SMYRNA – Two north Rutherford high school quarterbacks spent time earlier this month in Louisiana honing their skills at the Manning Passing Academy.
Smyrna High’s John Turner and Stewarts Creek’s Chris Dye participated in the same group at the camp, working with various college quarterbacks including Utah State’s Chuckie Keeton.
“It was amazing,” said Turner, who was the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback a year ago as a sophomore. “It was a great event. I just wish I had gotten a chance to meet (Peyton) Manning. I never got to speak to him.
“We got to meet a bunch of college quarterbacks.”
Keeton was the two quarterbacks’ group leader. Other quarterbacks that worked with them included Baylor quarterback Seth Russell, Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel and Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner.
“He taught me something about throwing shorter routes,” Dye said. “He told me to make sure my front leg wasn’t extended so much, so I could throw the ball on a rope, keeping it at the same level without it dying on me.”
Both quarterbacks are projected starters in 2015. Turner, a rising junior, threw for 1,333 yards a year ago on 116 of 206 passing with 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Dye, a rising senior, was 45 of 78 passing for 426 yards with a touchdown and interception as a backup to Mason Hall last season.
Turner said he also learned several mental aspects of the game that can help him this season.
“They said to just be yourself,” Turner said. “They said to play within your game. Don’t try and do anything fancy, just keep your composure.”
Dye has traveled around the country this summer, fine tuning his skills while trying to catch the eye of college football coaches. He’s attended 15 college camps and is headed to Tennessee-Chattanooga with Stewarts Creek receiver Cynterius Lyons Saturday.
“I’m going to them really to try to get noticed by the coaches,” said Dye, who has received college interest from several schools, but has not yet received any offers. “I want to play college football. But I always pick something little up from a coach or a player or someone that is there at the camp like me.”
Dye has gone to the Manning Academy since his eighth-grade year except last year when he didn’t register in time for it.
“I’ve been a big fan of Manning since I was a kid,” he said.
Tom Kreager at 615-278-5168 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kreager.