Phoenix (Ariz.) Brophy Prep quarterback Tyler Bruggman and wide receiver Devon Allen had plenty of reasons to feel good about their junior seasons.
They led their school to its first undefeated regular season since 1978. They enjoyed enough individual success to solidify their status as four-star recruits.
Yet they weren't satisfied.
"Ultimately, you want to win a state championship," Bruggman said. "That's what we're gearing up to do this year, hopefully."
Rating: Four stars (No. 13 pro-style QB; No. 243 overall recruit)
Notable: Bruggman completed 60 percent of his passes last season for 2,497 yards and 37 touchdowns while being intercepted only twice. He is very close to deciding on a college. Bruggman has been to Arizona State a number of times and also made recent visits to Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan State and Washington State. Arizona, BYU, Colorado State, Duke, Houston, Iowa State, Ole Miss and Purdue also have offered him.
Quotable: "He has an incredibly strong arm and he's very accurate. He throws the ball a lot, but he's very accurate with it. On film, he looks like a very smart player who makes the right decisions and doesn't make tough throws when he doesn't need to. He's a guy, in an offense that throws the ball around the field, who doesn't take a lot of risks."
- Rivals.com West recruiting analyst Adam Gorney
Position: Wide receiver
Rating: Four stars (No. 15 WR; No. 129 overall recruit)
Notable: Allen is a two-sport athlete who won state titles in the 110 and 300 hurdles and finished second in the 100 and 200 as a junior. He also caught 44 passes for 844 yards and 14 touchdowns last fall. He has a national offer list that includes the likes of Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Tennessee as well as most of the Pac-12 schools.
Quotable: "He's obviously a deep threat because he's a track guy, one of the best track guys in Arizona. He's really fast and stays fast. It's not like he just takes off and then slows down when he's in his route. He's definitely a track guy, but he also can play football. I think guys who run track, sometimes there's a misnomer that they're not football guys. He can take hits. He can bounce off people. He can be physical with people. He was OK at the Army combine. I think he's better on film. He's a guy who is one of many options in that Brophy Prep offense. College coaches love him because of his track speed, because he knows how to run routes, because he's a smart kid and just because he's such a deep threat.''
- Rivals.com West recruiting analyst Adam Gorney
That kind of attitude has helped make Bruggman and Allen one of the nation's top high school pass-catch combinations.
Allen is the No. 15 wide receiver and No. 129 overall prospect in the 2013 recruiting class. Bruggman is ranked 13th among pro-style quarterbacks and 243rd overall.
Bruggman completed 60 percent of his passes for 2,497 yards last year, but the most astounding element of his game may have been his ability to avoid mistakes. He threw 37 touchdown passes with only two interceptions.
"It's his intelligence and work ethic," Brophy Prep coach Scooter Molander said. "Not only his work ethic in the weight room and on the field, but his work ethic as far as watching film. Not just understanding all the plays. He's understanding when and why they work, and (he's) putting our team always in the best position for that play to succeed.''
The plays that succeed often involve throwing to Allen, who caught 44 passes for 844 yards and 14 touchdowns last fall. Those numbers don't accurately reflect just how much he means to his team.
"He blocks," Molander said. "He's our best wide receiver blocker. He gets off the ball hard every play, gets down the field and is a tenacious blocker. Those are the kinds of things that don't show up in the stats formally, but they do secondarily when a running back breaks a long run and he's got receivers blocking down field. That wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for those guys doing the grunt, tough work that few receivers want to do."
And football isn't necessarily Allen's best sport.
Allen also is a track star who won Arizona Division I state titles this year in the 110-meter hurdles (13.58) and 300 hurdles (36.94). He finished second in the 100 (10.48) and 200 (20.75).
"I like both equally," Allen said. "I'm hoping I could probably at least for the first couple of years (in college) try to do both and see how it goes."
Allen's offer list includes Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tennessee and the majority of Pac-12 schools. But his responsibilities as a two-sport athlete could cause him to wait on picking a school until sometime in his senior year.
His track schedule makes it difficult for him to visit college campuses. He just got back from the Caribbean Scholastic Invitational in Puerto Rico. This weekend he has the Golden West Invitational in Folsom, Calif.
"I'm just starting to narrow my list," Allen said. "I probably don't even have a top 15 yet."
Bruggman expects to make his choice much sooner. Of the nation's top 18 pro-style quarterbacks in the Class of 2013, Brogan Roback of Toledo (Ohio) St. John's and Bruggman are the only ones currently uncommitted. Bruggman said a decision should come within the next two weeks. He has stopped by Arizona State a number of times and also recently visited Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan State and Washington State.
Of course, when a four-star quarterback and a four-star receiver are playing at the same high school, it's tempting to imagine them teaming up in college as well. That possibility intrigues both prospects, but they're making their own decisions and aren't considering themselves a package deal. And it's worth noting that Bruggman will probably announce his school a few months before Allen makes his choice.
"We'd love to play together," Bruggman said. "He makes life easy for everyone else around him. But at the same time, what's the best fit for him might be different than the best fit for me. We need to do what's best for each of us."
