By Kurt Johnson
Player transfers are a part of high school sports and they happen every year. In fact, it seems that this time every year brings a lot of discussion about the potential impact of players and how they will respond to a change of scenery.
As football season begins this Friday, three senior quarterbacks with new addresses are high on my list of transfers to watch during the 2015 campaign.
Kahi Neves, Timpview
While the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Neves has not attended six high schools, it could be said that Timpview is the sixth stop of his high school journey. The senior, who has committed to play collegiately at Utah, seems to be seeking the right fit where he can play his preferred position.
Neves attended a high-profile football school in Santa Rosa, California (Cardinal Newman) during his freshman season and then saw limited duty at Kaiser High in Hawaii as a sophomore. The return to the mainland for his junior year in 2014 began with a brief look at Las Vegas power Bishop Gorman during the early part of the summer followed by some time spent in Bingham’s summer camp in South Jordan.
After finally enrolling at Brighton, Neves wound up throwing just a dozen passes for the Bengals, where incumbent senior Robbie Hutchins was the primary signal caller. Neves made a big difference on the defensive side of the ball as an outstanding linebacker on the Brighton defense.
After participating in the high-profile Elite 11 quarterback program this summer, the return from injury of BYU-commit (likely as a defensive back) Drew Jensen provided another option for the Bengals behind center and Neves found himself on the move again. Late in the summer, he moved and enrolled at Timpview, where he hopes to get the chance to show what he can do as a quarterback.
The Thunderbirds did not have an obvious heir to the spot at which Britain Covey earned Mr. Football honors in 2014, which opens the door for Neves to showcase his skills on a three-time defending 4A state championship team that has a number of outstanding weapons on the outside. It seems like a good fit for a guy that wants a chance to play quarterback.
Keaton Torre, Bingham
It was less than a year ago that Sante Fe High (Edmond, Oklahoma) quarterback Keaton Torre, who is labeled as a three- or four-star prospect, depending on which rating service you favor, committed to play his college football at Louisville. By the start of winter semester, Torre’s father had found new employment in Utah and the highly-regarded passer was attending Bingham.
As with Neves, it seems that the 6-3, 210-pound Torre comes into a good situation for him. The two-time defending 5A state champion Miners are rarely without good options waiting in the wings, but with two-year starter Kyle Gearig graduated, along with his back-up Ben Boelter, it is a great situation for the new kid in town to make his mark with just one year left in his high school career.
Over the summer, Torre pulled back on his commitment to Louisville and he has been enjoying the recruiting process once again, while preparing to fight for the starting spot with the Miners. Coach John Lambourne is quick to point out that Torre has to earn that position, but also mentions that the senior has done a great job coming in and doing what the Bingham coaches are asking him to do.
Looking at statistics, one area of Torre’s game that should benefit greatly from playing in the Bingham system is perhaps the most important one to Lambourne and his staff. Torre completed just a touch over 50 percent of his passes at Sante Fe a year ago, compiling 1,527 yards passing with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
The previous season, his completion percentage was significantly better, but the touchdown-to-interception ratio was about the same. Bingham’s offense thrives on balance and on getting its quarterbacks into high efficiency situations. If Torre is able to fit into that system, he should put up some fantastic numbers this season.
Justin Miller, Summit Academy
Much more quietly, a senior quarterback with a prototypical body type arrived on campus at Class 2A Summit Academy to finish out his high school career. Justin Miller saw limited time under center at Lone Peak a year ago, completed 38-of-60 passes for 445 yards and four touchdowns.
With the Knights, however, Miller was fighting for playing time with fellow senior and dual-threat quarterback Talmage Gunther. At Summit Academy, he has a chance to put up huge numbers in the passing game for a team in just its fourth year of existence.
The Bluffdale-based charter school reached the 2A state title game a year ago, when it finished 10-2, with both losses coming at the hands of South Summit. Miller, at 6-4, 205 pounds, will likely give the Bears a different look than a year ago, with more of a focus on the throw game.
His transfer didn’t come with all the hype that accompanied that of Neves and Torre, but an unleashed Justin Miller should thrive in his new environment and he will be fun to watch.