2014 Quarterback Recruits Who Can Run the Read-Option
Florida commit Will Grier is an explosive threat out of the backfield.
The read-option offensive attack has had an indelible impact on collegiate football. Its success and effect has steadily trickled into the NFL, as coaches continuously search for any edge.
Stability at the quarterback position is paramount in the effort to develop and sustain an efficient read-option approach. Here's a peek at 2014 passers capable of shouldering the load of orchestrating the game's hottest offensive innovation.
4-Star Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas)
Denton Guyer quarterback Jerrod Heard has cemented himself as one of the nation's most effective dual-threat playmakers. He's a Texas high school icon after accounting for seven scores in the 2012 state championship matchup, and he continues to be dominant this year.
Heard, a 6'2.5", 190-pound prospect, committed to Texas prior to his junior season. He's in line to quickly take over a Longhorns offense predicated on the quarterback's ability to inflict damage in multiple facets.
Vince Young and Colt McCoy became national superstars and Heisman Trophy candidates while suiting up in Austin. Heard could be the man to rejuvenate Texas' attack.
As a junior, he tallied more than 2,000 yards through the air and on the ground, per 247Sports. Heard threw for 17 scores and added 35 rushing touchdowns.
Heard is an outstanding runner who looks comfortable in the pocket. He's a decisive and instinctual quarterback who won't require substantial refinement at the next level.
Aside from Texas, Heard also warranted offers from LSU, Baylor, Arizona State, Nebraska and Ohio State.
5-Star Will Grier (Davidson, N.C.)
Perhaps it's his prolific passing numbers, but Will Grier gets overlooked as a rusher. The 6'3", 180-pound Davidson Day quarterback is perfectly suited for a read-option scheme, which he'll see plenty of when he arrives in Gainesville next year.
Grier, who committed to the Florida Gators, spurned offers from Arkansas, Auburn, North Carolina and Tennessee. He is one of three 5-star quarterback prospects in 247Sports Composite Rankings.
Since the start of his sophomore season, Grier has thrown for 168 touchdown passes and more than 12,000 yards. His mind-numbing numbers become more impressive when you add his accomplishments on the ground.
During the same three-season span, Grier has rushed for 27 scores and more than 2,700 yards. That's about 15,000 total yards and 195 total touchdowns with games still remaining in his senior season.
Grier is a heady player ready to take college football by storm.
4-Star Rafe Peavey (Bolivar, Mo.)
Rafe Peavey is busy leading unbeaten Bolivar this fall, but he's ready to make an impact in the college game. The 6'2", 212-pound passer is a strong rusher and dynamic passer.
He tallied 31 total touchdowns as a junior while tossing just three interceptions. Peavey has terrific pocket presence and displays patience under duress.
His greatest attribute is an ability to improvise and find space. Those tools will come in handy at Arkansas, the team he committed to prior to his junior season.
Peavey fits the mold of the kind of quarterback first-year Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema prefers. Although he committed to Arkansas before Bielema's hiring, it's a marriage that makes sense.
Option-heavy squads Georgia Tech and Arizona were among his other offers.
4-Star William Crest (Baltimore, Md.)
Baltimore product William Crest will encounter a wide-open offensive attack at West Virginia. The 6'2.5", 190-pound quarterback leads Dunbar High School and has proven to be an effective playmaker in a variety of offensive approaches.
Crest, who claimed state championships as a sophomore and junior, is perfectly content as a pocket passer. He uses solid judgment while surveying the field and shows excellent footwork.
Although he typically only uses his legs as an escape tactic, Crest is an excellent runner in the open field. More important, he is a smart runner.
Crest searches for blocks in the open field and runs with a purpose. He's also been exposed to several schemes at the high school level.
"We run a multiple scheme as we call it," Crest told Todderick Hunt of NJ.com. "We have different types of weapons, different types of athletes who can run certain plays. We have certain packages for different people. We go underneath, we go shotgun, we go spread and sometimes we run out of the wildcat. But I'm under center 85 percent of the time."
He also fielded offers from Ohio State, Rutgers, Virginia Tech and Maryland.
4-Star Brad Kaaya (West Hills, Calif.)
Chaminade Prep quarterback Brad Kaaya flourishes in a quick-hit read-option setting. The 6'4", 215-pound prospect plays mistake-free, with 28 touchdown passes and just five interceptions in his past two seasons, per MaxPreps.
Kaaya usually gets the ball out of his hands in a matter of moments, displaying an extremely quick release. His footwork still needs refinement, but he is clearly in command of the offense.
His mobility is excellent, although he is not a burner. Kaaya becomes a dangerous dual-threat near the goal line.
He committed to Miami in May. Aside from the Hurricanes, he holds offers from USC, UCLA and San Diego State.
Kaaya qualifies as a high-ceiling prospect, and a read-option scheme is perfectly suitable for his skill set.
4-Star Deshaun Watson (Gainesville, Ga.)
Deshaun Watson has spent his entire high school career dismantling opponents. The Gainesville quarterback established a Georgia state record for career passing yards during his junior season and is extremely accurate.
He accounted for 74 total touchdowns as a junior (50 passing) while throwing just eight interceptions. Watson rushed for more than 1,000 yards during both his sophomore and junior seasons.
The 6'3", 200-pound passer is an intelligent signal-caller. He does an exemplary job of identifying pre-snap reads and capitalizing on them.
He maintains fundamental soundness throughout the passing process and extends plays with regularity.
Watson is committed to Clemson. He also holds offers from Georgia, Ohio State, Auburn, Miami and Florida State.