Trent Graves has skills, attitude to make an impact
Each and every day, Trent Graves taps a sign hanging in the garage at his home in Boise, Idaho. It reads: “A winner is a dreamer that never quits.”
Graves will never quit trying to become the best quarterback he can be. Already, the seventh grader is a very good QB.
Graves finished second in his age group at the Duel in July. The past two years, he placed fourth in NFA’s showcase event in Massillon, Ohio.
Last year, he played quarterback for the Boulder Bears seventh grade team in Colorado despite being a sixth grader. Graves passed for 932 yards in eight games.
Moving to Idaho this year, Graves was hit with a double dilemma.
Willing to sacrifice
His new school, East Junior High, didn’t have enough players to field a seventh grade team. And the eighth grade team already had a starting quarterback in place.
So, what did Graves do? He didn’t pout or sulk. Instead, the son of a former college football player and current coach – Tim Graves – decided to make the best of a difficult situation.
Graves is playing defensive back for East’s eighth grade team. “I was really disappointed at first, but sometimes you just have to sacrifice for your team,” he said. “It’s not all about me, so I’m just trying to do the best I can.”
With an attitude like that, it’s easy to see why Graves has already been so successful and why his future is so bright. It’s also easy to see why Graves has enjoyed training with NFA and going to Duels the past three years.
“It’s a blast going to camps,” he said. “But more than anything, they’ve taught me how to be a good leader and a good man. It’s not all about being a quarterback and I appreciate that so much.”
Placing second in the Duel this summer after back-to-back finishes in fourth place tells you Graves has the skills to be an impact quarterback. “It helps my confidence a lot,” he said. “But I just try to be the best quarterback I can for the team. I try not to think about it too much, but it does help.”
While he is playing defense this season, Graves continues to work on his QB skills. He’ll eventually be attending Rocky Mountain High School, and Graves has been working with varsity Head Coach Scott Criner on the weekends. He also throws with his dad.
“We work on drills and stuff to keep me fresh,” Graves said. “And throwing so much with my dad, it helps me get my technique down.”
Working with NFA and receiving invites to the past thtee Duels has also helped Graves stay sharp. “My goal is to learn and much as I can, get my techniques right and keep trying to get better,” said the 5-foot-6, 135-pounder. “I always want to win everything and I think I did pretty good at the Duel this year. I am competitive and that helps to keep motivating me to keep grinding and don’t quit.”
Ready for return
He might be playing defense this season, but Graves is going to be ready when he does return to the other side of the ball. “Keeping my team focused in tight situations is one of the reasons I really like playing quarterback,” he said. “And I love throwing the ball. It’s probably the most fun thing for me during a game. But you also have to hand off the ball to earn those passes.”
Graves is a tireless worker, and he continues to make adjustments as a quarterback. “I’m working on improving my footwork to where everything is automatic,” Graves said. “Sometimes, if I don’t set my hallway right, my arm getting to zero will be off and my throw will be off. The ball won’t get there.”
Eventually getting back to playing QB helps Graves stay motivated. “I’m really anxious,” he said. “I just enjoy playing quarterback and it’s really fun for me.
And Coach Criner is really helping me a lot. He’s a really good coach. He’s coached at the college level and has really helped develop a lot of good quarterbacks.”