For the segment of Cal Poly football fans that would love to see the Mustangs offense pass more often, Tanner Trosin’s résumé must read like a dream.
Sure, it’s short. The redshirt freshman started only one season at Folsom High. But running the Bulldogs’ spread offense exclusively out of the shotgun, Trosin had a season unlike any other, breaking school, section and state yardage records en route to a berth in the CIF-Sac-Joaquin Section Division II title game.
In a way, it’s a little dreamlike to him, too.
“It hasn’t really hit me yet that I did those accomplishments,” Trosin said. “When you’re in season, you’re just playing every game and going 100 percent. You don’t really pay attention to your stats. You just try to win every game.”
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After redshirting last fall, Trosin doesn’t yet have any college game action to put his heroics from 16 months ago into focus in the rearview mirror.
In the third week of Cal Poly’s spring practice, Trosin is in a wide-open, four-man battle for the starting quarterback job with sophomore Air Force transfer and former Folsom teammate Dano Graves, junior Vince Moraga and sophomore Chris Brown.
Trosin, the son of the last quarterback to take Sacramento State to the postseason, might just be the best passer in the group.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Trosin was the first high school player in the state to throw for 5,000 yards and the first to amass more than 6,000 yards of total offense in a single season.
He threw for 5,185 yards — eighth all-time in the national record books — and 49 touchdowns, completing 360 of 527 passes. He passed for more than 400 yards four times, including a 601-yard performance, and was third in the country and first in the state with a 118 QB rating.
Trosin also rushed for 1,179 yards and 20 touchdowns. His 6,364 yards of total offense was a single-season state record and his 69 total touchdowns would have been a school record anywhere else, but settled for second in program history after Graves totaled a state-record 85 in 2010.
Even more impressive, Trosin’s numbers came while quarterbacking a Bulldogs team that was supposed to be rebuilding with inexperienced starters after Graves’ senior class won a state title the prior year and moved on.
Even after the season, however, Trosin’s college recruitment remained lukewarm. Cal Poly was the only school offering him a scholarship.
“Because I’m short,” Trosin said matter of factly. “All the main colleges and universities, they’re looking for that typical quarterback that’s 6-3 or 6-4. They’re not really looking for the 6-foot, 6-1 guy.”
If only Trosin had a couple more inches like his dad, Tony, who at 6-3 went from third-stringer to starter and led the Hornets to the NCAA Division II national semifinals in 1988, Cal Poly might have had more competition on signing day.
Trosin’s height however, isn’t a problem for the Mustangs. Andre Broadous was listed at 6-0, and the former two-year starter led Cal Poly to two conference titles and to its first FCS playoff berth under head coach Tim Walsh last season.
Trosin is actually one of the taller quarterbacks in the competition. Brown is also listed at 6-1, Moraga at 5-10 and Graves at 5-9.
Where Trosin needs work is his mastery of the Mustangs’ triple-option running attack under center.
Not only did he play out of the shotgun at Folsom, he also spent his redshirt season last fall practicing with the scout team, which emulates the offense of Cal Poly’s opponents to help the defense prepare for games.
Because the Mustangs’ offense is so distinct, Trosin got little work actually running it with the scout team. Most Cal Poly opponents played a more wide-open passing game.
The only way for Trosin to get on the field is to show he can read the defense and make the proper decisions in the option — even though the Mustangs have seemingly been adapting their scheme to include a bigger passing threat each year since Walsh took over in 2009.
“I think it might be headed into that direction,” Trosin said, “but what this offense is designed for, you have to be efficient in the run game in order to be proficient in the pass game.
“That’s where we’re going to be able to hit them over the top.”