BEAVERTON, Ore.- Most programs typically sign one quarterback per class. Therefore, it is natural to want to compare for the purposes of discussion and perhaps projecting a future depth chart.
Cooper Bateman enrolled at Alabama early and participated in spring practice. Was he a better quarterback prospect than current commit David Cornwell?
Eight programs signed Elite 11 finalist quarterback prospects in the Class of 2013 and have 2014 quarterback commits participating in this year’s finals.
We look back on our notes from the 2012 Elite 11, compare each and give you our opinion on which one is a better prospect (i.e. if we had to take one, which one?) the same stage.
-Comparing this year's Elite 11 finals with last year's, strictly from a quality prospect at the top standpoint, this year features more potential difference-makers overall. While there is already a tremendous buzz about the quarterbacks in the Class of 2015, and rightfully so, the 2014 cycle is actually the one that "brought the quarterback back" in a sense.
-Of the eight programs with back-to-back Elite 11 gets, we selected five from the 2014 class and three from the 2013 class when making a head-to-head comparison.
-Obviously, the 2013 prospects have an advantage right now as many have already enrolled and participated in spring practice at the various schools, so we took into account only our evaluation of the players as prospects at the same stage last year. So, the fact that a player may have had a good spring game at his school doesn't play a factor in this comparison. It's simply a comparison of prospects by school.
Luke Rubenzer is an excellent scheme fit at Cal. Class of 2013 quarterback signee Jared Goff likely had more upside at the same stage, though.
Bateman was in the upper half of the 2013 Elite 11 participants from a prospect standpoint, but that was a weaker field than this year’s. While Cornwell has been inconsistent at times during the two open sessions we’ve seen, the five-star prospect clearly has more physical tools and upside than Bateman did last cycle. Del Rio probably was more consistent than either when he was a prospect, but lacks the size and physical upside that the others do. One advantage Bateman would have over Cornwell is that he had more varsity playing experience (was more proven) at this point. In terms of projection, though, we obviously think the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Cornwell projects higher and Elite 11 coach Trent Dilfer said today that Cornwell’s best “is better than anyone else’s” and we agree that that is the case. We would take- Cornwell over Bateman and Del Rio. He’s a superior prospect to both.
California- Jared Goff (2013) vs. Luke Rubenzer (2014)
Goff, at 6-foot-3, had prototypical size and was real smooth and consistent every time we saw him as a prospect. Rubenzer does not have the height Goff did, but does have a good arm and is mobile, giving him an advantage in certain schemes and scenarios. In Cal’s new “air raid” attack, Goff’s skill set fits better than Rubenzer’s, but Rubenzer adds another possible dimension, which is intriguing. Still, it’s hard to make a strong argument that Rubenzer, at 6 feet tall, has more physical upside at this stage. We would take- Goff over Rubenzer. He’s a better prospect.
This may be the tightest comparison by far and this could be something that Georgia fans are talking about well into the future as it’s expected to be an open competition once current No. 2 Hutson Mason (back-up to Aaron Murray who the Dawgs are high on) leaves. Ramsey had a big arm and improved every time we saw him in person and was at his best during last year’s Elite 11. Park, likewise, has an elite skill set and gets better every time we see him in person. Because Park has superior athleticism as a pocket passer, he brings something extra to the table physically. Other intangibles likely swing in the favor of Ramsey. Close, close call. We would take- Park by a nose because he’s a slightly more polished passer in this setting.
Olsen had an excellent Elite 11 showing last July, has a high football IQ and showed skill at running a pro-style offense in high school. Kaaya may not be as accomplished of a high school quarterback (2012 was his first year starting), but at 6-foot-4, with a quicker release and stronger arm, he has more physical upside. Still, Miami hasn’t had an ideal option at quarterback in quite some time and Olsen and Kaaya both will be counted on the distribute the ball to the speedy playmakers on the Canes roster they have every year. It’s a question of upside vs. intangibles in this one. All things being equal, go with the upside. We would take- Kaaya over Olsen. It’s very, very close, though.
Kizer has been up-and-down from a performance/execution standpoint this year and Zaire had a solid outing according to the coaches at last year’s event, probably better than Kizer from that standpoint. That being said, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound Kizer has his best days of football ahead of him and there is really no comparison between the two from an upside standpoint. Plus, the intangibles that made Zaire an FBS-level prospect are just as strong with Kizer, so when you compare the two, there really is no clear advantage for the Irish 2013 quarterback signee over the fast-riser in this cycle. We would take- Kizer over Zaire. He’s a better prospect.
Ohio State JT Barrett (2013) vs. Stephen Collier (2014)
Though Barrett suffered a knee injury his senior season, he worked out at last year’s Elite 11 and had a solid week of work in the passing game, placing in the top third in that category during some of the sessions. Collier is bigger than Barrett was and has a stronger arm, but given Barrett’s elusiveness and big-play ability in the run game pre-injury, he can do more things and thus gets the nod here over Collier, who is a developmental prospect. That being said, Collier has shown signs and made this a more interesting decision than it would have been. We would take- Barrett over Collier based on his ability in the run game and consistency as a passer.
Blough has been one of the top performers at this year’s event according to Dilfer and the coaching staff. He brings an outstanding approach to the competitive nature of this event and is the type of player that you want at quarterback when the game is on the line. Etling, however, showed many of those same qualities, has better size and a bigger arm. He could end up being one of the most underrated prospects in the 2013 class and has all of the tools to have a big career for the Boilermakers. Both have a chance to be good and down the road should battle it out in West Lafayette for the starting job. We would take- Etling over Blough because of size and arm strength.
Swoopes has the size and freakish athleticism and speed for a prospect his size to be special at some position in college. We just aren’t sure as a quarterback that he’s ideal. Heard, on the other hand, reminds us some of Barrett from the last class, he’s just not as consistent of a passer in this setting. Heard also has a lot of confidence and the U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection has a winning mentality. Both prospects have things they need to work on, but when it all comes down to it, there were more concerns about Swoopes at this same stage. We would take- Heard over Swoopes. He’s slightly more skilled in the passing game and a more confident athlete.
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