Tommies has commitments from two exciting California quarterbacks – the Twin Cities

St. Thomas ends his first season in the Pioneer Football League on Saturday at home against the Presbyterian. Tommies, 6-3 overall and 5-2 in the conference, have exceeded the expectations of many, and what looks set to be an excellent recruiting class points to even better days ahead.

Included in a group of high school seniors who have verbally committed to the Tommies – the early signing period begins Dec. 16 – is an exciting pair of 6-foot-5, 220-pound quarterbacks from California, Travis Plugge from Garces Memorial High School in Bakersfield and Tyler Ward from Calabasas High School.

“He’s a shooting star,” Garces Memorial coach Paul Golla said of Plugge. “Covid’s year really hurt his recruitment, so I think his best days are ahead of him. I think (St. Thomas) not only landed a great football player and a great man (but) he is one of the hardest working children I have ever been near. ”

According to MaxPreps, Plugg is a 6-foot-5, 205-pound pro-style quarterback who completed 61 of 123 attempts on 795 yards, five touchdowns and six interceptions in a 6-4 senior season. Golla credits the Tommies’ coaching staff for “doing their homework” in finding a talented quarterback that he senses many schools did not know about.

“I really felt like he was a great Division I quarterback,” Golla said. “We’ve had a couple of them, including one that recently started in Fresno State. I definitely think Travis is that caliber.”

Plugge attended camps in nearby Fresno State when he was growing up, saying he always imagined playing there. He did not receive an offer, and is grateful that St. Thomas gave him the chance to reach his goal of playing Division I football.

Plugge was not familiar with St. Thomas when he was contacted by Tommy’s recipient coach and recruitment coordinator Jarod Dodson. But he quickly discovered that a friend has an uncle who went to St. Thomas, his theology teacher, has a friend who went to school, and one of his coaches has a friend who played baseball for Tommies. Their positive experiences helped all Plugge decide to take a closer look. He participated in the Tommies’ first home game of the season, a win over Butler, and was impressed with the atmosphere.

“It was amazing,” he said. “All the students who were there; the stadium was full. And they were just whipping Butler. ”

Garces Memorial incorporates the triple opportunity into its offense, giving Plugge ample opportunity to run the ball. He ended up leading the team in rushing.

“He’s a 4.6 40 (yard line) guy,” Golla said. “So when he decides to ease, he’s like another running back.”

As for Ward, he verbally committed to the Tommies in June after his school’s spring football season. The team played only four matches, but went 4-1 with a lost victory, according to the Aspen Times. He graduated from high school and enrolled at St. Thomas in February for the spring semester.

Ward grew up outside of Aspen, Colorado, and played his first three high school seasons there before deciding he needed to be in a higher profile program if he was to achieve his goal of playing in college.

“I was talking to a friend in LA who said the Calabasas needed a quarterback,” Ward said. ‘He jokingly said I should contact them. So I said, ‘Why not?’ and sent them a Twitter message. One and a half weeks later, I was in California. ”

Ward settled down in a basement apartment near the school and went to work.

Once again, it was Dodson who first reached out to Ward for the Tommies. The two spoke on the phone a few times before Ward decided he wanted to visit campus. He gave his verbal commitment shortly after his visit.

“It’s a beautiful campus in a nice community,” he said. “And I was really impressed with the twin cities.”

Ward said he fell in love with football at an early age and thought about playing in college. He said he was in discussions with a few Division I schools about participating in the program as a preferred walk-on.

“If it had been a situation where I would have had a real chance to play, I would have considered it,” Ward said, “but St. Thomas felt really at home. I felt like I was really wanted there. . ”

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