Hunter Grills will now have an opportunity to lead the Lutheran Cougars of St. Peter’s, Missouri, under center in 2017.
“I never really thought I was the best. I try to be humble as possible and not back down from a challenge and go out there and compete,” he said.
He led the Cougars to an 8-3 (0-1 Division) record. The Cougars were an undefeated 5-0 at home, solidifying their home field advantage at Cougars Stadium.
As a sophomore quarterback, Grills threw for 964 yards, 14 touchdowns, and seven interceptions and ran the ball 79 times for 744 yards (9.4 yards per carry) and seven touchdowns.
He also earned Second Team All-District and All-Conference honors in 2016 and is setting his sights on First Team All-State, All-Conference, All-District and academic honors for next year.
“I’m more effective, I think, on my feet than in the air but my team was really limited [in terms of] my receivers this year so I didn’t have as many options as some other quarterbacks would but all in all I think I have improved in my passing game from years before especially standing strong in the pocket when I want to run. I think I have grown in that matter. If you had looked at my previous films, you would probably agree,” Grills said.
Looking at his sophomore highlight film, I was impressed with his speed when scrambling outside of the pocket in addition to his pocket presence. He said that moving forward, he needs to work on his passing and releasing the ball quicker when facing blitzing defenders.
“My teammates motivate me a lot in the offseason and my family puts me through many camps [throughout] the offseason which pushes me to get better because of the competition is top-notch across the country.”
His head coach, Arlen Harris, knew he was a special player in Hunter Grills’ very first play his freshman year.
“I’ll tell you what, it was my first year as head coach last year coming into our jamboree. Typically the school hasn’t been participating and right away in his first play he scored. I don’t know if his helmet came off, he got twisted up, something and I could tell he wasn’t nervous but anxious. Again, things fell apart around him, he took it and he scored,” Harris said.
Harris believes that Grills still has more room to grow but his maturity that he has shown in just two seasons has been tremendous. The Cougars offense was tailored to his skill set and according to Harris, everything that the Cougars coaching staff threw at him, he was able to handle every time.
What Harris wants to see out of Grills in his junior campaign next year is more consistency. He wants him to be great at both passing and running with the ball. Harris believes that Grills is good at both right now.
Hunter Grills is not ranked by the major recruiting services (247Sports, Scout, Rivals) but he has been told by schools that they are waiting to see what his junior year produces before offers possibly come his way.
He did say, however, that he has high interest in local schools like the University of Missouri and Missouri State and will commit when he finds a school where he fits best and can make an impact.
“I’d say my family because they push me a lot and make sure I have done the things that I need to do to succeed in football and my head coach that helps me train in the offseason,” he said about who has had the biggest impact on him growing up.
Hunter Grills grew up in Lincoln County, Missouri and attended middle school in Elsberry before following Harris to Lutheran High School. Here is what he had to say about the toughest thing he has had to overcome.
“Being in a bad game, a close game and losing it as the quarterback because everything is on you. Coming in as a freshman and not starting at quarterback as I always had in my past but started and played where needed eventually playing around 30 percent as a varsity quarterback.”
Even though Hunter Grills plays quarterback, he likes to think of himself as an athlete and has a mentality to just go out on the field and win, lead his team to victory and improve with each and every play.
He wants to be remembered at Lutheran High School as someone who wouldn’t give up, never backed down from a challenge and as someone who helped bring a state championship to Lutheran in addition to helping the football program grow.
“He’s very, very competitive. Some kids that say ‘oh, I got it.’ He has a great work ethic and he’ll do something great and say ‘aww coach, I should’ve done this, I could’ve gotten better,’ and I’m like ‘dude, you just threw a touchdown pass.’ I think his willingness to get better and make the people around him better, sometimes that passes. I’ve played at the highest level and sometimes that passes the kid that can run the fastest or might be the biggest,” Harris said about what elements of Grills’ game will go with him to the next level.