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Despite ‘Elite’ status, Lindquist still focused on MIHS season
By Linda Williams Rorem
Special to the Reporter
MIHS quarterback Jeff Lindquist has just returned from a week at the ESPN Elite 11 competition at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., and despite being named the fourth-ranked high school quarterback in the nation, he’s focused on his fall season at MIHS.
“I wouldn’t call the Elite 11 the icing on the cake, because it was really hard work,” Lindquist says. “But I think that we’ve all been working so hard. All that we’ve done, through the [Steve] Gervais sessions, [Kevin] Chiles [speed and strength training], the Seven-on-Seven [tournaments] should set high standards for the team.”
“Mercer Island’s ‘A Game’ is going to be a forced to be reckoned with” this fall, Lindquist says.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound rising senior could easily rest on his laurels. Being named to the Elite 11 is momentous accomplishment, and securing a spot on the University of Washington’s football team, where he will begin next fall, is equally impressive. But in his genuinely humble manner, Lindquist refuses to sit back and coast through his last year at MIHS.
“The team comes first,” he says with assurance.
From the sounds of it, the Elite 11 camp stressed humility and a strong work ethic among the 24 attendees.
“When we arrived, they gave us an agenda, so we sort of knew what we were doing, but really we had no idea,” Lindquist says.
“Wednesday and Thursday nights, a couple of us stayed up past 3 a.m. studying our playbook,” he says. “Then, we had to get up at 6:45 a.m. for breakfast, and then begin the workouts. It was physically demanding, but the mental aspect of that camp was beyond what any of us expected. We were pushed beyond our limits, and a lot of us got mentally stronger. At the end of camp looking back, I had a ‘Wow, this week was really worth it’ kind of feeling.”
“My philosophy was to overload them with information, sleep deprivation, just make it a mental war,” head coach Trent Dilfer told ESPN.com. “Fun was not part of the equation. I wanted to maximize their potential, all 24 guys. And each one of them responded better than I could have imagined.”
Being with other high schoolers in similar situations certainly helped Lindquist “appreciate” the late nights and grueling workouts. Those bonds will carry through to the future, where Lindquist will probably face some of his camp peers in college, and maybe even NFL games. His camp roommate Cyler Miles will join him at the UW next fall, and two of the other Elite 11 players – Shane Dillon (Colorado) and Kline (Cal) – have committed to Pac-12 schools.
For now, Lindquist will focus on assuring a winning season for MIHS.
The first game, against the Seattle Prep Panthers, takes place at Century Link Field (formerly Qwest) on Saturday, Sept. 3, at 8 pm.
For ticket information and the complete 2011 schedule, go to www.mifootball.org.