In the new age of football, that of the spread offense and dual-threat quarterback, Ashley Ridge senior quarterback Steven Duncan is somewhat of a throwback to the days of the classic pocket passer.
Duncan is one of the state’s top senior quarterbacks in 2015. The 6-5, 225-pounder with a rocket arm has verbally committed to play at Western Kentucky — one of the top passing teams in the country.
His size and arm strength are his biggest attributes, but Ashley Ridge head coach Kenny Walker says Duncan’s ability to move and create plays with his feet is underrated.
“I think people read too much into that stuff and it’s kind of a negative knock on him,” Walker said. “Steven is a pocket passer, but he moves the chains. When he decides to take off, he moves the chains. He is very good at keeping plays alive with his feet and he will tuck it and run when he has to. I don’t think being a pocket passer is a negative thing. That’s why I think Western Kentucky is a good choice for him. His talents will suit him well there.”
Duncan has heard the talk of his limitations for years. However, he says he learned some valuable lessons during the summer Elite 11 quarterback camp in Charlotte with former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer.
“Working with Trent Dilfer at the Elite 11, he said that it’s not about running around, it’s about the fundamentals and getting into good throwing position to deliver the ball,” Duncan said. “It’s about moving the feet, extending the play, making the right read and getting the ball out. Everyone has always said I can’t move, but I can move enough to make plays for my team.”
Duncan has been making plays for the last three seasons. After playing junior varsity football at Ashley Ridge during his freshman year, he spent his sophomore year at Porter-Gaud, throwing for 3,087 yards and 30 touchdowns while completing 52 percent of his attempts.
Duncan decided to return to Ashley Ridge last season and helped lead the Swamp Foxes to seven wins and throwing for 2,099 yards and 23 touchdowns.
“I can’t say one negative thing about my year at Porter-Gaud,” Duncan said. “I had a blast and I loved coach (Rick) Reetz’ offense there. I just felt like I wanted to compete at the state’s highest level and Ashley Ridge, being a Big 16 school, was where I wanted to be. It was nothing against Porter-Gaud. It was simply me just wanting to challenge myself against the best in the state.”
Before heading off to the next level, however, Duncan has set his sights on having a big senior year, not only for himself but for his team as well. So far, so good as Ashley Ridge is off to a 3-0 start heading into Friday night’s clash with West Ashley.
In three games, Duncan has passed for 786 yards and seven touchdowns in a balanced offensive attack that also features junior running back Cyrus Clark, who has rushed for nearly 500 yards in three games.
In addition to his stellar play, Duncan has stepped as a team leader this season, Walker said. Despite a busy summer that included camps and college visits, Walker said Duncan never lost focus of the upcoming season.
“He’s a leader on this team, definitely,” Walker said. “It really showed this summer. He was gone a lot on recruiting trips and camps but he was always here for our stuff too. He made a commitment to being in the weight room with his teammates and he was at all of our passing league stuff. I think that went a long ways in showing our other players that Steven was committed to this season and to this team.”