Rolling with recruiting | SteamboatToday.com

Rolling with recruiting

SSHS quarterback Hinder taking nationwide offers, recognition in stride

Luke Graham

Steamboat Springs quarterback Austin Hinder tosses a few passes at Gardner Field on Tuesday before the start of practice. Hinder, a junior, already is receiving interest from coaches at major universities around the country.

— If the 35-plus letters he receives each week from college coaches around the nation won’t do it, there is a good chance that nothing will make Steamboat Springs High School junior quarterback Austin Hinder sick of being recruited.

Even with the weekly calls from national recruiting Web sites and people often asking where he’s going and what his top schools are, Hinder said the process isn’t tiresome – he’s trying just to take it all in stride.

After all, this is the same player who, as a seventh-grader, couldn’t wait to receive that first letter.

“It’s never been stressful. It’s never been annoying,” Hinder said. “It’s been a fun ride. I like the recruiting process.”

For the record, Hinder has picked up scholarship offers from Stanford University, University of California, Kansas State University and the University of Nebraska.

Although he wouldn’t name his favorites, Hinder said in addition to the four schools that have made offers, he is hearing from the University of Colorado, University of Texas, University of Oregon, Oklahoma State University, University of Georgia, Louisiana State University and most of the Pac-10 schools.

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He’s been on unofficial visits to California, Stanford and Colorado.

Earlier this week, he also was one of 100 quarterbacks in the nation put up for the Joe Montana Quarterback of the Year award, given by the DeBartolo Sports University. The top quarterback from each state is put on the list, in addition to 50 at-large quarterbacks. Hinder was selected as the top quarterback from Colorado. Sixteen finalists will be named at the end of the football season, with the winner announced in January. Last year, Matt Barkley, of California – who has committed to the University of Southern California – won the award as a junior.

Hinder also will be one of 500 underclassmen invited to the U.S. Army All-American National Combine in January.

“Right now, though, the season is the main goal,” Hinder said. “All that stuff – that’s all stuff I’m going to focus on after the season, after we get the gold ball hopefully. But it’s exciting to get it.”

His current focus is on 7 p.m. Friday, when Steamboat takes its home field against No. 1-ranked Glenwood Springs. After starting the season off slow, Hinder has looked like the quarterback most colleges think he can be the past couple of weeks. The past three games, Hinder has completed a total of 24 of 36 passes for 532 yards and five touchdowns. He’s also added 136 yards rushing.

“It’s hard to teach somebody to throw the football if they don’t have a grasp,” Steamboat coach Aaron Finch said. “It’s hard to teach somebody to be 6-foot-5 and fast. At the Division I level, they are all big, strong, fast athletes. It comes down to those intangibles in who plays. Austin’s desire to win and desire to get better are what make him pretty special.”

Although Hinder wouldn’t put a timetable on when he’ll decide where he’ll play college football, he said that’s really the last thing on his mind.

He said when the season ends, he’ll sit down and think about things. But until then, Hinder said, he’s accomplished nothing.

“Performing and winning is what it really comes down to,” he said.