Monday, June 7, 2010
Updated: June 9, 11:15 AM ET
Class of 2011 QBs top-heavy
By Tom Luginbill
The quarterback position is often scrutinized more than any other position in the evaluation process. It's just the nature of the position because all eyes always fall on the QB. For the second year in a row, we have, at times, been somewhat underwhelmed by the position as a whole. In the Class of 2011, there is a distinct difference between the top five to seven prospects and everyone else right now.
While quarterbacks in the 2011 class may lack depth from top to bottom, the guys at the top are pretty darn good. But as talented as those players are, all of these quarterbacks would really benefit from not having to play right away and redshirting in the fall of 2011.
Also, this doesn't mean there are not quality prospects sitting outside of the ESPNU 150, but those prospects need far more fine-tuning and refinement than the nine prospects who have made an appearance in the initial release of the 150.
Overall, there were no five-star QBs, and only 16 earned a four-star rating, with many being toward the bottom end of the scale.
Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty)
Ht.: 6-4 | Wt.: 224 pounds | Stars: 4 | QB rank: 1 | ESPNU 150 rank: 14
Driskel offers the best combination of physical tools of anyone in the group. Plus, he's a surprisingly deceptive athlete with 4.55 speed. He could be this year's version of Jake Locker (now at Washington), only taller and maybe a little further along as a passer entering college. He does not play on an overly strong team so it is important to track his intangibles, but few prospects possess the physical tools Driskel does.
Braxton Miller (Huber Heights, Ohio/Wayne)
Ht.: 6-2 | Wt.: 185 pounds | Stars: 4 | QB rank: 2 | ESPNU 150 rank: 16
College: Ohio State
What Miller may lack in ideal height he makes up for with a live arm, quick delivery and supreme athleticism. But don't fool yourself -- he is not just an athlete playing as a dual-threat QB. Miller is one of the better passers in the class with the arm to make all the throws, both from within the pocket and on the move, especially when throwing off-balance. The spread offense obviously enhances his tools, but in the right scheme Miller can be just as effective in the pocket and from under center.
Christian LeMay (Matthews, N.C./Butler)
Ht.: 6-2 | Wt.: 195 pounds | Stars: 4 | QB rank: 3 | ESPNU 150 rank: 28
Release, release, release. Coaches can't coach it, but coaches covet it and LeMay has it. The ball jumps off his hand with zip and fluidity in his motion. Like Miller, LeMay has just average height, but he also has experience working from under center, which is very important in terms of footwork and timing. After having thrown just two interceptions as a junior, LeMay's stock soared considerably and deservedly so. He is a good athlete and smooth passer.
Kiehl Frazier (Springdale, Ark/Shiloh Christian)
Ht.: 6-2 | Wt.: 210 pounds | Stars: 4 | QB rank: 4 | ESPNU 150 rank: 39
Frazier may be the one player in this group with the highest ceiling for development as a passer. The measurables and athleticism are abundantly present for this dual-threat QB, and he chose the right school with the right offense (Auburn) to help enhance his physical tools. He has a big arm and is still developing as a passer. His ability to create, keep a play alive and make things happen with his legs is on par with Miller.
Brett Hundley (Chandler, Ariz./Chandler)
Ht.: 6-3 | Wt.: 210 pounds | Stars: 4 | QB rank: 5 | ESPNU 150 rank: 61
Hundley and Frazier are very similar to each other in many ways -- size, arm strength, running ability and keeping a play alive. Hundley has the look of a Donovan McNabb and a big arm. He throws very well on the move and is a physical, tough runner when he tucks the ball. His stock keeps rising and should continue to do so in the coming months.
The rest of the pack
• Four-star Bubba Starling (Gardner, Kan./Edgerton) is big, strong, fast and raw. He could be used in a Tim Tebow-like way, so it is easy to see why he is garnering attention. He is also a major baseball prospect.
• Teddy Bridgewater (Miami/Northwestern) is perhaps the most exciting dual-threat QB in the class, but he can also be the most unpredictable and risky. The four-star player is tall (6-2, 179 pounds) and athletic, and he could also play another position. When he gets hot, this street-ball player can be tough to stop.
• Jerrard Randall (Hollywood, Fla./Chaminade-Madonna Prep) has one of the best arms in the class and is also an exciting athlete. While he is on the shorter side (6-1), the four-star Randall has picked up serious steam the past few months.
• Kendal Thompson (Moore, Okla./Southmoore) may have a quirky delivery, but the end result sure is positive. The four-star QB is one of the few lefties we have seen who does not have a long, wind-up release.
On the outside looking in
A few quarterbacks who sit outside of the ESPNU 150 right now but are worth keeping an eye on this season: Max Wittek (Corona Del Mar, Calif./Mater Dei), J.W. Walsh (Denton, Texas/Guyer), David Ash (Belton, Texas), Marquise Williams (Charlotte, N.C./Mallard Creek), Patrick Coyne (Hamilton, Ohio/Badin).
Tom Luginbill is ESPN's national director of football recruiting.