When Queen Creek Casteel High School quarterback Gunner Cruz woke up Tuesday morning he had yet to receive his first offer scholarship offer. Tonight, the 2019 prospect will go to sleep with two offers in hand and one of them from the college in his own backyard.
Arizona State’s first-year offensive coordinator, Billy Napier, talked to the signal caller tonight and delivered the good news.
— Gunner Cruz (@GunnerCruz) June 28, 2017
“I talked to coach Napier before,” Cruz said. “He came out to my school (during spring practice) and I saw him at the (ASU’s) 7x7’s passing league and I went to ASU’s quarterback camp. He met my family too and expressed some interest. But getting an offer is still a surprise and it’s a great feeling.
“Coach Napier told me that I had the intangibles to be a great leader, and he does like the way I throw the ball. But my favorite thing about Coach Napier is that he was hands-on with me during the quarterback camp, working on my release and trying to fix anything I needed to improve on to be a better quarterback.”
As a sophomore for the Colts, Cruz guided his squad to a 9-2 season in the state’s 3A Division, completed 73.2 percent of his passes for 2,600 yards, 30 touchdowns, and five interceptions, as well as rushing for six scores.
“I’m a very competitive person who hates to lose,” Cruz said. “That’s my biggest strength. Every time I go out there I compete as hard as I can. I have a great supporting cast around me: great coaches, offensive linemen, and receivers. I’d like to think I can move when I need to but that’s definitely not something I go to right away.
“If I can hurt them with my arm that’s definitely the route I will go. I’m more of a pro-style quarterback.”
Even though the Sun Devils’ offense this year will certainly have a different look under Napier, Cruz expects this group to still be an up-tempo and explosive unit that will employ a scheme that will suit his skills. Off the field, Cruz is very familiar with the school’s environment especially through one of his parents.
“My mom actually graduated from there,” Cruz commented, “so I have grown around ASU a little bit. I know it will be a great opportunity for me. I hang out on Mill Avenue a lot with my buddies. I’m interested in engineering and I know that ASU has a great school for my major.”
Cruz is currently attending South Dakota State’s camp, the school who offered him earlier this evening. The signal caller admitted that this day has been a bit surreal.
“All the coaches up here at South Dakota State are great people,” Cruz remarked. “It’s been crazy, great day to receive two offers. Having two schools interested in me is a great feeling.”
The Casteel standout said that Utah, BYU, Northern Arizona, and Cornell are some of the schools that have been tracking him throughout spring and could potentially offer in the future. Cruz did attend camps at Georgia, Stanford in recent months and will begin his high school’s fall camp in a couple of weeks.
With over a year and a half before signing day, Cruz has no timetable for a decision and stated that he will undoubtedly rely on his coaches and family’s input during the recruiting process.
“I will definitely make a commitment when it’s 100 percent the school I’m ready for,” Cruz said. “The biggest thing I’m looking for is a team and an environment that makes me feel like family. I want genuine people around me. I want to compete for a national championship every year.
“Those are the things that will really weigh on my decision.”