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Pope John High School's Sonny Abramson is drawing some big time attention
from Division I schools.























By PETER STEIN pstein@njherald.com

April 30, 2014 


SPARTA — With every spiral, they could easily imagine it, easily picture Sonny Abramson flinging passes
for their Division I college teams someday.

Abramson, a Pope John sophomore, is still shy of his 16th birthday, but already drawing Division I suitors willing to travel to watch him throw. On Saturday, it was Duke defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, representing the Blue Devils and watching Abramson let fly on Pope John High School’s football field. On Monday, it was Duke head coach David Cutcliffe — after watching film and hearing from Knowles — on the phone with Abramson, offering him a scholarship.

On Saturday, it was Virginia offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Steve Fairchild watching Abramson throw and making him an offer on the spot.

A day earlier, it was Syracuse University offering Abramson a scholarship after having seen him throw only on film.

Three offers in a span of four days. Not a bad stretch for a 15-year-old. Then again, when the 15-year-old is 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, has two seasons’ experience in a college-style offense and has a cannon known familiarly as his right arm, it shouldn’t be surprising that Abramson is already attracting so much Division I attention.

“He’s a big, strong kid. He can take the hits,” Pope John head coach Brian Carlson said on Monday afternoon. “What’s really amazing is, at 15, he’s already played 22 (varsity) games — 12 (in 2013) and 10 (in 2012). He’s played 22 games and he has two more years (of high school).”

Even more amazing is that Abramson’s first Division I offer, from Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood, was extended in April of last year, when Abramson was still a 14-year-old Pope John freshman. South Florida was soon added to Abramson’s D-I offer list, which didn’t grow longer again until last Friday.

Not that there hasn’t been interest in between. Two Fridays ago, Penn State’s new passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ricky Rahne saw what Abramson can do. And during the middle of last week, Abramson was visited by Oklahoma’s co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel, himself a former Sooners quarterback who finished as the 2000 Heisman Trophy runner-up, behind Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke.

And the interest continues. North Carolina’s quarterbacks coach Keith Heckendorf paid a visit on Tuesday. Stanford quarterbacks/wide receivers coach Mike Sanford is due in this week. Alabama’s offensive line coach Mario Cristobal is also coming to Pope John, as are reps from Missouri, Georgia and South Carolina.

Abramson, like he does when facing blitzes on the football field, is handling the recruiting blitz with calm and composure.

“All of the attention, I don’t want it to get to my head,” Abramson said on Monday afternoon, while taking a break from the Pope John weight room. “It’s definitely good to look at it and go, ‘Wow, this is amazing.’ But at the same time, I need to use it to say, ‘Hey, I’ve gotten here because of the work I’ve put in throughout this whole journey. I need to keep doing that. I need to make sure I continue growing as a player.’ ”

Abramson’s three most recent offers have come from schools that have produced NFL starting quarterbacks — Donovan McNabb (Syracuse), Matt Schaub (Virginia) and Dave Brown (Duke). Think it’s too early to start projecting Abramson at that level? Then consider this — Duke’s Cutcliffe was the head coach at Ole Miss when Eli Manning played there; he recruited Manning, in fact. Cutcliffe was Tennessee’s offensive coordinator and QBs coach when Peyton Manning was the Vols’ signal-caller.

Cutcliffe has obviously seen greatness at the quarterback position. And he has already made an offer to Abramson, a high school sophomore, a kid.

Abramson’s Division I offers, now at five, are sure to increase, as they did for Pope John receiver Noah Brown and Lions tight end Ryan Izzo, whose offers started slowly before each player blew up on the national recruiting scene. Last September, Brown chose Ohio State and Izzo picked Florida State.

Abramson’s parents attended Ohio State, and if the Buckeyes were to join the recruiting party, they would be giving Abramson a chance to reunite with Brown, one of his most dependable targets over the past two seasons.

But, Abramson still has a long way to go in his recruitment process, so there’s no need to start agonizing over which college program would provide the best fit. Now is time to enjoy the ride.

“It’s been a great experience,” Abramson said. “I’m very fortunate that I’ve been getting this much attention this early. But I just use this as motivation to continue getting better. I love the work I put into it.”