April 6, 2006

Breaking down some 2007 QBs and RBs

In "The Breakdown," veteran talent scout Randy Rodgers is analyzing film of a select group of the nation's top prospects for Rivals.com. Rodgers has more than 35 years of experience in the college recruiting arena. He was the recruiting coordinator at the University of Illinois (1988-91) and the University of Texas (1992-97) and is one of the leading authorities on high school football talent analysis in the country. In this edition, Rodgers takes a look at quarterbacks and running backs.

Stephen Garcia, 6-3, 212, Tampa (Fla.) Jefferson Video
Good size, showed good arm strength and touch on deep balls. Has a long throwing motion and a tendency to over stride when he throws. Needs work on footwork mechanics, particularly in foot placement and hip alignment. Most of his throws on tape are long balls, so it is hard to assess his velocity on medium length routes. Needs to be able to demonstrate his ability to unload quickly in face of blitz. Above average mobility, but don't see as a running threat at college level. Does a nice job finding downfield receivers when forced to flush. Would fit best in vertical passing scheme where he can use his height and arm strength.
Willy Korn, 6-2, 200, Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes Video
Verbally committed to Clemson. Appears to be very well coached in fundamentals. One of the better quarterbacks I have seen in terms of footwork and body mechanics. Sits tall in pocket, very light on his feet, keeps weight evenly distributed, able to avoid rushers and get into position to throw quickly. Smooth runner when he takes off, might not be a full 6'2, but appears to have thick enough body to absorb hits. Can run the option and zone read. Has quick release, can pull the trigger when pressured. Sees the whole field. Can throw on the run. Has enough velocity to throw into tight places. Outstanding prospect. Would fit well into any offense, but is an ideal candidate in the spread.
Keith Nichol, 6-2, 180, Lowell (Mich.) Video
Verbally committed to Michigan State. Appears tall and thin on tape, has work to do on throwing mechanics. Has tendency to over stride, opens his too much on throws to his right which has tendency to decrease velocity. In spite of that he does have pretty good velocity—particularly effective making throws between the hashes. Has good speed, can make plays when forced to run. Needs to close up footwork and continue to add strength and bulk to frame.
Tyrod Taylor, 6-1, 193, Hampton (Va.) Video
Excellent thrower, really loose arm, throws a really pretty spiral. Might not be full 6'1, because many of his throws are outside the pocket, but he is really good at throwing on the run, EITHER way. Has good footwork, keeps hips and shoulders lined up, can snap it off when pressured. I was really impressed with how the ball jumped out of his hand and how much velocity he was able to generate on the run. Size might be a factor, but this kid impresses me as a real playmaker. He is a thrower, rather than a runner.
Cameron Newton, 6-6, 230, Atlanta (Ga.) Westlake Video
Not sure if he is a full 6'6, but he is plenty big. Uses his size well to finish runs. Has a high release point, needs to improve the speed of his release, but won't get balls batted down at LOS. Not super mobile, but his size enables him to be an effective runner. Needs to increase his body rotation on throws. Puts too much air under deep balls, and would seem to have the strength to "rope" more deeper throws. Needs work on increasing the speed of his delivery. Not as advanced as some other QB's off his junior tape, but may have as much upside, because of his size and athleticism.

Running Backs
Armando Allen, 5-9, 181, Miami Lakes (Fla.) Hialeah Video
Plays some wingback, some tailback, also returns punts. Has really good lateral change of direction, very effective in the open field. Kind of a short strider, but he has good balance, good leg strength, and can run inside, not afraid to hit it up in the middle at this size. Showed some good balance on a really muddy field.. Really nice hands—on his highlight he catches and tucks a bubble screen, and makes two nice overhead grabs on vertical passes. Has tendency to run upright and needs to finish his runs better. I would see him as a combination inside receiver/punt returner early in his career, but if he can gain a little size and bulk, could be a tailback also. He does have speed.
Noel Devine, 5-8, 175, North Fort Myers (Fla.) Video
Spectacular player. Has tremendous speed and acceleration. Runs with a forward lean, has excellent balance and leg strength—several plays on his tape, where you can see him keep plays alive and burst out of a pack of tacklers. What sets him apart is his tremendous vision. Sees the cutbacks and has the strength and tremendous acceleration to blow by tacklers. Made fools out of several tacklers in open field. I was really impressed by how he pulled away from defenders on all his long touchdown runs. Didn't return kicks, but wouldn't need to. I don't think there is anyway that this kid couldn't either start or contribute for any team in the country as a true freshman.
Chris Rainey, 5-8, 160, Lakeland (Fla.) Video
Despite size, he looks like a well built, strong 160 pounds. Didn't have any breakaway runs on his tape nor did he show he could return punts or kicks. Will have to demonstrate in summer camps his actual speed, hand-catching ability, and whether he can contribute in the kicking game.
Sonny Roseborough, 5-11, 175, Pickering (La.) Video
Plays RB in a veer option offense, where most of his carries are straight ahead dives. Hits the hole very quickly, can burst into the secondary, and has very good straightline speed. Runs hard, has good balance, showed he can catch passes with his hands. Did not return kicks or punts and since he is never deep in the backfield, it is hard to assess his ability to read blocking patterns.

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