There are the 2017 prospects who have gotten their verbal commitment to a four-year university out the way so they can enjoy their senior football season. Then there are the ones who have their official visits planned so they can make a decision after their senior run ends.
But then there are the aspiring college football athletes who hope a big senior campaign can finally catapult them to some late scholarship offers, such as Stockton (Calif.) St. Mary’s quarterback Jake Dunniway.
Dunniway quarterbacked the Rams to a 10-3 mark and a perfect season in the Tri-City Athletic League (TCAL) last year. He also held a 4.5 grade point average off the field, then threw for 2,584 yards, 26 touchdowns and got intercepted just four times on the field, and he guided his team to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinals where the Rams fell 56-49 to eventual champion Folsom.
Most players in Dunniway's position often feel perplexed about why the offers aren’t rolling in and sometimes will vent their frustrations out. Yet, Dunniway has taken the high road, as he’s sent this message before his senior campaign arrives.
“I feel that a huge senior year will get me the exposure I need to get my name out there and get looked at," Dunniway said. "I’m a leader and a guy who will work day in and day out to make everyone around me successful. I’m extremely passionate about football and making my family and colleagues proud.”
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Dunniway has done his part to advertise his name in front of college coaches as he attended the Stanford, UC Davis and UCLA camps during the June satellite camp season. Outside of throwing the pigskin in front of those coaching representatives, his mail box got glutted with letters from the University of San Diego, Cornell, Yale and Harvard.
On film, Dunniway has a flair for getting points on the board right away through the play action; as Dunniway does an excellent job of hiding the ball after faking the handoff, immediately locating the open man deep down the field then firing the ball for the quick six. Four of his longest completions stretched between 70 to 80 yards in 2015-16.
While Dunniway provides some highlight worthy throws, he gives his most credit to his supporting cast.
“We have five high caliber wide receivers and an all-star offensive line, so I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to spread the ball and no one is selfish, which is better,” Dunniway said.
Two of his renowned teammates are Sacramento State wide receiver commit Dewey Cotton and the most wanted Ram on the recruiting trail: offensive/defensive lineman Popo Aumavae, a four-star prospect armed with 21 reported offers including a recent one from Ole Miss. Dunniway credits the latter for being the inspirational leader in the Ram locker room.
“Popo definitely gets a lot of attention but just pushes everyone to be the best we can be,” Dunniway said.
The Rams will be entering week zero on Aug. 27 at San Mateo (Calif.) Serra with high expectations and aspirations of winning a state title. As Dunniway longs for his first free college education paper, he’s doing his part to keep his team focused for the 2016-17 grind.
Said Dunniway: “We have to hold each other accountable and don't let the hype get to our heads. Plus play confident and play with and for each other.”