Recruiting

Quarterback Timochenko improves stock after attending Syracuse camp

Courtesy of Ron Smith

Matt Timochenko improved his stock as a recruit when he worked out at Syracuse's camp. While the Orange may not offer him a scholarship, he's used SU's interest to garner an offer from Marist.

When the classroom phone rang in Matt Timochenko’s AP government class last May, Timochenko’s teacher asked him to pick it up.

Every time a college coach visited Wilson High School in Reading, Pa., to talk to Timochenko, he seemed to be in this class, and his teacher figured it was just more of the same.

She was right. But this time, the coach waiting for him wasn’t from a run-of-the-mill program like most of the others. Timochenko was told that Syracuse offensive line coach Pat Perles was there to meet with him, and he left class faster than usual.

If you search Timochenko’s name on Scout.com, you won’t find him. Before becoming the starting quarterback in his senior season, he only played in a few varsity games as a junior for Wilson, a perennial powerhouse in Pennsylvania, yet his physical attributes and football IQ have made him a target for a list of lower-level Division I programs. And while Syracuse has yet to extend him an offer, his contact with the Orange has made him a more confident player.

“I have different kinds of reaches, and Syracuse is definitely a football reach,” Timochenko said. “I would love to play there, the experience of going there was awesome, but I do know it’s a reach.”

After talking with Wilson head coach Doug Dahms, Perles met with Timochenko and teammate Hunter Hatlee. He spoke with them about the SU football program and gave them brochures, one of which advertised a one-day camp in July.

So when July came, a wide-eyed Timochenko traveled with his dad Kevin to Central New York for camps at Syracuse and Colgate.

After marveling at the former players and cases of trophies in the Iocolano-Petty Football Wing, Timochenko ran a 40-yard dash and showed off his fundamental footwork and strong arm in a series of drills led by quarterbacks coach Tim Lester in Manley Field House.

“Syracuse was probably the best camp we went to,” Kevin Timochenko said. “The best part about it was how short it was and that they videotaped everyone individually. I believe you can really evaluate a player in about four hours, and I know Matt also really liked (Lester).”

As it turned out, Lester took a liking to Timochenko as well. When the quarterbacks sat down in the film room to look at individual clips from a three-step drop drill, Lester complimented Timochenko’s footwork.

Even if that’s the only critique he’d ever get from the Syracuse coaching staff, Lester’s words were more than just football talk.

“Having him single me out in a room of college prospects really made me confident,” Timochenko said. “It made me think, ‘I could really do this at the next level.’”

Timochenko has turned Lester’s praise into on-field success. Wilson is 8-0 and, according to MaxPreps.com, is ranked as the No. 7 team in the state. Timochenko has 13 passing touchdowns and more than 1,000 yards through the air on the season.

This play led Marist College to offer him a scholarship, Lehigh University to peg him as an option and a slew of other schools to show interest. He said that by now he could “probably play for any D-III team in the country, and most D-II.”

“He’s controlled the football field and he does a nice job for us,” Dahms said. “He’s cool, he’s calm and he’s collected and he knows what’s going on. He controls what we’re doing offensively.”

After football season, Timochenko will play varsity basketball for Wilson and compile his senior year football highlights, all while he and his family “wait for Syracuse’s call.”

On Sunday, three-star recruit Alin Edouard verbally committed to SU, joining A.J. Long as the second quarterback to pledge to the Orange for 2014. Even if Syracuse never follows up, that one day on the Orange’s practice turf will go a long in way in validating Timochenko’s ability and hard work.

His confidence will ring on, even if the phone doesn’t.

Said Timochenko: “That experience and knowing they wanted me there is going to help a lot no matter where I end up.”

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