During the past decade, Metro Christian quarterbacks have consistently produced prolific passing numbers.
In 2018, Asher Link became the fifth Metro passer in 10 years to throw for more than 3,000 yards in a season — following Beau Marsaln, 2011 World metro player of the year Andrew Hearon (twice), Abe Anderson and Dylan Bierman.
Link, who is 6-foot-1 and 197 pounds, completed 236-of-364 passes for 3,477 yards and 33 touchdowns. His stats down the stretch were especially impressive as he led the Patriots to the Class 2A semifinals. In his final five games, he connected on 122-of-180 passes for 1,851 yards and 15 TDs with only two interceptions.
In addition, Link is a running threat. Last year, he had 107 carries for 605 yards and 12 TDs — he had a rushing TD in each of the last six games.
“He’s probably the most physically gifted QB I’ve ever coached and we’ve had some great quarterbacks,” Metro coach Jared McCoy said. “He’s our fastest time in the 100 and 200.
“And he’s durable. He would prefer to throw it, but with (2018 rushing leader) Ryan (Johnson) being gone, he’ll probably assume more of that workload, too.”
Link, who has been offered by Air Force, is No. 2 in the All-World preseason football quarterback rankings, behind Sapulpa’s Eli Williams, a TCU commit. Rankings are based on past achievements, projected 2019 performance and college potential.
Last year, Link’s signature moment came in the second round of the playoffs at third-ranked Jones. Link passed for 428 yards and four TDs, and he capped the winning drive with an 8-yard TD run with 22 seconds left to give the Patriots a 49-45 victory.
“He’s done a really good job of knowing when to tuck it and run when it’s not a designed play,” McCoy said. “He’s a throw-first type of kid, but I don’t know if we win the Jones game if he doesn’t run it. He runs in untouched and I had been screaming, ‘Throw the ball!’ And you go back to watching it on tape and you can see he probably made the right decision.”
Link’s favorite quarterbacks are Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray.
“I like their style of play,” Link said. “Russell and Kyler Murray are both dual threats and I kind of like to think that’s my style. And Aaron Rodgers has a huge arm.”
Link credits his offensive line and receivers for helping him achieve his success. Many of last year’s top receivers return, including Carson Callaway, who also is in the All-World rankings after catching 73 passes for 1,264 yards and 11 TDs.
Link is a workout warrior and McCoy believes some colleges might be interested in him as a linebacker. If you don’t find Link on the football field, he’s probably in the weight room.
“My dad kind of got me into it a couple years ago and now I sort of have an addiction to it,” Link said. “I had trouble putting on size, but I have added 55 pounds since my eighth-grade year.”
During a 12-2 season, Link said he learned a lot from a regular-season, 20-19 loss to Adair on a sloppy weather night. Link threw a TD pass with 58 seconds left, but the Patriots missed the tying extra point.
”There were definitely times I lost my composure in that game,” Link said. “I realized it and came back the next week, wanting to become more of a leader and getting everybody together again. After beating Holland Hall, we weren’t as focused for the Adair game as we should have been.”
McCoy likes Link’s intangibles.
“He’s not a real vocal leader, but (he) does everything right and works out more than we ask, so he’s definitely a leader,” McCoy said. “But his biggest intangible is good decision-making. He’s been in our system since he was in junior high. He understands what we’re trying to do, attacks that space we’re trying to attack and likes having the ball in his hands at the end of the game.
“This year, I expect that there will be a bump in his completion percentage from 62 last year. Andrew (Hearon) was 62 in his junior year and improved to 70 as a senior when he threw for more yards with less passes.”
Link knew about the Patriots’ passing tradition when he came to Metro from Regent Prep in seventh grade. His goals this year besides winning a state title are to reach 4,000 passing and 1,000 rushing yards.
“I definitely think the quarterbacks are held to a higher standard here and I had to raise my game when I came here,” Link said. “I hope I’m going to do that next year, too.”