SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -Five years ago, Jason Boltus dreamed of playing quarterback at a major college, but coming out of high school he just didn't have the numbers.
``Nobody would take that gamble because he didn't have the statistics,'' said Boltus's dad, Greg, who played tight end at North Carolina State in the 1970s.
He does now.
As Boltus nears the end of his senior season at Hartwick College, NFL scouts are plenty interested in the 6-foot-3, 225-pound star. Just about every team has sent somebody to the tiny campus (enrollment 1,480) in Oneonta.
They come to see a player whose highlight tape shows him throwing a ball from the 25-yard line that hits a player's facemask in the far end zone, then ricochets off the crossbar and back out to the 20.
``The Ravens are coming tomorrow, the Giants on Friday, and the Colts on Saturday,'' Hartwick coach Mark Carr said at mid-week. ``I'm not shocked. I thought he was a legitimate NFL prospect after his junior year.''
utstanding player in Division III. He was 237-of-443 for 3,986 yards and 38 touchdowns passing with 12 interceptions and also rushed for 418 yards and seven TDs, leading the Hawks to the NCAA playoffs for the first time.
That prompted Carr to call two scouting services. They held a junior day with Boltus and sent scouts to work him out.
``At the end of the day, they said, 'Coach, you're right.' `` Carr said. ``It's kind of snowballed from there. The majority of them give positive feedback. We've never had anyone that's drawn this type of attention.''
Boltus, who started his senior season with seven touchdown passes - six to classmate Jack Phelan - in a 63-37 homecoming rout of Western New England in the rain, is in the running again for the Melberger Award as Hartwick (6-2) prepares to face upstate rival Utica on Saturday in the final game of the regular season.
``It's exciting. I'm glad how things turned out,'' said Boltus, who is 203-for-336 for 3,265 yards and 35 touchdowns passing with eight interceptions and has rushed for 139 yards and two scores. ``You have to go out and just play. Everything will take care of itself. It's a stressful process. You want to make sure you're making the right choice.''
The numbers boggle the mind:
-His 13,480 total yards are third all-time in the division, and his 12,607 yards passing rank fourth all-time.
-He ranks fourth in Division III history with 123 touchdown passes and eighth all-time in all three divisions, ahead of former BYU star Ty Detmer and Steve McNair of Alcorn State.
Boltus's coach at C.W. Baker High School in Baldwinsville isn't surprised.
``You could see with his arm and work ethic, in the right system he was a diamond in the rough,'' Carl Sanfilippo said. ``He's a good kid, a good person. That's the first step to being a good football player.''
Still, it wasn't so easy at the start. Boltus redshirted as a freshman at Albany, didn't like the offense, and transferred to Hartwick, which had recruited him in high school.
``The system he came from they ran the ball mostly, and when you have a quarterback that's not thrown the ball in high school, it is difficult to project him in a spread offense,'' Carr said. ``He was a big, strong kid with a powerful arm. We really wanted him to come here, but you can never predict the type of numbers a kid might put up and the impact he'd have on our program. We had no idea he'd be able to do what he's done.''
Sometimes, it's hard to keep track.
her score and the game-winning two-point conversion. It was the most points scored by two teams in a single game since the NCAA began keeping official records in 1937.
``Honestly, because of the lack of defense, we were on the sideline so little we didn't have time to think about anything,'' said Phelan, who caught four scoring passes in the game, including two 25-yarders in overtime. ``We really had no idea what we were doing until we looked at the scoreboard. It was like a basketball game.''
``We throw the ball so much, you can't count the yards,'' Boltus said. ``We just knew we had to keep scoring to keep our chances alive.''
Scoring has come easy because Boltus and the 5-10, 180-pound Phelan have developed a special chemistry, working out together incessantly, even in summer. Phelan has 62 catches for 1,390 yards to lead the nation at nearly 174 yards per game, and he has 132 points (22 TDs) to rank third in scoring at 16.5 points per game.
``Without Jack, he doesn't put up these numbers,'' Carr said.
Carr said some people had inquired about Phelan, but ``in the NFL scout's eyes, he doesn't stack up.''
``He's outstanding at our level,'' Carr said. ``But Boltus, with all the numbers, he has the size, the strength, the physical ability.''
And Boltus, who runs a 4.7-second 40, benches 415 pounds and squats 500, is not afraid to use it.
a linebacker,'' said first-year Utica coach Blaise Faggiano. ``He's special.''
Paul Vosburgh, coach of perennial Division III power St. John Fisher, knows all too well. He's watched Boltus lead the Hawks to consecutive 31-28 victories over his Cardinals.
``Boltus makes it happen,'' Vosburgh said. ``You've got to have a quarterback. The trigger man is the key guy, and he's got the physical stature. You've got to take a look at the guy.
``He passes the eyeball test. He's' the strongest kid on the team. He's the fastest kid on the team. Somebody had better take a look at him. Get him out of Hartwick.''

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