School is easy for Shadle Park High School’s Brett Rypien. He can’t remember the last time he didn’t get an A.
The football field is where he struggles. The junior quarterback’s best grade was a C-plus.
To get that, Rypien had to break his own Washington state record for passing yards in a game, throwing for 613 yards and eight touchdowns against Mount Spokane on Oct. 3.
Rypien and his quarterback coach, Grant Alford, grade his performance after each game. Alford’s class is tough to pass, even for the Greater Spokane League’s all-time leading passer and the nephew of a Super Bowl MVP.
“If you watch the film, I made the right reads, but my footwork wasn’t that great,” Rypien said.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Rypien threw for 4,086 yards and 57 touchdowns this season, leading Shadle Park to the Class 3A state semifinals a year after passing for 3,589 yards.
His father, Tim, is a former minor league baseball player in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.
His uncle, Mark, spent 11 years as an NFL quarterback after graduating from Washington State University.
Mark Rypien was MVP of Super Bowl XXVI in 1992 while with the Washington Redskins.
There are many reasons to like Brett Rypien, including his footwork, arm strength, knowledge, coachability and the ability to make teammates better.
Mississippi State has 101 reasons.
Rypien drove home one day to see a large stack of envelopes outside his mailbox.
“I was thinking they were all from different schools or something,” Rypien said. “But there were 101 letters, all from Mississippi State.
“They were put together, and it said, ‘101 reasons why you should go to Mississippi State.’ ”
Rypien, who also plays baseball, said he hopes to commit to a school no later than May and has offers from WSU, Colorado State, Idaho, Mississippi State, Boise State and Oregon State.
That’s a lot of options for a C-plus quarterback, though some recruiters rate him much higher.
“On a scale of one to 10, he is as close to 10 as you can be,” said one FBS recruiter, who could not speak on the record because of NCAA restraints against recruiting underclassmen.
Rypien headlines what is expected to be an exceptional in-state recruiting class in 2015. It would be easy for it to go to his head.
“His mom and dad have put some good character in him, and he sees the value in that,” Mark Rypien said. “He looks at the personalities of the Peyton Mannings and Russell Wilsons and how they are on and off the field, and that’s kind of how he sets his mind to work.”
If he did decide to rest on his laurels, he’s surrounded by people who will bring him back to Earth.
“I tell him all the time, ‘Hey, Tom Brady, you haven’t signed a contract yet. Easy with how much you pump your chest there,’ ” Alford said. “But Brett is the most respectful kid I’ve been around, and that is great for how talented he is.”
And Rypien’s aspirations are much bigger than state and GSL records.
“I think my ultimate goal is to play in the NFL,” Rypien said. “Or the MLB. Wherever sports will take me. I’ll try to play as long as I can.”
He’ll just need to keep his grades up.
NUGGETS-IN-WAITING FOR 2015
NAME, POS., HT., WT., CITY (SCHOOL)
- Myles Gaskin, RB, 5-11, 185, Seattle (O’Dea)
- Tristen Hoge, OL, 6-5, 290, Pocatello, Idaho (Highland)
- Austin Joyner, RB, 5-11, 185, Marysville (Marysville-Pilchuck)
- Chico McClatcher, RB, 5-9, 180, Federal Way
- Sam McPherson, ATH, 5-11, 190, Bothell
- Benning Potoa’e, DL, 6-4, 255, Lakewood (Lakes)
- Henry Roberts, OL, 6-6, 270, Bellevue
- Brett Rypien, QB, 6-2, 185, Spokane (Shadle Park)
- Cameron Scarlett, RB, 6-1, 185, Portland, Ore. (Central Catholic)
- Thomas Toki, DL, 6-1, 280, Kirkland (Juanita)
Todd Milles and TJ Cotterill, staff writers