- Mason Kelley, Reporter, Recruiting Nation
MARYSVILLE, Wash. -- Jake Luton stood outside of a classroom on the Marysville-Pilchuck (Wash.) campus wearing a black jacket over a matching hooded sweatshirt.
The quarterback had just wrapped up a postseason team meeting. The junior faced the football field and tried to find the right words to describe the way he sees himself as a college prospect.
“I kind of like to look at myself as a little bit of an underdog,” he said.
At 6-foot-6, 210 pounds, Luton passes the eye test. He has the physical traits that make college coaches salivate. But he plays in a wing-T system, as the Tomahawks use their ground game to create passing opportunities down the field.
Through two seasons as Marysville-Pilchuck’s starting quarterback, he hasn’t put up gaudy numbers. When given an opportunity to fling the football, though, he makes plays.
“Having him back there able to sling it helps us a lot,” Tomahawks coach Brandon Carson said. “We’re still a run-first team, and I think that helps get the safeties down a little bit and helps us throw over the top, because that’s kind of his strength.”
During Marysville-Pilchuck’s run to the Class 3A quarterfinals this season, Luton completed 77 of 138 passes for 1,312 yards and 14 touchdowns while orchestrating an offense that produced a 2,000 yard running back in sophomore Austin Joyner.
Luton embraced his role in the offense, working to make himself a player that fits his team’s system.
“I think that, being in this system -- in a wing-T system where I’m running the ball -- is only going to help me when I go to college, because I’ve become mobile,” Luton said.
Now that his high school season is over, Luton is determined to prove he is capable of being a prolific passer at the college level. All he wants is a chance to showcase his skills in front of Division I coaches.
“Once they see me, I feel like I can prove to them that I’m a throwing quarterback,” Luton said.
Carson has been so impressed by his quarterback, he tried to tweak his offense to make the most of Luton’s talents.
“He has the physical attributes,” said Carson, who is looking forward to coaching Luton for one more season. “He’s 6-foot-6, and he’s still growing into his body. I can see him being 220 pounds by the end of next year. He’s still a kid, but he has some of the intangibles. Prototypical size, great accuracy and he has a great arm.”
Raised a Washington fan, Luton has received letters from programs like Boise State, Arizona State and Nebraska. He is also receiving interest from Tennessee and Washington State.
While he is still looking for his first scholarship offer, he took his first unofficial visit to Tennessee and watched the Volunteers’ 37-17 win over Kentucky last week.
“It was a lot of fun going down there and seeing a lot of people,” said Luton, who hopes to remain on Tennessee’s radar when it hires a new coach. “It seems like they just breathe football. I like that atmosphere a lot.”
Luton plans to spend the offseason working in the weight room and the film room while trying to hit as many camps as he can. He doesn’t have a favorite school at this point. He just wants to land an offer.
“I’m willing to go pretty far away,” he said. “I just want to play football at the highest level I can get myself to.”
Carson considers the 2014 prospect a Division I player. Luton is confident he can play at the next level. All that is left is for college coaches to start extending scholarship offers.
“I’m excited for this recruiting process,” he said. “I think I can show a lot of people I can actually do this. It’s my dream. I just want to play college football. I want to play D-I college football.”
21hTom VanHaaren and Erik McKinney