For example, Notre Dame's quarterback Jimmy Clausen was held back two years by his parents so that as a high school senior at expensive Oaks Christian in Ventura County, he was a 19-year-old man playing against 17-year-old boys, making him the top-rated high school QB in the country. He also had two older brothers who had started at QB in the SEC, and had a former NFL QB as his private quarterback tutor since he was 10.
Quarterback is turning into something of a caste. Now the quarterback at Clausen's old high school, Oaks Christian, is Nick Montana, whose dad is some guy named Joe. But don't worry, there's still hope for boys whose dads aren't NFL Hall-of-Fame QBs. It's said that the Oaks Christian second string QB next season will likely be Trevor Gretzky, the son of an immigrant.
Anyway, Roethlisberger was this enormous kid (he's now 6'-5" and 241 pounds) with fantastic coordination who played three sports in high school. Basketball was his strongest emphasis in high school, then baseball (where he played shortstop), and then, finally, football. This reminded me of this old series of boy's books I read as a kid, a series kind of like Tom Swift or the Hardy Boys, about a schoolboy athlete named Chip Hilton, with each of the 24 books covering one of his seasons from football as a freshman in high school to baseball as a senior in college. No off-season strength training for him -- just pick up a different ball and play.
In fact, Roethlisberger didn't play quarterback until his senior year in high school. He'd been a wide receiver as a junior. Once he finally took over as quarterback, he threw 54 touchdown passes in his senior season and accepted a scholarship to a local college, Miami of Ohio, which wasn't known as football powerhouse until he arrived. After three outstanding seasons, he was drafted #11 (behind Eli Manning and Philip Rivers, both of whom have done well in the NFL)
It's a great story, but when I looked into it, it turns out that Ben Roethlisberger's dad, Ken, won a scholarship to Georgia Tech as a quarterback (although he injured his knee and didn't play in college). And Ben's still kind of sore that his high school coach didn't let him play QB as a junior. Instead, the coach had his own son stay at QB. The coach's son threw 14 touchdown passes, compared to the 54 Ben threw next season. But when the coach's son played Division III college football, he washed out as a quarterback but then succeeded as a wide receiver.
Sideline Dads ...