Written by Ryan Wright
Playing behind two seniors during the 2018 season had to be frustrating for Class of 2021 quarterback Andrew Butler, but the time on the sidelines watching and learning has not gone to waste. After a 12 for 19, 167-yard, sophomore season, Butler is now shredding North Jersey Super teams completing 64 percent of his passes covering 2,153 yards with 20 touchdowns and has rushed the pigskin into the end zone three times running DePaul Catholic’s Spread attack. As the 6-4, 200-pound, quarterback makes his way from one tough opponent to the next, college football programs are taking notice of the three-star recruit. Over the weekend, the Kentucky Wildcats hosted Butler for their 38-14 win over Vanderbilt.
Butler has the Spartans (5-4) into the playoffs with an opening round game against Donovan Catholic on Friday. To talk about his growth on the field and his visit with the Wildcats, we sat down for a one-on-one interview partnering up with QB Hit List.
Andrew, the Spartans have taken on some top New Jersey teams this season and are now pushing into the playoffs. With Donovan Catholic (9-1) coming on Friday, how is the team looking?
“We are looking good. We have been working hard, we had a bye week this week. We have a lot of confidence this week going against a great team.”
Over the course of the season, how has the offense continued to improve running a Spread?
“We have come together a lot. We added a few new pieces in the offense this season and we gelled as a unit and we kept working hard all season. We were able to improve as a whole and play as a unit this season.”
How do your skills fit a Spread attack?
“The Spread opens it all up. We can hit big plays downfield in our passing attack. In our Spread, it is a lot of throwing and RPOs (run-pass option). I get to throw a lot, which is great as I am a pro-style quarterback.”
Watching your reel, it looks like you know the leverages before the snap and where you want to go with the ball. What is your process looking over the defense before each play?
“We have a great offensive coordinator. He coaches me up each week and gets me prepared. With my reads, it is based on the coverage I am seeing and knowing where to go pre-snap. Of course something might happen to change once the ball is snapped, but I read my keys pre-snap and I know where to go with the ball off our preparation.”
For any game, how are you preparing during the week?
“By watching a lot of film and studying their defense. We take what we see on film and apply it in practice so we are ready in the games.”
This season, in which game did you turn in your top performance?
“My personal best was the first game of the season against Pope John (XXIII). I threw for 300-plus yards with five touchdowns.”
That is an excellent game. From the start of the season to the end, where have you shown the biggest improvements in your growth as a quarterback?
“The biggest growth has come with the speed at which I am making decisions. As the season went on, knowing what throws to make and when to make them were a big improvement for me as well.”
Being a quarterback, being a leader is important. How would you describe your leadership style?
“I’m making sure I am the hardest worker on the team. I am a leader by example. I am also an upbeat teammate who is trying to get the best out of all the players on our team.”
Which teams are showing interest in your skills so far?
“I have been in contact with West Virginia, UConn, Rutgers, and I just went to Kentucky last week.”
Where all have you been on visits this season?
“This fall I have been to Princeton, Kentucky, and UConn.”
How did the Princeton visit turn out?
“It went really well. I enjoyed it. I knew their coach well before the visit, he had come to our school. It was amazing.”
And the Kentucky trip?
“That was really good. That was my first SEC school visit and game to see in-person. I was excited to see the crowd and the excitement of the fan base during the game. It was a lot of fun.”
Big game ahead for the Spartans. When the ball is teed up on Friday, what kind of game are you looking at going against the Griffins defense?
“It should be a great game. I saw one of the games, they are a great team with great players. We have to do our thing but I expect a great game.”
Andrew, thanks for your time today and good luck in the playoffs.
Photo credit: Butler family; Andrew Butler