All Jay Vanderjagt wanted was an opportunity.
More often than not in sports that’s all it takes.
Now the six-foot three, 175-pound Saguaro transfer has not only cemented himself as the second-year starter and team leader for the Coronado Dons but also opened the eyes of colleges around the country after throwing 27 touchdowns last fall.
“Last season was his first year as a varsity starter and it was sometimes deer in the headlights,” Coronado head coach Mike Olson told Sports360AZ.com. “But he worked hard and by the middle of the season you could see his progressions. Now he’s a leader and this is his team.”
Despite moving up a division the Dons, who finished 7-3 in 2015, figure to remain competitive behind Vanderjagt’s arm and a host of fast skill players for him to throw to.
The junior believes some of his recent success on the gridiron can be attributed to being the so-called “quarterback” of the varsity basketball team, as well. The guard averaged 12 points a game and was one of division’s top three-point shooters last season for the 18-10 Dons.
“You’ve got to take that lead,” Vanderjagt said of leading two offenses in two different sports. “If we’re down by two with ten seconds left coach better be drawing up a play for me. A three in the corner (smiling). It’s just like that in football. I’d like to take our offense down the field and score.”
Although no offers have come yet, expect the two-sport star with a sparkling 3.83 grade-point-average to score a football scholarship soon enough. Princeton sent a coach across campus to watch him throw after a spring workout. He’s also received interest from Hawaii, Montana, San Diego State, Columbia and Mike Norvell’s Memphis Tigers among others.
Between the white lines he’s benefitted from the guidance of Olson, as well as his father, former long-time NFL kicker and Pro-Bowler Mike Vanderjagt who also serves as the Dons’ special teams coach.
“We love it here, we love the people here,” Mike said of the families’ experience at Coronado. “We expect good things from our football program…we’ve changed the vibe of Coronado.”