Sierra Canyon quarterback Chayden Peery took the snap with a running back on each side of him. He faked a handoff to the left, faked another to his right and then rolled out to his right. He was looking to throw a pass to Brendon Gamble, but the running back got caught up in the traffic after the initial play fake.
So the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Peery took things upon himself.
“We had a good drive going,” Peery said. “We drove down the field and [Gamble] was going to go on a little out route and he got jumbled up, so I just ran to try to make a play and then I just had to go take it in myself.”
There were three Lawndale High defenders coming toward him — one directly ahead and one on each side — but Peery didn’t hesitate. He attacked the goal line and dove from beyond the two-yard line. Two defenders flew over him as he got underneath them to score Sierra Canyon’s first points. Peery added a touchdown pass in the Trailblazers’ 37-12 win Friday night.
But his five-yard touchdown run defines Peery’s game. Teammate DJ Harvey said the team feeds off the way Peery carries himself on and off the field. The junior quarterback is fearless. He’s tough. He’s willing to take a hit to help his team win. He can run and throw, but more importantly he’s a leader.
“What makes me a unique quarterback is my overall toughness,” Peery said. “I think I could take any hit from any player and get back up and throw a dime the next play. I understand this team and our goals and the offense.”
Peery, a three-star quarterback, per 247Sports Composite rankings, has scholarship opportunities from Arizona State, Boston College, Nevada and San Jose State, and he has been communicating with several other schools. He had 15 colleges contact him over the weekend.
He plans to take the recruiting process slowly since he’s in his junior year. Peery has begun checking out the campuses of programs in which he’s interested. He took trips to Arizona State, Boise State, UCLA and Washington State during the offseason.
“They’re all schools I’m very highly interested in and they’re interested in me, so we’ll see where things go,” Peery said.
He’s working to build relationships with coaches and says the connections he creates while going through the recruiting process will play a big role in his college decision.
“I feel like I have a great relationship with the athletic director and the head of school and the head coach and everyone,” he said of his school in Chatsworth. “I definitely want to have a good relationship with the people I’m spending the most time with.”
Peery isn’t the only player to hear from colleges this weekend. Division I coaches were allowed to start reaching out to junior prospects at midnight Eastern time last Saturday, so many top players were inundated by messages and phone calls late Saturday and Sunday.
Pasadena Muir receiver/safety Calen Bullock said it didn’t take long for his phone to begin buzzing. Harvey, a three-star junior receiver and cornerback, said more than 10 schools reached out while quarterback Miller Moss, a top 100 prospect in the 2021 class from Mission Hills Bishop Alemany, said about 20 schools have been in contact. Santa Ana Mater Dei’s Jaylin Davies and Raesjon Davis, the top junior cornerback and linebacker, respectively, in California, estimated they had heard from 20 to 25 schools.
There are 17 Southland players in the top 250 prospects of the 2021 class, including the top player, Corona Centennial defensive lineman Korey Foreman, who said he’s heard from 36 schools since the contact period opened.