By joel viss
Often when high school sports stars go to college, they don’t know anyone. They travel miles for a scholarship, then they must build new relationships with players and coaches.
That might not be the case for Gilbert Perry High’s Brock Purdy, D’shayne James and Brayden Rohme.
The three have received football scholarship offers at Iowa State. Purdy, who led Perry to the 6A championship game last season, has accepted and already is enrolled. James is verbally committed. Rohme is considering Iowa State among a multitude of offers.
In December 2017, James, a senior, became the first player to commit to the Cyclones, even before 2018 graduate Purdy, who committed in February after a late push by several schools, including Alabama and Texas A&M.
“D’shayne said some cool things when I was offered, before I committed,” Purdy said. “Things about the coaching staff, the college town and everything. Once I stepped on campus at Iowa State I felt at home. When I went home and I talked about the other colleges, I knew that it obviously had the advantage over all the other ones.”
James told reporters in December, “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but home, and I feel they were invested in me, so now it’s my job to produce.”
Purdy was Gatorade Arizona High School Football Player of the Year after a senior season passing for 4,405 yards and 57 touchdowns. He also ran for 1,017 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Purdy imagines himself redshirting his freshman season, according to the Des Moines Register. In front of him at quarterback is sixth-year senior starter Kyle Kempt and backup redshirt freshman Zeb Noland.
“I’m just trying to take in as much experience as I can and be ready to play at any moment,” Purdy said. “I’m just excited to play in the Big 12 with a bunch of great athletes, great team, great coaching staff. I’m excited to take it all in.”
At Perry, James is battling Purdy’s brother, Chubba, for the starting quarterback position. James, however, knows he will be playing wide receiver at Iowa State next season.
“They see me as a power wide receiver and I definitely feel comfortable with them in a way that it makes me feel at home,” James said.
Last season, when Purdy was Perry’s quarterback, James caught 45 passes for 1,086 yards and 15 touchdowns.
“That would be awesome,” Purdy said of possibly playing again with James. “Hopefully we can get Brayden Rohme, too. That’d be pretty sweet to have those kids that I played with for a couple years on the varsity level.
“I can’t wait to see what Brayden does for his decision.”
Rohme has 18 offers, including Pac-12 schools and even one Ivy League school. Rohme’s official visit to Iowa State was June 14-17.
“I got to like the coaches,” Rohme said. “Good academics, just the place feels like home and it’s a good culture there.”
Purdy has been in Rohme’s ear, making sure he knows that Iowa State has all the things he is looking for.
“The coaching staff is awesome,” Purdy said. “They’re new and they’re on the rise with everything and I like how they run stuff. I always talk nice things to (Rohme) and basically just tell him the truth about the place. If he decides to come, that’s awesome. If not, that’s fine. Everyone has their own decisions.”
“(Purdy and James) aren’t really forcing me, but they said how much they love the place because it feels like home,” Rohme said.
Among the three, Rohme has had the highest interest from colleges and it has not made his decision process any easier.
“It’s definitely a blessing, but at the same time, it’s super-hard to choose,” Rohme said. “Every school you go to, you’re like, ‘Ahh, I love this place,’ and then the next school you go to you’re like, ‘Ahh, I love this place, too.’
“It’s definitely super-hard to choose. They all have great people there and awesome coaches. It’s definitely going to be a hard decision for me down the road.”