Still months shy of his first high school class, Connecticut quarterback Drew Pyne is already commanding attention from a marquee college football program.
Florida State extended a scholarship offer to the eighth-grade standout Sunday, according to Pyne:
Listed 6'1", 170 pounds by 247Sports, the middle school passer picked up his first FBS offer just days earlier. South Alabama, a member of the Sun Belt Conference, kicked off what could become a four-year recruitment on March 23.
Pyne, a 2020 recruit from New Canaan, warrants attention as one of the Northeast's finest young football prospects. He led Pop Warner's New England regional champion (New Fairfield Falcons) to the national title tournament last season, showcasing his talent against premier peers from across America:
The quarterback comes from a football-rich family.
His older brother, Brendan Pyne, was a 3-star linebacker recruit at IMG Academy in Florida last season. He signed with Brown University, following the footsteps of his father George Pyne, a former All-Ivy League selection at offensive tackle.
Florida State figures to focus on more pressing matters, particularly 2017 targets, while moving forward with recruiting efforts in the immediate future. However, the Seminoles obviously believe Pyne is a worthy long-term investment.
Head coach Jimbo Fisher has worked closely with several eventual NFL draft picks at the position, including four first-round selections and two No. 1 overall choices (JaMarcus Russell and Jameis Winston). Considered an excellent evaluator of quarterbacks, his decision to pursue Pyne at this point should turn heads across college football's recruiting landscape.
While it's still strange to see middle school athletes land collegiate offers, the trend has become more commonplace this decade. Florida State hasn't shied away from pulling the trigger on extremely early offers during recent cycles.
Blake Hinson (2019 athlete), Tru Thompson (2019 defensive tackle), Owen Pappoe (2019 linebacker), Tyreke Johnson (2018 defensive back) and Dylan Moses (2017 linebacker) are among prospects who also received a scholarship offer from the Seminoles before high school.
It's important to remember that players as young as Pyne can't do much to reciprocate recruiting interest at this point. Even any verbal pledge to a university is tough to view as "solid," since inevitable coaching staff changes and four more years of sales pitches from other schools are certain to dramatically alter a player's outlook.
To further put things in perspective, just look back four years. Jameis Winston was a senior at Hueytown High School in Alabama, Chip Kelly was still leading the Oregon Ducks and since-fired Gene Chizik was enjoying his status as a national champion at Auburn.
Still, an offer from the Seminoles is high praise for Pyne. It wouldn't be a surprise to see several other college staffs ramp up interest in him this spring, and he may ultimately carry a collection of Power Five offers into his first freshman practice.
An impressive skill set and above-average size should attract scouts throughout Pyne's upcoming high school career. In this case, a national champion coach and highly regarded quarterback mentor elected not to wait.