QB pool among deepest in yearsPosted: Thursday June 19, 2003 8:52 PM
One of the great things about covering recruiting is that each year is different. Some positions are up and some are down with regard to talent. This season, it’s a deep year at the glamour position. Some say it may be the Year of the Quarterback.
Perhaps nowhere is deeper at the QB position than the great state of Texas, where there is quality and quantity.
Rhett Bomar (Grand Prairie) is a two-sport star (football and baseball) who will challenge for the No. 1 quarterback ranking before it’s all said and done. He’s big and his mobility is outstanding. This kid is a terrific athlete with a big arm, but he doesn’t have the strongest arm in the state. That distinction belongs to Kirby Freeman (Brownwood). Freeman has good size and runs very well like Bomar. He should commit soon and it could be Miami or Purdue.
There are three more big-time quarterbacks in Texas -- Bobby Reid (Houston North Shore), Stephen McGee (Burnett) and Graham Harrell (Ennis).
Reid is an awesome athlete with a strong arm and great escape ability. He has been clocked at 10.7 over 100 meters and ran a 4.46 in the 40 while jumping 35 inches in the vertical at the Nike Camp in College Station, Texas. McGee, who committed to Texas A&M in the spring, is more of a archetypical quarterback who makes great decisions with the ball and can throw all the passes. Harrell passed for 3,972 yards and 53 touchdowns last season as a junior. He is a winner who makes big plays and smart plays.
David Garvin, of TheInsiders.com, has been covering Big 12 college football recruiting for the past 15 seasons and believes this season’s group is outstanding.
“This quarterback class in Texas is the strongest group I can remember from top to bottom,” he said. “And I will bet you that more will surface after the season begins -- such as Caleb Hanie [Forney High School], among others.”
What about the other states in the Big 12 region? At this time, we have identified two blue-chip signal-callers, one from Missouri and one from Kansas with the same last name. Chase Patton (Columbia Mo. Rockbridge) and Nick Patton (Winfield, Kan.). Both Pattons, like the passers from Texas mentioned above, have a slew of scholarship offers.
In the Big Ten region, Pennsylvania is loaded with talent at the quarterback position. The battle will rage all season between Chad Henne (West Lawn Wilson) and Anthony Morelli (Pittsburgh Penn Hills) for the distinction of being the state’s top QB. These two likely will challenge Bomar for the nation’s top signal-caller. Like Bomar, they have great size and lively arms. Both can really throw the ball around, and let me emphasize the word throw.
But these guys aren’t the only two in the Keystone State. Jordan Steffy (Lancaster Conestoga Valley) can run the option and throws a great deep ball, while Bryan Savage (Haverford) is another athletic signal caller with a strong arm who can make all the throws.
The Hoosier State has two good quarterbacks as well in Mike Vlahogeorge (Lafayette Jefferson) and Chad Painter (Vincennes Lincoln).
You will also hear a lot about Brian Hoyer from Cleveland's St. Ignatius and Sean Lewis from Richards High School in Oak Lawn, Ill.
Florida produces a lot of great athletes every year, but the Sunshine State is not really known for producing great quarterbacks on a consistent basis. This season, there are four big-timers -- Cornelius Ingram (Hawthorne), Xavier Lee (Daytona Beach Seabreeze), Drew Weatherford (Land O’Lakes) and Brent Schaeffer (Deerfield Beach).
Ingram is a two-sport star (football and basketball) who exudes confidence and is a pure winner. Lee is perhaps the top athletic quarterback in the country who can beat opponents with his arm and legs. Weatherford played with torn knee cartilage all last season and still threw for 2,645 yards and 39 touchdown passes. Schaeffer has quietly flown under the radar screen among recruiting fans, but college coaches certainly have taken notice as he has racked up scholarship offers from a bunch of big-name programs.
Georgia has its share of top quarterbacks, as well. A.J. Bryant (Fort Valley Peach County), who already has committed to Georgia, is a super athlete who could play QB or another position for the Dawgs. Alex Mortensen (Fairburn Landmark Christian) is an underrated prospect at this position. All he does is make great decisions with the ball and throw all the passes.
In Atlanta, there are two intriguing prospects in Calvin Booker (Mays) and D.T. McDowell (Tucker). Like some others, they don’t get the publicity they deserve, but both will be playing major college football. Booker is great in the classroom and has a dynamite arm. McDowell is the type of quarterback who can run the option and the spread offense.
A quarterback who got a tremendous amount of preseason hype is Brian Brohm from Louisville (Ky.) Trinity. Last season, he threw 47 touchdowns and only one interception and led his team to the state championship. He is one of the country’s best, and justifiably so.
Others to watch in SEC and ACC country are Blake Barnes (Baldwyn, Miss.), David Wolke (Smyrna, Tenn.), Daniel Evans (Raleigh Needham Broughton) and Sean Glennon (Chantilly Westfield).
When it comes to producing quarterbacks, no region produces more than the West Coast. More times than not, California is loaded at this position. But not this season. There are a few top-notch signal-callers out West, but nothing like we have seen over the past decade or so. Leading the way is Matt Tuiasosopo (Woodinville, Wash.), the younger brother of current Oakland Raider Marques Tuiasosopo. Like his older brother, Matt is tough, strong and loves to play the game. He had an outstanding Nike Camp last week in Eugene, Ore. Erik Ainge (Hillsboro (Ore.) Glencoe) and Jacob Bower (Meridian, Idaho) are two others to watch with some impressive offers thus far.
There are some who have emerged from the pack in California. Rocky Hinds (St. Bernard Playa Del Rey) is a freakish athlete who has size, speed and some major college scholarship offers already. Brian Hildebrand (Corona) and Nate Longshore (Canyon Country) are two quarterbacks on the rise.
Greg Biggins, West Coast Recruiting Analyst for TheInsiders.com and Nike Camp Player Personal Director, has seen more quarterbacks in person and on film than anyone in the country. He believes this is a deep and talented quarterback class.
“I can’t say right now there is a ‘can’t miss’ guy at quarterback like John David Booty, but this is as strong a year at quarterback as I can remember,” Biggins said.
Later this summer, the EA Sports Elite 11 Regional Workouts in Las Vegas will showcase 100 quarterbacks from coast to coast, and next month the prestigious EA Sports Elite 11 quarterback camp will take place. Booty, Morelli, Bomar, Reid and Freeman already have accepted their invitations. Seven more spots are open.
Like everything else in life, recruiting evolves. This season, more quarterbacks will emerge to add depth to an already deep position. The bottom line is that most college football teams seeking a signal caller or two shouldn’t walk away from Signing Day disappointed. There seems to be more than enough to go around.