Grading the recent Power Five QB commitments
Since Feb. 1, there have been 13 quarterback commitments to Power Five programs as the dominoes have fallen at that position in this recruiting cycle quickly.
The top six pro-style quarterbacks and the top two dual-threat QBs are now off the board with others preparing commitments as well. Below, we grade those 11 commitments and offer a reason for each score.
DREW ALLAR, Penn State
Gorney’s take: We have Allar ranked as a high three-star quarterback but I really like this kid from his size, to his mobility in the pocket, to his ability to zip it on a line when needed or put some loft on his passes to let receivers run under it and Allar does an excellent job throwing from different arm angles as well to fit in tight passes. At 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, Allar is not going to be a major running threat but he won’t have to be in Penn State’s offense under Mike Yurcich. Even with an average offensive line in high school, Allar showed the ability to throw on the run, reset his feet and gun it down field and escape pressure well. He reminds me of Shane Illingworth at Oklahoma State.
STEVE ANGELI, Notre Dame
Gorney’s take: It looked like there was a little gamesmanship being played over the last few days as Notre Dame offered Drew Allar (who is leaning toward Penn State) but that could have hastened Angeli’s decision to pick the Irish and they’re getting a good one.
Angeli loses no power on his passes when he’s escaping out of the pocket and it almost seems he would prefer to make a throw on the run. In six games of his junior season, his stats were just OK, though, and while he does have a little Ian Book in him, he sometimes runs out of the pocket when it’s not necessary, maybe because he’s just more comfortable doing it right now.
TANNER BAILEY, Oregon
Gorney’s take: Mario Cristobal did it again, reaching across the country for a talented prospect and this time beating out lots of SEC interest for the four-star quarterback. Bailey visited Oregon on his own dime in recent days with his family, credited just how hard the Ducks were recruiting him and the Pac-12 power won out. The new Oregon QB commit is a pocket passer who does a great job orchestrating the offense, he has patience in the pocket and has lethal accuracy. The only question: Will he be sitting behind five-star QB Ty Thompson for a few seasons before he can see the field?
DEVIN FARRELL, Virginia Tech
Gorney’s take: Farrell is an interesting prospect because his high school team runs a lot of option/veer offense with some passing principles out of it but the three-star is not slinging it all over the field with four or five receivers on each play.
There is no doubt Farrell is a phenomenal athlete and that’s why he’s used in all three phases but he doesn’t have a big enough of a resume making all the throws to guarantee he can be a star in the ACC. Based on athleticism, Farrell has special qualities but his high school’s offense doesn’t allow for seeing him throw to all the routes.
HOLDEN GERINER, Auburn
Gorney’s take: Geriner is a big prospect with a big arm but he is going to be a pro-style pocket passer in coach Bryan Harsin’s offense which is a departure from Bo Nix, who was second on the team with more than 100 carries last season.
But the three-star Geriner does a nice job of firing it into tight windows and putting air under deep passes to let his receivers run under it. On the run, Geriner prefers to reset his feet before throwing it and escaping pressure isn’t his forte so Auburn will need to be stout up front.
SAM HORN, Missouri
Gorney’s take: Horn is a Rivals100 prospect and the sixth-best pro-style quarterback in the 2020 class but the two-sport star (he also plays baseball) has a chance to be really special. He effortlessly throws the ball around the field, keeps his eyes downfield to find open receivers and is smooth as can be.
Tennessee really wanted Horn but Missouri got him and coach Eli Drinkwitz could make Horn even more special. Fourteen interceptions in his junior season is not great but he also had 41 touchdown passes so some better decisions over time will be crucial but Horn can run an offense in the SEC and score lots of points.
CADE KLUBNIK, Clemson
Gorney’s take: Klubnik is ranked as the fourth-best pro-style quarterback in the 2022 class but he’s going to be under five-star consideration for the rest of his recruitment and he could be ranked as a dual-threat after running for 15 scores this season.
