Arms Race

After decades of irrelevance, Texas passers—from Colt McCoy and Greg McElroy to Drew Brees and Vince Young—have suddenly become the dominant players on football fields at every level. What turned our little old high school programs into virtual quarterback factories?
Arms Race
J. W. Walsh, a senior at Guyer High School, in Denton, is the highest-rated quarterback in Texas.
Photograph by Peter Yang

Colt McCoy’s finely tuned, defense-destroying brain is still trying to process the events of January 7, 2010. “I knew it was going to be a great night,” Colt says. “And then it’s over, in one little hit.” Colt and his dad, Brad, whom Longhorns fans know as his ever-vigilant high school coach, are back in the McCoys’ adopted hometown of Tuscola. They’re sitting at a long table in an old hotel that a friend has recently converted into an office. Both men appear friendly and solicitous, if slightly guarded. A gallery of taxidermied hunting trophies surrounds the McCoys, a metaphor, if we’re feeling literary, for athleticism interrupted.

Colt and Coach are sitting here in May, four

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