At a track and field practice during the spring, Jack Tuttle received some unwelcome news from two of his football coaches at Mission Hills High outside of San Diego.
“Hey, you’re in trouble,” the quarterback -- and Utah commit -- was told.
“I was like, ‘What’s going on here?’” Tuttle said.
The coaches didn’t keep up the charade for long. They were there to pass along a bit of potentially life-altering news: Alabama had offered Tuttle a scholarship.
“That was pretty cool,” he said.
It also didn’t really change anything for him. Tuttle appreciated the offer and understood its significance, but it didn’t make him rethink his commitment to Utah. It did, however, affect the way he was perceived nationally as a prospect and, perhaps, by other schools. By the time he arrived at the Elite 11 finals in early June, Tuttle had received several more offers from prominent programs from all over the country.
There was a definite buzz about him headed into the camp, and it took less than a day of him competing side-by-side with some of the nation’s best quarterback prospects to understand why. Not only did Tuttle hold his own among the 24-player field, he was consistently among the camp’s most impressive players and an easy choice to earn one of the 12 prestigious quarterback invitations for The Opening this week in Beaverton, Oregon.
He displayed a natural fluidity that’s rare for a player entering his final year of high school and possesses a strong, accurate arm. At 6-foot-4 and just over 200 pounds, he has the size coaches look for and is athletic enough to confidently make throws on the run. For Utah fans, his performance should have been encouraging, but it’s also important to consider the setting. There’s only so much that can be learned about any player from how they go through camp drills in shorts and T-shirts.
“I thought I played pretty well and the experience was fantastic,” Tuttle said. “I really loved the camp. The coaches, the players, they were all great and now I’m really looking forward to The Opening.”
In the weeks since his performance at the Elite 11, Tuttle’s stock has continued to rise. Following the decommitment of Matt Corral, the ESPN.com’s No. 2-ranked pocket-passer from USC, Trojans head coach Clay Helton extended an offer to Tuttle. Again, Tuttle was honored and, again, he gave no indications the USC offer would affect his pledge to Utah.
“The first time I stepped foot on campus, it was love at first sight,” Tuttle said. And his subsequent trips to Salt Lake City, including one two weeks ago to throw at a camp, have reaffirmed his initial feeling.
Tuttle remains ESPN.com’s No. 29-ranked pocket-style passer, but by the time the rankings are finalized, it stands to reason he could be the Utes’ most highly ranked incoming quarterback in over a decade – and possibly longer.
There will be more than 160 of the nation’s best prospects at The Opening, which takes place at Nike’s world headquarters and begins when players start arriving on Wednesday and runs through July 3.
Of the 12 quarterbacks who will be at The Opening, three -- Tanner McKee, Justin Fields and Corral -- remain uncommitted. Fields, the No. 4 overall player in the ESPN300, was committed to Penn State, but had a change of heart in June.
The full list of quarterbacks also includes: Cammon Cooper (Washington State), Trevor Lawrence (Clemson), Devin Leary (NC State), Quincy Patterson III (Virginia Tech), Justin Rogers (TCU), Tyler Shough (North Carolina), Dorian Thompson-Robinson (UCLA) and Jarren Williams (Kentucky).