Arizona’s 2020 recruiting class is so far comprised of mostly offensive players — including three-star quarterback Will Plummer.
Plummer emerged as the top passer in Arizona this season with 3,584 yards and 33 touchdowns, but threw 18 interceptions. He wrapped up his high school football career last week, when his Gilbert team fell 45-14 to Goodyear Millennium.
The 6-foot-2-inch, 205-pound Plummer committed to the Wildcats in January and selected the UA over Colorado, Oklahoma State, Oregon State and North Texas. The 247Sports.com scouting service lists him as the No. 32 pro-style quarterback in the country.
The Star spoke with Plummer, no relation to former ASU and NFL star Jake Plummer, about his UA commitment, his final high school season — and life with his brother Jack, who is Purdue’s starting quarterback.
Why did you decide to commit to Arizona?
A: “I decided to commit to the University of Arizona because of the coaches — Coach Noel Mazzone and Coach (Kevin) Sumlin in particular. The résumé coach Mazzone has is awesome, and he’s sent a lot of guys to the NFL. His offense appeals to my style of play, so I think I can fit in that offense pretty well. And coach Sumlin, out of all the coaches I’ve talked to, he’s probably the coolest one and the most down-to-earth guy. He knows the game very well, and that’s basically what it boiled down to.”
How did you first meet the Arizona coaches?
A: “My quarterbacks coach, Mike Giovando, has known coach Noel Mazzone for about seven or eight years now. J.D. Johnson was another kid who trained out there, and he was offered by Arizona. Me and J.D. are pretty good friends and J.D. was probably gonna go to Arizona, but then he got the Michigan offer and ended up committing there. Coach Giovando was in Mazzone’s ear like, ‘Hey, I got this kid you need to take a look at — you have to take a look at.’ He took a look at my film and loved me, texted me from there and that’s how it started.”
What specifically about Arizona’s works for your skill set?
A: “A lot of the deep pocket shots, RPO, a little bit of quarterback run, but not too much. I’m not a big runner, but I like to carry the ball a little bit. I love all the intermediate, quick-hitting passing routes (Mazzone) has. He always has someone open in just about every passing play he calls. That appealed to my eye.”
Which quarterback do you emulate?
A: “I’d probably say Tom Brady. I’m not the biggest Patriots fan, but that dude will find a way to win. If you need someone to win a game, you can bet on him. I’ve always been a Tom Brady fan.”
Recently, Phoenix has become a hotbed for quarterbacks. How would you describe the scene?
A: “It’s pretty cool actually, and a lot of these guys I know. My brother Jack is playing quarterback up at Purdue and we played flag football with Brock and Chubba Purdy. We have photos of me, Jack, Chubba and Brock all on the same football team. Brock was the quarterback and the rest of us were wide receivers, but we still threw the ball a little bit. J.D. Johnson, Jack Miller — that’s Michigan and Ohio State right there. Spencer Rattler at Oklahoma, I’ve thrown with him for about five or six years. Brian Lewerke is another one at Michigan State. We have a lot of kids so it’s pretty cool.”
What was the dynamic like with your older brother growing up?
A: “Fistfights everyday. Me and Jack did everything together. We played sports together, hung out with friends together. We were both tight, but we were also super-competitive, whether it’s playing video games or playing ping-pong, there’s going to be a fight at the end of it.”
Did your older brother always have an advantage?
A: “Everything we did, he was better than me. He’s a little over two years older than me so, naturally, he was just better than me at everything. It (ticked) me off, because I hate losing. My least favorite thing in life is losing so it made me mad. Looking back, there were a lot of fun times with him and as we got older into our teens, we definitely got closer. My sophomore year, I played receiver for him and that was when we started getting really close.”
Was there anything the UA coaches told you to work on during your senior season?
A: “They didn’t want to pressure, me so they just said ‘Play your game.’ A big emphasis for me was getting turnovers down, which I didn’t do this year so that annoyed me a little bit, because you’re making plays that look spectacular, but when you turn the ball over, it impacts your team in a negative way. I tried working on that at the end of the season and I got better at that, but it’s something I still need to work on.”
Is that because of a gunslinger mentality?
A: “Yeah, that’ll get you in trouble sometimes, but it also got me out of trouble a lot of times, too. You see the number of picks and think, ‘(Dang), that kid is throwing a lot of picks.’ If there’s a throw I think I can make and I’ve been picked twice, I’m going to make that throw again. … I’d rather have that mentality than to be timid with the ball.”
Did you watch Arizona growing up?
A: “My whole family is from Iowa, and I was huge Iowa die-hard fan growing up. I wanted to play there so bad. I didn’t have a preference for Arizona or Arizona State, but I watched the games. Once I grew up and started to understand the game of football, I became less and less an Iowa fan because they ran the football, so it didn’t appeal to me.”
What are your thoughts on the current roster and some of the underclassmen who will be your teammates next season?
A: “I see on the offensive side, we have a lot of young guys that are talented. Offense is doing pretty good. With the defensive coordinator getting fired in the middle of a season, that’s always tough — especially for the defensive players having a new guy tell them what to do and how to do it. And defense is harder to do than offense. In the long run, they’ll benefit a lot from it.”
Have you thought about what you’ll study when you get to the UA?
A: “I’ve thought about it, but I’m leaning towards a business or financing degree, something along those lines. … I wanted to be a commercial airline pilot. From what I’ve gathered, you don’t want to just get an aviation degree, because if something doesn’t work out, your degree is only good for flying planes. If you get a degree in something, you can still get your license and work up.”
What’s your message to UA fans?
A: “I’m a natural born competitor and I’m going to bring everything to practices and games. There’s never going to be a day where I don’t give everything I got to the program.”