Thanks to a recommendation from a rival coach and a desire to end the recruiting process, Casa Grande quarterback Nick Sherry committed to the University of Colorado on Thursday.
The 6-foot-5, 212-pound Sherry recently attended the Buffaloes' two-day summer camp and was impressive enough for CU coach Dan Hawkins to offer him a scholarship at the end of the session on Monday.
Three days later, Sherry, who also had an offer from San Diego State, committed on a conference call Thursday afternoon that included his parents, his girlfriend, Hawkins, CU offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau and Casa Grande coach Trent Herzog.
"I wasn't interested in seeing how many offers I could get," Sherry said. "I wanted to find the school that was right for me and that was Colorado. When they offered, I jumped on it."
Sherry, 17, is already in exclusive company. An Empire quarterback hasn't signed with a Division I college out of high school since Cloverdale's Craig Bergman signed with Arizona in 1985.
But he could just be scratching the surface of his potential. He didn't play quarterback until his sophomore year when he tossed 28 touchdowns and no interceptions on Casa Grande's junior varsity.
"He's 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds and he's not even fully matured," Herzog said. "He hasn't even reached half of his potential. He's totally raw."
Sherry's lack of experience was evident at times last year when he completed 163 of 288 passes for 2,413 yards with 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his first varsity season. In two of the Gauchos' biggest games — a loss to crosstown rival Petaluma and a playoff defeat to Montgomery — Sherry threw five interceptions.
But Montgomery offensive line coach Frank Scalercio, the former head coach at Sonoma State, saw Sherry as a rare talent. And a few months ago, Scalercio called Hawkins, his former teammate at UC Davis and friend of 30 years, and told him about a prospect in his old neighborhood. Hawkins also spent a year coaching with Scalercio at Sonoma State.
After Sherry's visit this week, Scalercio says Hawkins called and raved about the quarterback's character, leadership ability and intelligence. A student with a GPA around 3.8, Sherry's smarts translate to the field.
On Monday, Hawkins put Xs and Os on a whiteboard and grilled Sherry on football minutiae.
"I guess they threw some zingers at him," Scalercio said. "And he answered all of them."
Sherry received a scholarship offer from San Diego State in March. He had taken an unofficial visit to Washington and attended a camp at Arizona, attracting strong interest from both schools.
Washington offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier made two trips to Casa Grande this spring. And, according to Herzog, Arizona had indicated in recent weeks that a scholarship offer was imminent. But none materialized as both Arizona and Washington gauged the interest of Chandler (Ariz.) High quarterback Brett Hundley, one of the nation's top college prospects who is considering both schools. ESPN has Sherry rated as the 75th best quarterback in the 2011 class.
Sherry became frustrated by the lack of a commitment from some schools. On his Facebook page Sunday night, he wrote "Hating recruiting!!! Never know what a coach is thinking."
But he received a clear answer from Colorado, which went 3-9 last year and has a 16-33 record since 2006. Last week, Colorado agreed to move from the Big 12 to the Pac-10 starting in the fall of 2012.