Monterey Trail senior and standout student athlete Zach Larrier had a big decision to make.
After being recruited by several Division I college football programs, including multiple west coast schools such as Cal, Oregon State, Washington State, Stanford and USC, the 6-foot, 188-pound multi-sport athlete had to decide which school was right for him. Some of the schools were offering him scholarships with the expectation to play cornerback, but according to Mustangs’ head coach TJ Ewing, Larrier has dreams of playing quarterback at the Division I level and knew he needed to follow his heart.
So Larrier did what he’s seemingly always done. He made the mature decision that not only set him up for success in the short term, but also gave him the best chance at a bright future. After spending the past three seasons playing quarterback for Monterey Trail, Larrier made the commitment to attend the United States Air Force Academy beginning in 2019, and is being looked at as their signal caller of the future for their football program.
“If you know anything about Zach Larrier, he’s a very mature young man,” Ewing said of his longtime team leader. “He’s very academically strong, he gobbles up information, he likes challenges, and he relishes in the opportunity to compete.”
While other schools may have more prominent football programs, the Air Force offered Larrier the opportunity to play quarterback, and fit Larrier’s mature-beyond-his-years personality, according to Ewing.
“If you really know the kid, he kind of fits in that culture,” Ewing said of Larrier’s character temperment. “He has a way about him that...I don’t want to say regalness to him, not like he’s cocky or arrogant. Not even close. But he’s a kid to where that fits him. I think the other schools missed the boat on him in that regard.”
This past season for Monterey Trail, Larrier compiled some impressive numbers as both the starting quarterback and cornerback. Under center, he went 81-138 for 1,426 yards, a single-season school record 18 touchdowns, and just one interception. On the ground, Larrier rushed 97 times for 990 yards and 16 scores, proving to be a true dual-threat. Defensively, he snagged three interceptions and recorded six passes defended. On the field he was clearly a leader, but Ewing feels that his demeanor off the field is what will serve him well going forward.
“He’s always been a guy that people want to be around,” Ewing said. “He’s a leader. But he’s not the cool guy that way, he’s not doing it in a manner trying to be somebody they’re not. He will not compromise who he is, and that leadership and that style works because he’s not fake. Zach always knew who he was, and I applaud that.”
With Larrier set to graduate from Monterey Trail this spring, Ewing also spoke about how much he will miss having him around, and how his personality traits may have ultimately led him to his college decision.
“I don’t want to say it’s sad that he’s leaving because we have other kids that are outstanding too, but he’s definitely who I really relished to coach because he was from a different area. He’s just a different kid. He grew up differently and he has different values that are very loyal and committed, and that’s why I think the Air Force grabbed his heart. They were there day one, and I guess he didn’t feel the love at the other schools like he did when he went to Air Force.”
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