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Bellarmine's K.J. Carta-Samuels passes in the third quarter at San Jose City College in San Jose, Calif. on Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. The St. Ignatius Wildcats beat the Bellarmine Bells, 13-10, for the CCS Open Division football title. (Jim Gensheimer/Staff)

If the most important position in football is quarterback, area high school football fans might be in for a treat this fall.

One quarterback has committed to Stanford, another to Vanderbilt and another to San Diego State.

And that doesn't include the Saratoga quarterback who threw for 3,503 yards and 39 touchdowns last season, or the Menlo standout who threw for 34 TDs while leading his team to a Central Coast Section championship game.

"It's pretty phenomenal," Los Gatos coach Mark Krail said. "It's the best that I can remember in a long, long time."

The marquee names are Palo Alto's 6-foot-4, 230-pound Keller Chryst, who announced this summer that he was going to Stanford, and Bellarmine College Prep's 6-4, 205-pound K.J. Carta-Samuels, who committed to Vanderbilt last year before he had ever taken a varsity snap.

But the group also includes San Diego State-bound Nick Bawden of Los Gatos, Saratoga's Jonathan Walters and Menlo's Jack Heneghan.

Chryst, son of 49ers quarterback coach Geep Chryst, threw for 4,654 yards and 56 touchdowns in his first two seasons as Palo Alto's starter, using his powerful arm to lead the Vikings to two league championships and two trips to the Open Division playoffs.

Palo Alto coach Earl Hansen said his star has gotten even better since last season, when Chryst passed for 2,489 yards and 28 touchdowns.

"He improves all the time because he works," Hansen said.

Chryst said his footwork and speed have improved largely because he made adjustments to his weight-training regimen.

"I got faster," he said.

Chryst plays in a balanced offense that utilizes its running backs' legs and quarterback's arm fairly evenly. Carta-Samuels takes snaps in a double-wing attack that calls on him to run as much as it does pass.

Last season, his first as a varsity starter, Carta-Samuels completed 70 of 129 passes for 1,230 yards and 12 touchdowns and ran for 632 yards and 12 touchdowns in 129 carries.

"I try to take the positives out of it," Carta-Samuels said. "It helps me to become a better athlete. I can work on my running and evade defenders a little bit by running the ball more in this offense. So that will help me in college, being able to make some plays besides just throwing."

When he had to make a big play with his arm, Carta-Samuels did. In a key victory over Serra in October, Carta-Samuels completed 12 of 15 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for two touchdowns in that game.

A week earlier at Archbishop Mitty, Carta-Samuels completed a 46-yard pass in the closing minutes to edge the Monarchs.

Walters, the second-team All-Mercury News quarterback behind first-teamer Chryst last season, is only 6-0 and 180 pounds, but he produced huge numbers in Saratoga's spread offense.

"I've definitely come to realize that I'd love to be 6-4, but I only worry about what I can control," Walters said. "I focus on myself and try not to focus on other people."

Heneghan, 6-3 and 215 pounds, passed for 2,764 yards and 34 touchdowns as a junior, leading Menlo to the section's Division IV title game. He also rushed for 452 yards.

The 6-3, 225-pound Bawden helped Los Gatos reach the CCS Division II final, passing for 1,636 yards and 12 touchdowns. As practice began this month, he said he is relieved to have his college plans behind him.

"Takes a lot of pressure off," Bawden said. "I want to be here for my team now, focus on my senior season."

And with all the talent at quarterback in this year's class, the season could be special.

Follow Darren Sabedra on Twitter at twitter.com/DarrenSabedra.