At some point next fall, it will be fun for Angel Flores to sit back and count all his Division I football offers. But it all starts with one.
Flores, the promising quarterback prospect from Casa Grande Union, announced via Twitter on Tuesday that he received his first D-I scholarship offer from Morgan State University in Baltimore.
Morgan State is a historically Black university that competes in the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA.
“Extremely blessed and thankful to receive my 1st D1 offer from @MSUBearsFB,” Flores wrote. “Thank you @CoachWheat6 for the opportunity!!”
The Morgan State Bears are coached by former NFL running back Tyrone Wheatley.
This comes as no surprise for the talented young quarterback heading into his junior year. And it is most certainly the first of many D-I (both FBS and FCS) offers he will receive.
Flores has started at CG Union since day one as a freshman. It’s a big responsibility for any freshman to take on, but he handled it with uncommon poise and maturity for his age.
That maturity also shows up in the classroom, where Flores is a 4.0 student.
He showed striking athleticism and physicality as a freshman, to go along with a strong arm. His skills as a passer were raw, but he showed flashes.
Flores took a giant leap forward as a sophomore, showing improved accuracy and decision making to go along with his cannon arm.
In the 2019 season, Flores showed off that arm in the very first game against an overmatched Tucson Palo Verde squad.
It started with a 58-yard bomb down the sideline for a TD to Damion Allen in the first quarter. With just 10 seconds remaining before halftime, Flores uncorked another long throw, hooking up with Cole Auza for a 52-yard score.
After the game, I asked Cougars coach Jake Barro about how that kind of throwing ability brought an added dimension to his team’s offense.
“He’s able to put his foot in the ground and throw it 50, 60 yards,” Barro said. “Not a lot of kids can do that. We haven’t had a kid who can do that for quite some time, so it opens up the playbook quite a bit.”
That was the first game of his sophomore season. There’s no doubt Flores, already 6-foot-2, is gaining more strength and growing into his body.
Flores was already a dangerous runner. As a freshman, he ran for 445 yards with 11 TDs. Last year, he was the team’s leading rusher, throwing around his 200-pound body for 912 yards and 14 scores.
He led the Cougars to their first playoff win in 26 years. In the 4A state quarterfinals, he rushed for 132 yards and three TDs, and threw for another 221 yards in a last-second loss to Goodyear Desert Edge.
Flores completed 68.8% of his passes for 2,314 yards with 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions as a sophomore. He is just scratching the surface of his prolific potential.
It’s important to note that while major college football programs want big, strong, fast, athletic players, that’s not all they want. They’re looking for kids like Flores, especially at quarterback.
What do I mean by “kids like” Flores? I mean a student athlete with character, intelligence and leadership skills. CG Union athletic director Randy Robbins and Barro have told me about Flores’ ability to lead.
It’s even more impressive that he does it at such a young age. Flores has been asked to mentor older students at his school, including a very talented defensive lineman who was having issues getting his act together and becoming eligible for the football team.
He has been put in positions of trust that very few other student-athletes could handle.
Flores is tremendously talented, and he’s only going to get better on the football field. That will attract plenty of attention from college football programs.
But when you combine that talent with his leadership, maturity and excellence in the classroom, it will open doors for him that are closed to others. The scholarship offers have only just begun.
The Flores family may need a bigger mailbox.