As a former quarterback himself, Boise High football coach Bob Clark long ago saw the potential in Will McMullin’s right arm.
Lately, Clark isn’t the only one taking an interest in McMullin’s future.
College coaches got a taste of the 6-foot-3, 170-pound incoming junior’s ability at several camps this summer, and they liked what they saw.
“They were impressed. He throws a pretty ball, and he’s tall,” Clark said. “He’s a good-looking dude.”
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In late May, McMullin traveled to Seattle to compete against 70 other quarterbacks from Washington, Oregon and Idaho, hoping to earn one of five guaranteed spots in the second annual Northwest 9, a quarterback competition run by former Washington State QB Taylor Barton.
McMullin achieved the invite he wanted, and he then joined his Braves teammates for the Ute Shoot 7-on-7 camp in Salt Lake City.
Next came Boise State’s camp, where McMullin was awarded the underclassman MVP.
Not bad for a kid battling mononucleosis and a hairline fracture to one of the bones in his throwing hand.
“He was weak and puking (at Northwest 9 tryouts),” Clark said. “But he fought through it and did a really good job.”
McMullin started the summer simply hoping to get his foot in the recruiting door, but he’s accomplished much more. Clark said programs from the Pac-12, Mountain West and Big Sky have recently expressed interest in McMullin.
“It’s been crazy. It’s been really fun and exciting, and then also scary,” said McMullin, who started five games for the Braves as a sophomore, passing for 1,257 yards and nine TDs. “But it’s always been my dream.”
Clark anticipates life will only get crazier for McMullin as more programs discover “he can freaking throw a football.”
“At one point (this summer), I think he had eight schools that wanted him to come to their little one-day or two-day camps that they do,” Clark said. “... From his own standpoint, he’s grounded. He’s not a look-at-me type of guy. He decided he didn’t need to go to those camps. He just wanted to play and have fun.”
Part of that fun was the two-day Famous Idaho Potato Bowl High School Football Challenge that wrapped up Saturday at the Optimist Youth Sports Complex in Boise. The 7-on-7 passing tournament, which features no pads and 3.5-second time limit for quarterback passes, gave McMullin a chance to fine-tune his technique.
Opposing coaches couldn’t help but take notice.
“He has fluidity when he throws. He’s always on balance. He’s tall. He’s athletic. The ball comes off his hand really easy,” said Rocky Mountain coach Scott Criner, who was the offensive coordinator at Eagle High when former Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly and current BYU QB Tanner Mangum played for the Mustangs.
“His throwing motion, it’s really, really good. I don’t want to say it’s flawless, but he’s very calm and comfortable at the position.”
McMullin returns to the Seattle area Aug. 1-4 to compete against 29 other finalists at Northwest 9 at Northwest University in Kirkland, Wash. He’ll go up against a group that includes reigning champion and Washington commit Jacob Sirmon of Bothell High (Wash.). Seniors Tucker Rovig of Mountain View and Drew Korf of Capital are also among the finalists.
Boise then opens 2016 fall camp Aug. 8.
“For what we have to do to survive at Boise High, he’s got to be good,” Clark said. “All our quarterbacks have been good, because if not, nothing happens for the school and for the team, and then you’re usually on your backside.”
With two more years of high school football ahead of him, McMullin could become one of Idaho’s top prospects for the class of 2018.
“He’s got the physical tools, but he’s got to put all the rest of it together over the next two years,” Clark said. “He’s got a great head on his shoulders. He doesn’t think he’s better than anybody else. He just wants to go out and get better for himself.”