Ht/Wt: 6'5" / 225 lbs.
Location: Cardinal Newman High School - Santa Rosa, California
Out of all young California quarterbacks making waves on the recruiting scene, Cardinal Newman quarterback Keaton Dunsford may be the most intriguing. After impressing at several camps this summer including Bay Area Elite 11 Regional, Dunsford, who stands 6'5" and threw for 2,400 yards and 25 TDs last year, was thought to be one of the better uncommitted quarterbacks in the 2014 class. However, Dunsford, who will have his 17th birthday just before the season starts, is on a track different than his supposed classmates. After graduating from Cardinal Newman, Dunsford plans to attend a prep school and continue his schooling.
The M Block caught up with Dunsford and asked the 2015 prospect to explain his unique situation. "The primary reason for this decision simply has to do with my age," stated Dunsford. "I'm very young for my class... With age comes physical and mental maturity. Reclassifying into the 2015 class will allow me another year to develop physically. I will be bigger, stronger, faster and have better throwing mechanics." After one year in a prep school, Keaton will be 18, the same age as his college-bound peers in the 2015 class. Dunsford recognizes that this option is advantageous in numerous ways, saying "I'll put myself in a better position to compete for the starting job early in my college career. Not to mention attending one of these New England prep school academies would be an academic and cultural experience unlike any other for a young student athlete like myself."
Evidenced by his lone Harvard offer, Dunsford has the mental make-up required of potential college quarterbacks. Out of the many prep schools in California, Dunsford is traveling across the country in order to continue a rigorous academic schedule. However, that school is not in focus as of now. "Right now we haven't made a final decision. My favorite is Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, which is comparable to Harvard in its academic prestige worldwide." Notable Phillips Exeter Academy alumni include Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and novelist John Irving. Dunsford continued, mentioning "Other great schools who are also possibilities are Phillips Andover Academy, Deerfield Academy, the Hotchkiss School, and possibly even Bridgton Academy."
These schools all contend strong academic standards, but Bridgton is unique in several ways from other prep schools. The football team at Bridgton Academy plays the service academy junior varsity teams, along with various Ivy League junior varsity teams. He later broke down the football programs of his most recent group of prep possibilities, with Philips Exeter coming out on top. "Besides Bridgton, Exeter has by far the best football program out of those schools. Their facilities are incredible and their coaches are very knowledgable. I believe going there would give me the greatest opportunity to improve my game in all aspects."
During the summer, Dunsford has been an active participant on the camp circuit. The focused quarterback attended a camp at Michigan this summer, in addition to Cal, Penn State, and Stanford, and turned heads at each stop. During his visit in Ann Arbor, Dunsford took a tour of the facilities and was impressed after talking to the Wolverine coaching staff. "I had a great experience at the Michigan camp! I was blown away by the facilities and the campus, and very few schools have football tradition like that of Michigan. Being able to meet and spend some time with Coach Hoke, Coach Borges, and Coach Ferrigno in person was awesome as well!" Earlier in the year, Ferrigno visited Dunsford at his school for an in-person throwing session. "Overall, Michigan left a very good impression, but nonetheless I still have to perform this season."
After his camp at Michigan, the coaches broke down the positives and negatives of his throwing session with Dunsford. "They were extremely impressed with my accuracy and ability to place the football with different velocities and trajectories. They were also impressed with my toughness, throwing mechanics, and ability to set my feet and body up for each throw." Confirming this assessment from the coaches, Dunsford registered only 5 interceptions as a junior to create a 5:1 TD:INT ratio. Dunsford is proud of the work he has put in for film study, saying his most underrated talent is his "Ability to recognize coverage and smoothly go through my progressions on each passing play so that I can get the ball out of my hand quickly and avoid pressure." However, not all the reports on the Santa Rosa quarterback were positive. "But the Michigan coaches also had concerns about my arm strength and athleticism." These are two areas that might see considerable improvement in two years before he enters college, so the jury is out in that regard.
After a successful junior year, Dunsford has been training during the offseason to build on the success he had in 2012. "The primary focus of my offseason preparation this year has been improving my footwork... I've also tried to alter my throwing mechanics to increase the velocity and torque on my throws while remaining compact." This should help qualm the worries that several coaches have had regarding Dunsford's arm strength.
In cohesion with the criteria of a Michigan Man, Dunsford appears to be a model citizen by all accounts. "Off the field I see myself as a leader and a role model in my home, school, and community. I'm an extremely dedicated student with over a 4.0 GPA." If Dunsford has a successful senior season and progresses well in prep school, an offer in 2015 is not out of the question. The coaches have been in hot pursuing of a California quarterback for the 2015 class, offering Josh Rosen who is likely staying on the west coast.
Here is Dunsford's 2012 highlight reel: