Written by Ryan Wright
Experience was gained and lessons were learned during the 2020 campaign for Derek “DJ” Lagway. The 6-3, 210-pound, quarterback got meaningful backup snaps with Willis High School during his freshman season completing 8 of 25 passes for 128 yards with one touchdown. The potential for the Wildcats dual-threat seemingly has no limits. With a rifle for an arm and moves to go with the wheels, Lagway is first down machine in the making. Those developing skills were put on display this summer at Baylor, Texas, and Texas A&M camps landing offers from Baylor and Georgia Tech.
In an RNG exclusive interview partnered with QB Hit List, Lagway took a break from preparing for 6A Texas defenses covering ground on his workouts and college camp successes.
Derek, you have that playmaking magic in your game that cannot be taught. I’d ask you how you do it, but I know that can’t really be answered. How about this, what do you feel are the strengths to your skills that allow you to make plays on the field that others cannot?
I feel like my strengths are running and throwing, keeping the play alive and making throws on the run to keep moving the ball down the field.
What style of offense will you be executing with the Wildcats this fall?
We are running a Spread. We will be mostly throwing the ball.
To take on 6A Texas defenses, how have you mentally been preparing for this season-long challenge?
Watching film on our first game looking for tendencies, how they drop, and what their defensive linemen do. I am getting the tendencies of their defense down.
You have the natural arm strength, what have you been doing to tie in the strong arm with your footwork?
I am going up to our school throwing with my guys, working on footwork, my shoulder strength, cuts, jukes, and doing cone drills. I am doing all of that.
Have you been doing anything to tweak and/or fine-tune your throwing motion this summer?
Yes, sir. I have been focused on strengthening my shoulder, learning how to use my body and hips, and becoming more flexible. I have been working with my quarterback coach JP Tillman too. He’s helped me a lot with a lot of different things, my release points and with different arm angles on my throws. He has helped me with my recruiting too.
This spring or summer, did you compete at any top camps?
Yes, sir. I went to Under Armour and an Elite 11 camp.
How did the Elite 11 camp go for you?
It was good. It was a good experience. I learned a lot there that I will add to the season.
Did you compete at any college camps?
Yes, sir. I went to Baylor, Texas a couple of times, and Texas A&M.
I have to ask about the Baylor camp; I know you have an offer from them. Tell me about that experience.
My coach gave me their information back around the middle of the school year. We were talking and communicating; they liked what they saw and offered me there at the camp.
What did you showcase of your skills to the Baylor coaches to land the offer?
I feel like I made all the throws they wanted to see – deep corners and comebacks and used different arm angles.
And the A&M camp performance, tell me about that one.
It was pretty good. I was sick that day, but I competed and did well. They liked what they saw, and are keeping in contact with me.
Which schools are showing interest as you head towards the season?
Texas and Texas A&M.
How many offers do you have?
Two: Baylor and Georgia Tech.
Which schools did you get to visit this summer?
Baylor and Texas.
What did you see and do during the Texas visit?
The first time I went there, it was a big unofficial visit for 2023 guys. I was blessed to go with the older kids. At the camp, I competed against Arch Manning. The Texas coaches liked what they saw. They invited me to a second camp and told me they will watch me this season.
Very cool. Are there any upcoming visits for you?
I am not sure where all I may go, but I am going to a Baylor game for sure this season.
DJ, thank you for your time today. Wishing you and the team success preparing for the upcoming season.
Yes, sir. Thank you.
Photo credit: Lagway family; Derek Lagway