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Originally published August 30, 2011 at 8:02 PM | Page modified August 31, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Mercer Island QB Jeff Lindquist wants to leave a legacy

Mercer Island senior Jeff Lindquist, a UW commitment, is already an elite athlete. He's added to his game in an effort to become an elite quarterback.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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MERCER ISLAND — It was a summer afternoon and Jeff Lindquist was on vacation at Priest Lake in Idaho. But, instead of heading for the water, Mercer Island's quarterback walked into a restaurant with family and friends to watch TV.

There weren't many people in the place, so the group was able to gather a few chairs. They all made sure to get a clear view of the screen and settled in to watch the top 24 high-school quarterbacks in the country participate in the Elite 11 competition.

Lindquist already knew how the story ended. He was named the fourth-best quarterback at the event. But, sitting in the Idaho restaurant, he got to relive the moment, watching ESPN's televised special for the first time.

When he first appeared on the TV, a big grin spread over Lindquist's face and he thought, "This is pretty sweet."

"They made the show really epic," he said. "Part of it was that's actually how we felt during the camp, so seeing that again and going back through, it was kind of like, we worked pretty hard, but in the end it was all worth it."

Other quarterbacks received a little more screen time than Lindquist, but that didn't seem to bother the 6-foot-3, 225-pound senior.

"I was just happy to be a part of it," he said. "I wasn't complaining about not getting enough airtime. It was just great to see everything."

Now that Lindquist has given his verbal commitment to Washington and proven he can play with the best in the country, he plans to spend his senior season leaving a lasting legacy at Mercer Island.

"The senior class, we've kind of seen the program through its changing years," Lindquist said. "We're trying to go out with a bang, I guess you could say. I think the guys in my class and the grade below me are working hard and they all have the same goal, so we're excited."

Lindquist's development as a quarterback will go a long way toward determining how much success the Islanders have in 2011. As a junior, Lindquist relied on his athleticism, throwing for 15 touchdowns and close to 2,000 yards. He also rushed for more than 1,000 yards and scored 18 touchdowns.

"Because he was so good and so much more athletic or bigger and stronger than kids, he could just make stuff happen," Mercer Island coach Brett Ogata said.

This year, Lindquist has added a better understanding of the game to his already impressive physical traits.

"I've been excited for him in the past, but this year even more so," Ogata said. "He's really tried to step up his game to become an elite quarterback. I think he was an elite athlete last year, but now I think he wants to be an elite quarterback."

Between his improvement, his commitment to play for the Huskies and his airtime on national TV, Lindquist has experienced a lot in a short period. But Ogata continues to be impressed with his quarterback's character.

"Even with this ESPN deal and getting a scholarship to UW, giving an early commitment to them, he hasn't changed as a person and I think that's important," the Islanders coach said.

"He's the same person. He's humble and I think that's an important aspect, because sometimes that stuff changes kids."

Mason Kelley: 206-464-8277 or mkelley@seattletimes.com

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