June 7, 2011

Grammer Thrilled to be a Coog

The Houston Cougars and successful college quarterback have become synonymous over the history of the program, so it should come as no surprise that one of the few positions they would be willing to go outside of the comfort zone that is the state of Texas for is that of signal caller.

On Monday afternoon the Cougars got a verbal commitment from the quarterback they had targeted since he appeared on their radar when he sent them his highlight film. Tuscaloosa (AL) American Christian Academy quarterback Austin Grammer called head coach Kevin Sumlin and informed him that he was ready to pull the trigger.

The story on how all of this came to be is quite interesting though. How does a quarterback from Alabama, a state which Houston has not traditionally recruited under the current staff, come to appear on their radar and draw enough attention to cause them to stray outside of the norm.

It's a story that Grammer says goes back to the start of his prep career.

"When I was a freshman my dad told me to take a piece of paper and write down the top five schools I wanted to go to," said the 6-foot-2, 205 pound quarterback. "You have to understand we live in Tuscaloosa and my parents would have killed me if I didn't write down Alabama first. Second on the list was LSU and Houston was third."

Fast forward to the end of Grammer's junior season when he and his coach had put together his highlight tape following an extremely successful that saw the talented signal caller throw for over 2500 yards with 32 touchdown.

"I had picked up my first offer from Temple up in Philadelphia and my coach wanted me to choose who I wanted to send my tape to," he said Monday night. "I had recently found the list I had made and sent my film out to everyone."

One way or another the film ended up in Cougars quarterback coach Kliff Kingsbury's hands and one could only deductively deduce that he liked what he saw.

"Coach Kingsbury had gotten in touch with me and we had been talking some. The he came to my spring game and watched me in person," said Grammer of the next step in the progression with the Cougars. "I told my dad then that if Houston offered I wanted to commit."

Grammer said that offer did in fact follow after his spring game but his dad stressed the importance of patience and being sure of his decision.

"Last week we took a trip down to Houston and got to look around the campus and I got to see the facilities," he said. "I really wanted to commit while I was down there. I thought the facilities were incredible and I love coach Sumlin's philosophy."

Again Grammer's dad urged him to wait until he returned to Tuscaloosa to make sure his decision was not based solely on the emotion of being on campus.

"We got back home and we got together with my family and sat down and discussed it more and we agreed this was the right fit for me,' he said of finally feeling as though he was comfortable with the decision. "In the end they just made me feel comfortable and at home there. They made me feel wanted. With some coaches I would send them a message and they would get back to me later or the next day but when I sent them something they always got right back to me like I was important to them."

So in the end the quarterback from Tuscaloosa reached out to a school that was on his list and his play spoke for itself once it got in their hands.

The obvious attraction of Houston's offense and success of Cougars quarterbacks is not lost in the miles that separate Texas and Alabama though.

"Their offense has a lot of things about it that are similar to ours here," he said of the 'air raid' offense Houston has become known for. "It is just great to see them throw a five yard pass and then watch the player go 80 yards for a touchdown. I guess in the paper they will say that I threw an 80 yard touchdown pass and that is a cool thing."

For now Grammer is thrilled to have the decision out of the way so he can now focus on more important things.

"I am so happy to have the decision out of the way," he noted. " Now I can focus on getting ready for my final season and winning that state title next year."

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