Right now, they're focusing on their final year as high school teammates. They want to make sure they don't suffer the same heartbreak that ended their junior seasons.
POWER POSITIONS: WHAT IT'S ABOUT
As we head into the summer, we've decided to look ahead to the 2012 fall
football season by rating which high schools have the best prospects at each
position unit. Here is the series schedule:
Wednesday: Offensive Backfields (QB/RB)
Thursday: Pass-Catch Duo (QB to Ind. WR)
Friday: Receiving Corps (Entire Group)
Saturday: Offensive Line
Sunday: Defensive Line
Brophy Prep's dreams of a state title last year ended with a 32-29 loss to Chandler Basha. The circumstances of that loss made it particularly tough to take.
Basha took the lead for good in this back-and-forth game by kicking a 27-yard field goal with 1:22 remaining. Brophy drove 50 yards without the benefit of any timeouts and got all the way to Basha's 30-yard line, but time ran out before the Broncos could attempt a game-tying field goal. Time expired as Bruggman attempted to stop the clock by spiking the ball.
"It was just a tough situation," Allen said. "We drove down the field and just ran out of time. You can't blame it on anybody. The whole game was going back and forth, and we just ran out of time."
The loss devastated a Brophy Prep team that was intent on winning a state title. Even though last year marked Brophy's first undefeated regular season in over three decades, this program is accustomed to competing for championships. Brophy won state titles in 2005 and 2007.
As Allen and Bruggman get ready for their senior seasons, they're eager to erase the memories of that playoff loss.
"Certainly it's something you talk about, but you can't motivate exclusively on negativity," Molander said. "That's motivation. What we want is inspiration."
The chase for a state title should provide Bruggman and Allen all the inspiration they need.
OTHERS OF NOTE (in alphabetical order)
Cedar Hill (Texas): QB Damion Hobbs (three-star prospect, 5.6 rating, No. 24 dual-threat quarterback in 2013 class) and WR Laquvionte Gonzalez (four-star prospect, 5.8 rating No. 24 wide receiver and No. 164 overall prospect in 2013 class, committed to Texas A&M) or WR Quincy Adeboyejo (three-star prospect, 5.6 rating, No. 82 wide receiver in 2013 class, committed to Texas A&M)
Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne: QB Troy Williams (four-star prospect, 5.9 rating, No. 2 dual-threat quarterback and No. 98 overall recruit in 2013 class) and WR A.J. Richardson (three-star prospect, 5.5 rating)
Kettering (Ohio) Archbishop Alter: QB Malik Zaire (four-star prospect, 5.9 rating, No. 4 dual-threat quarterback and No. 111 overall recruit in 2013 class, committed to Notre Dame) and TE Greg Hart (three-star prospect, 5.6 rating No. 21 tight end in 2012 class, committed to Nebraska)
Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral: QB Hayden Rettig (four-star prospect, 5.9 rating, No. 4 pro-style quarterback and No. 84 overall recruit in 2013 class, committed to LSU) and WR Da'mari Scott (three-star prospect, 5.6 rating, No. 98 receiver in 2013 class) or WR Cameron Akins (three-star prospect, 5.5 rating)
Louisville (Ky.) Trinity: QB Travis Wright (three-star prospect, 5.6 rating, No. 20 dual-threat quarterback in 2013 class) and WR James Quick (four-star prospect, 5.8 rating, No. 30 WR and No. 207 overall prospect in 2013 class)
Marietta (Ga.) Lassiter: QB Eddie Printz (three-star prospect, 5.7 rating, No. 23 pro-style quarterback in 2013 class, committed to UCLA) and WR Ryan Jenkins (three-star prospect, 5.7 rating, No. 47 wide receiver in 2013 class) or WR Juwan Dickey (three-star prospect, 5.5 rating)
Matthews (N.C.) Butler: QB Riley Ferguson (three-star prospect, 5.7 rating, No. 19 pro-style quarterback in 2013 class) and WR Uriah LeMay (four-star prospect, 5.8 rating, No. 33 wide receiver and No. 230 overall prospect in 2013 class, committed to Georgia)
Raleigh (N.C.) Wakefield: QB Connor Mitch (four-star prospect, 5.8 rating, No. 14 pro-style quarterback and No. 245 overall prospect in 2013 class, committed to South Carolina) and WR Jordan Fieulleteau (three-star prospect, 5.6 rating, No. 90 wide receiver in 2013 class, committed to North Carolina)
Salt Lake City (Utah) Cottonwood: QB Cooper Bateman (four-star prospect, 5.9 rating, No. 5 pro-style quarterback and No. 91 overall prospect in 2013 class, committed to Alabama) and TE Siale Fakailoatonga (three-star prospect, 5.6 rating, No. 29 tight end in 2013 class, committed to Utah) or WR Inoke Lotulelei (three-star prospect, 5.5 rating, committed to UCLA)
Virginia Beach (Va.) Salem: QB Bucky Hodges (four-star prospect, 5.8 rating, No. 12 pro-style quarterback and No. 217 overall prospect in 2013 class, committed to Virginia Tech) and WR Kwamane Bowens (three-star prospect, 5.6 rating)
Steve Megargee is the national college columnist for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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