One Repeat Down, One to Go

Since leading his team to a rout in Utah's 5A championship in November, Sandy (UT) Jordan 2015 quarterback Austin Kafentzis has picked up more scholarships, another state championship and a focus on his summer plans.

For an athlete who lives, sleeps and breaths playing competitive football with his teammates, the six months away from the football field for Sandy (UT) Jordan sophomore quarterback Austin Kafentzis can be a trying time.

Good thing he has taken a shine to track and field, another sport that he plays a championship level.

Adding to the state championship he won in November, throwing for 237 yards (228 in the first half alone) and accounted for six touchdowns in a 58-2 walloping, Kafentzis repeated as the state's best in the state at the javelin, winning the 5A individual championship with a throw of 179.0.

It's not quite as good as the state record 199.05.75 he threw the year before but good enough to keep the 6-1, 210-pound quarterback active and improving.

"When I am in a sport I definitely focus on that sport, but I had football on the back of my mind," Kafentzis told Badger Nation. "I definitely excited for football to start. I do track to get me better for football. Just being in the spring sport, staying active and staying on the grind. It also helps keeping my arm active so I am not going to be out of tune."

Track consumed Kafentzis' spring with daily morning lifting sessions and practices on Wednesdays. In order to stay in football shape, he also did work on the 100 meter and 200 meter run to keep his speed. His fastest times in those events were an 11.29 in the 100 and 22.2 in the 200, saying he focused on driving his knees to increase his overall speed.

Maintaining his arm strength helped when college coaches stopped by his school. While it wasn't as busy as some other prospects around the country, Kafentzis hosted a number of coaches during the spring, many of whom came and watched him throw the football. He also picked up a new offer from Hawaii, which joined BYU, Utah, Utah State and Wisconsin on his scholarship list.

"It's helped me not completely forget about football," said Kafentzis of the interest.

While he didn't take many visits throughout the spring, Kafentzis was able to visit Madison and get a tour of the university prior to Wisconsin's spring game at the end of April. Since that time, Kafentzis and his family have made sure to keep an open dialogue with the Wisconsin coaching staff.

"They've kept in touch with me," said Kafentzis. "Coach Chad (Kauha'aha'a) came out to the school and my dad has been talking to them. My dad still talks to (head coach) Gary Andersen a lot."

For football junkies, the state of Utah is the perfect environment. According to Kafentzis, he and his teammates can start 7-on-7 practices this month, going four days a week for four hours a day with the coaching staff. That primes them for a week-long camp with pads and contact at the end of June and slowly build in July from helmets only to helmets and shoulder pads to full pads in August to prepare for the season.

For a team that won the Utah 5A state championship last season, it's a perfect way to start building toward a repeat.

"I feel like our team is going to do pretty well again this year," said Kafentzis. "Everyone has been coming to lifts and working hard. It's getting exciting."

For that reason, it's easy for Kafentzis to put recruiting on the shelf. The only returning captain on his team, Kafentzis threw for 3,018 yards, rushed for 1,884 yards and scored 58 total touchdowns last season, estimating he only scrambled for approximately 21 yards last season.

"I'll still think about recruiting, but one of my main focuses this year is watching more film on the defenses I will be going against this year," said Kafentzis. "You can't go from being state champions to not next year. I am just going to really work my butt off and push the other kids on the team."

Originally planning on camping at Wisconsin this summer, Kafentzis said he didn't want to miss multiple days working out with his teammates by attending UW's mid-week camp. While he still plans to do some weekend camps in his area, Kafentzis is excited to see his first game at Camp Randall when Wisconsin hosts Penn State Thanksgiving weekend.

"When we make it all the way to the state championship game, Wisconsin plays Penn State the week after that," said Kafentzis. "We don't have any bye weeks in our season, so I think I am coming out to that game as of right now."

When asked what school was his favorite this early in the recruiting process, Kafentzis didn't hesitate to say Wisconsin.

"Of course, c'mon," said Kafentzis. "I am fortunate to play football and colleges, I guess, like me. It's crazy to think about. For them to take their time and look at my film, offer me and believe in me when others don't, it definitely means a lot.

"I am never going to forget that trip. That was my first trip out of state to college. It's in the back of my head always. I just have to keep performing and hopefully they still like me when I figure out where I am going to go for the next couple years."

Editor's Note: After publishing this story, Kafentzis said he rearranged his plans to attend Wisconsin's camp on June 17 and 18.

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