At the helm of senior-led Salisbury (Md.) Wicomico High School last fall was junior quarterback Wayne Warren. He piloted the Indians to an 11-1 season, perfect until dropping a 20-19 heartbreaker to Harwood (Md.) Southern in the Class 2A East Region championship - just two wins from playing in the state finals.
"It was tough, but of course we're over it by now," says Warren. "It was a good year, though."
"One thing I would say I did well was leading the team - keeping everybody's heads straight," the signal caller continues. "You get into the game, mess up and get unfocused. That's when I would try to lead the team and get them focused. It would be my job to get that thing clicking. People kind of looked up to me."
The 6'1" 202-pound quarterback threw for 984 yards on 52-of-105 passing in the 2006 season, picking up 19 yards per completion. Warren's passing attempts were somewhat sparse, but he was efficient with 17 touchdowns against just three interceptions. Wicomico ran the ball predominately - 79 percent of the time - in their Wing-T offense.
"We had an all-state running back on our team and another who was an all-conference fullback," Warren explains. "A lot of our offense was mostly running, but when I did pass, I took advantage of it. I competed whenever I could compete."
"This system needs running backs, and we have running backs. But this year, the offense is going to be a lot more on my shoulders because I'm like the only returning starter," he adds. "I'm pretty much positive that I'm going to pass a lot more this year."
"I'm a dual-threat quarterback," describes Warren, who recently was timed running a 4.5 40. "I can throw the ball, but also I can escape out of the pocket and make something happens when the play breaks down."
Though his opportunities in the offense as a junior were not many, the Eastern Shore athlete has already excited college coaches with his film and netted a pair of early scholarship offers.
"I'm being recruited by Maryland at College Park, Virginia, Syracuse, Stanford, Rutgers, North Carolina, Duke, Florida State - I'm being recruited by a whole lot of colleges," Warren says. But the only two who have offered me so far are Syracuse and Stanford. I believe that Maryland is about ready to offer, and University of Virginia is about ready to offer, too."
"Syracuse wants me as an athlete, but the rest of the schools want me at a quarterback," he shares. "Safety would probably be my defensive position. They have seen how I move around on film and like me as an athlete."
"When you're watching a team run a lot, it's kind of hard to see a quarterback when he doesn't have a lot of throwing opportunities," Warren laments. "I definitely want to get to these combines and camps to show that I can throw the ball, rather than just hand the ball off or run the ball."
The dual-threat quarterback will be on display next weekend for a heavy gathering of schools at the Penn State Nike Camp. He also will participate in one-day college camps in June, though those have yet to be scheduled. One might bring Warren to The Farm.
"I'm not too sure yet, but I may be out there sometime in the summer. I'm trying to get out to Stanford," he says. "My coach and I were talking about that the other day, and he mentioned about him coaching at one of their camps. I'll probably make a visit out there to Stanford and see the camp - throw the ball around a little bit."
Warren has already visited Syracuse, making an unofficial visit during his spring break with senior teammate Josh White, one of two Wicomico players who signed with the Orange in February.
"It was really cool. They sound like they really want me up there," Warren reports. "I haven't been out to Stanford yet, but I've talked to them a lot. I like Stanford. It seems like a cool place. Coach [David] Shaw and Coach [Jim] Harbaugh are the two main guys I talk to."
Shaw is the lead recruiter for Warren, not only recruiting that geographical region but also Stanford's offensive coordinator.
"He's a really cool, down-to-earth guy," the recruit relates. "He sounds like a really nice guy. He wouldn't try to lie to you just to try to get you. He seems like he tells you the truth and is a really truthful and honest person."
With several suitors close to home, it is likely that Warren will have plenty of options that don't require him to cross the country for college. Distance concerns would appear on paper to be one of the great hurdles for Stanford to clear in this recruitment, but the Maryland man appears intrigued - if not outright enthused - at the prospect of going to school out West.
"Honestly, I like it because Stanford is out in California, and you get a great education at Stanford," Warren begins. "Plus, you spend a few years of your life somewhere other than where you grew up. I've been on the East Coast my whole life, basically, so I wouldn't mind going out to California. If I'm spending four or five years out there in California, that's a great experience to have. Plus, the weather out there is nice all the time, rather than being up in Syracuse where it's cold. I've grown up here in Maryland, so I wouldn't mind going on a vacation."
"My top two would be Stanford and Syracuse because they're the only ones who have offered so far," he assesses. "Besides that, I don't have any real top favorites. Hopefully I'll have that by the end of the summer or mid-summer, when all of these camps and combines get over with."
While most recruits have a well-defined list of favorites, decision criteria and a commitment deadline, Warren is just beginning his recruiting journey. He does not know whether he will made his decision before or after his senior season. He'd like to find a place where he can get playing time, but the other factors for his decision are still nebulous.
The focus for Warren today is clear enough. He is sitting down for the first time to take the SAT. The self-described "A/B student" with a cumulative 3.3 GPA takes a course load of all Certificate of Merit courses at Wicomico High School. His senior year will be a mixture of AP classes and courses at a nearby community college to get a head start on college credits.
Wayne Warren is also getting a good start on what will be an interesting college recruitment. Stay tuned as we follow the evolution of his story through the coming months, including a possible summer stop at Stanford.
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