Long before he ever put on a Hutto uniform, Chase Griffin was turning heads as an 11-year-old ball boy at the Elite 11 finals in Oregon.
As he says in his Twitter bio, he's your quarterback's favorite quarterback. And considering Griffin has trained with Johnny Manziel, Vince Young and other stars over the years thanks to Elite 11 assistant coach – and mentor – George Whitfield, he just might be right.
But Griffin is no longer the kid laying out cones, hanging banners and delivering coffee at the nation's premier high school quarterback competition; he's a legitimate prospect in his own right.
Last year, Griffin established himself as one of the top young quarterbacks in the state, leading all Class 5A and 6A sophomores in passing yards (3,056), passing touchdowns (31), completions (227) and completion percentage (62.3). He went 7-4 as a starter for the Hippos, earning Newcomer of the Year honors in District 19-5A.
Most quarterbacks making their varsity debuts would be pretty satisfied with those results. But for a perfectionist like Griffin, it wasn't nearly good enough.
"I feel like I didn't develop my body to the point that I wanted it to be," he said. "That's the big thing I've focused on this year – becoming a more dynamic player. I've been working on my throwing velocity, my release, and being an overall more athletic player."
Griffin has been working non-stop this summer to perfect his craft, attending camps and workouts at the University of Texas, Texas A&M, Rice, Houston, TCU and SMU.
And those are just the schools in the state of the Texas.
He has also visited Cal, Stanford, USC, Florida, Florida State and North Carolina in recent months. But Griffin's most prestigious invite came from QB Collective, a California-based quarterback camp run by NFL minds such as Mike and Kyle Shanahan, Jim Zorn and Sage Rosenfels.
"It was a great camp. When you're around a place like QB Collective, you just try to soak up as much information as you can," Griffin said. "NFL coaches are a bank of knowledge, and they're not afraid to give it up."
It was there that Griffin caught the eye of San Francisco 49ers assistant Mike McDaniel, a Yale graduate. McDaniel was so impressed with the young Hippo during drills, that he started going over his film with Yale head coach Tony Reno, who decided to extend Griffin his first collegiate offer.
"I really just have to thank coach Reno and the whole Yale staff for believing in me enough to give me this opportunity," Griffin said. "It still hasn't set in. It's my first offer – my only offer – and I cherish it.
"Some kids get offers and they stop working because they feel like they've finished the race. But it's only pushed me harder because my goal isn't to play in college; my goal is to win Super Bowls in the NFL."
Even if Griffin falls short of those lofty goals, though, he plans on having an engineering career to fall back on. The incoming junior excels in the classroom as well, ranking in the top 1 percent of his class at Hutto.
Griffin also boasts Ivy League roots. His father, Will, attended Dartmouth as an undergraduate and later earned law degree from Harvard – Yale's archrival.
"My dad didn't go there initially, so he doesn't truly loathe Yale like other Harvard grads," Griffin said with a chuckle. "As soon as Yale called, my father was all for it."
Will has always been supportive of his son's dream to be a professional quarterback, even flying him out to start training with Whitfield – one of the most renowned gurus in the country – as early as 2012.
Griffin immediately wowed Whitfield, who referred him to Elite 11 head coach Trent Dilfer as a candidate for ball boy.
"Coach Whitfield thought he was seeing a high schooler, and I was only in the fourth or fifth grade," Griffin recalled. "After about 10 minutes, he told my father that he wanted to train me all the way up."
Under Whitfield's tutelage, Griffin has already developed into one of the best quarterbacks to ever come through Hutto – a football factory that has churned out collegiate stars such as Jeremy Kerley (TCU), Ryan Higgins (Louisiana Tech) and Davion Davis (Sam Houston State).
Even Hippos head coach Steve Van Meter, a 35-year veteran, admits Griffin is a rare breed, calling him "wise beyond his years."
"Chase is without a doubt the hardest-working quarterback I've ever had," Van Meter said. "He's always doing something to make himself better; whether it's working on his mechanics, lifting in the weight room or studying film.
"Commitment to him is not a lip service. He understands what it takes to be great, and that's what he wants to be."
With an arsenal of receivers at his disposal this season, including All-District selections D.J. Baptist, Caleb Forrest and Jakobe Davidson, Griffin believes that the Hippos are primed to unseat perennial powerhouse Cedar Park for the district title.
But until Hutto's Week 10 matchup with the defending champions, he's taking it one game at a time – starting Sept. 1 with the Bryan Vikings.
"You can't really count on [Cedar Park] losing too many games," Griffin said. "So when we go into that game, we plan on being 9-0. But it all starts with Week 1."