The new Clemson commit is a fantastic decision-maker, he’s a leader, he plays with passion that should be contagious in coach Dabo Swinney’s system and he’s a winner as his team beat No. 1 overall prospect Quinn Ewers’ team for the state title. Other programs took quarterback commitments and it changed up Klubnik’s recruitment but he landed at a phenomenal spot and should be a great fit in the Tigers’ system.
JACOB KNUTH, Minnesota
Gorney’s take: Just as Knuth’s recruitment was heating up with offers from Minnesota, Iowa and Kansas State, the South Dakota three-star quarterback decided to wrap up his recruitment and pick the Golden Gophers. It’s a big recruiting win for coach P.J. Fleck and his staff and even though Knuth did not have a massive list of Power Five offers, he has lots of talent.
Knuth can zip it with the best of them, he throws well against his body, he feels pressure well and steps through it to either find a receiver or run for extra yards. While he’s not super athletic, Knuth can gain yards that way. Twelve interceptions in his junior year against that level of talent is too much but he reminds me a little of Kirk Cousins in high school.
Gorney’s take: Murphy has excellent size, he has phenomenal accuracy, he has all the tools to be a terrific quarterback in Texas coach Steve Sarkisian’s system but he has limited varsity experience so far and so I cannot get too wild about his grade just yet. On the camp and 7-on-7 circuit, Murphy has been outstanding especially at the recent Pylon 7v7 in Bullhead City, Ariz., which might have been his best overall performance.
But showing up in games is yet to be determined and he will bring a different personality type than what Texas is used to in Sam Ehlinger. Murphy is more reserved and smooth, not as fiery as Ehlinger, which is fine but could take fans some getting used to.
Gorney’s take: Just a few days after receiving his offer from Baylor, Pyron committed to the Bears and it was a nice recruiting win for coach Dave Aranda, who’s looking for a major spark on offense and particularly from the quarterback spot.
Pyron has good size, he has nice touch on his passes, throws well outside the pocket and can squeeze it into tight windows. But he’s not a dynamic athlete and sometimes his deep ball hangs in the air too long. Against Big 12 defenses, he has to tighten up the zip on those of those passes. His only other Power Five offer was from Kansas State.
TY SIMPSON, Alabama
Gorney’s take: A football coach’s son, Simpson is smart and savvy at quarterback, excellent when he has time to throw from the pocket and an outstanding creator when he gets flushed (which is often), keeping his eyes downfield, not rushing and then finding the open receiver.
There are some things that might catch up to him in the SEC, though, habits he might have to break. Throwing across his body is one. Another is prolonging plays for so long and then gunning it downfield into a crowd. The receiver usually catches it because Simpson is so talented but sometimes living to fight another day is the best idea.
AJ SWANN, Maryland
Gorney’s take: Projection is a big part of our evaluation process and when it comes to Swann, Maryland could be getting a steal over the next four or five years. The high three-star quarterback is a big-time competitor who is known to show up at any camp or workout possible, he has a big arm and can thread the ball between two defensive backs right to his receivers.
He’s an impressive prospect to watch. One concern would be Swann waits a little too long in the pocket to escape from the pressure and Big Ten defenses come fast so that clock in his head sometimes has to go a little faster but the Terrapins could be getting a real steal in Swann.
CONNER WEIGMAN, Texas A&M
Gorney’s take: Weigman has a college-ready body, he can find receivers and get them the ball and he’s excellent at escaping pressure, throwing the ball downfield and also using his legs when things break down or in designed runs to make things happen. He’s a much better athlete and playmaker than Kellen Mond and so coach Jimbo Fisher has lots to work with.
Is Weigman going to win the longest throw contests at camps? Probably not. But he can deliver it all over the field and his athletic ability sets him apart. Fisher will have to tinker with Texas A&M’s offense to play to Weigman’s strengths but that shouldn’t be a problem.