Things are looking up for Connor Degenhardt. Way up.
As he prepares to compete for the starting quarterback job at Westford Academy in Massachusetts this season, Degenhardt is not going to have the physical look of a typical 14-year-old freshman.
“I’d say being tall is a big help playing quarterback,” Degenhardt said.
At 6-foot-4, he already has the height most college football coach’s dream about.
Exploiting his size advantage last season while leading his Pop Warner team to a 6-2 record and berth in the playoffs, Degenhardt displayed amazing accuracy while completing 101 of 153 passes for 1,315 yards and 18 touchdowns.
The 165-pounder also showed he could tuck the football away and run as he rushed for 555 yards and 10 TDs. Being big was, well, a big advantage.
“It was really easy to stay in the pocket and see my receivers and read the defenses,” Degenhardt said. “Being the tallest guy on the field helped me make better decisions and see what was happening around. I’d say it’s a big advantage.” The size advantage should help Degenhardt thrive at the high school level. Even though he’s being bumped up to a strong program, he’s not shying away from the tougher competition.
Heading into summer practice, Degenhardt has one main goal. “My goal is to be on the varsity team and compete for the starting job,” he said.
Is it possible?
Considering he’s been playing QB since he was 6 years old and his father, Chris, played college football at Holy Cross in the 1980s, Connor Degenhardt is well equipped to handle the high school level.
“Over the past few years, I found I’m really good at reading defenses and making decisions under pressure,” Degenhardt said. “Last year, I became much more accurate passing down the field, as well as short and intermediate. I try to throw all around the field. I’m just trying to develop as well as I can; just keep improving. I’m 100 percent committed to football and I’m doing everything I can to get better, whether it’s in the weight room or on the field working on my mechanics. There’s always room for improvement, and I work 12 months a year trying to get better as a quarterback.”
Working with NFA has helped Degenhardt rise to a high level at such a young age. He’s attended NFA camps and the Duel of the Dozens the past three years, and winning the coveted Passio award/T-shirt has been a highlight. “Going to NFA camps and the Duels has really helped develop my mechanics and form and turned me into the best quarterback I can possibly be,” Degenhardt said. “NFA has helped me develop my reading of defenses, my agility, and they’ve really helped me mentally and physically. And there are the life lessons they teach you – it’s not about me and you learn you have to sacrifice for the team and be the best person you can be.”