As Written by Ryan Wright and published on RecruitingNewsGuru.com
A year ago, Jayden Denegal was an uncommon beast going against players around his own peer group throwing the pigskin across the yard for 2,214 yards with 36 touchdowns while rushing for 155 yards with four scores and coming up with 41 tackles playing linebacker. As his growth on the field becomes more specialized, so does his skillset at quarterback. So much so, the Class of 2022 standout has already earned offers from Auburn and Georgia.
If any fans of Apple Valley High School’s football program had reservations about how Denegal’s play would translate to the varsity level, he quickly put that to rest. The 6-4, 215-pound, field general was on target completing 68 percent of his passes covering 2,154 yards with 33 scores going up on the board. The Sun Devils posted a 9-2 record during Denegal’s sophomore season giving promise to the future of the program with the ascension of their star quarterback’s growing talents.
With the offseason here for the Sun Devils, I got a few minutes in with one of California’s top prospects in the 2022 class in the pocket for an overview on his season and an update on his recruiting process that includes a weekend visit to Utah.
Jayden, before we get deep into the interview, congratulations on a standout sophomore season.
As mentioned last time we spoke, the Sun Devils offense is well-balanced and you are leading it to the tune of 43 points per game. How are you preparing for each game to keep the well-oiled machine running?
“Every week we come in with a different game plan. We are looking at what their weakness are, how to get the run game going, and how we will air it out. I keep in tune with my receivers. I am watching a lot of film on defenses knowing what they like to run, what they call on third downs, their personnel at corner, and if they are opening their hips up fast – that kind of stuff.”
What is clicking for the team in the passing attack?
“We are very good at the quick-short stuff and double moves. We are well-balanced between the run and the pass, and we are airing it out downfield when defensive backs get greedy.”
When we spoke at the start of the season, you told me then that your game in the pocket and throwing on the run had improved. Since September, what other parts of your game have pushed forward?
“Running the ball, getting out of the pocket, and looking downfield while scrambling. I am trying to get the first down instead of throwing it out of bounds.”
Challenges make us better in life and better on the field. What are some of the challenges you have faced this season on the gridiron and how did you overcome those obstacles for success?
“Some challenges I had at the beginning of the season; they were blitzing me to see what I would do. They wanted to see if I would hold onto it or not. They wanted to see if I would get rid of it or if I knew my check downs. Teams were full out blitzing me thinking I would not be able to get rid of it.”
Which game has been your best?
“I feel like the Oak Hills game was my best. I threw one pick, but I feel like I led the team. They were the one that was supposed to win the game. We popped them in the mouth. I was on target and getting all my reads down. That was my best game.”
What is your proudest moment or biggest play on the field so far this season?
“My proudest moment was against Oak Hill. I broke two tackles and threw it downfield about 50 yards. We scored right before halftime and took the lead into halftime.”
Since we spoke last, you got two big pieces of news. Which teams have offered you?
“Auburn and Georgia.”
Of the two, which program was the first to offer?
Nice. Getting that first offer, or any offer, is a big deal. What was it like for you finding out Auburn was handing you a scholarship?
“It was exciting and overwhelming. It was exciting.”
Which other schools are showing interest?
“Colorado, Oregon, and Utah are showing interest.”
Are you taking any visits coming up?
“This Saturday I am going to Utah.”
What has you excited about heading to Salt Lake City to see the Utes take on UCLA?
“I am excited to see the game atmosphere and to see a good game.”
The team took a tough loss in the opening round of the playoffs falling 28-21 to San Jacinto. How will that game serve as motivation this offseason?
“I feel like this offseason we need to work better as a team. That game was a mental game, physically we were there. We had fumbles and ran the wrong routes. My receivers and I need to nail down the routes and get all of it down. We have to get it all down right.”
With the offseason here, what are you going to work on with your game?
“This offseason I am going to work on my footwork, getting faster overall and with my release, getting my timing down on routes, especially the deep comebacks – I need to work on that. We have not had good timing on that route, I am either early or too late. I need to know when he will break down.”
Jayden, thanks for your time today and good luck this weekend at Utah.