As Stanford conducted their quarterback recruiting efforts this past year, they gave chase to Chase Daniel at Southlake Carroll High School in Texas. The 6'1" Lone Star slinger led his team to a perfect 16-0 record and 2004 state championship, as well as the mythical national championship in most prep polls. Daniel racked up some 5,500 total yards in his senior season alone - throwing for more than 4,200 and rushing for more than 1,200. He was a key behind the Dragons' awesome offensive attack, though Carroll HS is a power in Texas football that won a state title before Daniel, and they will be one of the favorites to repeat again in 2005.
The Dragons return several wideouts, including standouts McKay Jacobson and Clint Renfro, to help stretch the field for Carroll this year. But there is reason to believe that the quarterbacking can stay at the elite level that the powerhouse program has enjoyed the last several years. He threw just 30 balls in 2004, but a lot of eyes are already focused on Greg McElroy as a premier passer in Texas football for 2005.
"I just tried to pick up as much as I could under Chase," the Southlake junior describes. "This season was a big plus for me. I learned a lot more about how to be a quarterback."
Though he played mostly mop-up duty for the Dragons this past fall, recruiters know that the 6'3" 210-pound junior has the tools and promise to be an elite signal caller. Last summer he tried out and was selected to be one three Elite 11 ballboys to travel and assist in the Elite 11 Quarterback Camp. The ballboys by title may seem inconsequential, but they are chosen each year among the best underclass quarterbacks in the nation and their selections have been a strong indicator of future success.
On the field, McElroy took a shade over 100 game snaps as a junior, recording 200 yards and two touchdowns on 18-of-30 passing. He ran the ball another 40 times for 175 yards. The opportunities to let loose and throw the ball were limited when he did go under center, as the Dragons typically were sitting on big leads and trying to run fourth quarter clock. McElroy also says you should not read too much into his rushing numbers. They might give the appearance that is he one of those deadly dual-threat quarterbacks, but he laughs at the idea.
"Absolutely not," he laughs when asked if he is a scramblin' man. "I'm a pocket passer. When I have to run, I can, but I'm not going to blow anybody away with my speed. But I have worked hard at it. I run track and ran a 24.4 in the 200m last year."
Chase Daniel dominated the snaps in practices and games the last two years, and that forced McElroy into a role with which he was not familiar. Playing second fiddle took some adjustment, but it changed him for the better.
"I've had a lot of patience this year," the Southlake slinger says. "I never really had a lot of patience because I never really had any adversity in my football career. This past year I learned a lot more in the classroom about the position and the game, and also how to be a leader."
"What I'm going to do in the spring is approach everything like I'm done nothing in varsity football," McElroy continues. "I want to be a better leader and make sure I am there for the guys."
His Zen approach to the coming year of football may serve him and his team well, but patience is not necessarily a virtue when it comes to college recruiting. McElroy is at a serious disadvantage with so little high school football under his belt. No position is recruited and evaluated as early as the quarterback, and recruiters have scarce little they can evaluate on the Carroll junior to date.
"I put together some good film from the snaps I got. I think it was just enough to be able to give schools," McElroy maintains. "I'm hearing from quite a few schools, but I don't have any offers yet. They're waiting to see what I can do."
McElroy says five schools have recruited him the most aggressively to this point: Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Alabama, Oklahoma State and Stanford. "Texas Tech has been recruiting me the hardest," he notes. "They have been recruiting hard since the beginning of last season. I camped there last summer, and they must have liked what they saw."
While playing time has been scarce thus far in his high school career, the summers have been a busy time for McElroy since he was a youngster. He camped at Texas Tech in 2004, and he attended Notre Dame's camp in 2003. Back in 2001 and 2002, he camped at Stanford.
The Cardinal connection for this Texas quarterback has several roots. He was born in Northridge (Calif.) and grew up in the San Fernando Valley until 1998, when his father moved the family to Dallas after receiving a job with the Dallas Stars and Texas Rangers. But the fondness for the West Coast was firmly planted. Moreover, his father, Greg, was an offensive guard and teammate with Buzz Preston at the University of Hawaii in the late 1970s. Preston coached the running backs for three years at Stanford, which helped attract the younger McElroy to camp on The Farm in 2001. Preston moved with Tyrone Willingham to South Bend at the end of that year, but McElroy was hooked on the Card and camped again with the new Buddy Teevens staff in '02.
"I've always rooted for Stanford because I followed the Pac-10. I followed both their basketball and football programs," the junior recruit reveals. "I have a Stanford jersey, a helmet and four hats in my room."
McElroy has yet another Cardinal connection on the new Walt Harris staff, with interior OL coach Tom Freeman, who was his father's position coach at Hawaii. He is scheduled to return to Palo Alto for a third camp under a third coaching staff this summer.
The talented Texas junior is reticent toward naming any top five favorites list, saying he is "open-minded right now." He does admit that two schools have him the most excited thus far.
"Oklahoma is probably my number one school," McElroy admits. "I've never really been a Sooner fan, but I love the program and what Bob Stoops does."
"Stanford is close behind. After you graduate from Stanford, your opportunities are endless," he continues. "Stanford is my family's favorite because of the first-class education that it offers. Also, my dad is now working for the [Los Angeles] Dodgers as Chief Sales Officer. Right now he commutes back and forth from Dallas, so going to Stanford would make it easy for our family to move back to California."
McElroy takes predominately honors classes at Carroll High School and is ranked #84 in his class of 575, holding a 97.5 average. The academic and athletic package is an attractive combination, and that makes him one of the top Cardinal quarterback recruits to watch this spring and summer. Without the benefit of much junior film, his performances at camps and combines will be closely watched. The first big date on his calendar is the Nike Camp at TCU in nearby Fort Worth on April 23. We will be following McElroy's progress and recruitment throughout the exciting months ahead, so stay tuned.
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