From one end of the Valley to the other last football season, two sophomore quarterbacks thrilled crowds with their abilities to move offenses up and down the field.
In the far Southeast Valley, Chandler Basha’s Ryan Kelley passed for 3,108 yards and 30 touchdowns, while getting his first football scholarship offer from Arizona State.
In Peoria, Sunrise Mountain’s Chase Cord passed for 2,286 yards and 33 touchdowns and ran for 933 more yards with 12 TDs.
They are two different style quarterbacks, who both possess qualities that put them on the track to become elite college players.
But so far Kelley’s recruiting has taken off, while Cord still waits for that first offer.
Kelley, a pro-style quarterback at 6-foot-3, 175 pounds, quickly picked up offers in the spring from UCLA, Texas A&M, Nebraska and North Carolina. Washington State recently offered him. That gives him six major college offers for a kid who will be entering his junior season.
Cord, a dual threat at 6-3, 180, has impressed college coaches in 7 on 7s this month. He led Sunrise Mountain to the semifinals of the Arizona State 7 on 7 tournament last week, three days before leading the Mustangs to the championship of a 25-team tournament at University of Phoenix Stadium.
That same Saturday, Kelley carved up secondaries, leading Basha to the ASU 7 on 7 tourney title, beating Phoenix Mountain Pointe in the final.
ASU coaches Todd Graham and Mike Norvell both took long looks at Cord in the middle of last week at ASU.
“We talked to Todd Graham and Norvell and did pretty well,” Cord said. “They said they were excited to see me play.”
Cord isn’t too worried about not having an offer yet.
“I feel like it’s right there,” he said. “It would be really nice to get an offer or two (this summer). That’s the plan. That’s what I’m shooting for.”
Mike Giovando, a private coach who works with nearly 90 quarterbacks in the Valley, ranging from sixth grade to college, has worked with Kelley and is currently working with Cord.
“Chase is more of an elusive type of kid,” Giovando said. “He’s a good spread quarterback. We’re working on him getting better in the pocket. I know he can throw the football. He can rip it. He’s on the move a lot more
“Ryan is more of a pocket kid. But Ryan is elusive, too. He can get out of trouble and make all sorts of throws. Both are tall, lanky guys. I think they’re the next two. But you never know who is going to emerge.”
The 2017 class appears strong with quarterbacks.
Scottsdale Desert Mountain’s Austin Nuessle, who is 6-3, 185, is another ready to emerge, especially getting coached by former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner. Nuessle recently worked out in front of a Colorado coach and did well.
Scottsdale Chaparral junior Grayson Barry, 6-2, 170, is poised and polished and can make the difficult throws.
Arizona’s top high school football prospects: 2016