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Graves set to seek right fit

Sac State, Air Force have offered scholarships
By: Matt Long
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Dano Graves has put up some mind-blowing statistics in his high school football career. Graves has thrown for 7,477 yards and 112 touchdowns, rushed for 1,785 yards and 34 scores and caught 24 passes for 349 yards and four touchdowns in three seasons as a varsity player. Those numbers rank among the best high school players anywhere, but college coaches aren’t busting down his door because he stands only 5-feet, 9-inches tall. Graves has received offers from Air Force and Sacramento State and several other schools have shown interest including Azusa Pacific, Cal Poly, San Jose State, Portland State, the University of San Diego, Cornell and Lewis & Clark. “I’m extremely interested in Air Force because I like the movie Top Gun and my grandfather was a pilot,” Graves said. “I’m planning to go on a couple visits in January and by the end of January I’d like to know where I’m going.” Graves wants to play football in college. His athletic ability gives him the ability to play other positions, including wide receiver, but quarterback is where he wants to be. “If I happen to be recruited at a different position that would be fine because I love football and would play anywhere, but I want to be at quarterback,” Graves said. “He can do other things for you, but I think it would be a waste of his skills if he wasn’t a quarterback,” Folsom coach Kris Richardson said. “Teams might have to adjust their system with some sprint out protection and with their run game, but I can’t see how teams won’t take a shot on him. He’s an amazing talent. I’ve seen quarterbacks a few inches taller play at the next level with half the talent that Dano has.” Graves has worked on his quarterback skills for three years with Troy Taylor, Folsom High’s former football coach and current physical education teacher. Taylor runs a quarterback training business, called The Passing Academy, in which he works with several local quarterbacks on their technique and skills, among other things. Taylor has high remarks of Graves. “He’s as athletic as a running back and is very quick and elusive so he’s got running back skills as a quarterback,” Taylor said. “As a thrower he’s extremely accurate, completing nearly 70 percent of his passes, and the most important thing, in my opinion, as a quarterback is to be accurate. He’s also really smart and makes great decisions. He carries a ton of offense at Folsom and manages the game well. He’s also got that competitive greatness, where he’s better during games than he is in practice. He elevates his game when it counts.” Taylor said it’s not too much to say that Graves is the greatest player ever to come out of the Sac-Joaquin Section. “He’s put up some big numbers against the best competition and now you throw a section championship in there with it,” Taylor said. “A lot of guys who put up big numbers do it at the Division V level, but Dano’s done it against the best competition and he’s won.” Despite Graves’ outstanding high school career, Taylor said it’s not surprising Graves doesn’t have a lot of schools offering him scholarships. “A lot of schools are scared off if a quarterback isn’t at least 6-foot tall,” Taylor said. “He looks bigger than 5’9” when he plays. It’s a testament to Cary Grossart and David Graves for getting scholarships at being 6-foot or less. It takes a special player under 6-feet tall to get a scholarship.” Dano Graves’ Career Statistics 2008 - 2 completions, 2 attempts, 107 yards, 1 TD 24 catches, 349 yards, 4 TD 2009 - 246 completions, 327 attempts, 3,882 yards, 52 TD, 8 Int, 121 carries, 874 yards, 14 TD 2010 - 225 completions, 333 attempts, 3,488 yards, 59 TD, 5 Int, 145 carries, 911 yards, 20 TD Career stats: 473 completions, 662 attempts, 7,477 yards, 112 TD, 13 Int; 266 carries, 1,785 yards, 34 TD; 24 catches, 349 yards, 4 TD