Before Jarrett Guarantano dives all the way into his junior season, which will be his first as the undisputed starter at Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic, the four-star quarterback has one more trip to make during what has already been a high-profile summer.
“I want to be at a place where I can excel at quarterback as well as a person, and when I come out of college I’m prepared for hopefully the next level,” he said. “That’s really a big factor for me with my decision.”
Guarantano’s offer list is already impressive, and for good reason. His combination of accuracy, arm strength, size and a quick release is exciting college coaches, and the group at Penn State were the latest to witness it.
“They told me they thought I was really good at the various reads, in the case of running the ball, throwing the ball, accuracy, a quick release, great arm strength,” he said. “They felt I had a lot of really great qualities.
“They don’t want one great quality in a quarterback. They want them all, and that’s why they said they offered.”
The trip also enabled Guarantano to look around the campus and meet with the coaching staff.
“The campus is beautiful,” he said.” Penn State has a one-of-a-kind campus. The staff is a great staff with great coaches. They get the best players. They can’t do much better just because of the recruiting (restraints) they have this year.”
What stood out about the campus was the overall feel of it.
“Probably just the tradition and being able to realize when you step on campus, when you get close to the football field, how many great things have happened there,” Guarantano said. “It’s really just knowing the tradition and the history of the place.”
Guarantano also made a two-day visit to Ohio State where he toured campus and participated in a camp.
“Ohio State was magnificent,” he said. “I loved, really, everything about it; the coaching staff, the facilities and just the people there. It was a great fit and really a great place for me.”
As he did elsewhere, Guarantano also performed well in front of the Buckeyes staff.
“I got a chance to spend a lot of time with (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks) coach (Tom) Herman and coach (Urban) Meyer, just walking around with them,” he said. “It was really great. It was a great time for me.”
Guarantano has family in North Carolina, and on the way there he was able to stop at Tennessee for a second time. It also gave his father, Jim, a chance to meet up with his former coach.
Vols coach Butch Jones was a graduate assistant at Rutgers when the elder Guarantano starred for the Scarlet Knights.
“It was beautiful,” Jarrett Guarantano said. “I went down there for a camp this time. I really did like Tennessee a lot. Me and the coaching staff have great connections with their quarterback coach/offensive coordinator (Mike Bajakian) being from my school and coach Butch (Jones) coaching my dad when he was in college. There’s really a lot of great connections there.”
With those trips behind Guarantano and football practice starting in early August, the last trip on his docket is to Alabama. His recruiter, offensive line coach Mario Cristobal, said to expect good news when he gets to campus.
“We were talking about how the offer was on the table and coach (Nick) Saban just wanted to meet me,” Guarantano said. “That’s always been a place I really did love and really did want to get to. It’s great timing for us to drive down there and see the campus and see all the facilities and everything.”
Although Guarantano doesn’t know what to expect on the trip, he is eager to see the campus.
“I think it’s going to be truly amazing,” he said. “The facilities, I know, are just ridiculous with how much money they get a year and then spend it on the football program. I know that is going to be great, and I hear the campus is beautiful. I’m really expecting a great trip.”