Where the Top 10 Uncommitted Quarterback Recruits Should Go
Lost in the constant back-and-forth over where a recruit will end up is the issue of where they actually should end up.
From the most objective standpoint, in what system will these quarterbacks really excel? At what program will they feel most comfortable?
I don't know the first thing about how these recruits actually feel about the schools they visit, aside from what they say interviews.
But based on what I see in their skill sets and what I hear are their goals as players—combined with what I know about the interested parties—I'm certainly not above guessing.
Here are my "strong" suggestions for where 2011's top uncommitted quarterbacks should go. I've included video so you can check them out yourself and see if you agree.
In trying to decide what program the top 10 QBs should commit to, I tried to imagine what past college QBs they resemble.
I have to say it: Cardale Jones looks like Vince Young circa 2005. He's got uncanny pocket confidence and a gun for an arm, and he's accurate to boot. Plus, there's just something about the way that he scrambles—call it the cut of his jib—that resembles VY in his zone-reading prime.
He has about the same body type (6'5", 217 lbs) as Young, plus a decorated pedigree at one of the most consistent and successful high school programs in Ohio (Glenville).
So should he go to Texas?
Nah, Texas isn't running the zone-read anymore. And though Michigan and West Virginia would be great fits, they have at least two quarterbacks on each of their rosters (Tate Forcier and Devin Gardner at Michigan, Geno Smith and Barry Brunetti at WVU) that might unnecessarily keep him on the bench.
Illinois has offered, and even though right now it's a pretty busted program, I think they'd be Cardale's best bet.
At this point, Ron Zook's head is spinning so bad that he's open to whatever plays players want to run, as long as they don't end in interceptions.
Jones' profound skill could singlehandedly make the Illini a contender like they were during their 2007 Rose Bowl year. The depth chart is favorable and the crowds at Memorial Stadium aren't half bad. As long as they get some receivers, I'll give the Illini my tentative endorsement.
Where he should go: Illinois
Where he will go: Ohio State (sigh)
Max Wittek's recruitment has really taken off since the Top 10 2011 QB Recruits article ran almost a month ago. He recently reached the major milestone for all true Cali kids when he received the state's two most coveted offers: USC and UCLA.
Wittek is also receiving buzz from all the way across the country. South Carolina and Clemson also made offers to the self-proclaimed pro-style QB.
Considering his high school (Mater Dei, Matt Barkley's alma mater), his roots, and his style of play, it would be easy to say Wittek is USC's prospect to lose. But I don't like the depth chart for the Trojans, and Wittek shouldn't either.
After Matt Barkley departs, presumably, as a junior, 2010 QB commit Jesse Scroggins should be next in line. He'd have one more year in the system and as much recruiting hype as Wittek has, Scroggins has more.
Nor can Wittek count on getting the job once Scroggins leaves. This is USC, and they're never left wanting for five-star freshman quarterbacks.
I'm all about competition, but enrolling at a school where you're guaranteed to wait two years without any guarantees you'll crack the lineup after that is not something a player of Wittek's caliber should bother with.
Doing so risks falling into an Aaron Corp-type situation, where the older, more polished QB gets passed over for the starting job by the young upstart with "the potential."
Unless Wittek wants to avoid a messy transfer situation, he should go where he's more needed. I'm picturing a place like Cal or UCLA or Oregon State on the West coast, or even South Carolina, where he can expect to play early and compete for the starting job right off the bat.
Yes, I know, the Matt Cassel example is a good one. But no kid should go to college fearing he might ride the bench until he hits the NFL, least of all a player like Wittek.
Where he should go: anywhere but USC
Where he will go: USC. Even I can be realistic sometimes.
It'll be up to ATH Darius Jennings to decide whether he wants to play quarterback or wide receiver in college.
The 5'11'', 185 lbs athlete has offers from around the country, but most programs are looking at him as a Wildcat QB or wideout only.
(And with good reason—check out how fast he looks in the Wildcat package in the clip below).
The offers are there from programs like Michigan, Virginia and Illinois to try out at quarterback, even if a switch to receiver is likely.
