Faerber adjusting to higher profile
By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
It’s easy to watch Elliot Faerber and see why he is one of the top recruits in the Kansas City Metro. The Shawnee Mission East senior receiver looks like a big-time player and it is easy to pick him out of a crowd.
At 6-foot-4, 208 pounds Faerber has the size high school coach’s love and college recruiters drool over. Along with the size there is good speed and overall athletic ability. Those skills were one of the big reasons Shawnee Mission East went from perennial also rand to Sunflower League co-champions in 2011.
Faerber was a big-play receiver for the Lancers as they went 8-1 and set a school record for wins in the season. Along the way Faerber grabbed 43 catches for 799 yards and six touchdowns.
That strong production has earned Faerber a scholarship to Illinois where he verbally committed in March. This season the senior enters as one of the most talked about receivers in the Kansas City Metro and he knows a lot of eyes will be on him when the season starts. Even with the attention Faerber is focused on making Shawnee Mission East better and keeping the program moving in the right direction.
“Sometimes the spotlight’s on me but I love it when others make a great play,” Faerber said. “I love to go up and congratulate them because it’s not about me it’s about the team. If I take someone else off of someone else and we score, we’re winning so that’s what it’s all about.”
That extra attention is something Faerber is learning to deal with. He has spent the last two seasons as an underclassman on a team that was starting to surprise people. Now as a senior leader on a team expected to be one of the better teams in Class 6A the expectations of the coaching staff and his own expectations have grown.
“I’ve just tried to be there every day,” Faerber said. “I just love working with these guys. When you are a senior you can help out the younger guys. I love that part of it. If a kid doesn’t know the route just kind of mentor him a little bit because they look up to you. I also want to get better myself and help out the team any way I can.”
This summer has seen Faerber working to mesh with a new starting quarterback. The last two years Faerber was working with two veteran quarterbacks in John Schrock and Robby Moriarity. The pair split the quarterbacking duties in 2009 and Schrock was the starter in 2010 until a broken collar bone ended his year in the season’s final weeks.
Schrock said having Elliott as a target was a big part of his and the team’s success last season.
“I always knew that if I put it up to Elliott he would go up and get it and fight for it,” Schrock said. “Even on like quick screens and stuff like that I knew he was going to fight for yards. It made my job a lot easier knowing I had a big guy on the outside to throw the ball to.”
While Faerber knows he is a big part of the offensive plan for Lancers, it might just be what he does without the ball as much what he does with it that will enable East to have a dynamic attack in 2011.
During an offseason scrimmage with Oak Park High School in Missouri Faerber made a few good catches but his routes that drew double teams allowed one-on-one coverage for other receivers that led to big plays.
Schrock saw teams start to double team Faerber last season and it really helped to open the Lancers offense up even more.
“If he was getting the ball a lot then teams would start to cover him more,” Schrock said. “Then guys like Craig Bradley and Grant Ellis would start opening up for more plays. They are great receivers too so it started to work very well.”
That type of off the ball work is something Faerber knows the Lancers’ coaching staff expects him to produce again this year for the team to be successful.
“Elliott can do anything he wants to do at a very, very high level,” veteran Shawnee Mission East coach Chip Sherman said. “It’s just a matter of us finding ways to utilize his abilities.”
Sherman said Faerber has grown more ways than just physically in his three years at East. When Sherman took over the program in 2009 Faerber was just a sophomore and now that the Lancers have turned the corner Faerber’s growth as a player is a shining example of the change of attitude about Shawnee Mission East football.
“When he came in as a sophomore it was my first year and he’s made gigantic steps,” Sherman said. “He’s more mature and he’s worked extremely hard to get where he is physically and mentally and I am anxious for him to get the season going.
“All of our kids look better. They look more like athletes. The weight room takes time to come together but when it does it clicks and it really comes together.”
Schrock also saw that growth and said it was Elliott’s work ethic that
“What I saw was a lot of untapped potential,” Schrock said. “He’s a really big kid, really fast but he hadn’t quite gotten the whole coordination thing down. By his junior year he had really matured a ton and his athletic ability was outstanding.”
Faerber’s frame is now starting to fill out and how he continues to work on and off the field will determine how his and the Lancers’ season progresses. Sherman expects a lot out of his seniors and Faerber is a big part of those expectations.
“All of our seniors need to be leaders and especially Elliott,” Sherman said. “He’ll do it. He has a good supportive family and a good supportive base here at school and I think you are only going to see good things out of him.”
Faerber and the Lancers will find out a lot about themselves in the first few weeks of the season. East opens with Shawnee Mission Northwest and then gets Olathe East in week No. 2. In week No. 4 the Lancers will face Olathe South.
In the always tough Sunflower League Shawnee Mission East will be one of the favorites. Faerber said he is excited about the season and having tough games early makes it easier for him and his team to focus for the first few weeks of the year.
“I love to have the first game as a tough one,” Faerber said. “First game you want to come out get the pads going and get a real physical game. You want competition right off the bat, it just makes you better.”
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