Hunter Raquet at MPC
Yards passing: 2,492
Completion Percentage: 58 percent
Touchdown passes: 23
Rushing touchdowns: 5
Hunter Raquet understood there wouldn’t be a high demand for a wishbone quarterback coming out of high school.
Yet, he also believed he had the tools to be a college quarterback. So did Monterey Peninsula College football coach Mike Rasmussen.
“The things I saw on video were his athleticism,” Rasmussen said. “You could see arm strength and fundamentals. He just needed a different system that would help him grow in a passing game.”
Yet, not even Raquet imagined his rapid development would earn him a football scholarship in 2019 to Fresno State.
“I had to pinch myself to make sure this is real,” Raquet said. “When your first choice of colleges calls you to talk, it’s unbelievable. I’m so humbled by the whole situation.”
In his first season at MPC, Raquet evolved into one of the top community college quarterbacks in the state, throwing for nearly 2,500 yards and 23 touchdowns in nine starts.
Just a year earlier, he was a running quarterback at San Benito High, whose main responsibility was to hand the ball off.
“I knew the process was going to be a lot harder for me than for others,’’ Raquet said. “We weren’t a passing offense at San Benito. And I was fine with it. I just wanted to win. There was no spotlight.”
That changed for the 6-foot-4 signal caller upon arriving last fall at MPC, where he showcased his arm. He took the starting job in the third week of the season, going 7-1 as a starter in the regular season.
“Hunter had all the tools,” Rasmussen said. “But he had to earn the position, which he did. He grew throughout the course of the season. He still has to get better. It’s still a process.”
Rasmussen, who groomed current Dolphins quarterback David Fales at MPC, will get Raquet for one more season, as the quarterback won’t officially sign until November.
“It’s an interesting dynamic when you commit early,” Rasmussen said. “The decision he made is for a founded reason. He could have had more offers. But he found the right offer.”
The accuracy that Raquet showcased on those rare occasions when called upon to throw at San Benito came to the forefront last fall for the Lobos, as he threw just eight picks in nearly 300 attempts.
During the Lobos’ bowl game, the 18-year-old threw for 370 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for a touchdown.
“All I had to do at Hollister was read what the defensive line was doing,” Raquet said. “When I got to MPC, I struggled a little bit learning defenses, being aware of an opponent’s entire defensive scheme.”
While there was never any intention of leaving MPC after a year, making a decision this soon gives Raquet insurances on his future.
“I’m still going have to improve on my game,” Raquet said. “I have a lot of unfinished business here at MPC. I want that conference title, a bowl game win. But I’m a little more relaxed.”
Raquet received a call after the season from the Fresno State receivers coach, which turned into a visit and a meeting with head coach Jeff Tedford. It didn’t take much to sell the program.
“I liked the fact that he was honest with me,” Raquet said. “Coach Tedford said, ‘You need to grind.’ For me, Fresno reminds me of Hollister. Everyone rallies around everyone.”
Last year the Bulldogs were 10-4, winning the Mountain West Conference’s West Division before falling to Idaho State in the conference championship. The Bulldogs went on to beat Houston in the Hawaii Bowl. Two of their losses were to national champion Alabama and nationally ranked Washington — both on the road.
Quarterbacks that have come out of Fresno State as No. 1 picks in the NFL include Trent Dilfer and David Carr, while current Raiders signal caller Derek Carr was a second-round selection.
“My expectation when I get there is to compete for a job,” Raquet said.
Rasmussen does have a connection with Fresno State, having worked with Tedford nearly three decades ago when both were assistants at Fresno.
“I know the Fresno State program well,” Rasmussen said. “I think it’s a great fit for Hunter. Plus it’s his school of choice.”
There are four current quarterbacks on the Bulldogs’ spring roster, including a senior and two redshirt freshmen.
“Coach Rasmussen told me last year he would work with me and get me to the next level,” Raquet said. “He saw glimpses of me. He took a chance on me. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
John Devine can be reached at 831-726-4337.