Shotgun Spratling |

Jack Sears resembles his San Clemente predecessor, USC's Sam Darnold

DANA POINT, Calif. -- One of the hottest recruits in California has a connection and an offer from USC.

Jack Sears, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound San Clemente (Calif.) three-star quarterback, has seen his recruitment blow up this spring. After having an early offer from Utah last year, Sears has grabbed offers from most of the rest of the Pac-12 since January. He also has offers from SEC and ACC schools, including North Carolina, Texas A&M, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

Two of the many offers Sears holds came from local powers USC and UCLA with both schools hoping to add Sears as the quarterback in their 2017 recruiting class after failing to land out-of-state targets at the position.

USC landed Sears’ San Clemente quarterback predecessor, Sam Darnold, who is in the midst of a battle for the starting role with the Trojans thanks to his strong arm and mobility. Tritons’ head coach Jaime Ortiz sees a lot of similar characteristics of versatility from Sears, which is why he thinks Sears could fit in either USC or UCLA’s offensive system:

“Sam could have fit in at Stanford running a pro-style offense just as much as he could fit in running the zone read,” Ortiz said. “I think Jack is in the same boat. When you look at his rankings some people have him as a pocket passer, some people have him as a dual-threat guy. He can do both. 

“There are certain guys who can only do one thing. I think Jack has the physical stature and the mental aspect to do both.”

Ortiz calls Sears a “very cerebral” quarterback. San Clemente trusts him to be a decision maker capable of reading and reacting to what the defense tries to throw at him. 

“He's a guy that controls the car. He’s the main driver,” Ortiz said describing what makes Sears stand out. “I think number one is his football IQ and I think second of all it’s athleticism. Then he’s got a chip on his shoulder. He's not cocky but he’s confident. I think it makes guys around him better. It makes other players better. I think that’s something that sticks out very much.”

Sears was able to watch how Darnold prepared and performed, how he handled himself, his teammates and the media. And he is still leaning on Darnold’s advice and tutelage. 

“He learned a lot [from Darnold],” Ortiz said on Saturday. “Him and Sam were together last night. He even mentioned at the banquet when Sam was leaving, he learned a lot from him in just that one year. 

“I think he learned how to handle the media, how to handle the pressure not only on the field, but off the field. I think Sam also taught Jack, it's not about you. It's about the team. It’s about the community. Sam’s been very diligent about that and now at USC doing the same thing. 

“With Jack, he hasn’t let it get to his head. He continues to focus on his players and wants to compete and do the best he can for his high school team. Sometimes players get caught up in their personal trainers or quarterback coach or their 7-on-7 team. Jack’s been very loyal to the high school and his coaches and the players. That’s something you don't see very often nowadays.

Sears lit up the pool play segment of the AirStrike 7-on-7 passing tournament at Dana Hills (Calif.) over the weekend, shredding defenses with relative ease. He threw some nice crisp balls with good spin. He tossed several touchdowns and didn't have an interception in the segments he was observed.

He has decided to rebuff interview requests to try to focus on his upcoming decision. He and his father are narrowing down the choices and in-depth studying the finalists. According to Ortiz, Sears is planning to be an early enrollee in January and wants to make a commitment at the end of June or during the first week of July, but they don’t want to rush into a decision and then have to play the de-commit, commit game.

Along with the hordes of schools that have stopped by San Clemente to see Sears throw, he plans to visit Cal and Washington next week. He has already been to both USC and UCLA and has trekked through the Carolinas making stops at Duke, Tennessee and Vanderbilt

Check out Jack Sears' passing highlights from last weekend's AirStrike tournament: Top Stories