Taking your best athlete and putting them at quarterback is nothing new in high school football, but having that player turn into a BCS prospect at that position in a year's time, is as as common.
That is what happened when Richards High head coach Anthony Sheehan put his offense in the hands of sophomore Tommy Mister last season though. Mister had only one year of quarterbacking experience, none on the varsity level. Fast forward to today and he recently received offers from Notre Dame, Illinois, and is quickly becoming a hot commodity.
"He played youth ball," Coach Sheehan said, "but he was more like a RB-WR-DB. As a freshman, we moved him to quarterback because they didn't have anybody and it took off from there. He was a DB as a freshman too, but saw he had a lot of talent, we didn't have someone coming back [on varsity], and after day one, I said he's our guy. We're going to ride him. We knew he was going to make mistakes. He's a young kid, but he's been wanting to get better. We saw him mature, get better, make better reads, make better decisions and we expect him to keep improving and be a great one for us."
The potential to improve and grow into that great quarterback is exactly what the Fighting Irish and Fighting Illini were banking on when they offered Mister last week. Receiving your first offer is special, but having it come from Notre Dame was downright shocking for him.
"He was very surprised by Notre Dame and very excited they were first, Illinois came in next day, and a couple coaches have been though. He's surprised and humbled. He understands it's a big responsibility and the opportunity of a lifetime to go to college. He's not going to stop working hard and that's one of the great things about him. He's such a hard worker in the weight room and the classroom."
The work ethic may not be evident on film, but several of Mister's more noticeable attributes stood out and helped him earn the recruiting attention he is currently receiving.
"His athleticism is off the charts. They really like that. There were times they could tell there wasn't much there and he made a play out of it. He's a young guy, but he's always asking questions, getting better, and you can tell on film that he's a playmaker with the ball in hands and very dangerous."
The offers, press and other positive accomplishments for Mister have not gone to his head. The opposite has happened, as he has continued to improve and compete, as he did at last weekend's NIKE Camp.
"His footwork needs too be improved, mechanics, and a little bit of decision making; also, getting out of bounds. He's a playmaker and wants to make plays, but I told him he needs to quit taking extra hits. He was more of a quiet leader as a sophomore and he needs to take better charge vocally. In the weight room, he's becoming more vocal and taking the next step towards being a true leader. I'm really excited to see him keep growing and become the next big thing out of here."
What will help Mister deal with all of the attention and expectations is how he is away from football, as Sheehan says he has a real special kid off the field as well.
"Kids gravitate to him. He has a great personality. He jokes, byt knows when it's time to be serious. He likes to have good a good time, but he hits the books, has good grades, and a lot of guys want to be around him. He's a good locker room presence and the leader of the band."
And that band will be going on tour this June.
"He's going down to Illinois this Saturday, I believe Notre Dame on the 22nd and so far right now, I think that's all he has definitely scheduled. He'll be hitting other places as more and more start contacting us. Quite a few Big Tens during the eval period were coming in asking about him, and I expect more and more as days go on."