Danny Hernandez had seen some videos, been impressed by the throws.
Perhaps what most helped the Los Angeles-based quarterbacks guru note the serious nature of JT Shrout’s quest to improve wasn’t necessarily Shrout’s ability to fight off a defender, but rather his insistence on fighting through traffic.
L.A. is known for both its sprawl and its traffic; Shrout, once he committed to work with Hernandez, showed he did not care about either deterrent.
“He said, ‘just let me know where you’re gonna be,’” Hernandez, who’s trained L.A.-area athletes for college football the past 15 years and operated Team Dime Los Angeles the last few, told GridIron Now. “A lot of times it’s at Pico Rivera, and that’s a good 1.5 hours away from JT. Sometimes it’s at Cathedral, which is right by Dodger Stadium.
“The very last game of his junior year, I was coaching for Cathedral, there’s a picture of us together right after that game, he said, ‘It’s my show now.’ That day was kind of a day where he said we’re going to really attack this off-season and are coming for it all. He didn’t care where it was – downtown L.A., Pico Rivera, Jackie Robinson Park in Pasadena, Warren High School, it didn’t matter.”
Even before he had worked with Shrout, Hernandez had gained an appreciation for Shrout’s perseverance.
“The thing I immediately noticed is, man, this kid has a ton of skill,” said Hernandez, who is working with multiple quarterbacks and athletes at all levels of college football for the 2018 season. “He didn’t have ton of playing time his junior year, and in my eyes, watching as an outsider looking in, felt he was the better guy and could be the next big-time guy.
“He was at a school (Hart) that traditionally kind of only goes with a one-year starter. Hart had a run in Kyle Boller, Matt Moore, literally had their quarterback only play his senior year and then ball out and go D-1 and beyond like Boller. JT kind of knowing that decided to still be patient, to stick it out. Here on the West Coast, kids are looking to make moves if they’re not starting as freshmen, but he had good roots to his high school and things worked out.”
What Hernandez immediately glimpsed was Shrout’s ability to zip the football anywhere on the field; still with such little on-field, in-game experience, college coaches wanted more from Hernandez. Those coaches include Tennessee’s new staff under Jeremy Pruitt, specifically offensive coordinator Tyson Helton.
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