But for Jennings, I actually like the Ole Miss Rebels. Houston Nutt brought the Wildcat/Wing T formation back to college football, and he's one of the more innovative offensive minds for QB/ATHs like Jennings.
The Rebels have offered and are recruiting him heavily.
I think they can do the most with his talent, integrating him into the offense like they did with Dexter McCluster near the end of the most recent season.
Where he should go: Ole Miss
Where he will go: umm...Ohio State?
To be honest, I've watched a few different interviews with Braxton Miller, and I don't know if he even knows where he should go.
Is he trying to become a complete quarterback, like Terrelle Pryor did when he chose the Buckeyes and Jim Tressel? Or does he want to lean on his athleticism and speed to beat defenses, with only minimal gains in his passing talent? Is it just about winning, or growing?
I'm sure he wants all of the above, but the differences between, say, the offense the Buckeyes run, and the offenses Alabama and Florida run, is pretty profound.
While I feel the Tide would stress Miller's passing abilities almost to the exclusion of his athleticism, and Florida's system would lean on his wheels too heavily, Tressel's system toes the line between the two extremes just enough to get the most out of athletic quarterback without sacrificing too much.
In other words, the athleticism of his quarterback is always a threat, but never a facet, of the game plan.
Obviously, for the potential No. 1 recruit, playing time is a concern, which makes the razor-thin QB depth chart in Columbus look especially good. But I think more than playing time and in-state proximity are at work here.
Miller's wait-and-see approach makes any speculation hasty. But if my suspicions are correct, he knows about as much as we do right now. Once he bears witness to Pryor's maturation next year, the right decision should be clear.
Where he should go: Ohio State
Where he will go: Ohio State
I said it in my initial assessment of CJ Uzomah, and I'll say it again—I hope he ends up at Georgia Tech.
He's got a strong arm and can throw it deep with a flick of the wrist, but his strong suit is tucking the ball and plowing some defenders.
He's big (6'5", 230), durable, and has deceptive speed. He's also pretty well-spoken and respectful, which belies intelligence. All are traits that will help in the synchronized, smash mouth triple option.
According to Rivals, the Yellow Jackets still have yet to offer, but Uzomah did drop in to the GT campus for an unofficial visit. The interest is there.
However in the brief video I watched, the Suwannee, Georgia native only mentioned Alabama and Clemson (although the Tide are offering him as a wide receiver).
I wouldn't make too much of that—he'd just won an exciting game and wasn't in a comprehensive mood. If he goes where his talents would be used best, Atlanta will be his destination after Signing Day.
Where he should go: Georgia Tech
Where he will go: Georgia Tech
Christian Lemay is the most technically sound quarterback in this class (just watch the below video), with an added bonus of athleticism. The best way I've seen it put is he is a "true QB with wheels."
As such, he'll probably be looking for a pro-style quarterbacking system with a favorable depth chart in which he's in position for the starting job (he's already planning on graduating and enrolling early at wherever he decides).
Scanning his final top 10 list of Florida, Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Oklahoma, Miami (FL), Mississippi State, Florida State, Virginia Tech and North Carolina, a few names jump out.
I like Miami because of ex-NFL offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, who could hone Lemay on the play-action and surround him with athletic receivers. Plus, the Canes will probably be needing a starting QB after this year. I'll bet Miami is a finalist once the next cut is made.
I like Florida State for a similar reason. Technically sound, pro-style-type offense with an up-and-coming coach at a program that looks to be turning the corner. Their so-so tradition with developing quarterbacks is a red flag, but Lemay would come in better prepared than most of their previous recruits.
Virginia Tech is another school with a favorable depth chart and some experience with athletically gifted quarterbacks who were underrated passers. I don't know if they're the sexiest program on the list, but they'd have a lot to offer in the way of stability, tradition and early playing time.
UNC already has two great quarterbacks in redshirt freshman Bryn Renner and 2011 commit Everett Golson. Otherwise, they also could be a great fit, and they're the hometown favorite.
I also like Clemson and Alabama. Limited competition on the QB depth chart, and good pro-style systems at both.
Like a lot of things associated with Lemay, it's a toss-up. I'll go my typical route, too, and pick a nonsensical shocker.
