There was serious movement Friday afternoon with quarterback recruiting for the 2014 cycle nationally as three major targets for multiple programs gave verbal commitments.
Georgia landed Top247 quarterback Jacob Park on Friday, ending a stellar week on the recruiting trail for the Dawgs.
Fast-rising Top247 quarterback Jacob Park (Goose Creek, S.C./Stratford), as expected, committed to Georgia Friday over Alabama and Virginia Tech, after an impressive showing at the Bulldogs’ camp last week earned him an offer from offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and head coach Mark Richt.
Park is the No. 9 pro-style quarterback prospect in the 2014 class according to the recruiting industry-generated 247Composite rankings. The Elite 11 selection is expected to ascend in the 247Sports prospect rankings in the coming weeks after stellar showings throughout the spring and early summer at various events. Park appeared to be bound for Blacksburg until camping at the two SEC programs this month and both ratcheting up interest.
Georgia is now No. 11 in the 247Sports Class of 2014 team football recruiting rankings.
After what seemed like some waiting and decision-making, Alabama received a verbal commitment from five-star quarterback David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./North) shortly after Park’s announcement. Cornwell is the No. 3 pro-style quarterback prospect nationally according to 247Composite and picked the Crimson Tide over Virginia Tech, Tennessee and others. The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder, who has as much upside as any prospect in the country, is a little different than previous Crimson Tide quarterback commits in that he not only has great size, but can run. There is little doubt that with the right development, he can be special.
With Cornwell in the fold, Alabama surged to No. 6 in the 247Sports team rankings.
And while it won’t be talked about as much, perhaps the most significant quarterback commit on Friday was three-star Zack Darlington (Apopka, Fla.) committing to Nebraska. The 6-foot-2, 207-pounder, the No. 11 dual-threat quarterback for 2014 according to 247Composite, is an excellent fit for the Cornhuskers offense. The coaches son has the ability to make every throw, but also has the wheels to succeed in the Nebraska offensive system. Ohio State and other programs offered and recruited Darlington.
The Cornhuskers are inching up in the Big Ten team rankings for 2014. With only five commits, they rank ninth.
Quick note- 247Sports National Scouting Director Gerry Hamilton first saw Darlington at an Under Armour Combine two years ago in Florida and I can't begin to tell you how high he was on Darlington's potential, even at that early stage.
Don't underestimate the significance of Nebraska landing Zack Darlington.
South Florida also got big news on the quarterback recruiting front Friday (perhaps because of Alabama taking Cornwell) as four-star signal caller Quinton Flowers (Miami, Fla./Jackson) pledged to the Bulls on Friday afternoon. Jackson has an excellent arm and sterling athleticism. There is little doubt he has the potential to be special and is the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the 2014 class according to 247Composite.
The Bulls now have a top 50 class, moving to No. 46 in the 247Sports team rankings.
-Elijah Staley (Marietta, Ga./Wheeler) got this started by committing to Mississippi State last evening. The 6-foot-6 athlete has the potential to do a lot of damage within the Bulldogs' scheme.
What is Next?
-It’s a three-way battle for the nation’s top dual-threat quarterback (247Sports), Brandon Harris (Bossier City, La./Parkway) with LSU, Auburn and Ohio State all battling for his services. The Buckeyes are legitimate threats to land him, but many believe he ends up in the Southeastern Conference when all is said and done.
-The top pro-style quarterback prospect in the 2014 class according to 247Composite, Keller Chryst (Palo Alto, Calif.), has not yet committed. Most familiar with his recruitment believe he ends up staying close to home and playing for Stanford. Sources confirmed this week that the Cardinal feels good about its chances.
Virginia Tech could turn its attention to four-star Andrew Ford after missing out on Cornwell and Park.
-With Virginia Tech missing out on Park and Cornwell, the Hokies could potentially make a move on four-star (247Sports) Andrew Ford (Camp Hill, Pa./Cedar Cliff), who impressed at their camp earlier this month. Ford is an Elite 11 selection who is undervalued. Ford currently ranks as the No. 15 pro-style quarterback nationally according to 247Composite.
-Top247 quarterback D.J. Gillins (Jacksonville, Fla./Ribault) is camping at various schools this week, including Louisville. It will be interesting to see if more programs jump in as the dominoes really start to fall. The Cardinals could be tough to beat if they pushed, but are they taking another quarterback in this class? If he visits Wisconsin, he very well could be Madison-bound. For right now, though, Arizona may have the best shot (and feels good at this stage) to land him. In fact, Crystal Ball says Zona.
Here are five prospects that could see attention increase as the dominoes continue to fall.
Tyler Harris, Blackshear (Ga.) Pierce County- Harris has the size (6-foot-3) and a cannon arm, but has been a back-up plan at both Alabama and Kentucky, which got commitments from quarterbacks higher on their board.
Luke Ward, Decaturville (Tenn.) Riverside- Ward is probably the biggest unknown of all of the nationally-ranked signal callers. Programs looking to fill a need could very well start to check out the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder in the near future.
Adam Bertke, Maria Stein (Ohio) Marion Local- Bertke has a slew of MAC offers and the 6-foot-5 passer could come into play at some FBS-level programs that have openings.
Sean White, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) University School- White has impressed for the entire spring and summer and is an excellent prospect. Western Kentucky jumped in with an offer. If he ended up in Bowling Green, he’s the type of player that Bobby Petrino can upset higher-level opponents with in the future.
Brooks Barden, Cartersville (Ga.)- Barden is 6-foot-3 and a coaches son with a good arm. He camped at Georgia and performed well, but the Bulldogs got Park. Look for him to receive increased attention in the near future and he could very well end up in the SEC.
Two More Things
-Is Rafe Peavey (Boliver, Mo.) going to end up at Arkansas? Iowa insider Todd Worley thinks he switches to the Hawkeyes. There has been a lot of increased interest in the four-star Razorbacks commit, but he's visiting Arkansas right now, so we will see how things turn out. Peavey committed to the Hawgs under the previous staff and his stock has been on the rise this summer with several other programs offering, including USC, and Ohio State showing interest. Surely this is a situation to watch.
-There are a couple of under-the-radar prospects heading to the Elite 11/The Opening in Beaverton, Ore., at the end of the month. Though college coaches can't attend and scout these events, they are staffed by professional coaches whose recommendations go a long way in college football. It would not surprise to see one or two have an expanded offer list based on that event.