Big QB getting D-1 college offers
Published 11:11 am Thursday, August 22, 2019
Last year quarterback Nate Hampton showed flashes of dominant play. He left fans in awe when he rescued Davie with a 16-play, 80-yard drive against a North Davidson team that would win 13 of 16 games. He was good enough to post the 10th-best completions (124) and the No. 11 passing yards (1,417) in Davie’s season records.
But Hampton also left the 2018 season needing some polish. Because of his incredible physical prowess (6-foot-5, 225 pounds), it was easy to forget he was a sophomore with only one year of quarterbacking experience under his belt.
Hampton has sanded down rough edges, and coaches expect him to explode as a junior.
Head coach Tim Devericks said: “Obviously he has a huge arm, and I think he fell in love with that (last year). He’s come with an understanding to take what’s there, and those will eventually lead to big plays because they will adjust their coverages to take (short passes) away.”
Offensive coordinator Matt Gould: “He’s made a lot of improvement from last year, and we’re expecting big things out of him. Quicker decision-making. He’s feeling more comfortable in the offense, making his reads. He’s going up there with a plan every time, knowing what we have and what his answers are to whatever the defense calls. It’s been impressive so far.”
Defensive coordinator Blaine Nicholson: “Nate has gotten better with his pocket presence, throwing in the face of a pass rush and throwing on the run.”
Last year Hampton finished 124 of 252 for 1,417 yards with eight TD passes and eight interceptions. With Davie trailing 14-13 to North Davidson and facing third down, he hit Jack Reynolds for an 11-yard TD with two minutes left to cap the 80-yard drive and finish with 243 yards and three TDs. In a 52-32 loss to Mooresville, Hampton threw for a Davie-sophomore-record 274 yards. His 263 passing yards in a 40-33 win over Carson rank No. 2 on the sophomore list.
Alas, he was plagued by injuries the second half of the season. At Reynolds, he left with a concussion. He missed the final two games against Reagan and East Forsyth with a broken hand.
His .492 completion percentage wasn’t great by Davie/Central Piedmont Conference standards, but sophomore QBs on the 4-A level almost always require a learning curve. He has an extremely high ceiling. He has a big body that Division-Is crave – he’s received offers from West Virginia and Florida Atlantic – and he’s throwing rockets in practice.
Gould: “At camp, he had to roll out to the left. He stopped his feet and threw it with accuracy. He’s also thrown a couple truly on the run to the right with some accuracy. He’s got to have one of the strongest arms … in the country I would guess. Technically, a throw is triangulated to get the true distance. He was on one hash and I swear he threw it to the numbers on the other side of the field about 60 yards. But that’s 60 yards from the line of scrimmage. Really, that’s probably like an 80-yard throw. And he just made it look easy.”
Nicholson: “He flicks his wrist and the ball goes 55 yards like it’s nothing. It’s ridiculous. The other day we flushed him out of the pocket and we had a guy running across the field. It was a 60-yard throw on the run. As a defensive coach, it’s great for us because we’ve got to keep playing until the whistle is blown. The kids think he’s out of range. His out of range is off the practice field. Nate keeps his eyes far downfield and absolutely chucks it. If your receivers stay true to their routes, we’ll have some big plays, because it takes a lot of discipline to stay covered for six, seven seconds.”
Devericks: “He’s had a lot – a lot – of interest (from colleges).But he’s trying to knock out that noise and focus on having a great year. He’s handled that really well.”
Last year as a freshman, Alex Summers was fantastic on JV, throwing for 1,251 yards in eight games. When Hampton went down, Summers was thrown to the wolves. His varsity debut came in the CPC opener at Reynolds. After an 0-for-6 start, he completed four of his next six attempts.
He made his first varsity start at Reagan. Going 16 of 29 for 180 yards, he was a silver lining in 41-21 defeat. His next start came in a 49-14 loss to East Forsyth, which went 15-0 and captured the 4A championship. His final varsity numbers: 23 of 54 for 259 yards with one TD and two picks.
The 5-8, 160-pounder has come a long way since those demanding experiences. Even though he’s slated for a backup role, he’s displayed a passion for improvement.
Devericks: “Alex had a good offseason. There were times when Nate was out of town at camps, and Alex just stepped in and took all the varsity reps without missing a beat. The experience from last year has helped him maturity-wise and understanding what’s going on. When you’re a freshman and step into a big role like that, it is eye-opening and shocking. His confidence and arm strength have improved tremendously.”