Former NFL quarterback Jeff Christensen is part of the Sean McCormack fan club.
The Hinsdale South senior quarterback has yet to receive a scholarship but already has a glowing endorsement from Christensen, president of the Throw It Deep Quarterback and Wide Receiver Training Academy based in Lockport.
Christensen was a fifth-round draft pick by the Bengals in 1983 and played four games during his eight-year career with a number of teams. His current clients include Washington starter Kirk Cousins and New England backup Jimmy Garoppolo.
Since the end of his freshman season, the 6-foot-6 McCormack has trained almost every week with Christensen.
“Sean is, in my mind, without question, the next Kirk Cousins,” Christensen said. “Sean has great lateral skills, handles the pocket well, a great passer and has huge hands and squares his shoulders.
“Sean’s going to be as big as (Michigan State’s) Connor Cook. (Colleges) recruit now more on numbers and how fast a recruit runs. Sean has the passion and the drive, and somebody is going to miss out on him. They are going to wake up wondering where he came from when he puts on 35 pounds or more.”
Christensen said McCormack has been hampered by not having any junior film. McCormack was a backup last season under current Notre Dame freshman preferred walk-on Robert Regan. Less than 24 hours after McCormack completed 15 of 22 passes for 289 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for a touchdown in Saturday’s 42-35 quarterfinal win against previously undefeated Lincoln-Way North, he had a two-hour-plus throwing session with Christensen.
“You can really tell when you have not gone in a while,” McCormack said. “Your mechanics and footwork are off and slower and not what it should be. It’s messing up how you throw a ball.”
Christensen, who said he talked earlier Monday afternoon with Cousins, plans to fly out to Washington next week to work for one of their twice-a-month sessions.
“I would say what’s Sean has done lately in the last few games far outweighs what Kirk Cousins did in his last eight games of his senior season,” Christensen said. “Does he have the potential to be the next Kirk Cousins? Yes. I say that with zero reservations. He has that kind of potential. Quarterbacks are never finished, polished. Everybody wants a quarterback that can run it or throw it.”
McCormack is busy working overtime helping the Class 6A semifinals-bound Hornets (9-3) prepare for Saturday’s home game against Crete-Monee.
Also a power forward on the basketball team, McCormack is hard to miss on the football field. His size and production, combined with Hinsdale South’s array of offensive playmakers and defensive end Josh King, has helped lead the Hornets to new heights.
“The whole team has come together and played great and held off a great comeback to advance to the semifinals,” McCormack said. “The last couple of games, everything has been clicking on offense.”
McCormack is hoping that an additional two games, along with a state championship, can enhance his recruiting profile. Only a handful of schools, McCormack said, have shown interest in him. Indianapolis, Dayton, Carroll College in Montana and Carroll University in Wisconsin have been in contact, but he’s yet to receive an offer.
McCormack has ideal height for his position, but his 195-pound frame is less than what Division I schools desire.
“Hopefully it will break through after the season,” McCormack said. “Maybe my speed or weight have been holding me back. During the offseason I’m going to go into the weight room to pack on a few pounds. I recently stopped growing, so hopefully that will help me add some weight.
“I hope colleges take a look at me and notice that I can play. Hopefully, they will see the film. Hopefully the offers roll in and the further we go, then the more I get noticed. ”
In 12 games this season, McCormack is 161-for-255 passing for 2,810 yards with 33 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Hinsdale South coach Mike Barry anticipates McCormack will be noticed by more colleges in the upcoming weeks.
“Sean has the size and can read coverages very well,” Barry said. “We took him through the paces, and he’s really matured into a real solid decision-maker, not making rash decisions. We also run the option, so we ask him to make decisions in the run and pass game.
“As soon as some schools take a look at the tape and see what he can do, I hope something will happen.”
Odds and ends: Lake Park defensive end Jacub Panasiuk made an unofficial visit to Saturday’s Iowa game. The brother of Michigan State recruit Mike Panasiuk, Jacub is a fast rising junior with offers from Illinois and Florida Atlantic. …Neuqua Valley junior wide receiver Owen Piche visited Michigan State on Saturday. …Providence senior wide receiver Mike Markasovic orally committed to play for St. Xavier on Sunday via Twitter.
Bob Narang is a freelance reporter for the Chicago Tribune.