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June 27, 2001
Texan To Follow Brees To Purdue
The school, the position and the body will all bear a scary resemblance. The question is, will the final product be the same?
Four years ago, Coach Joe Tiller received a verbal commitment from Austin (Texas) Westlake quarterback Drew Brees. At the time, Brees was a 6-foot, 175-pounder who couldn’t get many big-time colleges to offer him a scholarship. On Tuesday, Tiller received a verbal commitment from Westlake’s Chad Schroeder, a 6-0 1/2, 170-pounder.
"I still have a picture of Drew on my desk from his senior year when he was about 50 pounds less than he is today," said Ron Schroeder, Chad’s father and Westlake’s coach of 14 years. "It’s amazing the changes that occur when kids become 19, 20 and 21 years old."
Schroeder will arrive at Purdue next fall with dreams of playing quarterback for the Boilermakers. However, there’s a possibility that dream might not become reality because Schroeder’s value could be higher at wide receiver.
The name of his game is speed. Consider this: At Texas’ summer camp, he ran a 4.38 in the 40-yard dash, which was the same as a current verbal commitment (Clint Harvey) the Longhorns already have. At A&M’s camp, Schroeder posted a 4.42 on Kyle Field’s grass surface. Then, he came to Purdue’s Elite Quarterback last week and wowed Tiller and his staff by knocking off a 4.44. That’s considered to be the fastest time ever at a Boiler camp.
"I think my 40-time really helped the Purdue coaches a lot and they were the only one of the three camps I went to to offer me a scholarship before I left," Chad said.
Odds are, Schroeder’s lack of bulk scared off the two in-state powers. But Schroeder is out to prove his thin frame shouldn’t be held against him. This fall he hopes to remain healthy to show what he can do behind center.
As a junior, Schroeder broke his clavicle in the first game and was forced out of action until the playoffs. He returned to play wide receiver and caught three touchdown passes, each of which came on fade routes.
"He’s fast and has great body control," Ron said of his son. "Because he didn’t play hardly any quarterback last year, schools didn’t have any tape on him."
That’s why Purdue’s coaching staff visited an 11-on-11 practice at Westlake during the May evaluation period. After one day, the Boiler braintrust liked what it saw. After one day of camp, a scholarship offer was presented.
Now Schroeder will head to the Big Ten school in which Brees shattered nearly every passing record. While that will present some lofty expectations, Schroeder awaits the challenge.
"I was Drew’s ball boy when he was in school and I learned so much from him," said Schroeder, who has a 3.3 GPA and a 1080 on the SAT. "Just the way he handled himself and was such a great leader. He was a winner and a great role model. I’m going to go to Purdue and try to compete at quarterback, but if that doesn’t work I just want to get on the field and use my speed."
"I know he’ll get a shot at quarterback because the coaches stay true to their word at Purdue," Ron said. "If that doesn’t work, he’ll get on the field because his speed will add another dimension to the offense."
Schroeder is the second high school quarterback to commit to the Boilermakers this week, joining Lebanon (Pa.) signal caller Brandon Kirsch.
Photo courtesy of Fox7 (KTBC) in Austin.