Sunday, April 11, 2010
Brissett a quick study in Orlando
By Chris Pool ESPN Recruiting
ORLANDO, Fla. -- This past weekend, the Steve Clarkson Dreammaker tour hit the Sunshine State. The sun, however, wasn't the only thing shining. The top quarterback talent Florida and other states brought was on display, and the on-field talent was a sight to behold.
"There's a lot of raw talent here," said Anton Clarkson, the son of quarterback guru Steve Clarkson. "Overall this group of kids we've got here today is the most raw we've had on tour but it's also a group with the most upside.
"There are a couple of quarterbacks that have really stood out to me and my coaches. Teddy Bridgewater and Kevin Sousa. Both of these young men have a huge upside."
Bridgewater (Miami/Northwestern) and Sousa (Orlando, Fla./Lake Nona) are tremendous-looking quarterbacks, but the signal-caller who stood out heads and tails above his peers today in my eyes was Jacoby Brissett (West Palm Beach, Fla./Dwyer). Brissett showed fluid footwork, a nice release and a strong arm. He was also very coachable and took everything in from the experts on hand.
Kevin Sousa has a cannon for an arm.
"This camp has been great for me," Brissett said. "It's been an honor to be here and an honor to get invited. I'm having a great time out here working out with all the other quarterbacks that I've read about. It's nice to be able to meet the other guys and make new friendships."
Brissett is taking his time with the recruiting process. A fact that is evident with his reluctance to name any leaders for his services.
"I have a lot of offers right now," Brissett said. "Boston College, West Virginia, Marshall, Minnesota, Central Florida, Rutgers, Wisconsin, Florida State, Miami Fla. and Florida have verbally offered. I don't have a leader right now. I'm completely open. I'm thankful to all the schools that have thought enough of me to offer so right now I'm not naming leaders."
Kevin Sousa, for all of you movie aficionados, was being compared to character Nuke LaLoosh -- played by Tim Robbins in "Bull Durham." LaLoosh had a blazing fastball, but he never knew where the ball was going once it left his hand. Sousa, according to the scouting report I received before the camp, was cut from the same cloth.
"Kevin has a strong arm and a ton of upside," Anton Clarkson said. "I'd like to work with him for three weeks. He's a special talent for sure."
Sousa was definitely one of the more gifted quarterbacks at the camp. He knows that he has much to prove to the college coaches who are deciding whether or not to offer him a scholarship.
"FIU, FAU and Central Florida have all offered me," Sousa said. "I'm getting a lot of personal correspondence from a lot of other schools. I've visited Florida recently. I've been talking with Texas Tech on the phone. The bottom line for me is that I have to show the coaches what I can during spring ball. A lot of schools said they want to come watch me throw before they offer a scholarship."
Bridgewater was the steadiest and the most ready quarterback in Orlando. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound gunslinger had an outstanding showing. Bridgewater showed the ability to make every throw on the field. He did so with a stiff wind in his face for most of the day.
"This Dreammaker camp has been great," Bridgewater said. "I've learned a lot from all the coaches and it's definitely one of the best camps I've been to. The talent out here is so good that you can't even describe it. Things started out slow for me today because of all the travel I've been doing but I finally got with it."
Bridgewater, who threw for 2,500 yards and 32 touchdowns in '09, says there are a few schools that have climbed to the top of his wish list.
"Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, LSU, Miami, Kansas State, South Florida, Marshall and Rutgers have all offered me," Bridgewater said.
"I grew up a Florida Gators fan but three other schools that are at the top of my list right now are Alabama, LSU and Miami. If USC offers, they'll be up there, as well."
Here are a few other signal-callers who made a positive impression on Saturday.
Stephen Weatherford (Land O'Lakes, Fla./Land O' Lakes):
The brother of former Florida State quarterback Drew Weatherford says he wants to leave the state of Florida to play his college football. Boston College is his current leader.
Quentin Williams (Tampa Fla./Jefferson): Williams led the state of Florida in passing yards and had 35 touchdown passes in 2009.
Shaun White (Pensacola, Fla./Catholic): White is a strong-armed quarterback who will be definitely worth a trip for college coaches this spring.
Steven Hughes (Melbourne, Fla./Palm Bay): An all-state selection in 2009, Hughes proved he belongs with the big boys.
Chris Pool has covered recruiting in Chicago and the Midwest for 15 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.