Chaminade High School (West Hills, Calif.) star Brad Kaaya ranks among the most intriguing 2014 quarterback prospects in the country. The 6'4", 215-pound passer hasn't put up prolific numbers at the high school level, but his skill set may set the stage for an excellent collegiate career.
Kaaya committed to Miami in May, spurning offers from a variety of programs. Other options include USC, San Diego State and UCLA.
He is listed as the nation's No. 7 pro-style quarterback and California's No. 15 overall recruit in 247Sports composite rankings. Kaaya completed 126 passes as a junior for 1,875 yards, 13 touchdowns and two interceptions.
His statistics have jumped during the 2013 season. Through eight games, Kaaya is completing nearly 60 percent of his passes for 1,638 yards and 11 scores, according to MaxPreps.
It's difficult to define a quarterback like Kaaya, whose recruitment revolves around his high ceiling. Let's break down the film to find out where the future Hurricane excels and where room for improvement remains.
|Hometown||West Hills, Calif.|
|Size||6'4", 215 pounds|
|Ranking||No. 143 nationally, No. 7 pro-style QB, No. 15 player in California|
|Key Offers||UCLA, USC, San Diego State|
|Commitment||Miami (Aug. 13, 2013)|
Kaaya connects on a high percentage of throws, even those toward targets in traffic. He's an accurate passer, particularly within 20 yards of the pocket.
His release is a quick, fluid motion that doesn't display notable delays or hitches. Kaaya gets the ball out fast, which buys him a slight amount of time while surveying the field.
His mechanics don't erode when the pocket collapses, which is crucial to see at the high school level. Kaaya doesn't get flustered, even when a defender is quicky approaching.
He stands tall in the pocket and delivers passes while under duress several times throughout his tape. In the video still below, Kaaya is a fraction of a second away from being clobbered by a defensive lineman, but not before he zips the ball 10 yards downfield to a receiver who eventually scores on the play.
Kaaya clearly isn't an exemplary dual-threat quarterback, but he is capable of creating space with his feet. When forced to roll out, he maintains proper mechanics.
Note the video still below, as Kaaya maneuvers to his right. He continues to focus on the progress of his receivers, staying controlled above the waist.
Kaaya's penchant for keeping his shoulders square is an important trait. Too many young quarterbacks fall unto a habit of letting their fundamentals falter, but he avoids this pitfall in several cases.
His pocket presence is particularly impressive. Kaaya does an outstanding job of sticking with a play and doesn't lock onto one target too early.
Kaaya isn't asked to throw the ball deep with frequency. Many of his best highlights come off quick hits, in which he finds receivers on intermediate crossing patterns or time-based releases in the flat.
His arm appears above-average in these instances, but the ball's trajectory is occasionally too flat when he looks to locate a target from greater distances. These passes would benefit from more arc, allowing receivers to exploit space created between them and defensive backs.
At least part of this concern can be attributed to fundamental issues. As is the case with many quarterback prospects, Kaaya can forget about footwork.
It's an element you simply can't neglect.
Too often, he leaves his front foot planted in an inappropriate direction when following through with the back foot upon release. This limits potential velocity on throws and also effects accuracy.
Teenage quarterbacks tend to focus so heavily on repeating upper-body motions; they can forget how pivotal a factor footwork plays on every throw.
Many of Kaaya's completions come off simple routes. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to more intricate receiver patterns and if he can build enough speed on his throws to torch clusters of defenders in crowded secondaries.
Kaaya doesn't translate as an immediate impact player at the next level, but that doesn't mean he won't eventually claim a starting role behind center with the Hurricanes. Substantial refinement is necessary in terms of his physical approach to every throw.
From his drop-back to follow-through, college coaches will quickly dissect shortcomings and address them in an effort to get him game-ready as soon as possible. Kaaya can take time developing confidence in Miami's offensive scheme because the team isn't necessarily in dire need of a passer who can play early.
Sure, starter Stephen Morris is a senior, but there are several options behind him. Junior Ryan Williams will be in the mix to step up, as will a collection of recent Hurricane recruits.
Miami welcomed 4-star quarterback prospect Kevin Olsen with its 2013 class. 3-star prospect Gary Crow was part of the team's 2012 recruiting haul.
Kaaya is probably destined for a red-shirt 2014 season, before having an opportunity to work his way up the depth chart.