QB Guru George Whitfield with Cam Newton
So, what’s a QB guru and what in the world does it have to do with college football?
Well, a QB guru is most often a positional coach who doesn’t have a spot on an actual team’s coaching staff.
The guru offers his specialized skills and services to QBs from every level in the form of one-on-one training or “private lessons” that either prepare a kid for the next level or attempt to improve his skills at the level at which he is currently playing.
Though he may spend his days working at a number of QB camps held throughout the country, when the guru has properly established himself he either secures a spot at or establishes his own, permanent organization that trains QBs full-time.
In the specific case of college football, the guru could work with HS kids working their way towards national signing day, he could help hone skills of current collegiate passers, or, he could be the guy who gets ex-college gridders ready for the NFL draft.
The following slideshow takes a closer look at what is a thriving sub-business in the game and power ranks the best of the best in terms of QB gurus in College Football.
These are the off-roster coaches who are behind the scenes getting gunslingers ready for whatever the “next level” is in the long career path of a modern-day QB.
Devin Gardner will likely be challenged by Dooley trained Shane Morris for the starting role at Michigan
At just shy of 30 years old, Donovan Dooley is a name we may hear a lot more of in college football QB training circles in the years to come.
Dooley is a product of Detroit who played college ball at West Los Angeles C.C. and Albion College (Michigan) before taking the role of QB coach at Albion.
Other than serving as the QB coach at numerous camps, Dooley offers his services at his “Quarterback University,” where he mainly works with Midwest/Michigan based talent.
Currently, Dooley’s clientele consists of high school ballers including 4-star Michigan commit Shane Morris from the Wolverines 2013 signing class and 4-star rated Chance Stewart who is currently committed to Wisconsin’s class of 2014.
Though Dooley hasn’t gone nationwide yet, he’s got a strong foothold in Michigan and if he can get his name connected with some successful college guys he’ll be on his way up the charts.
Krueger worked with Wisconsin's Danny O'Brien
Hailing from the Northeast region of the U.S., Todd Krueger played college ball at Northern Michigan and was selected in Round 8 of the 1980 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills.
Though Krueger didn’t accumulate any stats in the NFL as a QB, his website claims that as a guru he’s trained over 1,700 passers with 49 successfully earning a college scholarship.
Krueger’s former pupils include names like Tajh Boyd, Danny O’Brien and Bryn Renner.
Though Krueger’s focus leans more towards preparing younger guys to get into the college game, he’s definitely a legit QB guru, especially on the East Coast.
Bob Johnson was Mark Sanchez's high school football coach.
One of the QB guides on our list that has a long, storied career in coaching on his resume, Bob Johnson currently runs “Camp Quarterback.”
Johnson runs the program alongside his two sons, Rob Johnson (played at USC from 1992-94 and in the NFL from 1995-2006) and Bret Johnson (played a single season at UCLA in 1989 and then saw limited action at Michigan State from 1991-92).
The Camp Quarterback site claims that Johnson the elder has worked with over 100 D-I gunslingers but his body of work basically began as the long-term head coach at Mission Viejo High School in Calif. where he pumped out top-tier talents like Mark Sanchez.
Johnson has worked with Pat White, Curtis Painter, Carson Palmer, Blaine Gabbert, Colt Brennan, Gregg McElroy and Cody Hawkins.
Held for four days each July at Nichols State University in Thibodaux, La., the Manning Passing Academy is owned and operated by the Royal Family of Quarterbacking, the Manning’s; headlined by father Archie and NFL superstar sons Peyton and Eli.
Though the camp offers instruction for all offensive skill positions, the obvious draw is for the role under center.
The program has been in operation for just shy of two decades and it caters to high school athletes who are mentored by NFL coaches and current college QBs.
The Manning Camp is definitely a training affair, but it also gives an opportunity for big-time college guys to strut their stuff.
In 2012, the camp welcomed Matt Barkley, Tyler Bray, Zach Mettenberger, Jeff Tuel, Bryan Bennett, Mike Glennon, Keith Price, Aaron Murray, Geno Smith and Tyler Wilson.
The Manning’s Academy is difficult to rank among the others on our list because of its status as a brief camp as opposed to a one-on-one coaching relationship.
But, that said it does provide invaluable training, and perhaps most importantly, exposure to offensive skill players looking towards a fruitful collegiate career.
