Ken Seals felt trapped in a glass cage, unable to help his teammates at Weatherford as the Kangaroos struggled through an 0-10 season in 2017.
The 4-star 2020 quarterback had to sit out a year after moving from Azle, where he first put himself on the map as a freshman. By that time he had already become sort of a household name by repeating as national champion at the National Football Academies Invitational Quarterback Competition in Canton, Ohio, as a seventh and eighth grader.
“It was a weird feeling. I wanted to help, but I couldn’t do anything about it,” Seals said. “I did the best I could with the team I had. Our junior varsity went 8-2.”
But all that’s in the past now. Soon - very soon - he’ll suit up on varsity with an entire community there for support.
In order to hone his craft, and expand his recruitment, Seals visited 16 college camps over the summer. He capped off his “summer tour” with TCU on Friday and Baylor on Sunday.
“It was a unique experience. I’ve been all over the place – west coast, east coast, down south,” he said. “It’s been exciting to see the different schools and to meet all the coaches. As far as exposure, it’s great to get my name out there and for people to start hearing about me.
“I hope that can turn into more communication with coaches and offers later down the road, but it’s been a great summer and I liked how it all turned out.”
His first stop was in Minnesota, which, Seals said, was actually his most fun experience.
“I got to fly up there a day earlier and when I arrived they gave me a tour of the campus,” Seals said. “I was able to talk to the coaches and see the practice field below from a deck outside the offices. I got to throw for the coaches and overall it was a very unique camp.”
He also made visits to Tulsa, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt, LSU and Georgia.
Georgia even held a private session for Seals.
His father Robert was along for the journey on nearly every camp. Robert graduated from Weatherford in 1984 and played middle linebacker for the Kangaroos, while also boxing in Golden Gloves.
“It was exciting to see so many coaches give Ken pointers and different techniques,” Robert said. “Ken responded well to every one of them. He listened and was very coach-able.
The UGA camp was impressive. He got to workout for the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. It was a high-pressured situation to perform by yourself, but Ken did a great job.”
Seals also visited Southern Cal, Kennesaw, Texas Tech, Tennessee, Incarnate Word, A&M Commerce and Texas A&M.
“A&M jumped out at me,” Robert said. “It was amazing to see Jimbo Fisher stick with Ken all throughout the camp. There was another top quarterback there and he and Ken just kept making incredible throws side-by-side. It was like watching a heavyweight fight.”
Overall, Seals traveled nearly 9,000 miles this summer.
“Biggest thing was how Ken would be able to hold up during so many consecutive camps,” Robert said. “It didn’t seem to slow him down and he didn’t lose any energy. It seemed to all pay off.”
Seals said more quarterbacks showed up to both schools, including over 90 at Baylor. It was a fight just to get a spot in line.
“Whenever the coaches at both schools saw me, they said they really liked what I was able to do with the football and that they would love to come out to a game this season,” Seals said. “That has really been the same message I’ve been getting from a lot of coaches over the past couple months.
A lot of the coaches liked how I could spin the ball and loved my accuracy. Another thing they liked was my demeanor and how happy I was to be there.”
Seals threw for 2,600 yards and 30 TDs last season on the Weatherford junior varsity team. He threw for 1,500 yards and 10 TDs with Azle in 2016. He’s ranked as the No. 12 pro-style QB in the country, but No. 1 in the state. He’s projected to commit with Texas Tech, per 247Sports.
He also played for USA’s Under-17 National team at AT&T Stadium in January.
He holds eight offers from Minnesota, Montana State, Vanderbilt, UT-El Paso and Nevada. He received offers from Cincinnati, North Carolina State and Florida Atlantic while attending mega camps this summer at Kennesaw and Incarnate Word.
The Kangaroos start the fall season on Aug. 13. Their first game is at home against Granbury on Aug. 31. They also play North Crowley, Birdville and Fort Worth Southwest.
They were reclassified into District 3-6A with Euless Trinity, San Angelo Central, Abilene, Richland, Haltom and L.D. Bell.
“Coach Billy Mathis tells us every time that we just have to go out there and play our game and no matter who we’re playing or where, we just have to do the best we can,” Seals said. “We have to believe in ourselves and never give up, no matter what the score is. We’re going to surprise a lot of people on how well we do and it’s going to be exciting.”