Monday, March 8, 2010
Lesser-known players shine in Dallas
By Tom Luginbill
DALLAS -- A look at the top performers from the Steve Clarkson Dreammaker Tour stop this weekend.
J.W.Walsh (Denton, Texas/Guyer)
It can be difficult to appreciate Walsh's gunslinging style in a workout setting because you cannot simulate instincts that react to pressure quite like game conditions. But watching his live arm and quick delivery, it's easy to see why he has garnered such early interest. Walsh, an Oklahoma State commit, operates in an offensive scheme that employs snaps from under center as well as out of the shotgun and Walsh's feet and athleticism are evident in his drops both in the three- and five-step game. The ball really comes out quickly and with nice snap off the wrist. When his feet are set, he is capable of making all the necessary throws you want at the next level.
At times during the event, he could be very tense in the upper body which gave him a bit of a robotic appearance, but this is not what he shows on tape. He is athletic, can throw on the move very nicely to either side and in drills that involved adjusting, avoiding and making plays on the move, he appeared to be at his best and in a comfort zone. Walsh doesn't possess ideal height, but he is sturdy and wiry in his frame with good strength.
Brandon Allen (Fayetteville, Ark./Fayetteville)
For a player who plays in a shotgun heavy scheme, Allen's footwork from center was far better in this setting than what we have seen on junior film. He is a deceptively adequate athlete in terms of being light on his feet and displayed much quicker drop speed than what we had seen of him to this point. On appearance alone you would think Allen, an Arkansas commit, is a pure pocket passer which is what his strength is, but there is a little more to him.
The thing that stands out about Allen is his smooth delivery -- it is compact and consistent. He is capable of getting back, set and throwing the ball to a spot in a deliberate manner. He displays zip and touch at the same time and throws to intermediate and deep areas of the field when he is balanced are very smooth and catchable. Allen needs to be in a scheme based on timing and getting the ball out with quick progression reads and Bobby Petrino's scheme provides that environment.
Preston Dewey (Austin, Texas/Westlake)
Dewey without question was one of the most intriguing prospects on hand Saturday, especially considering he does not hold any offers yet, not even from non-BCS conference schools, and probably should. He stands at just under 6-foot-2 with a wiry frame, allowing plenty of room for added bulk. The question mark for Dewey is always going to be arm strength, but he is a really sound kid fundamentally. From drops to footwork to release point to timing, Dewey does many things very well and is extremely consistent in terms of overall mechanics. The ball comes out quick and smooth and drop depth from center and balance in his set up is very good. He is just good enough of an athlete to get out of trouble, but is essentially a pocket passer.
Dewey would be an ideal fit in the shotgun spread, dink-and-dunk scheme where his accuracy could be accentuated and his lack of ideal arm strength could be masked. He is a prospect who should and likely will be drawing interest in the fall and an FCS program would be really excited to land him in our opinion.
Dustin Walton (Raton, N.M./Raton)
Walton really held his own on Saturday and as a pocket passer, he got better and better as the day went on. He is a prospect with size, more than adequate arm strength and zip, and while he needs to be in a pro-style offense to truly flourish he is certainly a prospect worth tracking through the fall. He reminds us a bit of Andrew Manley from Hawaii in the 2010 class. He may not be quite the same athlete, but he can make all the same throws. With further work he has a chance to sharpen his throwing mechanics and become an even more attractive option.
Pete Maetzold (Friendswood, Texas/Friendswood)
The surfer-looking QB with his bright blond curly locks, Maetzold has got some riverboat gambler to him and the more you watch him, the more you like him. He is crafty, athletic and gets rid of the ball quickly. He was very good in all drills involving movement, re-directing and having to throw outside of the pocket. He is quick and decisive in his drops and can pull up quickly and get the ball out. He is the type of player who is good enough to move the launch point because he can throw on the move well, but also would be a run/pass threat. Another 6-foot guy, but in the shotgun spread, those guys can succeed if they can get the ball out and have good feet.
Other prospects of note:
• Driphus Jackson (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill): Surprisingly good passer. A terrific athlete who will likely be a safety.
• Grant Peterson (Austin, Texas/Westwood): Great size, looks terrific on the hoof, but likely a tight end at the next level.
• Jordy Albert (Tulsa, Okla./Booker T. Washington): Terrific arm, quick release and good size. Can be mechanically inconsistent, but will flash some impressive stuff.
Tom Luginbill is the national recruiting director for ESPN Recruiting.