Calhoun client Taylor Martinez
Steve Calhoun got his start in college football as a QB at Santa Ana College in the late 1980's, where he launched a brief career at New Mexico State (1991-93).
After a stint at the semi-pro Fresno Bandits and nine seasons as a pro in a German league, Calhoun joined the coaching ranks in 2005 as the OC/QB coach at Golden West College.
Calhoun currently conducts the “Armed & Dangerous Football Camp” in Los Angeles and is self-described on his website as being a “NFL Combine Ready coach” since 2008.
Calhoun is an up-and-comer who worked with Florida State’s E.J. Manuel between his junior and senior years and has also spent time with Cody Fajardo, Nick Foles, Cody Kessler, Taylor Martinez and Seth Doege.
Though he has helped guys get ready for the draft, his work with the bigger names in college football has been more focused on improving and developing QBs/WRs who are still in school.
Terry Shea as the Chicago Bear's OC in 2004.
A QB at Oregon from 1964-67, Terry Shea has been coaching football since he became a GA at his alma mater back in 1968.
After a litany of collegiate and pro jobs, Shea’s most recent coaching stop was as the OC at the Virginia Destroyers, a very young UFL franchise headquartered in Virginia Beach.
As of now, Shea is serving as a guru via his “Quarterback Institute” to collegiate guys preparing for the NFL draft and his list of past clients includes Robert Griffin III, Blaine Gabbert, Sam Bradford and Matthew Stafford.
As far as the 2013 bunch, Shea’s name has been connected with the preparation and/or evaluation of Tyler Wilson, Geno Smith, Matt Barkley and Collin Klein.
Shea will be 67 this summer, making him one of the older guru’s on our list.
Ryan Tannehill prepped for the 2012 NFL draft with Chris Weinke of IMG
In case you hadn’t already heard, former Florida State QB and the recipient of the
2000 Heisman Trophy, Chris Weinke, is now a full-fledged QB guru.
Weinke is a director at the IMG Madden Football Academy in Florida where he has worked with an impressive number of young collegiate gunslingers on their way to the NFL draft.
Weinke’s recent clientele list includes Ryan Tannehill, Cam Newton, Christian Ponder, Kirk Cousins, Russell Wilson and Tyler Wilson.
Though Weinke works with guys from all levels of football, he’s making a real name for himself as a guru to elite college football passers.
Matt Barkley is one of Steve Clarkson's pupils
One of the elite QB gurus on the current scene, Steve Clarkson’s “Dreammakers” development operation calls San Marino, Calif. its home base.
Though Clarkson runs a dizzying array of camps and even a middle school league, what he’s done from a one-on-one training standpoint is impressive.
Clarkson’s past/present clientele list includes Matt Cassel, Jimmy Clausen, Craig Erickson, Tommy Maddox, Josh Freeman, Matt Leinert, Jake Locker, Terrelle Pryor, Matt Barkley, Gino Torretta and Ben Roethlisberger.
Clarkson played college ball at San Jose State in the early 1980's, where he was a three-year starting QB and a two-time Academic All-American. Walking away from his collegiate career with more than just a degree, Clarkson made serious connections as his head coach at SJSU was Jack Elway (John’s father) and his OC was Dennis Erickson.
Clarkson’s pro experience is limited to a pair of campaigns in the CFL.
George Whitfield works with Cam Newton
Arguably the hottest hand in the QB guru game, George Whitfield’s clientele list reads like a who’s who of elite college football gunslingers.
Whitfield played HS ball at Massillon in Ohio (notably where Paul Brown got his head coaching start) and eventually signed on to play with Jim Tressel at Youngstown State in 1996.
Whitfield ultimately transferred to Tiffin University (also in Ohio) and got his foot in the door in coaching as a GA at Iowa and left that short-term stopover to try his luck as a QB in the Arena League.
After slowly slipping down the Arena ladder, Whitfield wound up getting into the guru biz by coaching a single fifth grader in a one-on-one setting in 2007, a successful task that got him on the long journey to guru status.
Whitfield works alongside NFL standout Warren Moon at Whitfield Athletix in San Diego, Calif. where the motto is “Your Dream. Our Mission.”
Whitfield and company have worked with Ben Roethlisberger, Tajh Boyd, E.J. Manuel, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Landry Jones, Logan Thomas, Johnny Manziel, Jarrett Lee and Braxton Miller.