Connor Jessop will ask questions with each DVD he sends out. What can I do to improve? What do I need to do to earn a scholarship?
The Broad Run senior hasn’t gotten any answers. Or any scholarship offers.
For Jessop, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound quarterback who has been one of the area’s top passers the last three years, the recruiting process has been a perplexing one.
“It’s extremely frustrating,” Jessop said. “In a way it’s motivation in pushing myself harder knowing I have to have better form, better quickness, better athletic ability. It’s tough.”
As a sophomore, Jessop passed for 1,336 yards with 21 touchdowns and just two interceptions to help lead the Spartans to an undefeated season and a Virginia AA Division 4 championship. A broken collarbone in the second game of the season derailed his junior year, but he returned to play the final three games and finished with 1,012 yards, 12 touchdowns and two interceptions.
This season, Broad Run’s first at the Va. AAA classification, Jessop passed for 1,888 yards and 16 touchdowns with five interceptions. He also rushed for 296 yards and five scores.
Yet despite a standout career in which he has completed 61 percent of his passes, Jessop has received just one scholarship offer — from FCS program Richmond, and it came after his junior season.
Since turning that scholarship down, no other programs have offered Jessop.
“I look at other kids that have offers and I watch their highlight film and it’s like, ‘I can do that, I’ve made that throw before,’ ” Jessop said. “I look at my film and mine was better than these kids’, in my opinion. It’s tough. But I just got to work through it.”
Jessop said he believes missing most of his junior year was critical in slowing his recruiting process. Broad Run Coach Matt Griffis said he , too, was baffled why his quarterback has not generated more interest.
One reason may be that many college programs have moved more to spread offenses featuring dual-threat quarterbacks. Jessop does not fall under that category. Griffis said he believes Jessop would fit nicely into a pro-style system, however.
Griffis also pointed to Jessop’s elusiveness in the pocket and ability to make plays with his legs if necessary. In his career, Jessop has rushed for 537 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“It’s frustrating because most of the schools offer most of the quarterbacks in the summer when they see them at 7-on-7s and camp, and that’s not real football,” Griffis said. “You’re not going to get sacked, you’re not going to get hit, there are no consequence to throwing a bad pass. The kid makes plays in ball games.”
Though a scholarship is the ultimate goal, Jessop said he is open to other avenues. He has stayed upbeat by looking to examples of successful players, like current Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who graduated high school without an offer.
Jessop said he has had some conversations with Virginia Tech about a preferred walk-on role. And with his senior season over, he has continued to aggressively look for a school that will give him an opportunity.
“A preferred walk on, grey shirt, anything,” Jessop said. “I’m all ears.”