When Iowa State and Oregon take the field for the Fiesta Bowl on January 2, there will be two Arizona quarterbacks leading the offenses.
Former Perry signal-caller Brock Purdy found the field almost instantly for the Cyclones and has helped the program reach new heights over recent years in the Big 12. Tyler Shough of Hamilton High School is in his first year starting for the Ducks and has been a reliable back-up before taking over starting duties in 2020.
It’s a homecoming for these two (and a few other Arizona natives on the roster) and a culmination of a lot of hard work and perhaps most importantly, patience.
For both quarterbacks, patience was required in their recruitment. Despite putting up record numbers at Perry, Purdy did not see his first FBS offer – Boise State – until after his senior season, and many of his offers, including Iowa State, came after early signing day (more on that in a future story). The fact Purdy was able to find the field so quickly once he got to Ames after having to wait so long for opportunities in his recruitment is almost poetic.
— Brock Purdy (@brockpurdy13) January 21, 2018
Shough, who was the first multi-year starter at Hamilton in over a decade, needed patience in his recruitment too. While he had picked up some offers, he really saw things come together the summer before his senior year. Initially, the quarterback had committed to North Carolina and Larry Fedora in June of 2017.
But after showing what he could do at the Elite 11 in a year that featured Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields, Shough saw his recruitment explode. A lot of the national recruiting experts like Brandon Huffman admitted he had not seen a lot of Shough coming into that week but walked away impressed with him.
Oregon eventually came calling. This was a dream school for Shough. His family lives in the area, his grandfather’s construction company helped build Autzen Stadium. Oregon was family to the Shoughs.
So in October, he flipped from the Tar Heels to the Ducks.
And that patience and poise came in handy for Shough as a certain quarterback named Justin Herbert was already in Eugene and running some of the Pac-12’s most prolific offenses. For Shough, he focused on his development and how he could be ready when his opportunity was called. He quickly rose through the depth chart to back up Herbert.
Once he was named the starter in 2020, he needed patience in a season that is one of the most trying for college football as the sport, and the world, navigates the COVID-19 pandemic.
But on Saturday, both these quarterbacks take the field in one of the premier bowl games in college football. Their paths to this day were long and winding, but the patience they had and developed got them back to Arizona in January.