Teddy Purcell comes to the University of Washington football program as a quarterback without a scholarship, agreeing over the weekend to become a preferred walk-on, but he breaks the huddle with intriguing bloodlines.
He is the nephew of one of today's leading NFL agents, Ryan Tollner, a former University of California quarterback who represents Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, Marcus Mariota and Ben Roethlisberger among others.
Purcell also is the great nephew of Ted Tollner, the former USC and San Diego State football coach and a 15-year NFL assistant coach. It was Tollner's 1984 Trojans team that beat the UW 16-7 for its lone loss that season and cost it a national championship.
As for Purcell, he's a 6-foot-2, 190-pound QB from St. Francis Preparatory School in Atherton, California, not far from Stanford, who largely went unrecruited by major college football programs as a member of the Class of 2021 maybe over arm strength.
Purcell will join a deep Husky quarterback room that is led by returning starter Dylan Morris, who has been reclassified as a redshirt freshman with his pandemic free season; Sam Huard, the 5-star recruit who left high school early and took part in spring practice; graduate transfer Patrick O'Brien from Colorado State; and walk-ons Cam Sirmon and Jesse Martineau, plus recently committed Californian Jackson Stratton for next year's Class of 2022.
A two-year starter, Purcell recently led St. Francis to a 5-1 record as a senior, throwing for 1,063 yards and 11 touchdowns with a lone interception. He was named to the California small-school all-state team and rated as one of the Bay Area's top 10 quarterbacks. In 2019, he piled up 1,480 yards and 14 TDs with just 3 picks for an 8-4 team.
This past spring in his best outing, Purcell threw for 221 yards and ran for the game-winning score, from 8 yards out with 8 seconds remaining, to beat Half Moon Bay 29-26.
He was a three-sport athlete who holds a 3.9 grad point average.
As far as his family goes, Purcell stays in contact with Ryan Tollner, 45, who was a backup quarterback at Cal behind Justin Vedder during the 1997 and 1998 seasons but has proved to be much more successful as an ace negotiator for some of the NFL's most visible QBs. He's put together more than a billion dollars worth of deals and represents 66 clients.
“My uncle, he’s a little bit younger, so he’s a little bit more in tune with the modern game, so he’s been so helpful, too,” Purcell told West Coast Preps. “I call him weekly before games. He’s still in the game right now as an NFL agent, so I get to talk to him so often about defenses and a ton of different things that are happening. Most importantly I think for him he’s taught me how to be a leader of a team.”
Ted Tollner, Purcell's grandfather's brother, was a Cal Poly quarterback in 1960 who survived a plane crash near Toledo, Ohio, that killed 22 of 48 people on board, including 16 teammates. The plane had taken the Mustangs to the Midwest to play Bowling Green and was overloaded. Following the tragedy, Cal Poly didn't play another game out of state for nine seasons.
The older Tollner, 81, went on to become USC coach in 1983-86 and San Diego State's coach in 1994-2001.
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