On Thursday, Quintarius Neely was in downtown Atlanta at the College Football Hall of Fame, and he wasn’t there to purchase a ticket for admission.
Rather, the Roswell High School (Roswell, Ga.) quarterback was present dressed in a suit and a black bow tie on the heels of a five-touchdown, 361-yard outing against Walton that earned him Touchdown Club of Atlanta’s Back of the Week honors.
It’s the kind of recognition many of the state’s top players, including Antwuan Jackson (Cedar Grove) and Elijah Holyfield (Woodward Academy), have received this season.
But unlike his high-profile peers, Neely isn’t on as many recruiting radars. In fact, he’s unranked.
Roswell coach John Ford thinks it has to do with his quarterback’s stature — Neely is a just a hair over 6-feet. But don’t tell him that.
“I kind of like being this height,” Neely told the SEC Country. “It’s motivation. I know I’m not the size everyone is looking for, but it pushes me to another level.”
See, Neely has always had to prove others wrong. He transferred from Lovejoy this past spring, where he had the luxury of throwing to Preston Williams, a former 4-star recruit and current Tennessee receiver.
When Neely arrived at Roswell, it was an opportunity to prove his ability as a pocket passer.
“With Preston, he made it easier for me since he was a huge target,” Neely said. “When I got to Roswell, I worked very hard with my receivers. Long days after practice working on timing just to get our rhythm together.”
Neely hasn’t missed a beat. The Hornets (6-0) are undefeated under the direction of the senior signal-caller.
“He is a complete field general,” Ford told the SEC Country. “He sees everything. The game goes real slow for him. He checks plays, gets us in runs, gets us in passing (plays). He makes me look a lot smarter than I am.”
Ford admitted that he was unsure what Roswell was getting in Neely when he transferred. That was before he discovered his soon-to-be starter was as much of a film junkie as he was.
“I know how to pick on a defense,” Neely said. “I know their weaknesses because I study so much film.”
But despite the successful senior campaign, Neely holds just offers from Army and Lenoir-Rhyne. Schools like Utah, Illinois and Georgia Southern have begun to recruit him as of late, and he’s hopeful his recruitment will continue to pick up as the season progresses.
According to Neely, he has what it takes to play quarterback at the next level and has no plans of changing positions.
His coaches laud him for his ability to find throwing lanes and his knack for remaining comfortable in the pocket. His grasp of the offense is uncanny — often times, his height isn’t a hindrance because he knows where everyone is on the field.
“The physical tools are unreal, really,” Ford said. “He has a huge arm and he probably runs a 4.5 40-yard (dash).”
Neely will take unofficial visits to Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern and Army this fall.