For those who assume Mount Si High School quarterback Cale Millen is taking the same late-bloomer-to-the-NFL path as his father, Hugh — well, you might be underestimating the teenager.
He is a far superior athlete.
Just ask the glass backboard he shattered recently in the school’s gymnasium.
“I saved a piece of it,” he said, proudly.
Millen is one of three quarterbacks in the Northwest who are “Nuggets in waiting” for the class of 2019, along with Graham-Kapowsin’s Dylan Morris and Sheldon’s Michael Johnson, Jr.
And like Morris, who has given an oral commitment to the University of Washington, Millen has also landed at a Power 5 conference program — Northwestern University.
“Dylan is closer to being a finished product than Cale,” said Brandon Huffman, the national college football recruiting editor for 247Sports. “But Cale has a lot of upside. His best days are ahead of him.”
Even though the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Millen threw for 2,864 yards and 36 touchdowns as a junior.
Those must be some really, really good days ahead.
He is starting to showcase athletic skills few quarterbacks in the region can match, and Millen put that on display in front of 50 of his fellow students at school in early December.
He was in the gym that afternoon to throw a football around when Jabe Mullins, the school’s best basketball player, walked in, and immediately challenged Millen to a dunking contest.
Mullins went off one foot, and easily dunked with one hand. Millen matched him.
The next dunk, Mullins again went off one foot, and dunked with two hands behind his head.
“I did that, but I went up a lot harder,” Millen said. “Next thing I knew, the backboard shattered to the ground.”
Millen said he looked at all the students who had gathered, but stood there in shock.
“I was the first one to yell, ‘Yeah!’ ” Millen said. “And then everybody started screaming, ‘Yeah, Cale!’”
Millen also can do standstill dunks off two legs.
“I could dunk being 6-5 in my athletic prime in my 20s off one leg,” said Hugh Millen, who had a 10-year playing career in the NFL after serving as the UW’s starting quarterback in 1984-85. “But never in my life have I ever done a two-footed, two-handed dunk. I have never even been close. And Cale has been doing that since he was a 16-year-old.”
Not only does Cale Millen have bounce, he has a burst, too.
Last summer at the UW Rising Stars camp, Millen beat 35-40 other quarterbacks in the 40-yard dash — under the watchful eye of Huskies coach Chris Petersen, who was on the whistle at the starting line.
Millen has been timed running the 40 in less than 4.7 seconds, and plans on running the 100 meters for the boys track team this spring.
That development is why Mount Si coach Charlie Kinnune plans on putting in more read-option run plays for Millen next season.
“I tell you what, Cale is really strong with great hips, and he can do a lot of different things with the football,” Kinnune said. “He has already gained nearly 10 pounds since football season, and his goal is to be 215 pounds before next season.
“We are just starting to scratch the surface with him.”
Of course, one of Millen’s lifelong dreams was to play football for his father’s alma mater — the Huskies.
After the UW signed Colson Yankoff and Jacob Sirmon in this recruiting class, it is likely Petersen will grab only one quarterback recruit next year.
That quarterback appears to be Morris, who committed to the Huskies last July.
“I felt like they didn’t really give me a chance” Millen said of UW offering Morris a scholarship after their ninth-grade season.
Northwestern wasted no time moving in on Millen. Offensive coordinator Mick McCall flew out to Washington a few weeks after the season ended to watch the Mount Si standout throw a few times.
In early December, the Wildcats offered — and Millen accepted.
“It is big-time football,” Millen said. “I could not be happier with my decision.”
NUGGETS-IN-WAITING: CLASS OF 2019
WR JONNY BARRETT, Mount Si, 6-3, 185
ATH DARIEN CHASE, Union, 6-1, 170
RB KEEGAN DUNCAN, Declo (Idaho), 6-3, 200
TE PATRICK HERBERT, Sheldon (Oregon), 6-5, 230
QB MICHAEL JOHNSON JR., Sheldon (Oregon), 6-4, 190
OL NATHANIEL KALEPO, Rainier Beach, 6-6, 315
DL JUSTUS LEGG, Auburn Riverside, 6-4, 240
QB CALE MILLEN, Mount Si, 6-3, 190
QB DYLAN MORRIS, Graham-Kapowsin, 6-1, 180
DL WILL VEA, Eastside Catholic, 6-4, 285
DL GIOVONNI WHITE, Lincoln, 6-2, 295
ATH RAYMOND WOODIE III, Sheldon (Oregon), 6-1, 185