HSFB preview by position: The spread is spreading for quarterbacks
Not long ago, high school coaches settled for a quarterback who could throw or run.
Now, many want one who does both.
With pass-oriented spread offenses now the rage on Friday nights, dual-threat quarterbacks are in style.
The trend that changed college football and the NFL has influenced high school offenses. Ringgold's Nico Law and Seneca Valley's T.J. Holl are good examples. Both are as capable with their legs as with their arms.
Yet, even in this read-option revolution, there's room for some pocket passers like South Fayette's Brett Brumbaugh. He won WPIAL and PIAA Class AA titles as a drop-back passer.
Brumbaugh's 3,917 passing yards were the most in one season by any WPIAL quarterback.
But no matter the style, passing numbers have risen in general.
There were 41 quarterbacks in the WPIAL and City League with more than 1,000 passing yards last season and seven had more than 2,000.
As the spread spreads, those numbers could continue to climb.
1. Brett Brumbaugh
South Fayette, sr., 6-4, 200
Brumbaugh soon could be the WPIAL's leader in career passing yards. He needs about 1,200 more. He had 41 touchdowns and 3,917 yards last season, breaking a single-season yardage record set in 2010 by his brother Christian. Akron and Temple have offered scholarships.
2. Ben DiNucci
Pine-Richland, sr., 6-3, 185
An accurate passer who fits well in Pine-Richland's spread offense, DiNucci was sixth among WPIAL quarterbacks last season with 2,147 yards and threw 15 touchdowns. He completed 72 percent of his throws (169 of 235). He verbally committed to Penn this month.
3. T.J. Holl
Seneca Valley, sr., 6-1, 205
A two-way starter who'll also play safety or linebacker, Holl was his team's leading passer and rusher last season. He ranked seventh among WPIAL passers with 2,145 yards and rushed for more than 700, helping Seneca Valley reach the WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinals. Colgate offered him a scholarship.
4. Tyler Perone
Seton-La Salle, sr., 6-3, 195
As a first-year starter, Perone passed for 2,322 yards and 24 touchdowns last season. His yardage puts him second only to Brumbaugh among returning WPIAL quarterbacks. He had 340 yards and four touchdowns in a Class AA first-round playoff victory.
5. Nico Law
Ringgold, sr., 6-1, 180
A dangerous dual-threat quarterback, Law both rushed and passed for more than 1,000 yards last season. And he needed just nine games to accomplish the feat. Law finished the year with 1,494 passing yards and 1,210 rushing yards. He threw 14 touchdowns and ran for 15, more proof of his balance.
One to watch: Cory Owen
Peters Township, sr., 6-2, 195
The dual-threat quarterback holds scholarships from Buffalo, Toledo and others. He passed for only 501 yards and one touchdown last season, but ran for 762 yards and 10 touchdowns on 78 carries.