Where he should go: Virginia Tech
Where he will go: ???
Tyrone Johnson is a new face in 2011 recruiting whose name must have popped up on Scout/Rivals' radar in the past few weeks.
Neither recruiting service reports any offers, but Scout lists the Plainfield, New Jersey prospect as an early contender for four stars and one of the top 10 QBs in the class.
His sophomore film (below) did look pretty good—another athletic QB with a big arm who throws well on the run—but he's very thin. And here's the kicker—he might choose basketball over football.
I'm going off very little here, but what you typically see in these situations is that a recruit responds well to the sudden attention and at least reconsiders what sport he envisions playing, even if another sport is closer to his heart.
I'll bet programs like Penn State, Rutgers and West Virginia jump on him like mad in the next few weeks.
He attended a 7-on-7 at Rutgers, and truth be told, the Scarlet Knights look way ahead of the pack on this one.
Johnson's exciting athleticism would bring another element to the Knights' offense, and he'd be able to redshirt and get stronger behind starter Tom Savage for a few years. I'd say they're the team to beat.
Where he should go: Rutgers
Where he will go: Rutgers
It's hard not to see Teddy Bridgewater committing to Miami, considering he was the successor to Jacory Harris at Northwestern High School and the Canes are high on his list.
But I think the Florida Gators are actually Teddy's better bet. He's a much better athlete on his feet than Harris is, and could be as much or more of a running threat than Tim Tebow to really take off in Florida's option attack.
At Miami, Bridgewater's athletic gifts would be lost as the strictures of the pro-style attack kept him in the pocket (although, to be fair, he does throw well on the run, a must-have in Mark Whipple's play-action game).
From a logistical perspective, Bridgewater would enter Gainesville during John Brantley's senior year and have the opportunity to redshirt, gain some weight and learn the Gators' system before taking over as a RS freshman.
And he's got a pretty decent arm, maybe a little better than Tebow's as a recruit. He could bring balance to the Force.
Aside from the rich getting richer, I can't think of a good reason why he shouldn't go Gator.
Where he should go: Florida
Where he will go: Toss-up between UF and UM
With Boehm, we're getting into territory that's a little less immediate-impact and a little more redshirt-friendly.
I mean, at Northwestern, Kyle Boehm could start early (and the Wildcats have offered). But at USC, he'd probably need a little time.
The San Jose native is listed as a pro-style QB, but his numbers suggest that he's not a bad prospect on the ground, and his film backs that up.
He has a strong upper body and a quick delivery with the ball, with pretty good accuracy on deep balls. And he's got pretty good "escapability" out of pocket.
Cal and Washington are perhaps the two most decorated schools that have offered, but Boehm has said his recruitment is in no hurry.
I could see him being very successful for the Golden Bears. He has a prototypical NFL build Jeff Tedford could work with, and a confident, decisive presence in the pocket the Bears have been missing since Aaron Rodgers (and may still not have even after this year).
His patience suggests he's waiting on bigger offers, so its presumptive to guess, but I will anyway.
Where he should go: Cal
Where he will go: Maybe UCLA?
I originally liked Auburn for the athletic and gifted Kiehl Frazier. But I can't think of a good reason he shouldn't stay in-state and play for the Arkansas Razorbacks.
a) Bobby Petrino is a gifted quarterbacks coach, evidenced by the maturation of players like Brian Brohm and Ryan Mallett.
b) Arkansas' system would be ideal for the big-bodied Frazier, who resembles Mallett in arm strength and pocket poise.
And c), With Mallett most likely departing after this year, the depth chart would be favorable (assuming Frazier would be able to beat out 2011 commit Brandon Allen, also no slouch as a QB recruit).
Frazier is a gifted athlete on the ground, but his above-average passing talents favor a vertical passing game over a more balanced dual-threat system like the one Gus Malzahn will (conceivably) be running at Auburn.
And there's more money to be made as a passer in the pros—which I'm sure Ol' Petrino will be eager to mention.
Where he should go: Arkansas
Where he will go: Toss-up between Arkansas and Auburn