NFL scouts look here, there, and everywhere for the best college quarterbacks who are ready to make it big in the league.
But with the decreasing number of pro-style offenses in the college game, top quarterback recruits now have a tough choice to make when it comes to giving their signature to a school.
The final decision of many drop-back passers involves the potential to play in the NFL one day, and furthermore, how that same school prepares its players for the next level.
While living the tough life of an Irish supporter during the Charlie Weis era, it was easy to see quarterbacks constantly being hauled in that were foaming out of the mouth for the opportunity to not only play for the NFL-experienced Weis, but also to play in the NFL-ready offense formerly at Notre Dame.
With the clock ready to start ticking in just a few weekends in New York City, Jimmy Clausen is the best recent example of a quarterback moving up draft boards due to his college offense. Playing under Weis, Clausen lived an NFL life more than he did a college one while at Notre Dame. Although it didn't translate into national championships, it will translate into a first-round draft pick and big money.
Although the trend lately has been to implement a spread offense in the college game, that doesn't mean pro-style offenses are failing. In fact, you need to look no further than the national champion to see this.
Greg McElroy may not be the most talented quarterback in the country by any means, but running a pro-style offense with success will only highlight his name in scouts' notebooks.
Put yourselves in the shoes of a five-star quarterback recruit whom desires to play in a pro-style offense that will prepare him to make a Pro Bowl one day. Where do you sign? Which coach do you want to mentor you?
The first programs that may jump to your mind may be the one at Alabama . Under a seasoned NFL coach, the Crimson Tide present a great situation for an elite gunslinger. With no disrespect to McElroy, if they had an elite quarterback under center, they may have been even more unstoppable in '09.
If it wasn't for Pete Carroll's departure, USC would be the obvious choice for any elite quarterback. Lane Kiffin will take over the program and won't change a thing. Expect the same pro-style offense with plenty of three- and five-step drops on every pass play. And because of that, expect recruits to flock to Southern California in order to be the next Matt Leinart, Mark Sanchez, or Carson Palmer.
Other big name programs known notoriously for the pro-style attack are Pittsburgh , Oregon State , Washington , Rutgers , and of course, Boise State .
There may be fewer programs sticking to the classic set that has produced so many NFL greats, but that doesn't mean they still aren't out there. It may be harder to find, but when you find the combination of the right offense and the right mentor at the same program, a monster check goes from a dream to a definite possibility in the long run.
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