Three hundred yards passing and 100 yards rushing – not a bad way to start out your junior season. Little did Chartiers Valley (Pa.) head coach Chris Saluga that would the first and the last time he’d get to watch his all-purpose quarterback play in 2010.
An undisclosed injury to Wayne Capers in the Colts’ first game on the season cost the quarterback his entire junior season – one ticketed with a lot of promise. For both Capers and his team, undoubtedly, the loss loomed large.
“We came in [to the season] expecting a little more, but we kind of had to adjust to the loss of Wayne [Capers],” Saluga said. “It made things a lot more difficult. Wayne was always good for a couple bonus touchdowns each game. It’s more difficult replacing a player of his caliber.”
The Colts must win out against the opponents remaining on their schedule to stay in playoff contention. However, they believe next year will render a different story. Capers is expected to be 100 percent and ready to retake the field for his senior campaign.
“He’ll work very hard in his rehab, and we expect a full recovery and [I] expect him to be better than ever next year,” Saluga proclaimed.
It will be an opportunity for Capers to exhibit the skill set that intrigues his coach has seen all along. Athleticism, versatility and playmaking ability are just a few ways to describe what Capers brings to his football team.
“He’s a phenomenal athlete. He’s a spread option quarterback who runs a 4.5 40 [yard dash] and can throw a football 70 yards,” Saluga said. “In addition to that, he‘s an incredible competitor. He’s a threat to score every time he touches the ball.”
Saluga utilizes Capers’ abilities at the quarterback position so he has the option to either run or pass, calling him “a nightmare for defensive coordinators.” But Capers’ versatility has many colleges also exploring the possibility of using his as a wide receiver at the next level.
“They definitely think he is a playmaker, a player who can do a lot of different things. He’s being recruited as a quarterback; he’s being recruited as a wide receiver; he’s being recruiting as an athlete,” Saluga confirmed, adding that he could even play on the defensive side of the ball if needed.
Capers’ choice would be to move to wide receiver at the college level, according to Saluga, because his father played at the position in college and in the professional ranks. Wayne Capers Sr. played four years in the NFL, two seasons with the Colts and two with the Steelers.
When Maryland wide receivers coach Lee Hull approached Saluga and Capers about the possibility to becoming a Terp, he saw him as a fit at wide receiver.
“[Maryland] seemed very excited about him,” Saluga said. “[Hull] thought that he could be a kid that would fit into their system and make some things happen.”
It wouldn’t be the first time the Terps took a high school quarterback and converted him to wideout. The trend seems to have gained momentum as of late, as Torrey Smith, Tony Logan, LaQuan Williams and Alex Fletcher have all made the switch.
But wherever Capers lands, his contributions will be felt. The athleticism he posses gives his team plenty of options as to how to get him involved. “Wayne will fit in anywhere he goes. Those are all good programs and he’s a good player, so it’ll be a nice fit,” Saluga said.
Capers’ future college will also be inheriting a personable, passionate young man. Aside from being a favorite among his teammates and coaches for his humble nature, he’ll be a player who leads by example whenever he takes the field.
“He doesn’t like the lime light. He likes to deflect praise to his teammates,” Saluga said, “He’s not really a vocal leader, but when he’s on the field he leads by the way he competes.”
Until then, Capers will continue to focus his attention on rehabbing his injury and keeping up with his studies.
Preparing for the Next Level
Saluga suggested that in order to continue on the college level, Capers would have to learn to better manage his skills.
“He needs to continue to grow and continue to make good decisions and recognize that he has to continually get better – he can’t just rely on his natural abilities. He was to work to hone those skills, because at the next level everybody is going to be like him, and he has to be prepared for that.”
Regardless, his coach sees him excelling on the big stage. Five years from now, Saluga predicts he’ll be making a difference for whatever team he is on.
“[Capers] will be starting for a big-time college somewhere. He has the potential to be.”