By Thayne Jackson
Cactus Canyon student Nazareth “Naz” Greer has been rated the number one youth quarterback in the country.
Greer was recently selected to play in the 2012 Junior Academic All-American game, which will be Jan. 2 at Chase Field. The game will feature some of the most talented junior-high football players in the United States.
As the starting quarterback of his youth team, Greer threw for over 3,000 yards and over 40 touchdowns while leading the East Arizona Raiders to a league title in 2010. No stats were available for the 2011 season.
“It is fun to be a quarterback,” Greer said. “Throwing the ball for touchdown passes and setting records is also fun. Running the ball is exciting too.”
Greer has played the position of quarterback since he was 5 years old. He has practiced and trained with Apache Junction High School football coaches Justin MacDonald and Bob Harvey since April.
“I began coaching Naz in April, and we trained through spring and summer,” said MacDonald, the Prospectors head coach. “Naz had an incredible foundation when I met him. He and his father had put immense work into developing his skills prior to our training, so training Naz is a lot of fun to do because he’s already got such an incredible skill set and work ethic.”
Greer and McDonald trained a few times per week over the summer and focused on throwing mechanics to improve accuracy and velocity. Even with all of his talent, Greer is easy to coach because he want to learn, improve, and to be the best.
Anybody with ‘want to’ is easy and fun to coach,” McDonald said. “Naz thrives on competition because he’s a winner. He wants to compete and win at everything, so to push him beyond his abilities, I challenge him. Instead of just hitting a target 30 yards away, I make him hit me in the hands from thirty yards away, and when he does it, I move farther, or make him do with a drop step, or after evading, or on the run.”
Playing quarterback can be fun for right people, but is a hard job.
“The most challenging part about the position is taking the hits from the defense,” Greer said. “The part I like most about it is throwing touchdown passes.”
Being a quarterback isn’t the only thing that Naz was ever good at. Besides being an A student and Student of the Year at Four Peaks last year, he is also an accomplished BMX rider.
“Naz was a nationally ranked BMX champion before he shifted his focus to playing quarterback,” McDonald said. “He’s just takes the focus and competitive drive into everything he does. He’s a special person in that regard.”
In the future, Greer hopes to attend college at Notre Dame and play starting quarterback for the football team. He plans to major in sports journalism, but also has dreams of becoming an NFL quarterback.