ST. AUGUSTINE – There aren’t many quarterbacks that earn the chance to start multiple seasons in high school football, but St. Augustine’s Cole Northrup has proven he can do it all entering his fourth year as the man under center.
The 6’1″, 206-pounder is focused on the task at hand in his last prep year after posting a 26-7 record in three seasons along with 4,625 passing yards and 50 touchdowns. He’s helped guide the Yellow Jackets to three consecutive region appearances highlighted by the 2014 semifinal.
Northrup has added 25 lbs. of muscle this off-season and says he just wants to continue to get better and enjoy the start of senior football. He earned his first offer on Tuesday but chose not to reveal it. After talking with his parents he said he thought people should know he has an offer, but he didn’t necessarily want to say who it was from.
“It means a lot,” Northrup said about what his first offer means. “It means that all the work that I’ve spent pays off and it’s very rewarding. Now you are hungry to get another one honestly.”
He’s earned interest from Colorado State, Wake Forest and Georgia Southern as well. Last year, Northrup took an unofficial visit to Colorado State while he attended a Wake Forest game this past season.
Starting his football career at age 5, Northrup said he was a big kid so the coaches stuck him at tight end and defensive end despite his wishes to throw the ball. He honed in on the quarterback position at age 10.
Shortly after that, Northrup attended a DeBartolo Sports camp in 2011 where he met lead quarterback instructor Joe Dickinson. He said his parents signed him up. Describing himself at that time, he called himself “a young pup who didn’t know what he was doing”. Dickinson took him under his wing and things took off from there.
“I’ve been working with Coach D for five years now. He’s changed my entire motion. I came out and didn’t think he knew what he was doing, but I bought in and now it has paid off. All the work and hours we’ve put in together, the phone calls and text messages have paid off.”
Northrup says the two talk every two days and if Dickinson is in town they’ll throw every day that he is. He calls Dickinson a mentor and another parental figure in his life.
The two have a great relationship, something that Dickinson has with each quarterback he trains around the country. Dickinson called Northrup a guy who has really developed over the past 12 months and is throwing as well as anybody out there.
“Cole has as much game experience as any quarterback in America as he started as a true freshman,” Dickinson said. “Honestly, he should have 10 offers by now in my opinion. He’s a great competitor and a very hard worker. The total package if you ask me. He’s going to be an excellent college quarterback.”
Northrup has grown leaps and bounds like Dickinson pointed out and as the starting quarterback his freshman season that’s when he said he gained confidence in his game.
“When we beat Bartrum Trail my freshman year. We were down 21-0 and came back to beat them 28-27. That was a real confidence booster and that has helped me the rest of my career. As a freshman starting against them was scary and to be able to lead a comeback and win the game, it was big.”
Originally a student at Bolles from kindergarten to the eighth grade, he transferred to St. Augustine because he saw a better opportunity to play right away under head coach Joey Wiles. Wiles, a guy who Northrup calls “one of a kind” retired after last season along with offensive coordinator Steve Hardin.
Northrup says Wiles is another person in his life that he looks at as a parental figure. As for Hardin, he’s been coached by him since the fourth grade.
“I throw with him [Hardin] every Sunday. He taught me everything I knew about football when I was young. He taught me the fundamentals and how your supposed to do things. A lot of life lessons.”
With Wiles and Hardin out of the picture, their replacements were hired this off-season in the form of Brian Braddock and Sean McIntyre. Braddock played for coach Wiles from 1996-98 at St. Augustine before joining his staff as the defensive coordinator in 2010. He coached at Mandarin the last three seasons alongside McIntyre, the new offensive coordinator.
Northrup called the transition seamless. Trained under coach Wiles, Braddock hasn’t changed much in terms of the team’s philosophy.
St. Augustine plays Bishop Kenny next Wednesday in its spring game and Northrup has high hopes for his last season.
“To win the state title would be a dream of mine for St. Augustine. It would be the second in school history. All the hours that I’ve put in and the team put in it would fulfill everything I wanted in my high school career.”
He says his biggest strengths in his game are his decision making and accuracy. Northrup says you can always improve your overall speed and that is something he’s working on in terms of his release with coach Dickinson.
DeBartolo provides a sense of a brotherhood for these quarterbacks Northrup says. He stays in touch with local DeBartolo trainees Mac Jones (Bolles) and River Walker (Mandarin).
Northrup won the Orlando NUC camp and a local combine at Creekside High this February. He also competed in the Nike Elite 11 in Orlando and Atlanta recently.
He calls playing quarterback something that is thoroughly fun.
“You’re the team leader. It is a lot of responsibility and you show the young kids how you’re supposed to do. I enjoy being a role model for them.”
Northrup’s biggest role model is his father, Tod Northrup, the team’s doctor.
“He taught me how to work and how things are supposed to be done the right way. He was a state champion in high school and national champion in college. He taught me from the ground up and how to handle situations that might be tough.””
In terms of what his ultimate goal is with the game of football on or off the field, he says he just wants to learn from it.
“I want to gain those experiences from it because you’re not going to be taught those lessons in any other sport. My goal with it is just to take as much out of it as I can. I’ve always seen education first and then football second. That’s always been my philosophy.”
Northrup is doing everything he can to improve, impress and make the most of his opportunities that football has brought him. He’s going to earn plenty of more offers before this year is over there is no doubt.
The kid has the smarts to play the position. Northrup is only going to get better with more training and hard work. It will be fun to see what he can do in his last prep season.
Favorite player to watch – Peyton Manning (Went to his camp in seventh grade and got to meet him)
Playlist before games – AC/DC, Rap
Favorite movies – Rudy and The Longest Yard
Favorite TV shows – Game of Thrones, Sportscenter
Fun fact that nobody knows about you – “I like to eat. I eat six meals a day in the process of gaining weight.”
Nicknames from friends or teammates – “Doc”
Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to write below or email Jake at firstname.lastname@example.org.