Three San Diego High Schools, Cathedral Catholic, Mater Dei, and Scripps Ranch, won state titles last season.
It was a banner year for local prep football. No other county in California produced more champions than the one with the 619 and 858 area codes. Capitalizing on that success, Carlsbad High School head coach Thadd MacNeal and Left Coast Athletix founder Jose Mohler decided 2022 would be the perfect year to launch The Super 7 Elite Quarterback Competition.
They created the Super 7 to highlight the QB culture in San Diego. Though they have deep roots in the county – MacNeal has coached the Lancers for more than a decade after prepping there in the 1980s, and Mohler was a D1 QB who played locally at La Costa Canyon – when it came to publicizing their event, they turned to a person who is synonymous with the quarterback position in America’s Finest City, Christian Chapman.
Chapman, the all-time winningest QB in San Diego State history, led the Aztecs to some of their most memorable victories, including their last two conference title games. Along with Dan Fouts, Stan Humphries, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Brian Sipe, Dennis Shaw, Todd Santos, Dan McGwire, and Ryan Lindley, he is on the short-list of players people think of when discussing San Diego Quarterbacks. Mohler and MacNeal could not have chosen a better figurehead.
“It is extremely flattering that the organizers decided to put my face on their poster for this camp,” Chapman told EVT. “To know that San Diego football players look up to me as a successful quarterback inspires me to give back to the younger generation of players. My decision to stay local was carefully decided, and I truly believe San Diego has some of the best opportunities to max out every player’s potential. Not only did San Diego State give me amazing opportunities, but I was also able to represent my hometown community and program.”
In addition to using an Aztec great to bring notoriety to their kickoff event, MacNeal and Mohler are also tapping into other personal connections. Sophomore Julian Sayin is already an official Five-Star recruit, according to 247 sports. He is only the second San Diego prep athlete to earn that distinction. MacNeal coaches Sayin at Carlsbad High. Mohler is his uncle. Sayin graces the Super 7 poster alongside Chapman.
It takes a lot of hard work to be an elite QB, which is why there are so few of them. By nature, those who man the position are highly competitive, which drives them to grind off the field in order to be successful on it. The Super 7 is hoping the opportunity to compete with someone outsiders have ranked as the best prep QB in San Diego history will lure the San Diego QBs to sign up for the event.
“It is great publicity to have Julian Sayin being a 5-star recruit in San Diego County, and he deserves every ounce of recognition he is getting,” Chapman explained. “He is leaps and bounds ahead of many players at his age and has an unbelievable amount of potential. I personally believe San Diego has produced some of the best recruits in the country and should be recognized for the amount of talent that has been circulating in the area for years now.”
The preliminary rounds will be held on March 27 and April 24 from 4 pm to 6 pm. The top seven rated QBs will be recognized as part of the Class of 2023 Super 7 SD and invited to the “Freak Show Friday” on May 13 to showcase their talents even more. The events will take place at Mohler’s alma mater, La Costa Canyon High School.
MacNeal and Mohler have the ambitious goal of attracting QBs from “all San Diego high schools.” Coaches interested in securing their players an invitation can reach out to @super7sd on Twitter and Instagram or via email [email protected].
The Importance of QB Development
As much as anyone, Andrew Aumavae knows the challenges of trying to build the Super 7 Elite Quarterback Competition from the ground up. Aumavae, the father of current Aztec freshman Liu Aumavae, has two decades of experience coaching QBs. He is the founder of QB Influence and an Elite 11 QB Coach. Elite 11 Competitions are among the premier events for up-and-coming QBs in the nation.
Aside from funding, Aumavae explained camps like these are only successful when they provide honest, helpful feedback to the participants with a clear path to improving their standing in the rankings. If there is even a hint of favoritism or bias towards prospects with higher recruiting profiles, it will damage the reputation of the Super 7, making it less likely the next generation of San Diego QBs will want to participate.
— Andrew Aumavae (@coachdrew8) December 11, 2021
“The message and mission statement must be upheld and shared the whole way through,” Aumavae told EVT. “Integrity in the way the criteria is set for scoring/ranking the QBs are never changed or adjusted to move a QB above another because of previous relationships.”
Given all the ties the Super 7’s founders have to Sayin, plus the super-star status of the Carlsbad QB, Mohler and MacNeal have enlisted the help of 247 Sports. The recruiting company giant will be on hand during the event to help with evaluating the invitees.
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Sayin will have many more opportunities to showcase his skills on a national level at camps like the Elite 11, where Aumavae coaches. The Super 7 was created to provide an opportunity for other QBs without a national profile. Sharing a field with Sayin will also give the campers another insight.
“It provides real live feedback,” Aumavae explained. “Competition brings out everyone’s best efforts. When competing with the “Elite QBs,” it gives them that touch, feel, smell, reality-check to see that these “Elite QBs” are everyday normal guys who have been gifted with a skill set mixed with hard work to be elite. From that realization, an average QB can be inspired to get to that level knowing that it’s totally attainable by adjusting a few things or a total overhaul to get to that level.”
Perfect Timing to Help High School Recruits
NCAA rules prevent universities from attending events like the Super 7. Even without the attendance of Kurt Mattix, SDSU’s lead recruiter for San Diego, for example, participating can still help athletes raise their profile in the eyes of universities. Having success at a competition improves a QBs reputation confidence and brings increased media attention.
“(Recruiting) was for sure a frustrating process for me,” SDSU Freshman Kyle Crum said on The SDSU Football Podcast. “I would spend hours just (Direct Messaging) coaches on Twitter, just reaching out, trying to get my film seen. I think a lot of it had to do with college coaches not being able to come on campus because of the restrictions. I just tried to stay focused and keep working out, keep getting better so that way whenever my time did come, I would be ready for it.”
Crum’s recruiting was significantly impacted by California’s decision to postpone the 2020 season. Much of the nation played during the fall, allowing players from other states to get recruited at the normal cycle. The Sunshine State’s abbreviated season took place in the spring of 2021, when universities already had their recruiting priorities set for the class of 2022.
It forced Crum and recruits across the state to be entrepreneurs and market themselves to college coaches. Despite proving to be further along than most high school freshmen during his first two months at SDSU, Crum’s efforts barely paid off. The Aztecs were his lone offer. It came only after another QB recruit, Oakie Salave’a, backed out of his verbal commitment.
The Covid adjustments to the high school season mostly impacted the class of 2022 in California, but there is a bigger change in college football, affecting potential recruits everywhere. The new one-time transfer rule is limiting the scholarships available to prep players, which makes gaining notoriety even more essential. The Super 7’s creation came at this critical juncture to help more area QBs to play at the next level.
“Our long-term vision is to add to the quarterback culture here in San Diego, providing a standard for young, up and comers to latch on to and adapt to,” Mahler said. “The short-term vision is to provide a platform to bring community & media attention to the area’s best/up & coming QBs.”
Building off the momentum created by the amazing success of local teams in 2021, Mahler and MacNeal decided 2022 was the perfect time to implement their vision that has been years in the making. With the support of Chapman and players like Sayin participating, the event promises to live up to its name, the Super 7 Elite Quarterback Competition.
My earliest sport’s memory involve tailgating at the Murph, running down the circular exit ramps, and seeing the Padres, Chargers and Aztecs play. As a second generation Aztec, I am passionate about all things SDSU. Other interests include raising my four children, being a great husband and teaching high school.