Evan Flitz of Iowa City West is The Gazette's 2017 football player of the year
IOWA CITY — This is no Average Evan.
The maturity is off the charts, the GPA perfect, the intellect obvious. His hobby is snowboarding, his goal to visit every continent.
Sooner than later.
“I’m kind of a little bit of an adventurer,” Evan Flitz said. “I’m just looking forward to exploring, getting out and seeing the world and other places the next couple of years.”
Football will never, ever define the Iowa City West senior quarterback, who today is named the 2017 Gazette player of the year. It’s just something he enjoys and does very well.
A cerebral QB
There was a time not so long ago, in fact, when Flitz wondered if he even wanted to play football. Basketball was his deal growing up, and he thought that was the path he wanted to take exclusively once he got to West as a ninth-grader.
But something changed his brilliant, beautiful mind.
“I think what I found in football was kind of a camaraderie and that team work ethic,” Flitz said. “Working towards a common goal. I just fell in love with that, I fell in love with the people in our football program at West High. It’s a decision I’m really glad I made, and I’ll feel fortunate about it for the rest of my life.”
His life likely won’t be spent around these parts. Iowa and Iowa City always will be home, but you have to go back to that admitted sense of adventure.
And what he wants to do in life. Flitz seeks a major in chemical engineering and public policy, with “a little bit of shade of political science.”
“Developing some new technologies and new energy possibilities on the chemistry side,” he said. “And then how to implement them on the public-policy side, infrastructure wise. Kind of make some new discoveries a reality for the world.”
Did you get and understand all that? This kid is something else.
“Fantastic young man,” said West Coach Garrett Hartwig. “That’s where it all starts. In our program, we talk about how you can’t be great at one thing. You can’t be just great at football and be a bad student or a bad person. Evan is a great example of that. He’s a great student, a better young man. He’s a role model on and off the field.”
Excellence on the field
On the field, Flitz helped West to back-to-back appearances in the Class 4A state championship game. West Des Moines Dowling smited the Trojans both times.
Flitz led the state in passing this season (2,976 yards), throwing 31 touchdown passes and completing 71 percent of his throws. When you add his rushing totals, his yardage was 3,527, with 41 total TDs.
He’s got quick feet, a quick release and throws an accurate ball. There are football smarts as well, as he was given the option to change plays at the line of scrimmage if he saw something in the opposing defense.
“I can’t really remember why I started playing quarterback, just that I’ve been doing it ever since I’ve been wearing pads. I was taking snaps and calling the plays,” Flitz said. “I certainly was not the kid who could throw it the farthest or run the fastest. I just think it was that I was a personable little kid, stricter sometimes on getting my teammates into the right places.
“Something quarterbacks have to do is relate and connect with the entire offense: the offensive line, the wide receivers, because as the ultimate team game, football requires everyone to be on the same page. The quarterback can kind of connect people, get them on the same page. That’s really the role of the position.”
The question now is where Flitz will try and connect people in college. He said he has some Missouri Valley Conference schools recruiting him, and there has been some Twitter contact with FBS schools.
Stanford could be a walk-on option, the perfect mix of athletics and academics. The only knock on Flitz is his size, as 6-foot is not an optimal height for a quarterback.
“I know his measurements. I’ve been in high school coaching long enough to understand. Evan gets it, too,” Hartwig said. “He’s not 6-2, he’s not 6-3, he’s not 220 pounds. But, at the same time, I think people underestimate how fast he is, I think people underestimate how strong he is.
“And within 30 yards, there is not a quarterback that I’ve seen in my coaching experience in high school that is, with the naked eye, as accurate as Evan. So if there’s an offense out there that wants a smart quarterback, who can get the ball out of his hand, can read the defense and can move, he can play for you. It just takes one.”
Flitz said the decision on who will be the one will come before the holidays are completed.
“I’ve kind of got a big spreadsheet going where everything is written down,” he said. “Just doing research about places is something I’ve found has been beneficial. I have the majors that they offer and what their grads do after. Because college football can be an excellent four years of your life, but, in the big picture, you have to have the next 30 in mind.”
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