There is not a better position to begin the look at position superlatives in the 2013 class with than the most important position on the field - quarterback. Here's a breakdown of the position in terms of accuracy, pocket presence, release, arm strength feet and reactive quickness and dual-threat.
USC quarterback commit Max Browne, the nation's top-ranked signal caller, takes top honors in both the accuracy and pocket presence categories.
As important as any aspect a quarterback can possess as a prospect is accuracy. Whether it be stepping into throws in the pocket, on the move on designed rollouts or under duress on the move, making accurate throws is essential for signal callers. In the 2013 class, it’s tough to go with anyone other that USC commitment and early enrollee Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline). The 6-foot-5, 210-pounder not only completed a very high percentage on Friday nights, but he did so in a very impressive manner throwing strikes to wide receivers and running backs in stride to maximize yards after the catch, accurate throws into tight windows with anticipation as well as a number of very accurate throws rolling out and forced to flush the pocket. Combining accuracy and anticipation, Browne stands out above the rest in 2013.
Also considered – California commitment Jared Goff (Greenbrae, Calif./Marin Catholic), Kansas State junior college signee Jake Waters (Council Bluffs, Ia./Iowa Western C.C.), Oklahoma commitment Cody Thomas (Colleyville, Texas/Heritage), Miami commitment Kevin Olsen (Wayne, N.J./Wayne Hills) and South Carolina commitment Connor Mitch (Raleigh, N.C./Wakefield).
Along with accuracy, pocket presence is a crucial difference between good and potential great quarterbacks. In the 2013 class, the two certainly go hand in hand with Browne. The record-setting right handed signal caller has the feel and sense for when the walls are closing in around him, and does a tremendous job of stepping in, standing tall and continuing to scan the field with eyes down the field. Because Browne is a pure pro-style quarterback without the plus body quickness and mobility of others, he has to operate in the pocket a high percentage of the time, and does so better than most.
When looking at the best releases in the 2013 class, it’s more than just about arm and elbow slot and how pretty a delivery can look to the eye. While those things clearly factor into having a terrific release, it’s also about arm speed and the ability to speed up the release under duress, the ability to change release points and slots under duress or when forced to and the overall ability to adapt to situations when the walls are closing in and the game is move very fast and forces a playmaking quality without the use of the run threat. Penn State commitment Christian Hackenberg (Fork Union, Va./Fork Union Military Academy) is the pick in this class for all of those reasons. As impressive as his quick feet and quick release and fast arm are in person and on video, his ability to make throws off balance under duress, and off the wrong foot with a quick release and changing elbow and arm angles sets him apart. The 6-foot-4, 210-pounder doesn’t have to have perfect pockets to make big time throws, and has the reactive quickness with the feet and arm to make tough throws from different angles look fairly simple.
South Florida commit Asiantii Woulard's arm strength is tops.
Also considered – Goff, Waters, Washington commitment Troy Williams (Harbor City, Calif./Narbonne), Michigan commitment Shane Morris (Warren, Mich./De La Salle) and LSU commitment Hayden Rettig (Los Angeles/Cathedral).
While arm strength isn't the deciding factor of the potential of quarterbacks, the ability to throw the ball with velocity and stretch the field vertically only heightens the calling of a prospect. In the 2013 class, there are several signal callers with plus arm strength but the right arm rocket of former South Florida commitment Asiantii Woulard (Winter Park, Fla.). While Woulard may not have the strongest arm when purely stepping into a throw with the most velocity, his arm strength shows up consistently both in the pocket and on the move, and under duress when forced to throw the ball without the feet set.
Also Considered - Hackenberg, Morris, Stanford commitment Ryan Burns (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge), Rettig, Dobbs (Alpharetta, Ga.), Georgia commitment Brice Ramsey (Kingsland, Ga./Camden County) and Texas A&M commitment Kohl Stewart (Houston/St. Pius X).
Feet and reactive quickness
More than any other position, the step up from high school to college, and college to the NFL, is the big step up in the speed of the game. With that giant step up comes more speed off the edge, faster collapsing pockets and bigger, stronger and faster athletes creating pressure. For a quarterback, good feet, reactive and body quickness are key when not only alluding pressure; but also moving in and out of the pocket and creating angles to release both timely and accurate throws. Ohio Gatorade Player of the Year and North Carolina commitment Mitch Trubisky gets the nod here with a near perfect combination of quick and active feet and reactive quickness that should translate ideally to the next level.
Also Considered - Waters, Ramsey, Alabama commitment Cooper Bateman, Morris, Hackenberg, Ohio State commitment J.T. Barrett (Wichita Falls, Texas) and Notre Dame commitment Malik Zaire (Dayton, Ohio/Archbishop Alter).
247Sports breaks down and ranks quarterback prospects in two categories; pro-style and dual-threat with dual-threat being runners talented enough hot have designed run plays as a staple in an offensive scheme.. In the 2013 class, two dual-threat quarterbacks stand out among the group as equally talented throwers and running threats in Ohio State commitment JT Barrett and Woulard with Barrett getting the nod between a pair of prospects that will have to recover from senior season injuries. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Barrett features very good feet, above average lateral quickness and speed; and a strong and accurate arm with some of the best leadership abilities in the class. Barrett, who is recovering from an ACL tear, is a powerful runner that not only features quick feet and lateral ability, but also run finishing power of that of some running backs.
Also Considered - Northwestern commitment Matt Alviti (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South), Virginia Tech commitment Bucky Hodgees (Farnham, Va./Salem), Texas A&M commitment Kenny Hill (Southlake, Texas/Carroll), Illinois commit Aaron Bailey and Zaire.
Gerry Hamilton is the lead National Recruiting Analyst for 247Sports. Follow him on Twitter @GerryH247Sports