Junior to Watch: Dustin Grutza
School: Maysville (Ky.) Mason Co. HS
Size and speed: Grutza is 6-foot-3, weighs 195 pounds, and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds.
Statistics: As a junior, he completed 155 of 231 passes for 2,693 yards and 26 touchdowns. He has accounted for 5,077 total yards and 61 touchdowns in his career with the Royals. Also averaged 13.4 points and 5.1 rebounds on Mason County’s state champion basketball team.
Honors: Was all-district, all-conference and honorable mention all-state as a junior in football. Was also named to the Sweet 16 state basketball all-tournament team.
Favorite Schools: Kentucky, Louisville, Cincinnati, Wake Forest, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State.
Skinny: The Bluegrass State has been home to several elite quarterbacks in recent years, and another is rising on the banks of the Ohio River.
Mason County’s Dustin Grutza (6-3, 195, 4.65) has seen his stock rise after a junior season which saw him complete 67 percent of his passes for 2,693 yards and 26 touchdowns while rushing for 569 yards and nine scores.
“He’s getting some real good looks right now,” Mason County coach David Buchanan said. “Michigan, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Louisville, Wake Forest and Indiana are some of the major programs who have contacted Dustin. There’s been a few others, but those are the main ones off the top of my head. Those are the ones who seem most interested.
“Dustin also got an invitation to the Elite 11 preliminary camp at Stanford and an invitation to the Nike combine at Virginia Tech, so that kind of gives you an indication of how much attention he’s starting to get.”
Why all the fuss?
“The biggest thing is he’s such a complete player,” Buchanan said. “He’s very athletic. He throws a super ball. He’s a great decision maker because he’s so intelligent. He has a 4.0 GPA.
“If you want to run an offense geared toward a mobile quarterback who moves around and can hurt you with his arm or his legs, he can do that. If you want a quarterback whose smart and directs a ball-control offense, he can do that. If you want a quarterback to drop back and pass 45 or 50 times a game, he can do that. I don’t think there’s a doggone offense that he couldn’t run.”
Buchanan also cited Grutza’s worth ethic and desire as key characteristics.
“He really has a desire to be the best player he can be,” Buchanan said. “He lives in the weightroom. A week before he played in the state basketball championship, he was in there working out hard.
“He’s just a winner. As a coach, that’s the thing I admire the most. He started his high school career with a touchdown pass in overtime to beat Tates Creek, and that gave me an indication of what kind of player he was going to be.”
An all-around athlete, Grutza averaged 13.4 points and 5.1 rebounds in helping lead the Royals to the state basketball championship. He was named to the all-tournament team, along with fellow two-sport star Chris Lofton.
Lofton was the Sweet 16 MVP after pouring in nine 3-pointers en route to 39 points in the title game. He was also the primary target for 62 of Grutza’s 155 completions, 1,203 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. Together, they form one of the most dangerous passing duos in the Bluegrass State.
Grutza should challenge Louisville Trinity's Brian Brohm and Paducah Tilghman's Hunter Cantwell as the top quarterbacks in the state for 2004.