- Erik McKinney, ESPN Staff Writer
Morgan Mahalak (Kentfield, Calif./Marin Catholic) isn't going to follow the path of a typical high-profile recruit. But that doesn't mean the end result won't be the same.
Many of the well-regarded quarterbacks in the 2014 recruiting class will likely have hundreds of passing yards and perhaps even dozens of starts by the time they begin their senior seasons next fall. That won't be the case with Mahalak, who will line up under center for the first time as a starter. It has nothing to do with his skill set or late development, and everything to do with the fact that he finds himself stuck behind ESPN 300 quarterback and California verbal commitment Jared Goff.
But rather than turn and look for playing time at another school, Mahalak simply used his 6-foot-2, 190-pound frame and outstanding athleticism to turn himself into one of the team's most dynamic wide receivers. Mahalak and Goff are good friends off the field who enjoy pushing each other on it. And while Mahalak said there are no issues with waiting to take his turn, he'll be more than happy to do whatever he can with his opportunity as a senior.
"I'm not going to lie; I'm chomping at the bit," Mahalak said. "Every competitor wants to play and I've been learning a lot from Jared. I pick up on things he notices and we have a good, competitive relationship. Having him here has definitely helped me."
An interested aspect of the dynamic is that while Goff's recruiting process unfolded slowly, Mahalak's has been going at something of a sprint. He said he speaks with Goff "all the time" about the process and the senior acknowledged that this is a much earlier timeframe than the one he worked with.
Mahalak has already heard from programs such as Boise State, Miami, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oregon, Penn State, UCLA, Utah and Vanderbilt. This past summer, he camped at Colorado, Notre Dame, Oregon, Oregon State and visited Miami for an unofficial visit. This fall he has been to UCLA and North Carolina on unofficial visits and he said several programs are definitely kicking the tires and could be close on scholarship offers.
"Boston College is very interested and seems on the verge of offering," he said. "I'm hopeful that happens soon, and I want to take a visit. They said they are going to come out and see me as soon as they can."
Mahalak added that Colorado, Miami, North Carolina, Oregon State and UCLA could also be close to offering, but said, "You never really can quite tell or know. The recruiting process can be funny."
Two programs Mahalak has definite interest in are Notre Dame and Oregon. Several family members, including his father, attended Notre Dame, while the Ducks offense has become a magnet for athletic quarterbacks. And while Mahalak might even be talented enough on the outside to play receiver at the next level, it's taking snaps where he feels most comfortable.
"I want to play college quarterback. That's my dream," Mahalak said. "Playing wide receiver is for me and my school and works as an athletic pitch for colleges. I can obviously run the ball and I'm different than most prospects. It's helped a lot."
Working as the second-team quarterback this season might turn out to be another big plus for Mahalak, as he has had to immitate a variety of opposing offenses. He'll operate out of the spread as a starter next season, but this year he has had to alternate between shotgun and under center, which should help him going forward.
"I feel I can adjust to any situation," he said. "I feel comfortable in anything."