It was at least a month, maybe two months, before Signing Day this past winter that we knew the Cardinal would not be taking a quarterback in the 2004 class. And it was at that point that we knew the junior recruiting for signal callers would be an intense focus for '05. It's rare when the program nationally known as "Quarterback U" skips a year at that namesake position, which means the Card coaches have an enticing pitch to make to the most elite slingers in the nation.
A top 100 national recruit who is receiving that pitch is Tuscola (Tex.) quarterback Colt McCoy from Jim Ned High School. McCoy is something of a phenomenon in West Texas, earning First Team All-State honors (class 2A) as a junior after throwing for 3,960 yards and exactly 50 touchdowns in 2003. Tuscola is a true small town in Texas, 20 miles south of Abilene and a good three hours west of Forth Worth, with a population of less than 800 people. But McCoy's golden arm propelled the Indians to the 2A Division I state championship game, where they dropped their first game of the year. Not only is McCoy a big-time threat in the air, he can also beat you on the ground. He racked up 500 yards rushing last fall, including 84 yards and two touchdowns in the state semifinals. Despite all the physical tools for this 6'3" 190-pound Texas talent, he points to other factors that have buoyed his success.
"I just feel comfortable out there playing the game. I have pretty good field vision," the prolific passer explains. "I've grown up with the game my whole life."
That growing up refers to his role as a coach's son. His father, Brad McCoy, is the head coach at Jim Ned and has imparted wisdom and fundamentals to the standout son through the years.
The younger McCoy also runs a 4.6 40 and a 14.9 in the 110m high hurdles. Put those legs together with a live arm and a body that is not even close to physically developed, and you can understand why this Lone Star slinger has such a lofty recruiting reputation. Offers have already come from Texas, Texas A&M and Kansas State. McCoy puts that trio plus Stanford, Oklahoma and Florida State in his top six leaders.
As you can guess with Stanford knocking down his door, this Tuscola talent is a performer in the classroom as well. He currently ranks in the top 10 in his high school class with a 98% average and 3.9 GPA. He scored a 22 on the ACT, though the student-athlete maintains he has more in him than that score represents.
"I did really badly on that test," he bemoans of the fall ACT. "It was the morning after a game and I just wasn't myself. I plan on retaking the ACT and also taking the SAT this spring."
The buzz about McCoy's recruitment has been all Longhorns and Aggies. The two top Texas schools have been on him since before he started his junior season, and there is a very real fear that no program can pull him out of state. The Cardinal coaches have to be a little encouraged, though, by his comments on Stanford as a college option.
"They run an offense I would fit in great and they have great academics," the elite quarterback allows. "I feel like the coaching staff there is a good coaching staff. California is a ways away from home, but if you have a great university, that is one good reason to go that distance. Stanford is definitely that level of school, and they've shown a lot of interest. Their education is top of the line - the best you can get."
Pulling Texas kids away from Austin or College Station is a formidable enough recruiting challenge for the West Coast suitors, but in McCoy's case there is an additional layer of difficulty. He is aiming to make his college commitment this summer, which will not allow for fall official visits. This May evaluation period gives Stanford their once chance to show their face at his remote high school, as well as their one crack at a phone call to his house before he makes his decision. The Cardinal are on the clock.
"I have already visited several of the schools I'm looking at," the prime prospect says of his UT and A&M unofficial trips. "If Stanford continues to increase what they are doing, I'm sure I'll make a visit out there sometime."
As for his overall search, McCoy has a handle on what he wants in a college and football program.
"It comes down to what place I fit into," the junior signal caller states. "It depends on where I can play - improve myself and maybe get to the NFL. I'm also looking at the coaching staff and academics."
Colt McCoy is rated the #27 overall player in Texas according to Stacey Dean, the Texas recruiting analyst for TheInsiders.com.
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