Eric Mooney was standing on his driveway when he earned his first college scholarship offer. A coach from Wofford College extended the offer, and Mooney’s voice cracked a little bit.
“It kind of caught me off guard,” Mooney said. “It was a good relief, a great feeling.”
Since then, the Huntley quarterback has been offered eight more scholarships, bringing his total to nine, all from FCS level schools. They include Butler, Cornell, Fordham, North Dakota, Northern Iowa, South Dakota, Southern Illinois, Western Illinois and Wofford.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound dual-threat QB led Huntley into the quarterfinals of the IHSA Class 8A playoffs, where the Red Raiders lost to eventual state runner-up Loyola.
Mooney threw for 1,901 yards and completed 62.8 percent of his passes. He threw 13 touchdowns and six interceptions. He was just as dangerous with his legs, rushing for 1,277 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Until March, the rising senior didn’t have a single scholarship offer.
“He’s been deserving for a while,” Huntley coach Matt Zimolzak said. “It has a lot to do with where we need him as a player. He’s taken on whatever role he’s given. That kind of puts him behind a little bit when it comes to offers.”
Mooney played running back and wide receiver in the past. He said Wofford and South Dakota see him as a quarterback, while the other schools all see him potentially playing receiver, running back or defensive back.
Mooney just wants to be on a college gridiron come fall 2018.
“A lot of [coaches] want me to tell them what my preference is,” Mooney said. “So when they ask, I tell them QB. I have been playing QB since about third grade. So I tell them that, but I also tell them I just want to get on the field. I want to play.”
Mooney has worked with Throw It Deep quarterback training coach Jeff Christensen on his mechanics, especially his footwork. He has also been making the rounds to college camps since school let out, including four last week. He plans to knock out many of his college visits in July.
Mooney also just finished up track season, where he was a member of the Huntley 4x100 relay team that finished eighth in state.
“I like track a lot,” Mooney said. “I’ve been doing it since sixth grade. We’ve got a lot of good sprinters, so it’s fun when you make it down to state and place.”
Zimolzak said he thinks some college coaches are skeptical of Mooney’s size and speed until they see it first-hand.
“It’s interesting how most people want to time him because they don’t believe it’s a 4.4 (in the 40-yard dash), and he runs it in 4.4,” Zimolzak said. “I think he’s surprising a lot of these coaches when he goes to camps. He’s actually 6-1 and a half, 6-2, he’s running the 4.4s.”
Mooney is still hoping to field some offers from FBS schools and thinks there could be opportunities out there for him. Zimolzak certainly believes so.
“It’s a bummer that he doesn’t get all the stars [from recruiting services],” Zimolzak said. “You look at all the measurables of the athletes competing on the same level as him, and he deserves all those stars. When he’s competing against those kids with the stars, he’s showing that he’s just as good, if not better than those guys.”