MERIDIAN — Tegan Sweaney watched as his teammates piled up the college offers and wondered if his time would come.
No doubt, the Rocky Mountain quarterback was more than happy for all the opportunities his friends were getting. He just had hoped to be getting his own opportunities with them.
“It’s obviously frustrating when your whole team is getting offers, and I’m the one throwing the football,” Sweaney said. “But it’s a good feeling that I am starting to get attention.”
After a slow start out of the station, the senior’s recruiting train is starting to pick up steam. Last weekend, Sweaney was invited to attend a game at Montana Western, which will be looking to replace 2021 Frontier Conference Player of the Year Jon Jund after this season. He’s also received interest from Weber State, but has no offers from either school yet, or any school for that matter.
Sweaney is also getting attention nationally, as his 43-yard touchdown run in last week’s 63-0 win against Capital was the NFHS Network’s No. 5 top play of the week.
“The pocket collapsed, so I decided to escape it,” Sweaney said about his first quarter run, where he took elusive action to avoid defenders and get the Grizzlies (6-0, 3-0 5A Southern Idaho Conference Foothills) their first score of the game. “Once I was running, I had one dude to beat, so I beat him. There was a dude coming across the field, so I stopped, went around him and there was no one in front of me.”
The win against the Eagle set up a chance for Rocky Mountain to clinch the Foothills Division title tonight. If the Grizzlies, currently ranked No. 1 in the 5A state media poll, beat No. 2 Meridian (6-0, 3-0) today, the Grizzlies will secure a trip to the SIC Championship game in two weeks, which would be Rocky Mountain’s third trip in a row. Today’s game is scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m. at Meridian High.
The Grizzlies won the first-ever SIC championship game in 2020, on their way to a 5A state title, but lost in last year’s game to Mountain View.
“It would be awesome to go back to last year and change everything,” said Sweaney, who was a backup on the 2020 team and a starter in 2021. “But this year is special because it’s our senior year and we definitely want to come out on top as conference champions and get the bye at state.”
Rocky Mountain comes into the game averaging 36 points per game, thanks in large part to the effort Sweaney has put in leading the offense. On the season, he has 1,459 passing yards, averaging 10.6 yards per attempt, with 15 touchdown passes. Sweaney has also added 102 yards and three touchdowns with his legs.
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“When you have a lot of experience, the game slows down for you at quarterback,” Rocky Mountain coach Chris Culig said. “In your junior year, as a first-time starter, you’re not really sure what you’re seeing. But he’s taken in a lot of information and I think it has helped him make decisions quicker.”
Also helping Sweaney has been the pieces put around him, several of whom will go on to play college football, including many at the NCAA Division I level.
Up front, offensive linemen Jackson Fullmer and Zach Penner have orally committed to Kansas State and Idaho, respectively. Running back Art Williams has also committed to Idaho. In recent weeks wide receiver Luke Luchini has picked up offers from Frontier Conference schools like Montana Tech and Carroll, while another receiver, C.J. Jacobsen, is the top-ranked uncommitted recruit in the state, according to 247Sports. Jacobsen holds offers from several big-name programs around the country including a trio of teams currently ranked in the AP Top 25 — No. 11 Utah, No. 14 N.C. State and No. 16 BYU.
“It’s been great, the two wide receivers I have right now, the two big boys Luke Luchini and C.J., they’ve been my go-to guys,” Sweaney said about all the weapons he’s had to work with. “They’ve been doing a great job on the outside and on the inside. We also have Jaryn Ikebe and a fast guy like (Jeff) Thompson, they’ve been doing a good job, too.”
He’s also done more running this year, which Culig said has really added to his game. While Sweaney said that he definitely prefers slinging the ball downfield, the coach has been more adamant in having him use his legs.
The more Sweaney can be a dual threat, the more dangerous the Rocky Mountain offense can be, Culig believes.
“As a defensive coordinator, when a quarterback will move in the pocket, tuck it and run, it always makes you scared to play man coverage,” Culig said. “When you have a quarterback that can do both (pass and run), it’s pretty scary as a defensive coordinator. That helps him extend drives and moves the chains. When he can go to the house, that’s even better.”
Sweaney said as the years have gone along, he’s started to hear more and more from colleges. As of now, he has no official offers, but he believes as his recruitment begins to heat up, he will find a school that is a good fit for him.
“Obviously I’m wanting more,” Sweaney said. “I’m expecting more attention through the fall. I’ve got no offers yet, but the attention is there.”