HUTTO – Four-star quarterback Will Hammond relaxed in his Lubbock hotel with his mom after watching Texas Tech knock off the Texas Longhorns in overtime on Sept. 24 of last year and prayed. The win over the Longhorns in front of a sold-out Jones AT&T Stadium was the second overtime victory Hammond observed in Lubbock last season – he was also present for the win over Houston two weeks earlier.
He could see his future, or at least his future college home. Texas Tech was one of Hammond’s first offers back in the summer of 2022. He was building a relationship with head coach Joey McGuire, offensive coordinator Zach Kittley, and the rest of the staff prior to his two September visits, but the thrilling wins were icing on the cake.
“I didn’t make the commitment right then, but from that moment on, I knew where I was committed,” Hammond said. “I just had a strong feeling that Lubbock was the place I needed to be. The fun atmosphere made a really good impression.”
The 6-2, 195-pound gunslinger holds double-digit offers after throwing for 2,763 yards and 30 touchdowns to only five interceptions as a junior. He also added 728 yards and nine scores on the ground. He broke onto the recruiting scene as a sophomore when he accounted for over 2,000 total yards and 25 touchdowns in 2021. Hammond ranks 32nd on the DCTF Hot 100. He’s the third-best quarterback in the state behind Florida commit DJ Lagway and Allen transfer Michael Hawkins Jr.
His head coach at Hutto, Will Compton, has coached two other Division I quarterbacks in his career at the prep level. The first was Kolton Browning at Mabank High School. The second was Greg Ward Jr. at John Tyler, a dual threat who just suited up for the Super Bowl. Compton says that Hammond is the best of the trio and that he’s a combination of the two players.
“He’s a lot more athletic than I thought he’d be, and his arm strength is next level,” Compton said about Hammond. “He can spin the ball around. He’s always trying to improve.”
But it isn’t the big arm or athleticism that impresses Compton during his first year in charge of the Hutto Hippos. The trait Hammond possesses that sticks out to coaches across the college football landscape are his leadership and passion.
Compton was introduced to Hammond’s passion for the game during his first week on the job when Hammond walked into his office as Compton was organizing his desk. Hammond pulled up a chair and start grilling his new coach about game plans and schemes and play calls. Compton found out about his leadership midway through the 2022 season. The Hippos were slogging through a Monday practice when Hammond called a stop to it and sent each of his teammates to the sideline. Hammond huddled up his offense, let them know that the practice wasn’t living up to his standard, and then sent them back onto the practice field to start the script over.
“When we hear Will Hammond’s voice, the room gets quiet and we know he means business,” Hutto wide receiver Alex Green said. “His ability to lead and take control sets him apart.”
That leadership is already paying dividends on the recruiting trail for Texas Tech. Hammond is in constant communication with the recruiting staff. They send him contact information for the priority players on the 2024 recruiting class so Hammond can begin building the relationships necessary to sign a top 20 recruiting class. Hammond credits the Texas Tech staff’s ability to create relationships with his own commitment, as well as the instant success for McGuire’s program.
“Probably every other day they send me a contact of a guy we’re wanting to jump on board who I can connect with,” Hammond said. “They have a list of their dream signing class, so I text them every few days to build a relationship outside of football and recruiting.”
Hammond’s first love was football. When he’s not practicing or playing or working out, he can be found driving in his car listening to music with his friends. Or eating breakfast at Hutto Cafe. Maybe competing in spike ball or pickleball with some friends. That competitive drive was obvious early in his life, and it is why college football was always one of his top goals.
“When you’re that young and you’re that competitive, you aspire to big dreams, so I knew from an early age that I wanted to play college football,” Hammond said. “In the summertime of sixth grade I started practicing drops and throws with my older brother, Reed, who was also a quarterback. I fell in love with it.”
He also fell in love with the Red Raiders. Recruiting is a business and Hammond is quick to point out that he maintains relationships with the other coaches that recruit him. Will Stein, who is now the offensive coordinator at Oregon, was the first to offer Hammond back when Stein was at UTSA. Hammond believes a future in coaching is possible and he doesn’t want to burn any bridges. That’s especially true in the portal era.
“Something my dad tells me is to keep relationships with everybody,” Hammond said. “At the same time, my clear message is that I’m only visiting Lubbock and I’m solid in my commitment.”
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