Written by Ryan Wright
The 2018 season was another year on the gridiron with Cranford High School for Connor Katz, another year of taking his game to a higher level. Katz has been a mainstay in the Cougars offense, so much so he is only 2,500 yards shy of breaking the school’s all-time passing yards record. The 6-1, 203-pound, field general is more than an arm slinging it around the field, he is also a legitimate dual-threat with a 4.62 posted at a William and Mary camp. Katz’s overall talents on the field and his hard work in the classroom, a 4.17 GPA and a 1250 scored on the SAT, has brought an offer from Georgetown with heavy interest coming from Ivy and Patriot League programs. The New Jersey product has visited schools up and down the east coast and is taking his skills on the road ready to show college coaches he is the guy who can lead their team to victories at the collegiate level.
In an RNG exclusive interview partnered with QB Hit List, I spent some time with Katz going over his skills on the field and impressive college camp circuit he is about to embark upon.
Connor, with your footspeed and mobility, you have a little Fran Tarkenton (Minnesota Vikings) to your game. Do you practice keeping plays alive on busted plays or when the pocket collapses?
“Honestly, I don’t do a lot of scrambling drills. I have been a good athlete growing up playing multiple sports. I work more on movement in the pocket, but I can make plays in space.”
From watching your game film, one can tell you know the Cougars’ Spread offense well. How did you prepare each week for opposing defenses so you could exploit the offense?
“I prepared by watching film with my head coach and offensive coordinator. My dad is also a coach. My dad would talk it through with me if I had any additional questions before each game.”
Where does your dad coach?
“At William Patterson.”
Nice. What are some of your favorite routes to throw to within the offense?
“My favorites are posts, corners, and seams. Those are my three favorites.”
How did your passing game improve last season?
“It improved a lot. My QB coach has done a great job with me. Each time I work with him I improve and add something new to my game. I worked on everything last season including being more accurate and increasing my arm strength. My footwork and shortening up my throwing motion are areas that improved a lot last year as well.”
How did spring ball with the Cougars go?
“In New Jersey, we don’t have spring practices. But I was throwing with my receivers as much as I can over the spring.”
What have you been working on this offseason with your technique?
“As an athlete, I have been working on improving my overall strength and conditioning. I do strength and conditioning workouts three days a week with my trainer and three days a week with my team. I have been focused on improving my footwork, accuracy, arm strength, my release, and reading defenses this offseason. I am working with a lot of college guys this offseason. That has helped me to better understand coverages.”
Have you competed at any camps this year?
“Yes. I have competed at The Opening Regional (NJ), a Roman Oben Camp, and in late May I went to a Rutgers camp. I have also gone to an Under Armour All-American camp, a First and Goal camp, a William and Mary and UConn (Connecticut) camp.”
How did The Opening/Elite 11 Regional go?
“It went really well. I threw to some top in-state receivers. I made some good throws and did well. My SPARQ score was 90.15. That was one of the best scores among all the quarterbacks.”
What is the best 40-yard dash time you have posted this offseason?
“At William and Mary, I ran a 4.62. I posted a 9.9 broad jump at Rutgers.”
Tell me about your UConn camp performance.
“I threw really well at that camp. I made good reads on the defense during the 7v7 portion. I was making accurate throws and hitting the receivers over the defenders.”
What kind of feedback are you getting from college coaches at the camps?
“I am getting a lot of feedback. Every time they see me, they tell me that I have I improved my game. My hard work shows. They tell me that they like me and that they will be in touch.”
Do you have any other camps on the schedule this summer?
“Yes. A lot of them. I am going to some Ivy League and Patriot League camps. I will be at Cornell on Saturday and then I go to a TCNJ Mega Camp. After that, I am going to camps hosted by Texas, Purdue, Virginia, and then to Georgetown on June 29.”
Which schools are showing interest in you before all of the upcoming camps?
“UConn likes me a lot. Cornell, Brown, Holy Cross, and Lafayette are also showing interest.”
Which school has offered you already?
Nice. Have you visited any schools yet?
“Yes. I have taken about 20 visits.”
Wow. Let’s go with the last four schools you have visited.
“My last four visits were Holy Cross, Brown, Georgetown, and James Madison.”
Since they offered you, tell me about the Georgetown visit.
“It went really well. I had a great conversation with Coach (Rob) Spence (OC). He is my recruiting area coach and my position coach. It was great talking to him. He asked me a lot of question about me. He learned a lot about me, which I thought was great. He came to watch me throw this spring, that is what brought the offer.”
How did the Brown visit go?
“It went really well. I talked to Coach (James) Perry (HC) and Coach (Seitu) Smith (QB). I talked to them a lot during the visit. I toured their facilities and I saw a practice; that was good to see. It was good to see the city of Providence (RI). Providence is a beautiful city. I really liked the area around the campus.”
Last couple of questions for today. What is your leadership style with the team?
“As a QB, you are the face of the program. You have to be a leader on the team and in the community. I try to be a good person overall no matter where I am and what I am doing. I hold the doors open for teachers and I am nice to everyone walking through the halls at school. With the team, you have to fire them up. You have to know who you can yell at and who you have to talk to and you have to know how to motivate them. It is a hard job but I love being a QB.”
What goals have you set for your senior year?
“My goal is a state championship. It has been a couple of years for us to win one. I want to bring that back to my school. My personal goal, I am 2,500 yards short of the school passing record. I would like to break that record.”
Connor, it was a lot of fun learning more about you and your offseason process today. I appreciate your time and wish you success with the rest of your camps.
Photo credit: Katz family; Connor Katz at UConn and Elite 11