Written by Ryan Wright
When rising Class of 2021 Maryland talent Austin Tutas says the 2018 season was a “great learning experience”, he truly means it. Tutas (6-1, 190) was all over the field for Archbishop Spalding carrying the rock, lining up in the slot, registering a tackle for a loss and even punted. But where his future lies on the gridiron is in the pocket, a spot where he lined up in five games splitting time with senior Navy signee Jayden Umbarger. During the 2018 season, Tutas completed 99 passes for 1,128 yards with 12 touchdown passes earning a three-star recruiting ranking and three scholarship offers along the way from Massachusetts, Temple, and Virginia Tech. The 2019 season is a big one for Tutas as the focal point of the offense at quarterback with the mindset of bringing home a championship for the Cavaliers.
In an RNG exclusive interview partnered with QB Hit List, I spent time with Tutas covering his sophomore season, offseason workouts, and summer college camp circuit for a deep inside look.
Austin, looking back on the 2018 season, how did your sophomore year go for you personally?
I think it was a great learning experience. There were some challenges that I faced. I split time with a senior (Jayden Umbarger) who committed to Navy. I played five games at quarterback and I mixed in at slot and punter. It was big for me to do what I can for my team. We were 7-3-1, not as successful as we wanted to be last season. We went to the conference championship – it was a great learning experience. That experience will help me lead the team this year.”
What type of offense do you execute with the Cavaliers?
“We run a Spread offense. Everything is in shotgun. We run RPO (run-pass option) and zone reads with downfield passing.”
The game film on you shows you have a big arm, which routes within the offense do you like to hit?
“My favorite is probably the 18 to 22-yard seams; that is a big route in our offense. We work that off defenders’ leverage. I also like hitting the 18-yard out, a big post from the slot, corner routes. Those routes are the staples in our offense. That is what we do best.”
You had a great opportunity to showcase your skills with the Cavaliers last season throwing on the run, scrambling – you name it. What do you feel are the strengths to your overall game?
“Honestly, one thing I have been working on that is a strength is the mental side of the game. I have worked hard with my coach learning protections and understanding what defenses are doing. I have taken a more cerebral approach to understand what defenses are doing.”
Is there an aspect to your game that may get overlooked?
“I think maybe running the ball. I have not been as successful as others running the ball statistically, but that is something I can do and something I want to get better at. That is something I want to show I can do this season.”
You mentioned increasing your football IQ, what other parts of your game have you been working on this offseason?
“I have been working on tightening up my mechanics, getting my feet right, and understanding protections better. I want to understand protections better to helping the offensive line out so we can be as successful as possible.”
Did you compete at any national and/or college camps this offseason?
“Yes. I competed at an Elite 11 Regional and at a Rivals camp. Both national camps were really good experiences for me competing against the best in my area. It was great to learn from the coaches at those camps to improve my game. With college camps, I went to camps at North Carolina, Duke, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wake Forest, and Virginia Tech.”
Of all the college camps, which was your best camp performance?
“Going to the college camps, that was more for me to feel out the coaches and see where I may fit in best. Of my performances, I would say my best was at UNC.”
What did you do well at the Tar Heels camp to make that your best?
“I tested well and threw the ball really well there. Everything was coming out well and I drove it downfield well. I put on a good showing there.”
Heading into the season, which schools are showing recruiting interest?
“I am receiving interest from Wake Forest, UNC, Tennessee, and West Virginia – they have all shown interest. Now it is time to earn that interest this season with how I play.”
How many offers do you have?
“I have three offers.”
Did you visit any schools this summer?
“Yes. I visited Virginia Tech within the camp. I loved it. At Wake Forest, I got a tour and competed at the camp. Every camp I did was a partial unofficial.”
Going into the classroom. What is your cumulative GPA?
“My GPA is 4.468.”
I know you haven’t even started your junior season yet, but have you taken the ACT and/or SAT yet?
“Yes. I scored a 1290 on the SAT.”
Nice. Looking to the season. Who are the Cavaliers looking this summer in workouts and practices?
“We are a very talented team. We are young, but we have a lot of guys who are willing to work and learn. I am excited about our team and the upcoming season. I am excited to see our team develop this season.”
What goals have you set for the 2019 season?
“My goal is to be the best teammate I can be. I want to lead the team as far as we can go. It is on me and the seniors to make sure we are ready. The main goal is the championship. Stats are not important to me, winning games is. I want to put my team in position to win this season.”
Austin, it was great going over your game today. I appreciate your time and wish you guys success going forward.
Photo credit: Johnny LaVallee Photography; Austin Tutas at the 2019 QB Collective