Q&A: Dylan Raiola’s High School Coach Rick Garretson Says He Has “Never Seen Anything Like” Raiola and Praises His Football IQ

Rick Garretson

Rick Garretson has had no shortage of standout quarterbacks under his tutelage at Chandler High School (Chandler, Arizona).

In the last 12 years, Garretson has coached Bryce Perkins, Mason Moran, Jacob Conover, Brett Hundley, Mikey Keene and his own son, Darell Garretson.

All six became Division I quarterbacks. Hundley and Perkins made it to the NFL.

Yet he believes Dylan Raiola may be better than all of them.

While Raiola has yet to take a single snap for Chandler after transferring in December from Burleson High School (Burleson, Texas), Garretson is already blown away by the 6-foot-3, 225-pound signal caller, saying he’s never seen a quarterback of Raiola’s caliber at the high school level.

Garretson spoke to Eleven Warriors Tuesday following Raiola’s commitment to Ohio State and discussed a variety of topics including Raiola’s decision, what he brings to an offense, and his best quality. He also touched on former Chandler wideout Kyion Grayes, a freshman wide receiver for Ohio State.

This interview has been slightly edited for length and for clarity.

Q: I’m sure Monday was an exciting moment for you getting to see one of your players commit to a big-time program like Ohio State. How exciting was it to see that moment unfold on Monday?

Rick Garretson: I’m excited for Dylan and his family. Obviously, you work so hard to accomplish goals and things like that. Not that everything is done yet, but he’s a special kid with a special family background. You know, we’re all excited for his future for the next two years at Chandler and then with coach Ryan Day and Ohio State.

Q: I know he’s been in your program only recently, but what have you been able to see from him in his limited time at Chandler both on and off the field?

Garretson: His leadership skills are just unbelievable. His knowledge and his football IQ, he understands fronts, he understands secondaries, he understands coverages. He understands protections that we allow our quarterback to be in control of here. When you have those abilities, his skill set is just an addition to all of that and makes for the ingredients of an outstanding player.

Q: How advanced is he for his age? I’m sure having a father that played in the NFL helped, especially being surrounded by NFL pedigree in his life. From his film, it seems like he’s never rattled under center, he stays composed and he’s capable of making any throw on the field with a sidearm angle or a normal throwing motion.

Garretson: I’ve never seen anything like it. And I’ve had really good quarterbacks here. His football IQ is just off the charts, and really, he’s only been playing quarterback for two years. That’s the other side of it. The ceiling is so high that what’s in store for him in the future is super exciting.

We’re fortunate to have an individual like that. All you have to do is meet his parents and you know his head is screwed on right. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, he’s able to criticize himself and he’s a guy that deserves everything that has come his way. We always say your film is your summary here, and at Burleson, coach (Jon) Kitna did a great job with him in his sophomore year. We’re looking forward to continuing that and giving him a foundation that when he gets to Ohio State, he can go and compete for a job.

Q: What was it like as a coach to see Dylan go through the recruiting process with Ohio State and what do you think really drove his decision to want to play for the Buckeyes?

Garretson: First of all, I think his personal relationship with coach Day and coach Dennis. That was a vital point of that. He visited three times there, so there was clearly interest from his side of the fence as well. Coach Day knows what he’s doing. He’s put a bunch of guys in the NFL. Maybe 10 years ago, you didn’t think of Ohio State as a quarterback producer, but when you look at them now, there’s no question that’s a place to go to learn and develop under the tutelage of Corey Dennis and coach Day. It helps you understand where you can progress and move into the future.

Q: Dylan made his announcement on his birthday at his church. How faith-based is Dylan?

Garretson: He’s definitely a faith-based individual. It’s important to him. He walks the walk. That’s the biggest thing about Dylan, he walks the walk. It’s impressive and we’re fortunate to have him as part of our program.

Q: If you had to pick one specific thing, what aspect of Dylan would you say is the most impressive?

Garretson: He’s able to create, but he’s able to do that with his football IQ. His football IQ is way beyond his years. He works at it, he’s a guy that studies film. It’s like the gym rat theory, right, but on the film side of things. He works at it and he lives for it, he shows. Obviously his film from last year shows the things he can do, and when you combine that skill set with the mental side of things, it’s a recipe for success.

Q: The Buckeyes just recently landed another one of your standout players in wide receiver Kyion Grayes. Were you aware of any efforts by Kyion to try to recruit Dylan to Ohio State?

Garretson: I didn’t hear anything like that. But Kyion stopped by last week to hang out for a practice during spring ball. I know the two of them down the road have exciting things coming. Kyion had a good spring at Ohio State and in fact, he should really still be in high school, so it’s just exciting to have a couple kids from Chandler High School represent in the Big Ten at a powerhouse like Ohio State.

Q: What kind of a wide receiver prospect do you envision Kyion being at the collegiate level?

Garretson: He can play inside, he can play outside. He knows how to get off the ball. He understands routes and understands how to track balls down. I know he’s put on 10 pounds, that was nice to see, that’s always going to happen when you go to college and eat right and lift right. Kyion Grayes is a great teammate and he’s not afraid to be coached hard, which I’m sure coach Hartline does.

Q: Kyion suffered a pretty serious injury with you guys last year early in the season. What was it like to see him go through that but eventually come back to the field?

Garretson: Oof. It was hard. When you dislocate your elbow like he did, it says a lot about his capacity to recover from injury because I thought that was going to put him out for the season. It didn’t, he came back in like our sixth game. He wanted to be out there with his teammates and work on his skills and contribute to a championship team, and he helped get us to the finals. He goes to show his desire to overcome an obstacle like that, and I was really proud of how he handled that.

Q: The couple times I’ve talked to Kyion, he seems like a charismatic guy that a lot of guys want to be around. Has he always been that guy that other players gravitate toward?

Garretson: He is. He’s a great teammate. He appreciates what he brings to the table, but he appreciates his teammates’ successes as well. He’s a total team guy and that comes across when you have guys like that and a bunch of talented kids like Ohio State does with that receiving corps, that’s why they’re usually in the College Football Playoff.

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