Elite 11 QB Jack Tuttle

Has a QB gone from the San Diego Section to Utah and had success? If that’s being the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft like Helix’s Alex Smith, then the answer is yes. Jack Tuttle from Mission Hills of San Marcos hopes he’s on a similar path. Photo: Mark Tennis.

The incoming senior at Mission Hills (San Marcos) was one of the rave performers at last weekend’s The Opening held at Nike World Headquarters. He’s now focusing on the upcoming 2017 season but he already was starting to do that one month ago when we visited with him at the Elite 11 Finals in Redondo Beach.

RELATED Elite 11 QB Writeups: Matt Corral (Long Beach Poly) | Tanner McKee (Corona Centennial) | Re-al Mitchell (Bellflower St. John Bosco)

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After the first day of Nike’s The Opening held last weekend in Beaverton, Ore., one of the event’s breakout stars was quarterback Jack Tuttle from Mission Hills of San Marcos.

“There is obviously a lot of good players at the Elite 11 finals, but one guy who really stood out today was Utah commit Jack Tuttle,” said ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura. “He was smooth in everything he did, delivered accurate balls with tight spirals and was easily one of the five best performers of the day.”

Tuttle celebrates with teammates after throwing TD pass during sophomore season at Mission Hills. Photo: SDFootball.net.

Tuttle is no stranger to high acclaim from Cal-Hi Sports. He was an All-State Sophomore selection two years ago and there were only two sophomore quarterbacks at the time who were on the board higher. One of those, Matt Corral (then at Oaks Christian and now at Long Beach Poly), joined Tuttle in Oregon. The other was Cameron Rising of Newbury Park, who was the State Sophomore of the Year but had a shoulder injury last season.

“These are such great events,” Tuttle said in an interview last month at the Elite 11 Finals in Redondo Beach. “I’m thankful that I’ve been in the zone for most of the time. But there are always things to get better at.”

Apparently, Tuttle did just that in the time between the Elite 11 Finals and The Opening. It’s also a reflection of his ability to raise his own game among a group of quarterbacks who all share one trait.

“I can be the best one out of everybody,” Tuttle said in June. “But then again all of these other guys think that, too. That’s one reason why they’re here. There’s not much separation between us.”

With those kind of showings at spring and early summer events, speculation in the recruiting world has been that Tuttle might waver in his commitment last December to the University of Utah. Among others that offered has been Alabama.

Based on his social media activity and what he’s been saying, however, the Utes and their fans have to feel good.

“It was love at first sight,” he said. “The academics are stellar. I’d go there there even if there was no football.”

Next up for Tuttle is getting ready for what he hopes is a stellar season at Mission Hills. Last year’s team got out to a 5-0 start, but only finished 7-5. The good news is that the Cathedral Catholic team that ended the Grizzlies’ season with a 44-21 win in the CIF San Diego Section Open Division playoffs wound up going 14-0 and winning the CIF Division IAA state title.

In addition to Tuttle, Mission Hills should be bolstered with the return of numerous other returning starters, including wide receiver/cornerback Maurice Jones. Wide receiver Chris Olave also will now be eligible after having to sit out one season due to a CIF state transfer rule that ironically was removed from CIF regulations in the spring. Olave has committed to San Diego State.

“Everyone so far has been giving 100 percent toward next season,” Tuttle said. “If we can do well in our first two games against Paramount and Desert Hills (St. George, Utah), then that will show what we might be able to do.”

Desert Hills was a 10-2 team last season in Utah so indeed Tuttle may be right about that. Still, the CIF San Diego Section Open Division is unpredictable and it’s proven even to be unpredictable and confusing about which teams get in. CIF Division 2AA state champion Madison of San Diego last season, for example, wasn’t in the San Diego Open Division bracket.

“I hope we are in the Open Division once again,” Tuttle said. “I hope the coaches feel the same way and I think they do.”

There’s no doubt the Mission Hills coaches all feel the same about their quarterback. They know they have one of the best in the state.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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