Drew Dudzik spent the summer lifting weights several days a week with teammates. Then Centreville's senior quarterback would do extra running, paying special attention to drills to improve his quickness.
As hard as he worked, though, there was one thing that Dudzik could not change. He could not grow taller than 6 feet 1. And that, he believes, is what is preventing him from getting more -- and better -- scholarship offers.
Dudzik is hardly alone in his size limiting his college options. But after a season in which he passed for 1,990 yards and threw 24 touchdown passes with just three interceptions -- establishing himself as one of the Washington area's top quarterbacks -- Dudzik's only scholarship offers are from James Madison and New Hampshire.
Not that there is anything wrong with a scholarship offer from the Division I-AA national champion or the Division I-AA current top-ranked team. But Dudzik, just like many other high school players, has his sights set on playing Division I-A football. He went to summer camps and combines, ran competitive times (such as a 4.56-second 40-yard dash) and proved he could play.
In every sense, it seemed, Dudzik measured up. Except when it came to measuring up.
"To me, height shouldn't bother somebody," Dudzik said. "It's about what you do on the field. It's not how big you are. Some of these kids, it just amazes me. They're 6-5 and have all these offers. I'm right in with all those guys at camps. It amazes me."
Does Dudzik overestimate the importance of an inch or two to college recruiters? Probably not.
Earlier this fall, the parent of one Washington-area quarterback -- who begged not to be named in print -- insisted he felt that his extra half-inch in his son's height (5-10 1/2 , not 5-10) made a difference to recruiters. And this was at the Division III, non-scholarship level. Imagine how folks feel at college football's most competitive level.
So for Dudzik, it comes down to a waiting game. Several Division I-A schools say they remain interested. Those schools, no doubt, have offers out to other quarterbacks and are trying to stay in the picture in case they are rejected by their top choices. At the same time, James Madison, New Hampshire and other I-AA schools (Delaware also is recruiting Dudzik) can't wait too long for Dudzik's response.
"They're great I-AA schools, I'm pretty happy about those," Dudzik said. "I do feel like I should have more out on the table based on how I played last year and this year. I think my height is an issue. It puts me down a little bit, but two big-time I-AA programs [offering], that doesn't make me mad. I feel I am better than some of the kids that are going I-A, that's the only thing."
Dudzik ruled out the possibility of trying to walk on at a larger program if he does not get a I-A offer he likes.
"I'd rather go on scholarship to a I-AA school, I like the fact they've offered me," he said. "It makes it seem like I'm there guy, the guy they want. I'd love to go to a I-AA school and be the man there. I'd much rather do that than walk on at a place like a U-Va. And maybe never get a chance to play."
Gloster Staying Local
Good Counsel senior Drew Gloster plans to take visits next month to Virginia Tech and Maryland before making his decision. He sees very little downside to whichever program he decides on. Both teams are recruiting Gloster to play tight end and possibly some wide receiver.
Virginia Tech, Gloster noted, is looking for a replacement for senior tight end Jeff King. Maryland, on the other hand, has junior Vernon Davis playing that position. There is an expectation that Davis will skip his senior season to enter the NFL draft.
Good Counsel teammate Tyrell Jones has offers from Michigan State, Missouri and Akron and plans to visit those schools in January. Michigan State wants Jones to play cornerback, with Missouri and Akron recruiting him as a wide receiver.
Scott to Syracuse
Eleanor Roosevelt's Nico Scott missed his team's past two games because of a broken hand, but that did not keep him from making his college decision, committing to Syracuse this past week. The Orange, like most other schools, recruited Scott as a cornerback. He also is Roosevelt's starting quarterback.
"He's got a great opportunity to come in and play early," Roosevelt Coach Rick Houchens said. "If he does what he's supposed to, he'll have a chance to get on the field."