As a fan of college football, when looking through the recruits your team has entering the program in the near future, there are three characteristics you want the players to have – poise, confidence, and a competitive attitude. With these three attributes, there is a high possibility your team will have the determination and drive to put in the extra hours to add a W to the record books each Saturday. Jett Duffey, the class of 2016 quarterback for Lake Ridge High School and incoming freshman at Texas Tech, exemplifies these qualities.
When it comes to football, nothing has been easy for Jett Duffey. He was not a five star quarterback with offers from top Division 1 programs across the country. He did not have teams contacting him or his coaches trying to convince him to commit to their program. He was not invited to all of the top camps across the nation where he could show off his undiscovered skill. He was overlooked; he was the underdog. The only offers he had received were from McNeese State and Stephen F. Austin University. Majority of the population has never heard of these two schools.
However, on May 11 of his junior year, he received an offer from Texas Tech. Two days later, he committed to play for the Red Raiders. Everything about Texas Tech felt right for him, but mainly the fan base, environment, coaches, and education. There was no doubt in his mind that this was the best university to further his education and athletic career.
A few months later, in the spring of 2015, he joined thousands of other high school players as competitors in the Elite 11 regionals. As a quarterback, you must compete at the camp nearest you, perform a variety of drills, and partake in 7-on-7’s. If you awe the coaches, you are given the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles to compete against twenty-nine of the nation’s best quarterbacks in hopes of earning an invitation to the Opening, also known as quarterback heaven.
Being from Texas, Jett participated in the Dallas regional. He impressed everyone there, finished in the top group, and almost earned MVP. “I’m not happy with that, I’m going to come back to New Orleans.” Jett insisted. The next week, he showed up in New Orleans and gave a near flawless performance. This earned him an MVP award and a coveted invitation to the Elite 11 semi finals. Most quarterbacks would have stopped here, and gone home. They accomplished what they came to do, so why bother putting in the time and effort to attend another regional. That is not how Jett sees things. The following week, he made the long journey to the Charlotte regional. This shocked coaches, and gave a true testament to his tenacity. He wanted to compete again, and he did just that. In Charlotte, he destroyed all other competition and won another MVP award. He has been overlooked for years, and now he wants people to finally recognize the talent he possess, and make sure they realize he will work harder than all other competitors. “I believe it shows that I want to be known as the best not only in my state but also across the United States.”
In the history of the Elite 11, there has never been a quarterback as respected by the program directors as Jett Duffey. In the YouTube mini-series titled ‘Dear Football: The 2015 Elite 11 Story’, they reserve majority of the first episode to talk about Jett. Joey Roberts, Director of Scouting for Elite 11, declared, “When we look at what we’re trying to do here, it’s not the eleven best quarterbacks. It’s the eleven best competitors. When it comes to Elite 11, it’s everything that embodies Jett Duffey.”
Their goal as an organization is to ignore the amount of offers and hype surrounding a player, and put him on a football field with plays and a ball. When all of the attention is gone, can the player actually perform? Jett proved to everyone that he could not only perform, but he could outperform many other quarterbacks, including ones with top offers. The three days spent in Los Angeles and week spent in Oregon, changed Jett forever. “The Elite 11 was a once in a lifetime event. It was a true blessing and changed my life completely. I learned that I am a man playing football and not a football player.” Even with all of the compliments he received, there are still people that doubted if he truly deserved his spot. To these people Joey Roberts says, “Other people might not think this at this point, but we think Jett Duffey is one of the best quarterbacks in the country.”
Even with all of the accomplishments he has achieved in the past year, there are still many things Jett wants to improve on. He has mastered extending plays, while being coachable, confident, and hard working. In the future, he wants to master boredom. “The greats have played the game for so long and they still work hard and some people wonder why. It’s because they have mastered being bored and give themselves challenges during each rep,” Jett believes.
If you watch some of his highlights, or have the privilege of getting to know him and witnessing the uncanny amount of determination he has, there should be no doubt in your mind that Jett Duffey will become a feared college quarterback. Nothing was given to him; he had to take the road less travelled and work harder than every other quarterback. He has proved the skeptics wrong, and demonstrated why he is not only an Elite 11 alum, but also one of the most highly regarded quarterbacks in program history.
Jett’s Advice: Don’t sacrifice who you are and what you stand for. Be a man that plays football and not a football player. Focus on your future because there is life outside of football.