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May 19, 2012
SAN PABLO, Calif. - Johnny Stanton loves playing quarterback, but unfortunately for Stanton, some college coaches would love to see him elsewhere.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Stanton has been compared with former Florida star Tim Tebow - and like Tebow, there is constant talk of him switching positions. Stanton, who could move to tight end or linebacker easily, wants to prove that he can play quarterback and play it well.
The Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Catholic product was one of the top quarterbacks at Friday's Oakland Elite 11, and said he's heard the Tebow and Jake Locker comparisons.
"It's definitely an honor to be compared with those guys, with all the success that they've had," Stanton said during Friday's event at Contra Costa College. "I kind of want to be my own person, be Johnny Stanton, be my own mix of running and passing. It's definitely an honor to be in the same sentence as those guys with the success they had in college and then the pros."
Even Stanton admits he's not the sharpest passer yet but with his abilities to throw, run and lead a team - Santa Margarita is one of Southern California's powerhouse programs - he believes he has something to offer a college program.
California, Washington, San Diego State, Air Force and Navy have offered so far but with Stanton's success in high school and his showing here at the Elite 11, there's no question he can excel at the highest levels of college football.
What's also impressive about Stanton is that he realizes he's not the best yet, but he has the physical tools to be considered among those players. Since his junior season, Stanton has greatly improved his throwing ability.
"Max Browne is obviously one of the best passers in the country and I'm not to his level yet passing so that's one reason why I'm not on that level yet," Stanton said.
"I'm definitely working on the passing. The athlete [label], it helps me but it hurts me as well. I'm trying to go with it and trying to prove as much as I can."
This summer Stanton said he has a three-week window to attend camps in the hopes of landing more offers and he plans to visit Vanderbilt, Oregon State and others. Once college coaches see him in person and in action, they could be enamored with his physical attributes.
Stanton, who threw for 2,439 yards with 13 touchdowns and rushed for 1,428 yards and 21 scores in his junior season, said he wants college coaches to know he wants to play quarterback first, wants to give it a try, and really isn't open to moving to athlete just yet.
"I'd definitely rather play quarterback," he said. "At this point in time I want to play quarterback. The schools that have offered me as an athlete aren't as appealing to me but they're definitely not off the table."
Since Stanton wants to get out this summer to see if he can land any others offers, he's keeping his recruitment open.
"I wouldn't say there's a leader right now," Stanton said. "I'm still waiting it out and I'm not even giving myself a time frame. I'm not doing a top five or a top three and I don't really even know when I'm going to commit."