The QB, coming off a super summer, eyes big senior year

by: DAN BROOD - FINE FORM -- Tigard QB Jett Even (right) throws a pass in June's Chicken and Bean Bowl. TIGARD — Summer vacation has been anything but a vacation for Jett Even.

He’s been busy. Very busy.

But, he says, that’s OK.

After all, the Tigard High School senior-to-be has spent a good amount of his summer working on his football skills. He’s been working out, getting bigger and stronger and he’s been winning honors and impressing many with his quarterbacking talents.

“Yeah, it’s been busy,” Even said last week. “But it’s been fun. It’s been a blast. Every day, I want to get better.”

That very well could be bad news for Tigard’s Pacific Conference opponents. That’s because Even was already pretty darn good.

Last year as a junior, in his first year as Tigard’s starting quarterback, Even completed 82 of 148 pass attempts for 1,454 yards and 18 touchdowns with just five interceptions for the run-happy Tigers, who went 11-2 on the season on their way to winning the Pacific Conference championship and reaching the semifinal round of the Class 6A state playoffs.

Even also shared second-team All-Pacific Conference quarterback honors with Tualatin’s Brandon Shroyer.

“We had a great running game last year, and I didn’t have to throw it much,” Even said. “This year, I want to feel like I can take over a game if I need to.”

Even has spent this summer making believers that he can do just that.

Near the end of June, Even was named to the all-camp team and was tabbed the Most Valuable Player at the quarterback spot at the Nike Football Training Camp Tour stop at the University of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium in Eugene.

“It was cool, and it was a great honor,” the tight-spiral throwing Even said. “I worked hard and it was fun to compete with all of the top quarterbacks.”

Even guessed that there were about 40 quarterbacks at the camp, where they were judged on such things as accuracy, quickness and footwork.

“(He) beat out some big names for QB MVP honors,” started the quote about Even on the NFTC Web site. “Showed off next-level arm strength, but was also, by far, the most accurate QB in the camp. Has a nice frame to grow into, and is an intriguing prospect who could see his stock rise as the quarterback dominoes in the Class of 2014 begin to fall into place.”

In July, Even was named the Oregon Co-MVP quarterback, along with Central Catholic’s Aiden Wilder and West Linn’s Hayden Coppedge at the Northwest College Showcase held at Interlake High School in Bellevue, Wash.

Even also took part in the Oregon State University day camp and the Boise State University team camp this summer.

Earlier in August, he took a visit to San Diego State University. Even’s grandfather is friends with San Diego State athletic director Jim Sterk.

Sterk, and San Diego State football offensive coordinator Bob Toledo gave Even a tour of the university campus.

“That was great,” Even said. “I would love to go there.”

But, before looking into collegiate football possibilities, Even is much more focused in on his upcoming senior season at Tigard.

“I’m really looking forward to the season,” Even said. “As a senior, I want us to go deep in the playoffs. I want to go for state.”

Even has been working hard this summer, looking to help the Tigers reach those lofty aspirations.

“Last year, I was smaller than I wanted to be,” Even said.

Even added that he played at 6-foot-3 and 170 pounds last year. Now, he says, he’s up to 6-4 and “almost 195” pounds.

“I’m also wanting to increase my strength and speed,” said Even, who, along with his Tigard teammates, opened practice earlier this week. “I feel like I’ve gotten better.”

And, he might need to keep getting better in the strong Pacific Conference, which looks to be very strong at the quarterback position this year. Not only is Even back as a starting quarterback, but Shroyer also returns at Tualatin and Gage Gubrud, who shared first-team all-conference honors last year, is back at McMinnville.

“I like the competition,” Even said. “I’m excited for this season.”

Even is also anxiously looking ahead to Aug. 30, when the Tigers open their season with a home contest against Canby.

“I’m totally looking forward to it,” he said.

That’s when all of that summer work could start to pay off.

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