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July 20, 2012

Lefty QBs proving theories wrong

MORE E11: Stanton | Short QBs stand tall

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. - The stigma that lefty quarterbacks have longer releases or that they're not as coveted by college coaches is being smashed this week at the Elite 11.

Michigan commit Shane Morris, Notre Dame pledge Malik Zaire and Maryland commit Shane Cockerille have dismantled that theory with precision passing and outstanding play through numerous workouts.

Morris, the second-best pro-style quarterback by Rivals.com, said he's aware of the belief that left-handed quarterbacks have issues with their throwing motion or that the ball comes out differently so receivers might have trouble catching it.

He doesn't buy into that notion.

As long as the ball gets there, Morris said whichever hand the ball comes from doesn't matter. He's pushing for a bump in the rankings after strong performances at numerous national events this offseason. He's a lefty and it hasn't seemed to matter yet.

"A lot of people say lefties have a longer release, an awkward release," he said, "but I've never had a long release and it's something quarterback coaches work with me on is having a short release, so it's something I've always worked on.

"I don't really think which hand you throw with determines how long your release is. A lot of lefty quarterbacks always have long releases when they start but a lot of them fix it and that doesn't have to be the only way."

Zaire, rated as the fourth-best dual-threat quarterback by Rivals.com, has not had any complications this week.

The four-star was especially good during the 7-on-7 portion of Thursday's workout as he zipped the ball all over the field, hit receivers and made lots of plays. The ball comes out of his left hand just as well as any of his right-handed counterparts.

"I think this is the most left-handed quarterbacks we've ever had at the Elite 11 so that's a milestone," Zaire said. "Hopefully, we get some more and build on top of this.

"I don't think it's a big thing. It's all about ability that really matters. That's what coaches are looking for."

Even the top-rated quarterback in the class by Rivals.com, Max Browne, has a little lefty in him.

The Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline five-star prospect throws righty but writes with his left hand. He said it's always been more comfortable for him so that ambidexterity is something special for him.

One of the criticisms of left-handed quarterbacks is that not many have played in the NFL, but based on percentages the same argument could be made for right-handers, too. According to various studies, only about 10 percent of the world's population is left-hand dominant.

New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, a left-hander, was arguably the best college football player of all-time at Florida. Steve Young is in the Hall of Fame. Michael Vick has had a successful career on the field. There have been others.

There is proof that left-handed quarterbacks can get the job done. Zaire said there isn't that much publicity about lefties mainly because the numbers just don't add up.

"You just don't see a lot of them," Zaire said. "When you do see them they're special quarterbacks. Michael Vick is one left-hander representing the lefties really well. Steve Young is one of the greatest of all-time."

Morris, rated No. 22 in the 2013 class and tops in the Michigan state rankings, said he hopes to add to the lefty quarterback fraternity in the NFL.

"There are a lot more righties in the world than lefties so there will be more righty quarterbacks in the NFL," Morris said. "That's huge but hopefully I make it there and change it."



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