Reedley QB Branch Preparing for Big Game

Reedley (Calif.) College quarterback Drew Branch (6-3, 210) knows better than to get too excited when college letters filter in through his mailbox.

Recruited as a senior at Exeter (Calif.) High, Branch has several schools that were interested in him, wanted him to take official visits and seemed to be on the brink of offering him.  Then just as quickly as the interest peaked, schools would give him the bad news.

"Kind of the story I had was that a school would like me then before Signing Day, when it was between me and another guy, the kid who was local would commit," said Branch.  "I've learned from my high school experience that letters don't mean a whole lot.  Once you start getting phone calls and start knowing me, then that will mean something."

For now, Branch is just in the letter-receiving stage, getting correspondence from Houston, Utah State, Oregon State, Oregon, Washington, Washington State and Arizona State.  But no phone calls have been received nor offers been extended.

"My attitude going into the season was that I knew I had to go in this year and prove myself," said Branch.  "I haven't got any calls, but I talked to one of the coaches (Thursday), to see what they've heard, if they had calls, and he was actually sending out our 15-16 tapes (Friday) morning to random schools."

Branch saw some time as a freshman at Reedley, but this year has taken the reins and been the chief signal-caller. 

"We're 4-0 and I couldn't ask for much better," said Branch.  "I look on film and see some things I wish I could have taken back, but we're playing well."

Through the first four games, Branch has thrown for around 900 yards, 11 touchdowns and three interceptions.

After he finished his career at Exeter and college offers didn't materialize, he decided that the JC route would be the best step for him.

"To be honest, it never crossed my mind that if I didn't get any offers, I'd try and walk on," said Branch.  "I knew I'd go the JC route.  Football is my love.  I'd definitely like an opportunity to play at the D-I level, but if that doesn't happen and a DII school is willing to offer, I'll take what I can get."

Oregon was scheduled to come by Reedley on Friday, in town before they take on nearby California in a Pac-10 contest.

Branch was NCAA qualified out of HS and is eligible to graduate in December.  Following this year, he'll have three years to play his two seasons.

Branch said he wanted to take some official visits and is hoping that the offers begin to roll in.  He'd also like to begin competing for playing time as soon as possible.

"Right now it kind of depends, if I were to get a school that offered me early, I'd have the whole spring leave and could compete right away," said Branch.  "But if I have to wait, and there is no interest until January or February, I may redshirt."


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