In his second season as the full-time starter for No. 6 Hillgrove, Ironside has already thrown for 904 yards, 15 touchdowns and only two interceptions over the first four games of the season. But as of Tuesday, not a single college scout has shown interest in recruiting him — yet.
“We haven’t gotten anything,” said his father, Hillgrove coach Phil Ironside. “Quarterback’s a funny position. But I’m sure we can find him a college home if that’s what he wants to do.”
Elijah Ironside admitted a desire to play college football, but he said he has no idea where he may end up. At this point, he said he’s keeping his options open.
“If a college should call me and ask me for a visit, I’d go,” said the 6-foot, 180-pound Ironside.
In Hillgrove’s season opener against Walton, which the Hawks won 47-35, Ironside completed 19-of-27 attempts for 375 yards and five touchdowns, three of them coming in the fourth quarter to preserve the lead.
Last week against Campbell, he completed 24 of 36 passes for 395 yards and seven touchdowns to lead the Hawks to a convincing 63-28 victory.
While college coaches may not have called yet, at least one influential person liked what he saw of Ironside last Friday.
“Impressed with 2014 QB Elijah Ironside of Hillgrove so far here,” Rusty Mansell, a recruiting analyst for 247Sports and @Dawgs247, said on his Twitter feed.
While much of Ironside’s accolades come because of the passing game, he can do more than just throw.
Instead of relying on his arm against Marietta, Ironside said he ran the read option, rushing for 42 yards on eight carries. He left the heavy lifting to running back Richardre Bagley, who would score all three touchdowns in the Hawks’ 21-13 win.
“It’s him being smarter and a year older,” Phil Ironside said. “We got three to four wide receivers doing a good job and the thing that goes unnoticed is the offensive line. He’s only been sacked once. We’re more into the philosophy of doing what needs to be done to get a win, and it works.”
When Elijah Ironside came up to the varsity two years ago, he had quarterback experience but planned on contributing at defensive back or linebacker. When Troy Thompson was injured during a scrimmage, Ironside was thrust into the role and handled himself well.
He threw for 1,388 yards that season with 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also helped lead the Hawks to an undefeated regular season and into the second round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs.
Last season, Ironside injured his shoulder during the preseason and didn’t play until four games into the season. Phil Ironside decided to start Thompson and rotate his son in to keep him fresh for his senior year.
Now that Elijah Ironside is the full-time starter, he benefits from having a selective group of receivers he can go to. Justin Denton was his top playmaker in wins over Westlake and Walton, scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns against Walton to help the Hawks preserve the win. Against Campbell last week, Omar Black had 115 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
Ironside also has Richard Hallman and Zach Katz to throw to.
“Troy (Thompson) taught me how to be a good leader, manage practice and how to stay calm,” Ironside said. “Our first goal is to win region. And our second goal is to play smart in the playoffs. Our weekly goal right now is to play smart and take it one game at a time.”