Welcome to “Quarterback Week”, where Saturday Down South talks to some of the top QB targets out there for SEC schools. We’ve interviewed some of the biggest names, and we’ll rank them at the end of the week. See who your school is hoping to lure to campus.
Ty Storey loves playing the guitar. If he’s as good strumming as he is playing quarterback, he may have a career in the music industry as well as football.
Storey is the uber-productive quarterback heading to Arkansas as part of the class of 2015. He is the No. 1 player in his home state, the gem of an already impressive class. He committed to Bret Bielema and the Razorbacks more than two years before he’ll ever see the playing field, and he’s currently the No. 1 SEC quarterback commitment in this upcoming year’s class.
Check this out, Arkansas fans: He’s accounted for more than 9,600 passing yards and 100 TD passes in just the past two years. More importantly, he was 15-0 as a junior and 9-3 as a sophomore. And guess what? Since Alabama lost QB Ricky Town to USC a few weeks ago, the Crimson Tide have been in touch with Storey, too. He has turned some heads.
Storey is an example of the rebuilding process Bielema is doing at Arkansas.
“It wasn’t as easy a choice as everybody says and thinks,” Storey told Saturday Down South. “Obviously Arkansas was one of my top schools, but I wasn’t going to go there just because it’s in my state. It had to be the place I wanted to be. It was. And it helps to have the in-state guys we have right now, and to have Coach B (Bielema) and coach (Jim) Chaney. All the staff. We’re all just trying to get Arkansas back on top.”
Owning the in-state prospects and mining good out-of-state talent is absolutely critical for the Razorbacks. For years, Alabama and Auburn seem to have been able to pluck whatever kind of talent they wanted from Arkansas. Top recruits like Altee Tenpenny, Michael Dyer and Kiehl Frazier all left the state, and regardless of how their careers have turned out, those were kids Arkansas originally wanted to keep home.
Well, Bielema is building a pretty good wall around the state. In the 2013 class, he kept 6 of the top 8 at home. Earlier this month he signed 3 of the top 5 including the best prospect in DL Bijhon Jackson, and so far–as Storey will readily points out–the Razorbacks are actually in very good shape to land anybody they want from the state’s top 10 for 2015. Storey is the No. 1 guy, TE Will Gragg is No. 2 and Arkansas commit Jamario Bell is No. 3. Gragg is uncommitted and Alabama has his ear, but Storey said he has been a top priority to recruit.
This is what fires up Storey the most, the fact that Arkansas can build its nucleus around in-state talent, then pluck some good players from other hotbeds–like assistant coach Randy Shannon’s favorite place, his home area of south Florida–and put together a top 15 type class every year. Right now, its group of five commitments puts Arkansas at No. 12 in the national rankings against other powerhouses that already have eight or nine on board.
“It’s definitely a great start, and we’re hoping it won’t slow down any time soon, and we’re working on guys,” Storey told SDS. “I’m the quarterback and I’m trying to be the leader. Jamario Bell is doing a great job, and so is (Texas native) Zach Rogers and Colton (Jackson) and Hjalte (Froholdt). We are all pitching in to try to make it the best class we can. We’re working on (state’s No. 2) Will Gragg, (No. 5) K.J. Hill, those are a few. Everbody is working on different people, and those are two that I’m working on right now.”
They’ll have to assemble that kind of elite class to compete in college football’s hardest division–the SEC West. Heck, several of the SEC West schools would love to decimate the Razorbacks’ signing class before they even have to beat it on the field. Which takes us back to Alabama, who has inquired more heavily about Storey. The QB admitted there has been increased communication in the past month, but that he’s still firm to Arkansas. He did add that all prospects should be wise to keep their eyes and ears open to all opportunities, because things can change so quickly in college football. So to be more to the point, he is listening to Alabama.
In general though, he’d love to attack the SEC West from Fayetteville, as opposed to somewhere else.
“There aren’t too many weak links in the SEC West, it’s going to be a grind,” Storey told SDS. “I know it’s going to be a huge challenge, but I like challenges. That’s what I’m working for. And between now and then I’m just going to try to be the best high school teammate I can be at Charleston (Ark.).”
Editor’s note: Saturday Down South’s references to ratings follow the 247Sports.com composite rankings for high school prospects.