College interest: Committed to University of Pittsburgh
CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Cleveland quarterback Chad Voytik knows the questions are out there.
Is he tall enough to play elite-level football? Is he as good as advertised?
He might not knows the answers to the aforementioned questions - nobody does - but he does feel as though he has the work ethic to go out and strive to be the best.
The nation's No. 6 pro-style quarterback has had the questions swirling around him for the past two seasons and most assuredly will have them coming this year, as the 6-foot-1, 202-pound senior has committed to play for the University of Pittsburgh in 2012. His rankings and accomplishments - which include national Elite 11 quarterback status - have him ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Times Free Press Dynamite Dozen.
"I really have learned to not let all of that other stuff get to me," he said. "I just know that this is my senior year, and I can't do anything more than go out, compete and have fun."
The self-proclaimed "nerd in the classroom," who envisions himself being either a businessman or lawyer in 10 years should he not be playing football, also excels academically, with a 4.0 GPA and a 29 on the ACT his junior year, but it was his 40 time of 4.59, his 315-pound bench press and dynamic arm that made him a hot commodity nationally, as he chose the Big East Panthers over 13 schools, including Southeastern Conference schools Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.
New-Pitt coach Todd Graham comes from a Tulsa offense that averaged over 500 yards per game the past few seasons.
"Pittsburgh has what I want academically as well as on the football field," he said. "I know I'm not the tallest quarterback out there, so going to a school and a system that has such a great offense will give me the stats that I'll need to get noticed and possibly make it to the NFL, which is my dream."
For now, he's just going to deal with his senior season as he tries to break in a new set of receivers. He threw for 1,850 yards and 17 touchdowns a year ago, but 75 percent of his completions were to receivers that are no longer playing at Cleveland, and his leading returning pass-catcher is classmate Brandon Strickland, who had eight catches and a pair of touchdowns last season. His best game as a Raider came in the season opener, as he completed all 11 of his passes for 248 yards and five touchdowns - all in the first half of a 47-6 romp over McMinn Central.
"We all help each other out," Strickland said. "I've been with Chad since we were in middle school, so I know him. [The receivers] know that if Chad does well, it benefits us, and for him to look good, we have to catch passes.
"If we each do that, everybody will be successful."
One would think that the difference between adjusting from elite-level receivers in the summertime to solid route-runners in the fall might be frustrating. Voytik however, loves it.
"I don't really know anything about the guys I see in the summer," he said. "I know my teammates; over the year, we develop chemistry. We've got some young, talented guys that are going to be good, and I love having them as my teammates."