Quarterback is the most important position in football and this year's crop of QBs is a pretty good one. Let's take a look at the top 10 quarterback prospects in the nation, according to Scout.com, and where they are headed.
One of the big stories in college football recruiting over the past few weeks has been the saga of the nation's top quarterback prospect. Mustain, the Gatorade National Player of the Year, committed to Arkansas early this fall. But a few weeks ago, he had a change of heart and backed out of his pledge to the Razorbacks. Arkansas, Notre Dame, Alabama, and Tennessee are his current schools of interest. Shortly after Mustain's de-commitment from Arkansas, Razorbacks head Coach Houston Nutt hired Mustain's high school coach, Gus Malzahn, to be his new offensive coordinator.
On the surface, it would appear that the Hogs are still in the lead for Mustain, but consider the other teams involved and the personalities in play -- Charlie Weis (Notre Dame), Mike Shula (Alabama) and David Cutcliffe and Philip Fulmer (Tennessee). If he is as wide open as some say, this could be one of the more interesting recruiting stories of the season.
Mustain originally committed to Arkansas over Notre Dame. The Irish already have a commitment from Zach Frazer (Mechanicsburg, Pa.), the nation's No. 9-rated quarterback. If Mustain selects the Irish, what does Frazer do? The Mustain decision could have a ripple effect in terms of recruiting for this season and next. It is also thought that next year's top quarterback prospect, Jimmy Clausen (Westlake Village, Calif.), favors Notre Dame and USC at this time.
"I am open now between those four schools," said Mustain. "I will only have two weekends in January for official visits. I have seen Arkansas and Notre Dame, but not Tennessee and Alabama. I am not sure who I will actually visit. It will come down to what place I am the most comfortable.
Mustain is a great leader who can beat you with his arm and legs. He can throw with zip or touch and makes very good decisions. He's 26-1 as a two-year starter, throwing for 5,986 yards (329-for-492) and 67 touchdowns.
2. Matthew Stafford (6-2½, 212 pounds) Dallas Committed to Georgia
"That's fine with me," said Stafford. "I like competition; I think everyone does. Competition makes the people around you better." Stafford led his team to a state title this season. He had an unbelievable senior season, throwing for 4,018 yards (209-for-322), 38 touchdowns and six interceptions. That translates into a 215.19 passing efficiency rating by NCAA standards.
3. Tim Tebow (6-3, 220 pounds) St. Augustine, Fla. Committed to Florida
Florida head coach Urban Meyer found his future trigger man for his spread offense in Tebow. He put up monster numbers, finishing his career with 9,810 passing yards, 3,169 rushing yards, 95 passing touchdowns and 63 rushing touchdowns. He led Nease High to a state title this fall and was named Florida's Mr. Football. He has a linebacker's mentality and very good physical tools. Tebow is a southpaw with a big arm and can tuck the ball and run. He is also a terrific baseball player. Tebow learned toward the Gators early, but Mike Shula and Alabama made a great run at him. "It was a hard decision," said Tebow. "I really got to meet a lot of great people and coaches and it was hard to pick one school, but Florida was just the most comfortable fit for me"
4. Pat Devlin (6-3, 220 pounds) Downington, Pa. Committed to Miami
Devlin is headed to Coral Gables after a senior year in which he showed improvement in all phases of his game and threw for almost 3,000 yards. Devlin has very good size and mechanics. He's also been coached well. He's surprisingly mobile for his size and has an above average arm. Devlin will stand in the pocket and take a hit. Perhaps his most impressive attribute is his leadership and his command of the game. At Miami, he will be surrounded by a wealth of talent and won't be forced to play immediately because of the QB depth already on campus. "They [Miami] have some great quarterbacks there, so it'll give me a chance to learn from some really good players," said Devlin. "I'm excited about the direction of the program because while watching practice I noticed a lot of great athletes and a lot of them are young -- just freshmen and sophomores."
5. Isiah Williams (6-2, 220 pounds) Chicago Committed to Illinois
Williams has more physical tools and upside than any quarterback in this class, but he is very raw, making him high risk/reward. He has perhaps the best arm among the class of '06. If he works hard on and off the field, and gets quality coaching at the next level, the sky's the limit for Williams. He threw for 1,841 touchdowns and 22 touchdowns as a senior and rushed for 1,241 yards. Williams committed to Ron Zook and the Fighting Illini very early, but considered some others schools late. That changed when he made his official visit to Champaign. "I'm solid now," Williams said. "I'm 100 percent, no, 200 percent committed to Illinois. I needed some answers to some academic questions I had and they were all answered to my satisfaction.
6. Alex Cate (6-foot-2, 198 pounds) Salt Lake City Committed to Oklahoma State
Cate originally committed to LSU, but changed his mind after visiting Oklahoma State in mid-November. "I told LSU I was having second thoughts, so I went to Stillwater, loved it, and committed to Oklahoma State," said Cate. "I just think Oklahoma State is a better situation for me. I feel real comfortable [at OSU]. I like coach Todd Bradford, coach Larry Fedora, and coach Mike Gundy a lot. I like the offense. And, they're young [offensively] but already doing a lot of good things." Cate played in a very complex offensive system by high school standards, which should make for a smoother transition to the college game.
7. Jake Locker (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) Ferndale, Wash. Committed to Washington
Locker is coach Tyrone Willingham's big recruiting prize this season. He is a QB who can run and throw and a top signal-caller who led his team to a state championship. Locker ran a wing-T offense and has a good arm, mobility and very intelligent. Locker is an excellent athlete who is an outstanding leader and a winner.
Snead originally committed to Florida, but recently backed off and chose Texas. He is an intelligent quarterback who has the versatility to run and throw. Snead led his team to the state title game only to lose to Matthew Stafford and Dallas Highland Park. He has a lively arm, above average mobility, ran a multiple-set offense, and has the smarts to read coverage. Snead is patient and will take what the defense gives him, but can also strike deep.
Frazer is headed to South Bend to play for coach Charlie Weis. He has above-average arm strength, yet also has an amazing touch on the deep ball. Frazer can throw the short-to-intermediate routes as well. He does not possess great 40 speed, but does enough to evade the rush. Frazer broke the Pennsylvania state record for passing yardage in a season, completing 285-of-440 passes for 3,684 yards, 27 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also ran for 12 touchdowns.
10. Neil Caudle (6-3, 204 pounds) Hoover, Ala. Committed to Auburn
In the last two seasons, Caudle has torn up both his knees. As a junior, he tore the ACL in his left knee. This season it was the ACL in his right knee on the third play of a game in early September. If he can stay healthy, he should develop into a fine college quarterback. He grew up dreaming of playing for the Tigers. "It was always in the back of my mind," said Caudle. "I tried not to let that play into it when I made my decision, but that was big." He is an accurate passer who makes very good decisions. Caudle missed five games as a junior, but still threw for 1,634 yards with 15 touchdowns. He also rushed for 424 yards on 43 carries with five touchdowns.