Jalen Ollie Finds Success with Avon Old Farms Football After Graduating From Glastonbury

In 2013, quarterback Jalen Ollie left his mark on Glastonbury High School football as a senior by having one of the greatest seasons in program history and leading the Tomahawks to the state playoffs. Still, Ollie wanted to see if he could continue to grow as a quarterback and be successful at another program.

Earlier this year, the Glastonbury native chose to attend Avon Old Farms School for a post-graduate year, giving him the opportunities to play for a premier prep program and become a stronger college prospect. Now looking back on the season, it is clear that he made the right decision. Ollie orchestrated an outstanding Beavers offense and helped lead them to a playoff berth.

Ollie earned the Glastonbury starting role as a senior and immediately established himself as one of Connecticut’s premier QB’s. Ollie led the Tomahawks to a CCC East title and the state playoffs, where they lost in the quarterfinals. He threw for 2977 yards and 36 touchdowns, and earned All-CCC honors.

Ollie’s success that season was the result of a number of factors, from his physical gifts and knowledge of football to the talent surrounding him. Most prominent among them however, was Ollie’s leadership ability. Over the season, Ollie transformed into an outstanding leader.

“As the season went along, I figured out how to become a vocal leader and take charge of situations,” Ollie said. “Our entire offense was more effective because of this.”

“Jalen’s leadership skills improved immensely as a senior, and it made him a much better quarterback,” Glastonbury head coach Scott Daniels said. “Jalen’s’ teammates embraced him in all situations.”

As the Tomahawks starter, Ollie set himself apart from opposing QBs with his ability to make plays both in and outside of the pocket. Ollie completed key passes while set and in motion, and was capable of running for significant yardage when necessary.

“My biggest strength is definitely my poise in the pocket,” Ollie said. “I’m really strong throwing from there. I’m also able to escape when pressured and make plays on the outside. It took me a while to become a good runner, but I’m there now.”

“Jalen has an uncanny ability to make people miss him while on the move,” Daniels said. “He also possesses outstanding arm strength.”

Ollie said he improved his footwork tremendously during as a senior through drills and watching video, and gave coach Travis Myers and his staff credit for helping him do so.

Following the season, Ollie quickly decided that he wanted to go the prep school route so he would have another season in which to showcase his abilities to college coaches. Ollie chose to attend Avon Old Farms not only for the quality of its program, but even more for its quality as an educational institution.

Ollie immensely enjoyed playing for Avon Old Farms from the moment he stepped on the field. During a conversation in early October, Ollie said he was enjoying working with head coach Bill Mella and his staff, adding that he loved playing with his teammates and that they had already helped him improve.

“It’s so much fun to work with all the talented receivers here and throw to,” Ollie said then. “They make amazing plays.”

Ollie went on to lead the Beavers to a memorable season. They finished 6-3 overall and won the Housatonic League with a record of 5-1. Avon Old Farms qualified for the NEPSAC A Division playoffs, where they lost to Choate in the first round.

During the season, Ollie established himself as one of the league’s top QB’s. He successfully continued to improve his downfield passing and running ability, which were key goals for him entering the season.

“I spent a lot of time working on my deep ball and footwork, and that allowed me to get better every day,” Ollie said. “I was able to improve my throwing velocity and leg strength.”

Mella echoed Ollie’s statements while also praising his work ethic.

“Jalen improved in his preparation during the week and how he attacked practice,” Mella said.

Ollie led Avon Old Farms to the playoffs despite both himself and teammates experiencing an assortment of injuries throughout the season. Ollie said the Beavers were able to consistently develop chemistry despite this, and that he was proud of himself and his teammates for overcoming adversity.

“It was hard to be without those injured guys, but my job was to keep the team focused and prepared,” Ollie said.

“When Jalen was injured himself, he was a good leader from the sidelines and did whatever he could to help the guys playing,” Mella said. “Then when he came back, he led by increasing his work ethic and enthusiasm during practice.”

The signature performance of the season for Ollie and the Beavers came in a 45-41 win against Salisbury in the regular season finale. In a highly memorable affair, Ollie helped lead a long game-winning touchdown drive that secured a trip to the playoffs and bragging right against a heated rival.

“We were able to keep our heads up after falling behind and execute on that final drive. We knew what was at stake,” Ollie said.

While Ollie enjoyed every second of his time with Avon Old Farms, he said his favorite part about playing there will always be the lasting friendships he made with teammates. Mella said he had fun coaching Ollie, and that he would miss “his competitiveness and infectious smile.”

After a long recruiting process, Ollie is scheduled to commit to a college program in early January. Ollie said he will most likely commit to a program in the Patriot League.

Daniels and Mella believe that Ollie can be a successful college quarterback.

“Jalen can do it all. He has the skill and personality to succeed in the right system,” Daniels said.

“Jalen can absolutely play at the next level, wherever he goes,” Mella said.

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