The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.

CSM redshirt freshman Anthony Grigsby had two Division I offers out of high school, but opted to play the waiting game when COVID hit. Now, the quarterback is the fourth leading JUCO passer in the state. Photo by Patrick Nguyen.

CSM redshirt freshman Anthony Grigsby had two Division I offers out of high school, but opted to play the waiting game when COVID hit. Now, the quarterback is the fourth leading JUCO passer in the state. Photo by Patrick Nguyen.

College of San Mateo quarterback Anthony Grigsby is playing his best football right now.

A redshirt freshman out of Consumnes Oaks-Elk Grove, Grigsby has etched himself among the top community college quarterbacks in the state. Currently ranked fourth in the California Community College Athletic Association with 272.5 passing yards per game, third in touchdown throws with 30 and third in QB efficiency at 180.1, the unassuming 5-11, 188-pounder has been unstoppable in recent must-win situations.

“He is the best quarterback in Northern California,” CSM offensive coordinator Mike Dovenberg said. “He’s probably the best quarterback in the state. If he’s behind the center, we’ve got a chance.”

In CSM’s regular-season finale Nov. 11 at home against City College of San Francisco — a game that, had the Bulldogs lost, they may well have missed the postseason cut — Grigsby responded to an early 10-0 deficit with an aerial show of epic proportions. He has shown a fine touch and extraordinary precision all season, and against CCSF he proved those virtues aren’t limited to short-yardage situations.

Grigsby engineered the comeback by hitting the Rams with a pair of haymakers. By the end of the first quarter, after a 72-yard touchdown bomb to Fidel Pitts and a similar 61-yard downfield bull’s-eye to Jeremiah Patterson, the Bulldogs led 14-10 and would march to a decisive 41-17 victory.

“When I’m in the flow, I’m in the flow,” Grigsby said.

On the heels of that 19-of-29 passing, 322-yard performance to help clinch the Bay 6 Conference championships, Grigsby opened the postseason with another stunner. Last Saturday’s 41-19 win at home over Modesto in the Northern California regional semifinals saw Grigsby go 26-of-36 passing for 337 yards and four touchdowns, while he also rushed for a score.

High-pressure games come naturally to Grigsby who, according to Dovenberg doesn’t let anything faze him.

“No pressure at all,” Grigsby said. “I’ve been playing quarterback since I was like 3 years old, throwing the ball with my dad. So, throwing the ball, hitting the open guys, it’s regular. I just feel like I’m playing point guard back there, just dishing assists back and forth, back and forth. Just making sure they’re in the right position and just getting them the ball to make the plays. … I’m just the facilitator.”

CSM has amassed quite a talented group of wide receivers, and Grigsby uses them all. While there are four players in the state with over 1,000 receiving yards, CSM has four weapons that each entered the year with the potential to reach that benchmark. Instead, the Bulldogs are the only team in the state with three receivers in the top 40 for receiving yards, with Patterson (702 yards, 23rd in the state), Terence Loville (666, 28th) and Freeman (626, 39th) all vying for the team lead, with Pitts (470, 74th) not far behind.

“We have some stars in the receiver room,” Grigsby said. “The best receivers I’ve ever thrown to in my life. I’ll trust them with the ball at any time, any moment from the starter to the last one. Everybody is in the game … for a reason. They’re dawgs.”

A 2021 graduate of Consumnes Oak, Grigsby amassed 4,143 career passing yards through his sophomore and junior seasons. Prior to his senior year, he fielded several college offers, including from Division I schools University of Idaho and Missouri State. Opting to wait until more offers were likely to follow during his senior year, Grigsby’s prospects were grounded when the COVID pandemic limited Consumnes Oaks to three spring games.

“I didn’t really get a senior season,” Grigsby said. “But after my junior season, I got two Division I offers … and then I got a couple DIIs. I was waiting for my senior year to see if I was going to get anything else later, and by then, we didn’t play till like March, it was just too late. … So, I was just deciding if I got something, I would take something late. If not, I would go to one of the best JUCOs in the nation. So, I chose CSM and, hey, it was the right choice.”

Grigsby took a redshirt at CSM last season, and watched Richie Watts navigate the Bulldogs to the CCCAA state championship. Watts, a freshman in 2022, transferred to the Division I program at University of Buffalo with three years of eligibility.

“Nothing I’m worried about right now,” Grigsby said of transferring. “All that stuff is going to happen after the season. I’m just worrying about next week, worrying about the next team that’s going to come through San Mateo.”

Dovenberg said Grigsby is on track to follow the same college trajectory as Watts.

“He’ll be playing at the highest level next year anyway,” Dovenberg said. “He is a Division I quarterback. It’s on the tape every single Saturday.”