Wisconsin Football: Analyzing the Commitment of Dual-Threat QB D.J. Gillins
Wisconsin football head coach Gary Andersen has already successfully recruited three quarterbacks during his short time with the Badgers. Two of them are of the dual-threat variety,
On July 8, D.J. Gillins, a 4-star quarterback and the No. 3 dual-threat QB from the class of 2014 according to 247sports, officially committed to the University of Wisconsin. Arizona and Boston College were also in the running for Gillins' services.
It's the first quarterback Andersen locked down from the 2014 class and 11th player overall, but Gillins may very well be the most prized recruit thus far among high school players entering their senior season.
There's a catch—Gillins missed the entire 2012 season after tearing his ACL.
While this is certainly a bit of a concern for Andersen and Co. at Wisconsin, it makes the 4-star ranking of Gillins even more impressive, and could mean Gillins becomes even more valued following his senior season at Ribault High School in Jacksonville.
In his sophomore season prior to his unfortunate knee injury, Gillins threw for 2,667 yards, 31 touchdowns and 7 interceptions to go with a 57.7 completion percentage. While he is listed as a dual-threat QB, Gillins only rushed 78 times for 173 yards and 5 touchdowns, and there have to be even more questions regarding his mobility following the ACL tear.
It's also difficult to fairly evaluate Gillins, as far as recruiting goes, when he missed the most important season of his high school career .
The measurables all seem to be there with Gillins. He has good height for a quarterback (6'3") and has the frame to put on some more weight, which is good considering he only weighs in at 185 pounds. While he's lean, he still has strength to go along with his quickness and mobility.
As far as Gillins' skill set, scouting reports indicate that he needs to improve his accuracy, which is also evident by his lackluster completion percentage from his sophomore season. The arm strength and touch seem to be there, but it's the mechanics and delivery that need to be fine-tuned, something Gillins still has a year left to work on in high school (ESPN scouting report).
Since Gillins hasn't played since 2011, his 4-star rating is largely based on projections—what Gillins could eventually become at the college level.
When will Gillins become a starter at Wisconsin?
Clearly, Andersen has a thing for dual-threat quarterbacks. In his final season at Utah State, it was Chuckie Keeton under center. Then, one of Andersen's first commits after taking the job at Wisconsin was junior college recruit Tanner McEvoy, who figures to get a shot at starting for the Badgers this season.
Andersen's lone class of 2015 commit is also a quarterback—Austin Kafentzis out of Sandy, Utah, Andersen’s home state—although he is considered to be a pocket passer.
Either way, the commitment of Gillins is a big one for Andersen and Wisconsin, and is the third consensus 4-star recruit to join the Badgers from the 2014 class.
His commitment could further support the belief that McEvoy will start in his inaugural season with Wisconsin as a fellow dual-threat quarterback. Currently, McEvoy is the only quarterback on the roster that Andersen recruited.
It's bad news for a guy like Joel Stave, who, like McEvoy, still has three years of eligibility remaining. Stave may be more proven at the position, but Andersen's desire to implement a read-option trends toward McEvoy eventually earning the starting job.
For now, Wisconsin will hope for a healthy senior season from Gillins. Will his mobility remain unchanged? Can he improve areas of weakness or at least return to where he was prior to his ACL tear?
Those are just a few questions to keep in mind, but one question has certainly been answered before Andersen even coached a game at the University of Wisconsin—the guy can recruit.
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