March 25, 2023


Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

QB Chayden Peery heads to Georgia Tech with much to offer

It was time to find out if Chayden Peery might have the skills to be a quarterback. His father, Mark, played defensive end in high school in Utah but was still able to throw a football and baseball pretty far. He brought his then 9-year-old son into the front yard, handed him a football and they started throwing it around.

“It wasn’t that impressive,” Mark recalled.

“Maybe this isn’t for you,” he thought.

Then, on a final throw, Chayden unleashed a long spiral down the street.

“It was a beautiful ball,” Mark said.

Chayden got excited.

“Seeing his reaction slinging the ball built up my confidence,” Mark said.

Mark left thinking, “OK, there’s something to work with here.”

Fast forward to the 2019 high school football season. Chayden finished with 3,401 yards passing and 18 touchdowns in leading Chatsworth Sierra Canyon to the Southern Section Division 2 championship. He only had one pass intercepted. On Wednesday, he signed with Georgia Tech.

He was set to enter his fourth season as a starter for the Trailblazers until the COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on the fall. Last week, when the CIF announced another delay until January at the earliest, Peery decided he would skip his senior season, graduate early and enroll next month at Georgia Tech.

“After I saw another postponement by CIF, it was not worth it anymore,” Peery said.

It’s been a tough time for Southern California high school football. Peery isn’t the only quarterback passing up his senior year. Miller Moss from Mission Hills Bishop Alemany signed with USC and will enroll immediately. Ditto for another Alemany quarterback, Finn Collins, who is headed to Arizona State. Jake Garcia left La Habra High to play football in Georgia and signed with Miami.

Peery earned the reputation as one of the most intelligent, effective quarterbacks in the state.

“He fits the bill of every measure you want in a quarterback — arm strength, athletic, toughness,” coach Jon Ellinghouse said. “The one thing hard to measure is how smart you are. He’s unbelievably smart and gifted reading defenses.”

Peery enjoys watching film, and he’s not referring to “Star Wars” or “Godfather” films. An English teacher once had to confiscate his computer because he was watching game film during class. He studies film anytime and anywhere — in bed, before school, in the coach’s office, on his phone.

“He really understands what teams are trying to do and how defenses operate,” Ellinghouse said.

Peery’s judgment is impeccable because he is so well prepared. One example happened last season during a game against Westlake Village Oaks Christian. Sierra Canyon was on the 17-yard line and had three receivers lined up on the left side with Terrell Long on the right side.

“Trio left, blue Iowa,” was the play call. Peery was in shotgun formation and took the snap. Long was one on one against the cornerback. Oaks Christian put on a strong pass rush, forcing Peery to make a quick decision.

“I threw right before he made his cut,” Peery said. “I put it in the spot where only he could make the catch. I remember getting hit and hearing the whole sideline erupt.”

The ball arrived just as Long made the cut. It was a touchdown and showed how preparation can lead to success.

“I came back to sideline and our offensive coordinator said in 17 years, I don’t think we’ve thrown backside rout once,” Peery said.

Peery started playing football at age 4. His father had him start out as a center and play multiple positions so he’d know everything about football. He also played baseball, basketball and soccer. Once he discovered his passing skills, playing quarterback became his passion.

Peery’s father made sure his son played against top competition growing up. He sent him to play youth football for the Baldwin Park Bruins in youth football, far from their home in the Santa Clarita Valley. He wanted his son to play against athletes with speed and in a different environment.

“It opened our eyes and their eyes,” Mark said. “It was the most wonderful experience.”

Now Peery will be off to college, ready to join the likes of Bryce Young (Alabama), DJ Uiagalelei (Clemson) and Matt Corral (Mississippi) as a Southern California quarterback trying to make it far from his hometown roots.