Jawon Pass doesn’t have time for an interview. After some encouragement from Carver coach Joe Kegler, the rising senior quarterback politely agrees to give a few minutes to a reporter during a practice a week ago. But throughout the conversation, one can tell his mind is still on football.
As soon as he finishes speaking, he runs back to his teammates, pulls the backup quarterback who was filling in while he was gone, and goes to work throwing a crisp pass 30 yards into the hands of his wide receiver.
Because in Pass’s mind — regardless of the five stars on his recruiting page and bottomless list of major scholarship offers — he is still a young quarterback trying to prove himself.
“He works like he’s fighting for a spot on the team,” Kegler said of Pass. “He’s at the front of the line when he runs, when he lifts — he’s just focused.”And he can’t afford distractions. Even if that distraction is making a decision about where he will spend his years playing college football.
Pass is a 6-foot-5 quarterback whose size and athleticism has made college coaches salivate for the better part of three years. On Thursday, he’ll make one coach a happy man while disappointing countless others when he announces his college commitment at a ceremony in the Carver auditorium.
The choices are likely down to three — Alabama, Auburn and Louisville. Pass said a week ago that he had a good idea which school he would choose.
The most important thing, he said, was making a decision prior to the start of his senior football season so that he could focus on what he does best — playing football.
“I wanted to do it before my senior season so I could just focus on my team winning state and not have to focus on all that recruiting stuff,” Pass said.
That’s nothing new, Kegler said. They all, coaches and players alike, know that the team will go only as far as Pass can lead them.
“I’m not putting it all on him, but to get where we want to go we need him leading the way,” kegler said. “He said it himself — he just wants to put the team on his back and lead us to a championship.”
Leadership is one of the key facets of his game that Pass said he has been working on over the offseason. His improvement in the area has shown, Kegler said. He gave an example of Pass calling him from Oregon, where he was participating in the elite camp “The Opening.”
“He was asking me how everyone was doing back here at practice,” Kegler said. “It’s shocking to hear that from a kid his age. He was making sure that everyone was on time, not missing the workout, asking whether he needed to call anyone. He was on the other side of the country, but he was thinking about his teammates back home.”
There are things about his game that aren’t perfect yet, of course. Kegler agreed with some scouting reports that say he needs to continue to work hard on his footwork.
“Sometimes he might miss because he gets lazy with the feet,” Kegler said. “He’s got the arm to make up for it, but he just needs to continue to develop as a complete quarterback.”
That’s the case for any young player, and the evidence is there that Pass will put in the work to improve. Whichever school lands the young quarterback will get someone who is constantly hungry to prove himself, Kegler said.
That’s where his mind is, and he doesn’t have time for distractions.