going to play college football is my dream," Llanusa added. "I don't care if I have to play corner, receiver, running back, lineman, whatever. I just love football and want to play college football."

I don't do this often, but every so often an unknown prospect comes around and I can't help myself. Somebody needs to grab this young man because he will be a player and he will be a superb asset on and off the field for a program. The coaches that know about Llanusa and pass on him will regret the decision.


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