Daily Draft: 5 Instant Impact Quarterback Recruits
Which teams came up with a potential instant new starting quarterback? It’s the Daily Draft, picking the five recruits who could make the biggest impact this year.
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5 Potential Instant Impact Quarterback Recruits
It’s asking for way too much out of any recruiting class or any new player to step in right away and be a big deal, but, of course, it happens. Jacob Eason took over the Georgia offense early on, Shea Patterson made things fun for Ole Miss late, and Justin Hebert looked like the next big thing at Oregon.
Jalen Hurts came within a defensive stop of being the first true freshman since Jamelle Holieway in 1985 for Oklahoma to lead a team to a national title. These five schools are hoping to break that run – if their new guy gets the starting nod. Here are the five key quarterback recruits from National Signing Day that could matter right away.
5. Hendon Hooker, Virginia Tech
And JUCO transfer A.J. Bush might be in the mix, too. With Jerod Evans pulling off the shocker and deciding to turn pro early, Josh Jackson looks like the early favorite to step in and take over the Justin Fuente attack. But the 6-4, 200-pound Hooker will join the team early and throw his hat into the ring this spring. He’s a tall, wiry passer who can run well, has nice touch, and from all accounts, has the maturity to handle taking over right away.
4. Avery Davis, Notre Dame
With DeShone Kizer gone to the NFL, and Malik Zaire taking off for greener pastures at some other school, it’s sophomore Brandon Wimbush’s job to win. He’s another in a long line of excellent all-around Notre Dame quarterbacks who fit the Brian Kelly mold, but the gig is open, and rotating players is never out of the question. Davis isn’t all that big, but he’s got a next-level arm with a major league fastball. He can move, but he’s not necessarily just going to be a runner – he’s a pro passer who can take off when needed.
3. Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
Jake Hubenak is the safe, sane choice. The veteran backup stepped in for an injury Trevor Knight last season, and had a few nice moments throughout his career. But it’s Mond who’s being brought in to light up the offense right away, with the dual-threat skills and poise to be Kevin Sumlin’s guy. While the former Baylor recruit needs to work on his throwing motion, his arm is just fine, and his running ability is special.
2. Davis Mills, Stanford
Stanford has an interesting situation with Ryan Burns deciding to stay around for a fifth-year of eligibility rather than transfer and be a sure starter somewhere else, but he might have to battle to get the starting spot. Keller Chryst would be the guy, but he’s out for the foreseeable future with a knee injury, opening things up for Mills to get every shot at grabbing the job right away. The 6-3, 188-pounder out of Atlanta won’t wow anyone with his feet, but he’s got unteachable accuracy with the pro-style look right out of the box.
1. Hunter Johnson, Clemson
Welcome to the biggest storyline of the 2017 college football offseason.
The defending national champ is still good enough to be in the mix to repeat, but it not only loses Deshaun Watson, it’s without top backup Nick Schuessler, too. Kelly Bryant is the early favorite to take over the reins, and he’s without question the starter going into spring ball, but last year’s solid recruit – Zerrick Cooper – will get his shot, too. Bryant is the more dynamic potential playmaker, but he’s going to light it up to hold off what’s coming.
In an interesting Signing Day move, Chase Brice chose to sign on and throw his hat into the ring. The 6-2 passer is a strong prospect who had several other options, but he’s not Hunter Johnson.
If Johnson isn’t the nation’s top quarterback recruit, he’s in the team photo with 6-4, 200-pound size, an NFL arm, and just enough mobility to get him out of trouble. He’s still going to be a true freshman, and he’s not going to be able to take off and run any and every time things break down, but he’s the future of the program. The only question is whether or not he’s ready for right now.
Top 5 other freshman quarterbacks who’ll be fighting for a starting job: 1) Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama, 2) N’Kosi Perry, Miami, 3) Tristan Gebbia, Nebraska, 4) Shawn Robinson, TCU, 5) Kasim Hill, Maryland