Rumors spread last year of some freshman quarterback entering Graham-Kapowsin High School who might not be too bad. Maybe even pretty good.
Dylan Morris then threw for 2,152 yards (131-for-228 passing) with 18 touchdowns and helped the Eagles reach the 4A state quarterfinals.
Morris was selected as the top-ranked quarterback at the second-annual Northwest 9 at Northwest University in Kirkland. The three-day camp run by former University of Washington quarterback Taylor Barton, included high school quarterbacks from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
Morris was the only underclassman in the top nine and was slotted just ahead of Royal’s Kaden Jenks, who led the Knights to the 1A state title last season. Morris’ sophomore school year doesn’t officially begin until next month.
"All I thought was we’re all quarterbacks, we’re all in this for the same goal – we’re trying to play college football someday," Morris said. "So it was really easy to relate to all the guys – if they were a senior or freshman guys younger than me."
Bothell junior Jacob Sirmon, a UW commit, was the No. 1 selection last year, but he was unable to attend this one.
"Last year, our No. 1 guy was a guy who hadn’t started a game of high school football yet," Barton said. "People reacted to it like we must be crazy, and he got a scholarship from Alabama yesterday.
"Dylan Morris a year from today is going to be a guy that I’m going to be saying the same thing about. Not necessarily that he has an offer from Alabama, but that we might not be so crazy naming him No. 1."
And that’s not to say Morris, who is 6-foot-1, 180 pounds and considered a four-star quarterback by Scout.com, can’t improve.
"I talked to him about this throughout the week – because he’s not the 6-4 guy people right away look at him, fair or unfair, and say he’s a little undersized," Barton said. "You don’t have as much rope as a guy who is 6-4 or 6-5."
But Barton said he was just as impressed with Morris’ leadership abilities as he was Morris’ spiral, noticing it first at the Seattle Mariners-Boston Red Sox game the Northwest 9 participants watched together on Monday from a box suite at Safeco Field.
“That’s just kind of been my personality,” Morris said. “ I’ve always been a vocal guy. That’s how I am at G-K. I’ll be one of the loudest or one of the guys saying a joke. It’s just been my personality.”
The camp’s coaches included Barton; Kennedy Catholic coach Sheldon Cross, who last year was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Idaho State; former Auburn Mountainview quarterback Domenic Rockey; former Whitworth quarterback Joel Clark; and former Decatur and Western Washington quarterback Jason Stiles, who, like Barton, is now a commentator for ROOT Sports.
And it wasn’t all QB-centric competitions. They also had a Knockerball – fortunately for Morris, he didn’t have to go up against UW linebacker Amandre Williams like last year – and a Slip N’ Slide. They quizzed on playbooks and film and slept in the university’s dorms.
Other South Sound quarterbacks ranked included Stadium junior Hunter Wendling, who threw for 2,131 yards (154-for-271 passing) and 11 touchdowns for the Tigers last year. He was ranked fifth.
Lincoln senior and dual-threat quarterback Joey Sinclair was No. 6. Sinclair was limited to five games because of a broken collarbone, but still threw for 1,184 yards (66-for-106 passing) and 16 touchdowns.
Bellarmine Prep senior Christian Moore was slotted seventh after throwing for 1,358 yards (119-for-214) and nine touchdowns last season.
Here’s what Barton had to say about each:
Wendling: "Hunter is a winner. He’s another guy people will question how far he can throw it or how hard he can throw. And it bugs me so much because the only time you need to throw the ball 70 yards is on a Hail Mary. The majority of throws are 0-25 yards, and more important than arm strength on those is rhythm and timing, and I don’t know if I’ve ever worked with a quarterback who has better rhythm and timing than Hunter Wendling. Even the best guys – guys who have gone on to the NFL. I’m not saying he’s that level, but as far as rhythm and timing and understanding the game and windows and holes, I think Hunter is the best I’ve ever seen at that in the Northwest."
Sinclair: "Joey Sinclair was a kid we struggled with as a staff whether he should even get an invite. He had an injury last year, so he didn’t get to finish a whole season. But he’s such a good athlete. … I watched him and you could see he had a strong arm and was a great athlete with good feet. When you have that, you can work on the nuances of the QB position."
Moore: "When you look at him, he’s the epitome of passing the eye test. You look at him and you go, ‘That’s an NFL body right there.’ (Moore is listed at 6-foot-5, 215 on Bellarmine’s roster). And he has a good arm and is a good athlete. … There’s no doubt his best days are ahead of him. I don’t think there’s anything he can’t do. Some college is going to be really happy they offered and ultimately signed him."
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677
2016 NORTHWEST 9
1. Dylan Morris, Graham-Kapowsin, 2019
2. Kaden Jenks, Royal, 2017
3. Drew Korf, Capital (Idaho), 2017
4. Gunner Talkington, Battle Ground, 2017
5. Hunter Wendling, Stadium, 2018
6. Joey Sinclair, Lincoln, 2017
7. Christian Moore, Bellarmine Prep, 2017
8. Zach Zimmerman, Monroe, 2017
9. DeQuahn Dennis-Lee, Oregon City, 2017