Turlock Christian High’s quarterback of the last three years, 17-year-old Chase Gonzalez, has been selected from a pool of more than 4,200 high school seniors to compete in the annual Blue-Grey National All Star Classic in Tampa Bay, Fla. on Jan. 12, 2013. Gonzalez is one of 90 seniors selected for the game and will join the North squad behind center.
“I feel pleased and honored to be able to play with guys from around the country who are so good at their specific position,” Gonzalez said. “I think it’ll be fun; I’m looking forward to it.”
After helming TC’s offense as a sophomore and throwing for 1,236 yards, Gonzalez was able to participate in only half of his junior season due to a collar bone injury. Despite playing half the time, Gonzalez bested his sophomore effort with a total of 1,588 passing yards, creating high hopes for his senior year. Fully recovered, Gonzalez was able to play in all 10 games in 2012, throwing for 1,788 passing yards in a season where dropped passes were frequent. Through two and a half seasons the 6-foot-6 Eagle amassed 4,612 passing yards and 38 touchdowns.
“As a sophomore I had to get better with my decisions; taking care of the ball. As time went on I worked on my footwork, my speed, and my agility and by my junior going on to my senior year I was working on building more muscle, getting more power and my arm strength,” Gonzalez said. “My understanding of the game as a whole has really progressed. I’ve been able to recognize defenses and know where to put the ball.”
When current head coach Shane Smith arrived to TC at the beginning of Gonzalez’ junior year he found an inexperienced quarterback with developable talent and a receptive attitude.
“He’s one of the most humble football players I’ve ever met, which serves him well as a quarterback,” Smith said. “He learns quickly, he asks a lot of questions, he likes to get better; so he’s really an easy kid to coach.”
With two years of technical work under his belt Gonzalez had progressed far enough to earn notice on the field. A March appearance at the Blue-Grey combine in Napa and a solid June performance at the National Super Combine in Canton, Ohio drew even more attention to his right arm, leading to Gonzalez’ much coveted All-Star roster spot.
“I went into the first combine with the mentality of giving it everything I got,” Gonzalez said.
“He threw several hundred passes that day and really was pretty right on the spot. His footwork was good, his passes were good, and compared to the other quarterbacks he was definitely in the top three,” Smith said.
Sincelearning of his selection, Gonzalez’ daily routine has consisted of weight training, sled work, agility improvement, and passing drills. With the regular season finished, a good performance in Tampa is Gonzalez’ last chance to make an impression with prospective colleges. Since 80 to 90 percent of All-Star participants receive some form of scholarship, hopes are high.
“I want to just execute when I need to; taking care of the ball, no turnovers, no interceptions, getting it in the hands of the receivers, moving the ball down the field and scoring and executing in the red zone to get points on the board,” Gonzalez said. “The season didn’t go very well but I’m not going to quit. I’m going to keep trying and keep giving it my best.”
“In this All-Star game, if he performs the way he did this season, hitting receivers right on the money, he’ll have kids that will catch it,” Smith said. “He could end up coming out of this game with some really nice stats which would show all the coaches that are looking at him that when he has receivers that can catch the ball, he does his job.”
Although he has yet to receive any collegiate offers, several schools have expressed interest in Gonzalez including Fresno State, Sac State, Texas State, University of Montana, University of Utah, UC Davis, and Cal Poly.
“I’d like to leave the state if I can, but right now I’m not worried about that. I just want to give it 100 percent in the game and whatever happens, happens,” Gonzalez said.
As a new chapter of football life begins, the TC senior can’t help but think about a recently closed chapter—his playing days as an Eagle.
“It’s been a great experience to be able to be around the guys on the team and having the opportunity to lead them,” Gonzalez said. “Playing with them was the best part. I love football, but it’s not really just about football; I liked building those relationships with those guys and getting to know them better.”
The Blue-Grey National All-Star Classic will be held at Raymond James Field, the home of the Tampa Bay Jaguars. Gonzalez’ performance will be nationally televised on Fox Sports at 5p.m. on Jan. 12.