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March 30, 2011

Father keeping son's offers secret

PRINTZ VIDEO: Nike camp | 7-on-7 camp

Ed Printz didn't particularly care for what he witnessed after his son, Eddie Printz, a touted sophomore quarterback at Marietta, Ga., Lassiter, returned from a recruiting trip awhile back.

"People started pulling at Eddie," Printz recalled. "One day he wore a South Carolina shirt and people started giving him a hard time because they thought he liked another school. At the same time, (Gamecock fans) thought they had Eddie locked up."

To Printz, it all seemed a bit over the top.

Soon after, he had an epiphany of sorts and hatched a plan whereby he would attempt to remove his son as much as possible from any part of the recruiting process that didn't involve taking visits, researching schools, touring facilities, spending time with college players and meeting with coaches.

"I thought it was best that he control what he can control, what he can do," Ed Printz said. "That's his studies, his workouts, his training, being a good big brother - things like that. I don't want him getting caught up in things he can't control."

Printz's method doesn't seem particularly unique until it comes to the subject of scholarship offers. That's where he's more than a little unorthodox. While most parents proudly boast about their child's latest offers, that is information he chooses to share with only one other person - Lassister head coach Jep Irwin.

That's right, not even Printz's son knows who, if anyone, has offered.

"My dad wants to keep that hidden - even from me," the younger Printz said. "He doesn't want me to get too big-headed."

The ability to stay grounded appears to be one of Eddie Printz's greatest assets. In fact, it may only be superseded by the 6-foot-3, 209-pound signal caller's immense ability.

"Eddie is very talented," Irwin said. "He's got good height, very good arm strength and he's working hard in the weight room. He's a tremendous competitor who will only get better."

The 16-year-old Printz (whose name officially is Eddie Printz V) didn't just burst onto the scene.

People have known about his talents since before he even got to high school.

"(Current South Carolina quarterbacks coach) G.A. Mangus saw Eddie throw in the seventh grade, and was like, 'Wow, who's that kid?' " the elder Printz said. "He was the ball boy for the varsity, and sometimes before games people would see him throwing and he'd throw it about 50 yards."

By then, Ed Printz already knew his son was gifted.

Several years earlier, in fact, he hired former University of Arizona and Canadian Football League quarterback Ron Veal, who runs the Ron Veal Football Camp, to work with Eddie primarily on his footwork.

He was the ball boy for the (high school) varsity, and sometimes before games people would see him throwing and he'd throw it about 50 yards.
- Eddie Printz's father, Ed Printz, on his son's QB skills in the seventh grade
"Eddie was 8 and a half, or 9, when he came," Veal recalled. "He had big feet, and he was growing rapidly. But he was special. He already was throwing the ball really well at that age. The footwork was a little off, but the ability to throw the football was there."

Veal has worked with Printz ever since. Today, they typically meet up every week or so.

"He's made big strides (each year)," Veal said. "You know, even at age 9, 10 and 11, he was throwing the ball for over 1,000 yards in the leagues he was in."

In 2009, Printz arrived at Lassiter, where he backed up Hutson Mason, the Georgia Sports Writers Association All-Class Player of the Year that fall. As a freshman, Printz played in all of his team's 13 games, and even led the squad to its only touchdown in a playoff loss.

Mason signed with Georgia in 2010 and is now the No. 2 quarterback in Athens. When he departed Lassiter, Printz moved into a starting role. The squad went 5-6 last season, but did reach the playoffs.

Printz completed 205 of 301 pass attempts for 2,252 yards and 22 touchdowns, to go along with eight interceptions. He scored twice via the rush.

"Last year, at the start, his arm was probably his greatest asset," Irwin said. "Now, I think he's really starting to become more of a competitor and a leader by example. When you combine (his arm) with his competitiveness and his work ethic, it's a really good combination. It serves him well. He knows having an arm is only going to get you so far. He's working hard to be more than just a big guy who can throw."

That said, arm strength probably remains Printz's best trait. That was something he displayed at Sunday's Miami Nike Football Training Camp at the University of Miami, where he threw crisp, accurate passes all over the field despite windy conditions.

"He can make all the throws you want him to make," Irwin said. "He can throw the 20-yard comeback, he can throw the 17-yard curl, he can throw it to the wide side of the field. What he needs to work on is throwing while he's moving. He has to become a little more accurate at that."

That weakness has been a point of emphasis with Veal.

"He has the ability to put the ball where it needs to be at any given time," Veal said.

"And in the pocket he's great. He has great pocket presence. He's not bad throwing on the run; he just needs to improve. And he is improving."

Printz is a typical teen in many respects. But, he admitted, he is "constantly thinking about football." Even when he's not playing on Friday night, practicing or competing in a camp, he plays pickup football games with friends. It should be noted, though, that Printz does have some balance in his life.

He carries a 3.7 GPA.

Thus far, Printz has enjoyed many aspects of his recruitment, particularly visiting the different schools. He has been to both Georgia and Miami in 2011.

"At Georgia, I liked it," he said. "They took me around the whole campus. They've got upgrades and everything and that was really nice. At Miami, the campus is beautiful and the weather was amazing. When I go to a college, it's usually one-on-one. I met with (national recruiting coordinator Brennan Carroll) at Miami, and with quarterback coach (Jedd Fisch). I also met with (head coach Al Golden).

"I love the process. I love the experience, to compare schools and see what each is like. It's just awesome."

On Saturday, Printz will visit Tennessee. Next week, he will make a trip to Florida and spend three days in Gainesville with his father.

"It's his weekend away and he gets to meet all these cool coaches," said Ed Printz. "At camps, he'll come over and talk about the guys he met. One time, it was (South Carolina coach) Steve Spurrier. He was like, 'Dad, did you know he played quarterback?' When we got home, I told him to Google his name. I heard him upstairs. He said, 'Dad, did you know he won the Heisman Trophy? Did you know he won a national championship?' "

The plan, as of today, is for the younger Printz to check out every school he's genuinely interested in between now and next July. That month, Ed and Eddie hope to hash things out and pick a school before Eddie begins his senior season.

"He's going to graduate in December," Ed Printz said. "We don't want any distractions. Make your decision and do one official visit to where he's committed."

When exactly will father inform son of who has offered?

"Probably after this season," Ed Printz said. "Because they start junior days in January."

Until then, it will remain a secret.



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