In an exclusive interview Saturday, Nottingham told The Bootleg he threw for over 3,000 yards, with 39 touchdowns and 70 percent accuracy. ("We didn't really rush the ball," he explains.) Of all those performances, however, one game in particular stands out.
"My best memory came against Pittsburg High School," Nottingham said. "We played them week two this year, and we were having trouble running the ball. We got tested, had our moment of adversity. It was at their stadium, and it was difficult playing in front of all those fans. But we stepped up, and ended up beating them on a last-second field goal, 32-29. We really shredded them through the air, even though they're a really great team, so we stepped up well."
To try to create better memories yet his senior season, Nottingham is working hard on a few skills this spring.
"I'm working on arm strength – I don't think there's a real limit in terms of what you can do to get speed on your balls and avoid injuries, so I'm working on that, and accuracy as always," he said. "But also, I'll meet with my coach and we'll get on the whiteboard and go over film, to make sure I can read defenses as well as last year, read coverages like last year, and call audibles right at the line to give our team the best opportunity to score. So reading defenses is the big thing I'm going over right now.
"Plus, I'm just honing in on my mechanics -- making sure my technique gets better, and my timing with my receivers. They're coming in and we're making sure that's there."
While Nottingham thus continues to put in the hard hours in the offseason to try to improve, he remains aware of his strengths as a high school quarterback.
"I bring a lot of good leadership qualities," he said. "I'm a guy who's pretty tough and likes to make plays. I like to hang out with my teammates and go into games with my teammates. I work hard, I have tremendous accuracy and good technique, and I'm always trying to improve."
One area that Nottingham suspects he will improve is his measurables. He was measured recently at a 250-pound max bench, a 330-pound max squat, a 4.7 40-yard dash and -- the number he's proudest of -- a 4.12 shuttle.
"I feel like I can improve those a lot," he said. "Last year, I did not spend enough time in the weight room. I'm working on running and lifting now, instead of playing baseball this year, and so I should increase all those numbers."
If those numbers do indeed pick up, look for Nottingham's recruitment to heat up too. To date, Scout.com appears much higher on the quarterback than college coaching staffs do, as Nottingham has received only one offer. To the rising senior's credit, however, Nottingham is learning to take the slower start to his recruitment in stride.
"I'm not really sure," he said of his relative lack of offers. "I haven't really focused on that, why I have no huge Pac-10 offers. I'm just working on being the best I can be. So it's taking awhile and schools are taking a good look at me – my work ethic, my personality – there's a lot of stuff that factors into being a good quarterback other than just skills. I'm hoping I just continue to get better and there are more opportunities in the future."
Still, football has already taken Nottingham further than it takes 99.9 percent of high school athletes, as the NorCal quarterback did earn his first offer approximately three weeks ago.
"Actually, Wyoming just extended me my first offer in the mail," he said. "They sent me letters from all their assistant coaches and head coaches, and it was a really nice opportunity to see what they said. Their offensive coordinator said they'd like to offer me a scholarship, and that was really exciting because it's the first real opportunity I've had. I hadn't been hearing that much from them, but they think I could be good in that system. … I'd like to go out there for a camp or to visit and check it out.
While the Cowboys are the only school thus far to offer, Nottingham is maintaining contact with "a bunch of other schools," mainly those in the Pac-10, he reports.
"I'm talking with Stanford, Cal and UCLA, where I just went for their Junior Day," Nottingham said. "[I'm also talking with] Arizona, I went to Washington State's Junior Day, I'm talking a little with USC – I didn't go to their Junior Day though I was invited, but I went to their Rising Stars Camp. I talk a lot with Arizona's special teams coach. Nebraska, I get some mail from there. Vanderbilt, I get a lot of mail from them, the Ivies – Brown, because I have 4.0 and grades are really important, plus Duke."
In addition to that 4.0 GPA, Nottingham reports scoring a 1740 on his March SAT. He's retaking the test in both May and June, however, hoping to score better.
Academically then, Nottingham looks likely to get into any school that offers him a football scholarship. While he's still waiting to find out exactly which schools will do just that, he's taking matters into his own hands, spending lots of time on the campuses of West Coast schools that have shown some interest.
"I've checked out a handful -- they're all really great schools," he said. "I've been to Stanford many times. I've gone to a couple of spring practices and their Junior Day. Overall, it's a great place. That place is top-notch in almost every aspect. Cal, I've gone many times to spring practices and many games. It's a great place too, and their facilities are already really nice, but are going to be top of the line. Washington State, I went to a couple of weeks ago. That was really nice too. I really liked the town and the coaches showed us around that campus. Then there's UCLA. Both my sisters went there: one just graduated and the other still goes. It's a beautiful campus in a really nice, beautiful place."
While high school students around the country often dream of going to college in California, the trend could well play out in reverse for Nottingham. The California quarterback could end up in the Golden State, but he stresses he's open to schools from across the country.
"I'm very interested in leaving California," he said. "Well, I could stay or leave, so I'd love to hear from more Big 12 or Big 10 teams that are not local. The ACC too, I'm interested in some of those schools. If the opportunity came outside California, I would love to check that out."
As Nottingham's recruiting picture comes into clearer focus, stay tuned to TheBootleg.com for all the latest.
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