Connor Degenhardt a super sophomore


Connor Degenhardt a super sophomore

Training with NFA the past four years – and receiving invites to the prestigious Duel four straight times – is paying off for Connor Degenhardt.
“NFA has been great,” said Degenhardt, an imposing 6-foot-5, 185-pound sophomore starting varsity quarterback for Westford Academy in Massachusetts. “They’ve really taken me to a different level. They’ve worked with all my fundamentals and turned me into a great leader for the team. The development they’ve done with my overall game is great. My ball speed is at a whole different level now and I can make all the throws on the field. I feel like I can do everything I need to do.”
With Degenhardt at QB, Westford Academy is in the playoffs this season for the first time since 2009. He’s thrown for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns wile rushing for 3 more scores.
“I’m happy with the way the season’s been going,” Degenhardt said. “We’ve had some key injuries that have set us back a little bit, and we’re a young team. But every week we’ve been improving. The offense has been getting better and we’ve just been getting more comfortable with the offense every week. I’m improving along with everyone else on the team.”
With two more years as the Grey Ghosts starting quarterback, look for Degenhardt to keep improving. He entered the current season as one of the top sophomore QBs in the nation.

Making strides

“The biggest improvement I think I’ve made, in the past year, I’ve worked a lot on my ball speed with some of the NFA coaches,” Degenhardt said. “I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable and have been able to slow things down a lot. I also feel like I’ve improved a lot in terms of reading defenses.”
Having great size is a trait you can’t coach, and Degenhardt has exploited his height edge very well. “It definitely gives me an advantage,” he said. “I can see the defense very well and also being this tall, it’s not a challenge to run either. I feel like I can make plays with my feet as well as being able to throw the ball.”
Throwing for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in just 8 games with Westford Academy tells you how good Degenhardt already is. But he is not surprised by the unequivocal success in just his first season with the varsity.

Hard work pays off

“No, I’m not surprised with my performance this season,” said Degenhardt, whose father Chris was a collegiate quarterback at Holy Cross. “I work hard all year to get better, so I’m really happy with the way I’ve played. But I’m not surprised because I put so much work into it all year long. That’s what I do.”
With such a strong work ethic and obvious talent, Degenhardt is positioned to get a flood of college offers in the very near future. But he is far from satisfied with his game.
“I need to get bigger, I need to get faster,” Degenhardt said. “I’m going to continue to work on reading defenses so I can put my team in the best position to score more points and win games. I’m going to continue working on my ball speed and accuracy because you have to keep improving as an all-around quarterback.”

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Scot Gregor is an award-winning sportswriter for the Chicago Daily Herald. In addition to writing about Big 10 and Notre Dame football, Gregor has also covered the White Sox, Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls and college basketball. He grew up in Pittsburgh and watched the Steelers rise to prominence in the 1970s. Gregor has a B.S. degree in Journalism from Ohio University