The Nebraska Cornhuskers landed another major recruiting victory today by receiving a verbal commitment from California quarterback Johnny Stanton.
Stanton's commitment doesn't look particularly major at first glance, but the impact he could have on this class is potentially immense.
The 6'2", 220 pounder finally fills Nebraska's big need at quarterback, so the Huskers can essentially shut down recruitment of the position after swinging and missing at several other targets, such as Malik Zaire, Aaron Bailey, JT Barrett and Anthony Jennings.
Despite being rated lower than all four of these prospects according to Rivals.com, Stanton has gotten recognition as a major sleeper at quarterback and drew comparisons to Tim Tebow and Jake Locker by Bleacher Report's Full Ride.
Despite holding offers from such major programs as Wisconsin, Oregon, California and Washington (Jake Locker's alma mater), Stanton decided on the Huskers in part because of his budding relationship with Taylor Martinez.
Stanton does not have the most polished arm at this point in his young career, though that never seemed to stop Tebow or Locker. Even still, Stanton seems to be growing as a passer and looks poised for a huge senior season.
As a junior, Stanton threw for a respectable 2,439 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions with a 60.6 percent completion rate. His passing got significantly better as the season went on, with all eight of his interceptions coming in the first nine games and none in his final six. Additionally, he saved his best performance for last, throwing for 306 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-37 win.
Despite his improvements as a passer, however, Stanton did most of his damage on the ground, rushing for 1,428 yards and 21 touchdowns and averaging 5.5 yards per carry.
His muscular lower body—which is part of what makes him similar to Tebow and Locker—allows him to power through holes and gain tough short yardage. Additionally, he is not without speed or quickness, as evidenced by recording a long of 20 or more yards in 13 of his 15 starts (five of which he recorded a long of 30 or more).
Stanton, who was already chosen as an Elite 11 finalist, still has a lot of room to grow but is said to have all the necessary intangibles to succeed as a quarterback at the next level. He could end up being one of the steals of this recruiting cycle for the Huskers.
That said, don't be surprised if a big senior season ends up leading to increased interest from other major programs.