Star GCHS QB Greyson Tempel verbally commits to D-II Pittsburg State.
By BRETT MARSHALL
For Garden City High School quarterback Greyson Tempel, the collegiate recruiting process wasn't so much about if he would play, but it was a matter of where.
And like so many high school phenoms, Tempel wanted to make sure it would be a place where he felt most comfortable.
On Monday night, he made the next step in the journey to the NCAA level as he verbally committed to Division II Pittsburg State University, one of the powerhouses in that division and a school located in the southeast corner of Kansas.
Pitt State won the 2011 NCAA Division II championship; and this past season finished 10-2 with a 90-28 victory in the Mineral Water Bowl over Southwest Minnesota State. The Gorillas are coached by Tim Beck, who will be entering his fifth season at the program's helm.
"They started recruiting me after the Dodge City game, and then I went on my visit there and that town loves its football," Tempel said Monday night in a telephone interview. "It's a great opportunity for me. They have pretty close to the same system that we had here this past season, and I just felt comfortable with the entire program, staff and players."
Tempel, a 5-foot-10 dual-threat quarterback who many of the Buffs' opposing coaches described as a high school version of Texas A&M's Johnny (Football) Manziel, will head east and pursue his dreams of playing at a high-level NCAA school.
Upon completion of the 2013 season, Tempel was recognized as The Telegram's Player of the Year and just recently he was selected to play in the August Kansas Shrine Bowl, which ironically will be played in Pittsburg.
During his senior season, Tempel engineered a high-powered Buffs' offense in which he accounted for 26 passing touchdowns and 19 rushing, while throwing for nearly 2,500 yards and rushing for an additional 1,300-plus yards.
Tempel helped propel the Buffs to their best season since 1999, when the school won its lone Class 6A state championship, advancing to the state semifinals before losing on the road to eventual champion Derby. They finished with an 8-4 record.
"I think I run and pass about equally well, so I think it's a good fit for what Pitt State likes to do," Tempel said.
During his spectacular senior season, he passed for 366 yards against Wichita Northwest in a first-round playoff game on the road. Earlier in the season, in a dramatic 35-34 win over Woodward, Okla., he had 420 yards in total offense. Against Liberal, in a 63-21 rout, he accounted for nine touchdowns, another school record.
He left GCHS as the all-time leader in pass completions (277), passing touchdowns (39) and total touchdowns (68). He is second in all-time passing yards (4,066) and third in rushing yards (2,298).
Those staggering numbers came despite having a tear in his right meniscus midway through the season, which limited his running ability, and forced him to become more of a passing threat.
"I know I've got a lot of improvement in many years, especially my footwork in the pocket," Tempel said.
Tempel had surgery to repair the meniscus on Dec. 12, and his rehabilitation is moving along well, he said. GCHS coach Brian Hill said he expected Tempel to get a medical release within the next few weeks, allowing his star to prepare for the 2014 spring track season, where Tempel is a sprinter and runs on a the team's 4x100 and 4x400-meter relay squad.
Hill, who also played at the NCAA Division II level at Emporia State University, understands the transition Tempel will face.
"I think coach (Steve) Rampy, the quarterback coach who recruited him, sees him as a player who can eventually run their offense and do the things they want within their system," Hill said. "Greyson will learn all over again about competing every day, starting from scratch. He will struggle as a young college player just like he did as a young high school player, but he's been a sponge around me, so I expect him to do the same there."
Tempel said he would be a likely red-shirt candidate as the Gorillas do that with the majority of their freshmen roster.
"I just want to be able to go in, have a chance to eventually compete for a position and contribute to the team," Tempel said. "I can't wait to get there and see how things go."
He plans on majoring in business and accounting.