“It’s a little crazy…”
That’s what five-star QB Julian Sayin says about the meteoric rise he’s experienced in the recruiting rankings over the last year. Julian’s freshman season of high-school football coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic and Sayin backed up his older brother Aidan, only seeing playing time at the end of games.
Then came 2021. His older brother now playing college football for Penn, Julian was thrust into the starting role at Carlsbad High School in his hometown of Carlsbad, CA. It would be normal to expect a few growing pains for a young QB in his first season as a high-school starter. All Julian did was play like a quarterback prodigy.
Sayin threw for 2769 yards and 34 TD’s while averaging 10.9 yards per an attempt. Those numbers are impressive, but what makes him a rarity is the high completion percentage (71.5%) and low number of interceptions (5). Ask Sayin to describe his game and the first word he says is, “accuracy.”
A year ago Sayin had never started a high-school game, but he had been preparing for his opportunity. “I’ve been around the game for a long time from being around my brother,” said Sayin in an interview with Dawgs Central.
That preparation paid off. Sayin’s 2021 football season was the model of efficiency, and the nation’s best college football programs noticed. Now he’s a consensus five-star quarterback and the #1 ranked high-school player in California for the Class of 2024. Julian holds scholarship offers from UGA, Florida, Alabama, Notre Dame, USC, Michigan, LSU, Texas and many others.
When you watch tape of Julian’s sophomore season you see a young quarterback who plays like a seasoned veteran. Sayin has the type of field awareness that many current college starters would be jealous of, and he moves through his progressions quickly. “My high-school coach Thadd MacNeal is a QB guy,” says Julian. We’re taught to start the play the right way… ID the Mike’s, change protections, stuff like that…”
Julian’s high-school offense is different than what you see most young quarterbacks running these days. Sayin plays in a pro-style offense where he goes under center a lot. “I think my offense in high-school will definitely help me transition easier and quicker to the next level,” he says.
On play-action tosses Julian throws his arm in the air in a way that makes it clear he is a quarterback who understands that everything matters. A middle linebacker might see that arm and take a step towards the running back. That step might be just enough to give Sayin a throwing window.
Julian possesses plenty of physical talent, but he executes with a level of precision that few heralded high-school quarterbacks do. His play shows that he understands a time is coming where he will be playing the game at a level where everyone has elite athletic ability. “I have a high football IQ,” Julian says. A lot of quarterbacks say they have a high football IQ. Very few of them play in a way where that high IQ is on obvious display. When you watch Julian’s tape, the football intelligence is obvious.
The staff at the University of Georgia believed in Julian before he ever started putting up numbers as a Sophomore. UGA’s staff offered Julian last summer after seeing him throw during a camp in Athens. Julian’s talent made an impression on the staff, and Georgia made an impression on Sayin.
“I’ve been to Athens I think three times. I really liked Athens. It’s a great college town. I was able to spend a lot of time with Coach Monken, Coach Smart and Coach Buster,” said Sayin.
That’s good news for UGA fans. Many Bulldog enthusiasts have been eager for a national QB recruit like Sayin. The Dawgs are only months removed from a National Championship, but many believe that coupling a transcendent quarterback talent like Sayin with the talent that Kirby Smart has already assembled could spark a dynastic run for UGA.
So, can the Bulldogs pull the five-star Sayin off of the California coast and get him to enroll at a school 1,950 miles away? “Distance from home is not a problem,” says Julian. “I definitely have a lot of love for California but I have a lot of family on the East Coast- Philadelphia, Maryland… My brother is at Penn.” Julian’s father also spent his college years as an athlete on the East Coast, competing as a college boxer at the University of Delaware.
Many analysts believe that Sayin is likely to end up at UGA. If he does, Todd Monken’s pro-style offense will be one of the reasons why. “The system at Georgia is going to translate to the NFL with Coach Monken’s background,” Sayin said. “With UGA, they’ve got the talent around the QB and they’ve showed the results with the national championship.”
So what has Julian been up to as his Junior season nears? “I took three visits this summer- Texas, Alabama and LSU. And then I’m going to be focused on my high-school team. We do summer practices from 7:30-9:30 in the morning and then do 7-on-7 sometimes in the evening. We’ll have a two week dead period at the end of July and then we start fall camp.”
It is clear that Sayin wants to give his best efforts to his high-school team, but Julian has also thought about how he wants to approach the next step. “The plan is going to be to enroll early somewhere and be a leader for the class and try to help recruit my teammates,” Julian says.
Sayin told Dawgs Central that it’s unlikely he will release a Top 10 or Top 5 list of schools before he makes his commitment. That’s unusual for most heralded recruits these days. It appears the decisiveness that he shows under center also carries over into his recruiting.
“I’ve seen a lot of places and I’ve seen a lot that I needed to see. I was planing on doing an October commitment, but that might be bumped up a little bit.”
In Athens the Bulldog faithful wait on Julian Sayin’s decision, hoping that this California quarterback has Georgia on his mind.