If you go up the I-35 corridor from San Antonio to Austin, you will find several high schools with highly-ranked quarterbacks, from SA Reagan’s Kellen Mond to Austin Westlake’s Sam Ehlinger receiving three and four star ratings.
But when recruiters hit the road on 35, they apparently missed an important stop between San Antonio and Austin, San Marcos.
While on a statewide level, San Marcos is known more for its outlet malls and Texas State University, the Bobcats’ Tyler Jones isn’t the only standout quarterback in the city, and the Rattlers’ early 3-0 record has a few heads turning.
Captaining the Rattlers’ ship on the field is senior dual-threat quarterback David Hamilton.
Don’t go google him now. You won’t find much in terms of recruiting info. Hamilton is unrated on most football recruiting websites or is just completely unlisted.
Where you will find plenty of recruiting information on Hamilton is in another sport. Hamilton committed to play baseball at the University of Texas and was named first team all state by the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association in 2014.
But the shortstop hopes to wear a longhorn on his baseball cap and on a helmet next year in Austin.
“I don’t have that many looks for football, but I would love to play both sports in college,” Hamilton said. “Rankings don’t really bother me too much. I just try to do whatever I can to help my team win.”
Rattlers head coach Mark Soto says he was also caught by surprise by Hamilton not being rated.
“It does surprise me that he is not ranked, we send in all stats to various media sites,” Soto said.
While rankings may not matter to Hamilton, you won”t have to look to far to find someone that thinks Hamilton should be listed among the best.
“Personally I think David Hamilton is the best quarterback in the state. He’s just an amazing player.” – Cross Cuevas
Teammate and junior wide receiver Cross Cuevas, who is often one of Hamilton’s top targets, sang his praises recently during an interview on the Texas Redzone Report podcast.
“Personally I think David Hamilton is the best quarterback in the state. He’s just an amazing player, he gets plays done and especially last night coming off an injury, he wasn’t even supposed to play in the game at all, but he came in, he toughed it out and he made plays for us” Cuevas said. “He’s our playmaker, he’s our guy and we’re behind him whether we win the game or lose the game, and he’s there for us.”
Hamilton was modest when told of Cuevas’ thoughts on where he ranked.
“I don’t believe I’m the best in the state. But I’m working my hardest to be the best,” he said.
After the season he had last year, finishing with over 1,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards, Hamilton balanced playing baseball with working to prepare himself for his senior year with the Rattlers.
“This offseason I tried to work a lot on getting faster and stronger. I didn’t have much time because I was always playing baseball but I worked out whenever I got the chance to,” Hamilton said.
Soto sees even more in him.
“David has gotten better each year. You can see it in his precision passing and release these days,” Soto said. “Every summer he plays baseball all around America and it definitely strengthens his arm and accuracy.”
But there was something else that came from his offseason work, and something that played a big role in securing two high-scoring, nail-biting victories.
“I think this offseason has just made me more mentally tough,” Hamilton said. “I think it’s helped out (during late game situations). I think what really helped was just me just not wanting to lose.”
Thus far, that will to win has led the Rattlers to a perfect 3-0 start. While the Rattlers did not make it into the playoffs last season due to some key losses in district play, they won their first district game last week against rival Seguin.
Their close loss to Seguin last season was likely one of the crucial losses that kept them from seeing the postseason, and they made sure to take care of business when their matchup with the Matadors came around last week.
“The team and all the coaches come to practice everyday ready to work. We never want to get out worked by our opponents,” Hamilton said.
“Starting off (3-0) is a great feeling. We have done so much work in this offseason to let it go to waste,” he said. “I hope that we can continue to improve on the little mistakes we have made and keep getting better. The first two games came down to the last few seconds and they are probably the two most exciting games I’ve ever played in. I hope that we can keep that momentum going this week.”
Through three games, Hamilton has amassed 823 yards of total offense and nine touchdowns.
He’s been able to move around the pocket enough to avoid sacks and find receivers, and when he decides to tuck the ball and run, the defenses’ headaches really begin. Once Hamilton sees a hole, his eyes get big and as he gets past the first level of defense. That’s when his running game gets to another level.
He’s able to get around defenders with ease and can switch directions in the blink of an eye, and is willing to take punishment to fight for extra yards, something that is not lost on Soto.
“I tell you what, he’s a special athlete. That guy can do whatever he needs to do all over the football field,” Soto said prior to the start of the season.Â “He’s not scared of anybody. His competition level is out of this world.”
While Hamilton is classified as a dual threat quarterback, he’s been a quadruple threat for the Rattlers, and played in multiple positions before his standout junior season.
“We always saw him as a quarterback, but during his early years we needed to start him in the secondary because of his speed,” Soto said. “Which then we learned to put him at receiver to stretch the field.”
Soto, Hamilton and the Rattlers will look to extend their streak to 4-0 at home on Friday night against SA Memorial.
The Rattlers have been on the road twice this season so far, and returning home always has its perks, but Rattlers fans have traveled well this season and have given the team a bit of a home field advantage even away from Rattler Stadium.
“The community has given us a bunch of support, they voted to pass the bond that gave us our stadium,” Hamilton said. “It’s unbelievably loud at our games. I think our fans are a big part of the reason that we are doing so good, we have a lot of support and they want us to do good.”
When asked about his goals for this season, Hamilton said he’s ready for a postseason on the field this year.
But it shouldn’t take until a late season playoff push to get more out-of-towners to stop and exit 202 to see a quarterback and a team that won’t be off the radar for too much longer, especially if they have success on Friday night and keep on rolling.
Come for the shopping, sure, but you may just want to stay for Hamilton and the Rattlers.
Be sure to come back tomorrow morning for Jeff Cerda’s San Marcos vs. SA Memorial preview.