Houston Lands SI All-American QB Candidate, Elite 11 Star Maddox Kopp
John Garcia, Jr.
Houston it is.
Maddox Kopp became one of the hotter quarterback prospects in the class of 2021 with a breakout junior season in 2019 followed by a rock solid run at the Elite 11 Finals this summer. His offer list ballooned in the weeks to follow and now his recruitment has come to an end.
"I'm headed to Houston," he told SI All-American.
Dana Holgorsen and company held off a charge from Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss, among others, to keep the Houston (Texas) St. Thomas quarterback home, he announced Tuesday evening.
"The relationship I had with Coach Holgorsen and Coach (Shannon) Dawson...they had a lot of value in my decision," Kopp said. "Having an opportunity to play in front of your home town, going and learning from the starter and then kind of compete for the job next year is a big deal for me. Being able to have that opportunity to go in and play.
"Playing for your home city is something special. Having the opportunity to do that is really something I had to think about and I made the decision to stay home."
Houston was joined by Ole Miss, Colorado, Tulane and Wyoming as finalists for the senior passer, who is also a standout varsity basketball player at St. Thomas.
Kopp told SIAA that playing time was a big factor in the process leading up to a decision and the fit with Houston emphasized the chances he gets into the mix sooner rather than later.
"I feel like they put me as a priority in their recruiting and in their program," he said. "All the programs told me they wanted me to lead their program and I really believed Houston meant what they were saying.
"Just going into a program that's on the rise and being able to help and continue to lead a program to get into the national level, I feel like Houston has an opportunity to do that. They have the resources to back it. Being able to be a part of something like that...and obviously they throw the ball. Coach Holgorsen has a player-first program going on, I've talked to Coach Dawson about it. I want to be in a player-first program with a coach who really cares about his players."
The Rebel run over the summer months created some contention compared to Houston, who had been recruiting Kopp much longer than most of the dozen-plus programs to jump in with offers to his name.
"It was definitely between Houston and Ole Miss for probably the back half," he said. "When I said I was committing, that was the top two. I knew I either wanted to go to Houston or Ole Miss but I didn't know what school I wanted to be at until a few days ago.
"I feel like I can do everything that I want to achieve at Houston, same as I could at Ole Miss. I could do it right here in front of my family and my home town. I appreciate Ole Miss and everything they did for me, and recruiting me, but I feel like I needed to be a Houston Cougar."
Kopp, who threw for 3,089 yards and 28 touchdowns in 13 games as a junior, will lead St. Thomas into the 2020 season later this month.
Getting the college decision behind him first was planned strategy.
"I wanted to get it out of the way before the season, to focus on our goal and where we needed to be moving forward as a team," he said.
After the 2020 varsity season, the two-sport standout will play basketball for one more season before kicking off his college career just some six miles down the road from St. Thomas.
There he is hoping to outperform expectations.
"I bring a lot more to a program than just a football player," Kopp said. "I feel like I do a lot more for the community than just playing the quarterback position. I feel like one of my biggest attributes is being a good leader and leading a team and knowing how to win. I'm a huge competitor, and they know that, it's one of the biggest reasons they recruited me. It's just because I compete and it's in my blood.
"I'm not gonna back down from a big stage, I want to win at all costs and I'm willing to work, too. They know, in a sense, what they're getting, but they're gonna get a lot more than they think."
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