PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Skyler Mornhinweg deserves the right to reconsider. Those endless summer days he spent throwing and working out, the game films he poured over for hours came with the intention of being the best and winning. A byproduct was landing a major Division I football scholarship.
The prized 6-3, 220-pound St. Joseph’s Prep junior is one of the best quarterbacks in the country. He thought he had a destination when he gave a verbal commitment his sophomore year to Jim Harbaugh, then Stanford’s head coach.
Now that Harbaugh has moved on to take the head coaching position of the San Francisco 49ers, Mornhinweg, the son of Eagles assistant head coach Marty Mornhinweg, is opening the door to other possibilities, too.
“Coach Harbaugh was the main reason for me going to Stanford, besides the great academics, and after he left, I want to make sure that I’m making the best choice for myself,” Skyler said. “I’m deciding to step back and take a look at all my options.
“I want to make sure I’m okay with where I want to go and where I fit best, so I guess I’m going through the recruiting process again. There are schools that I have great respect for —Miami, Boston College, Notre Dame, Alabama, Wisconsin. I want to take a couple of unofficial visits and see some of these schools. But Stanford is still really high on my list. I want to make that clear.”
Mornhinweg, who threw for 1,550 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, went on to say he feels more comfortable with this choice of stepping back and “reconsidering other options.” Before, it was a one-and-done step, when Skyler and his mother Lindsay visited Stanford and Skyler committed several weeks later.
“Both my parents are going to be a part of it this time,” Skyler said. “I want their input and my father wants what’s best for me. I want to take trips and visit these schools, see a practice and how they run things. I’m actually really exciting about this and to see where this goes. I will go back to Stanford again and make another visit and meet with coach [Dave] Shaw, and I’m sure he’s an amazing coach.”
Mornhinweg is academically eligible. But there is an intangible rarely noticed from the soft-spoken Skyler, a toughness that cannot be overlooked. He played his junior year at about 80 percent, nursing a right shoulder injury throughout most of the season. He never spoke to anyone about it, grit his teeth and gutted it out, still finishing as a first-team all-Catholic League quarterback.
Mornhinweg is projected to play quarterback in college, and it’s his uncanny ability to win games in pressure situations that sets him apart. He directed Prep to four fourth-quarter comebacks his sophomore year and two fourth-quarter comebacks his junior season. Nothing phases him.
“It’s what makes Skyler so special,” Hawks’ coach Gabe Infante said. “Skyler can go anywhere he wants. But he has to be careful of that, and one of the things I advised the family about is that we don’t want to get Skyler too confused. What I advised Skyler is to maintain a criteria that are very, very important to him. That’s a school with great academic opportunities, a national focus and a school that can help him get to the next level. The process is to reaffirm his commitment to Stanford or he may rethink that. That’s where the door is open.”
The list for Mornhinweg is long and promises to get longer: Stanford, Miami, Alabama, Boston College, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Southern Methodist, Northwestern, Penn State, Florida State, Illinois and a host of others have shown interest and have offered scholarships. Mornhinweg is putting a timetable on paring down that lengthy list to a handful of schools by June.
If there is a program that may be able to lure him from Stanford, it could be Al Golden and Miami. Golden, the former Temple coach, is well aware of Mornhinweg and a number of sources say that the Miami staff “loves Mornhinweg, the kid is exactly what they’re looking for, great grades, great ability, a great character kid.”
There are Miami ties to Prep. Hawks’ second-year head coach Infante grew up with Mark D’Onofrio, the Hurricanes’ defensive coordinator, and Golden was one of Infante’s major references when he got the job at St. Joe’s Prep.
“Skyler still considers Stanford his No. 1 choice,” Infante said. “They have great academics, they play on a national level, but in talking to Sky’s family, they thought it was important to look at other options. His family is going to have input, everyone close to Skyler will, but the choice is ultimately his to make. That’s what this is really about. Skyler was a sophomore at the time he made the commitment. He was 14, 15 years old, and Skyler has family out there by Stanford. But once Harbaugh left, that opened the door.
“If Harbaugh was still there, Skyler would still be going there, and he still may be going to Stanford. That’s not out of the question. You take the head coach out of that position, you take a major component out of the formula.”
Reported By Joseph Santoliquito, CBSPhilly.com