California QB talks offers

Mater Dei HS (Santa Ana, Calif.) QB Max Wittek is one of the top emerging quarterbacks in the country. The 6-3, 195-pound prototypical quarterback has double digit offers from programs all around the country, including a tender from Steve Spurrier, G.A. Mangus and the Gamecocks. Look inside as Wittek discusses many of his offers with

Mater Dei High School quarterback Max Wittek is used to making tough decisions.

The 6-3, 195-pound quarterback already made one big decision in regard to picking a school when he and his parents made the decision for him to transfer from his high school in Connecticut to Mater Dei in Santa Ana, Calif.

"My quarterback coach -- me and Matt Barkley share the same quarterback coach -- Steve Clarkson, and me and Matt grew kind of close through that," Wittek says. "And then him and my quarterback coach both highly recommended Mater Dei. And then I looked into it with my dad, and it seemed like a good fit for the right place at the right time and we just kind of made it happen."

The track record of producing top quarterbacks at Mater Dei speaks for itself: Heisman trophy winner Matt Leinart, Heisman finalist Colt Brennan and current Southern Cal starter Matt Barkley are all alumnus of the school.

That big decision is already paying off.

After one season under center there, it should come as no surprise that Wittek could be next in line as the latest big-time quarterback to come out of the talent-rich program and make an impact at the next level. Wittek, a prototypical drop-back passer with the legs to run as well, has already picked up offers from California, Clemson, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Illinois, North Carolina, Oregon State, South Carolina and UCLA, and looks poised to pick up more as the process continues.

After sitting out for a year behind Barkley, Wittek took over under center in his junior year and threw for 2,158 yards and 15 touchdowns while earning second-team All-Trinity League honors.

Wittek is currently rated a three-star prospect by, but that number seems destined to go up. The big-armed QB has drawn rave reviews from Scout Director of Recruiting Scott Kennedy.

"Wittek is a greedy quarterback that is always pressuring the defensive backfield," Kennedy says. "He has tremendous vision and always wants to make the big play before checking down to his shorter routes. He has a quick release and a strong arm. He struggles with accuracy at times, but shows poise under pressure and a willingness to hang in the pocket and take a hit. A gun-slinger mentality, Wittek likes the high risk, high reward throws."

It might be that mentality that separates Wittek from some of the other signal-callers in this class. While he doesn't come off as cocky, he is always confident in his ability.

Despite the gunslinger mentality bestowed upon him, Wittek appreciates the mental side of the game as well. He calls Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger his two favorite quarterbacks.

"I try to play smart, take care of the ball," he says. "I have a high confidence in my arm. I feel like I can make any throw on the field. I do tuck it and run, if necessary, if no one is open, although I try not to run so much. I try to get it into one of my playmaker's hands and let them make a play. I do occasionally lower the shoulder so I play with a little toughness."

While the game comes easy to Wittek on the field, his toughest decision may come off the field where he will soon have to choose the next school to showcase his talents at.

Wittek currently claims no favorites, but does admit he would like to play in the Pac-10, ACC or SEC. He also wants to go to a school that runs a pro-style offense and will display his talents in that way.

He also knows one thing that won't play a factor.

"Actually, (location) will play absolutely zero [factor] in my decision," he says. "I came all the way out here just for high school, so I'm open to anywhere in the country for college."

South Carolina is a school that location would almost always work against with a prospect in California but that doesn't appear to be the case with Wittek. South Carolina quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus recently extended an offer his way.

"Definitely interested," Wittek said of the offer. "They always have a good team. It's always important to have a good defense, which they seem to have every year. Coach Spurrier is a prestigious coach, he's won a few games in his day, but also [I have] a lot more research to do on them."

While the Gamecocks' recruitment of Wittek is still in its early stages, he says he hopes to talk to Mangus soon about how he would fit into the program.

While Wittek says a visit to South Carolina is possible, he doesn't know exactly which trips he will take. He has taken a junior day visit to Cal, and taken academic-related tours of UNC and Duke with his older step-brother, but he is very early in the process in regard to recruiting visits.

With a tight schedule at Mater Dei and a goal of potentially committing somewhere before the season or early in the season, a 10-day window in early April could be key to Wittek's recruitment.

"I'm not sure yet," he says. "I have a 10-day spring break coming up and the beginning of next month. So, I'm going to be looking to go see places over that time, at least three or four [schools] maybe, but I'm undecided about (where). I'm going to have to sit down and talk to my dad about that."

By then, he hopes to have an idea of what schools he would like to visit as he begins narrowing the list down. The big-play QB gave his thoughts on some of the schools who have offered him and one local program that has yet to pull the trigger:

California: "They're a prestigious program. There are definitely a lot of good quarterbacks to come out of there. Coach Tedford and Coach Lovely definitely are very advanced offensive minds, and quarterback gurus, and they've proven themselves time and time again with who they've put out. I liked the school; it was a good place, good atmosphere. I definitely liked Cal a lot.

Duke: "I haven't been able to see much of what they do offensively. Like I said, I've been there once, checked out the campus a little bit. Very beautiful campus, but I definitely have some more research to do on them.

Florida: "I like the Gators. The Swamp, the Swamp look amazing, that seems like a great place to see a football game. I'm interested in seeing what steps the offense takes, what style they'll have next year without Tebow. I haven't been able to get there yet, but I do plan on checking out Florida.

Florida State: "I like Florida State a lot. I like coach (Jimbo) Fisher. He has proved to have a fast, physical team, always a lot of playmakers, always good to have some playmakers around you. I definitely would like to stop by there too."

North Carolina: "I like them a lot. I like coach Shoop and Coach Davis. They've proved themselves a little bit in the past few years, getting up in the top 25. There school is great. I like the surroundings at North Carolina. The campus is amazing. I definitely look forward to seeing what it's like when class in session, see how that feels, because that will play a big part, just feeling the atmosphere of the place.

Southern Cal: "I've talked to them a few times. I talked to the quarterbacks coach a bunch -- we're developing a relationship. As far as I know, no offer will be made any time soon. I look forward to hearing from them."

Wittek says he would also like to hear from Georgia.

While there is no particular timetable or plan for narrowing down his list, Wittek will ultimately use his instincts with a little bit of help from his parents, when paring his list and ultimately picking a school, just as he did when he made his first big decision.

"I would more than anything love to play in a pro-style offense," Wittek said. "I'm definitely going to be looking for a staff that I can have a lot of fun with, you know mess around, have a good joking side to us, but always at the same time, we'll know exactly when to handle our business, watch our film, but definitely have a good relationship with the staff. And just somewhere where I can be happy. I'm going to be spending four years there, so I've got to be happy there."

He hopes this decision will pay off just like the last one.

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