Top 8 quarterback prospects of the last decade
Over the last decade, Scout has covered several outstanding quarterback prospects, some who went on to have great success in the college and the NFL and others who never matched the hype. Here's our look at the best prospects we've seen over the last 10 years.
With this list, it's important to point out that this is based on who we thought was the best prospect coming out of high school. How they have fared in college or even in the NFL did not weigh in.
South: Jameis Winston, Shea Patterson, Trevor Lawrence
"I had to go with three guys here, I couldn't pick just one," national analyst Chad Simmons said. "For me, Jameis Winston, Shea Patterson and Trevor Lawrence are all very special talents."
Winston: "Winston is a gamer. When the game meant the most, he played his best. All the tools were there, but it was the intangibles that set Winston apart. He did not have elite talent around him in high school, but he took his team deep into the playoffs with them on his back. He was determined to succeed and he is great at rallying the troops, making his teammates believe, and he shined on the biggest of stages. Winston won the Heisman Trophy, he brought a national championship to FSU, and he went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft."
Patterson: "Patterson may be the most polished passer I have covered in the South. From his accuracy to his quick release to his footwork—hard to find any like him, much less better. He is already creating a buzz at Mississippi and he has only been on campus since January. With all his talent combined with his attitude, how self-driven he is, and his work ethic, he is going to be successful in Oxford. I expect to see him in Heisman Trophy conversations as early as spring 2017. He has 'it' and he can make plays with his arm, his legs and his mind is so advanced for his age."
Lawrence: "Lawrence is still a sophomore in high school, but he has future NFL first rounder written all over. He is already pushing 6’6”, he is close to 200 pounds, he has a canon for an arm, he has won a state title, and he is mature well beyond his age. Lawrence was the easiest five star I have ever named, and I did that his freshman year. As a sophomore Lawrence threw for 3,655 yards and 43 touchdowns to only four interceptions. For me, it is easy to say he will be a three-and-out kid on the next level barring some type of injury. He is special."
East: Christian Hackenberg
"There was no doubt Hackenberg was the best quarterback prospect to come through the East Region in a while, and he separated himself from the rest of the field," national analyst Brian Dohn said. "He brought arm strength, athleticism and intelligence to the huddle. He had a live arm and could fit the ball into tight windows, which is why he threw his share of interceptions in high school. He always thought he could make the play.
"He was able move in the pocket and pick up yards with his feet, but it was his ability to spin the ball and get it down the field that made him stand out. Throwing the 20-yard out was not an issue. He was a leader on the field and off of it. At Penn State, Hackenberg had an uneven career. He performed well as a true freshman for Bill O'Brien, but he struggled behind a porous offensive line as a sophomore and junior under coach James Franklin. He was selected in the second round by the Jets in April's draft."
Southwest: Andrew Luck
"There could be some good debates as Luck, Matthew Stafford, Robert Griffin III and Sam Bradford all came out in back-to-back classes, but to me the most complete quarterback of that quartet has been Luck," national analyst Greg Powers said. "Luck was a five-star prospect coming out of Houston (Texas) Stratford and helped lead his team to the Texas State 7v7 Championship heading into his senior year. He possessed all of the tools to be a successful quarterback on the next level, size, arm strength, pocket poise and quick decision making skills. He went on to rack up over 10,000 yards of total offense at Stanford and scored 89 touchdowns before being drafted as the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts."
Midwest: Braxton Miller
"There really hasn't been a Midwest quarterback who's been ranked high who has turned out to be a top draft choice," national analyst Allen Trieu said. "Most of the ones who have gone on to have success have gone the sleeper route like Kirk Cousins, who did not have a ton of offers or a big recruiting profile. The best quarterback I've seen in the last ten years at the prep level was Miller. He was a special athlete who made some of the best throws we've seen and in pressure situations. He had a big arm and his speed projected him well to what colleges were doing offensively. Obviously his career had some unexpected twists and turns, but seeing him play receiver last year and get drafted there, it's clear that athleticism hasn't gone anywhere."
West: Josh Rosen
"The first time I saw Josh Rosen throw in person, he was an 8th grader playing for Alliance Sports at the Pylon Elite 7v7, when it was still known as the Badger 7on," national analyst Brandon Huffman said. "Rosen was playing for Brian Treggs, the former Cal receiver, who’s son, Bryce, was an All-American at St. John Bosco when Rosen was a freshman. But as an 8th grader, you could see there was something different in Rosen’s arm. He made the all-underclass team, again, as just a middle schooler and over the next four years, we saw him develop into one of the best prep quarterbacks to come from the Southland and solidify himself as the top quarterback prospect I’ve seen from the West in the past decade.
"He never lost a Trinity League game, the toughest league in the country, and won a national title as a junior, finished in the CIF-SS finals as a senior and made it to the semis as a sophomore. The 2013 St. John Bosco team is one of the best to ever come from California, and he was the leader of that offense.
"Through numerous games, camps, 7v7 tournaments, Rosen stamped himself as the top prep quarterback prospect from the West in the last 10 years, then followed it up in 2015 as the Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year and named by one media outlet as the National Freshman of the Year, guiding UCLA to an 8–5 record and numerous school records. He is already being touted as the potential No. 1 overall prospect in the 2018 NFL Draft."
West: Jimmy Clausen
"Over the last decade, there have been several quarterbacks out West ranked as the top overall signal-caller in the class," national analyst Greg Biggins said. "For me, two clearly stood out in terms of physical tools and upside and that was Jimmy Clausen from the 2007 class and Josh Rosen in the class of 2014.
"You can make an argument that Clausen was the most hyped player to come out of the West region since John Elway with some even saying he was good enough to make the jump to the NFL right out of H.S. While we thought was a little over the top, Clausen was an extreme talent. He had the quickest release I've ever seen, was accurate to all three levels-short, intermediate and deep, could get the ball down the field with touch and was advanced in terms of throwing with timing and anticipation.
"He wasn't a high level athlete but had great feet in the pocket and showed the ability to move around, buy time and was tremendous throwing on the run. Clausen signed with Notre Dame and was a three-year starter for the Irish and selected in the 2nd round by the Carolina Panthers.
"Like with Clausen, Rosen was a kid we saw early on, prior to his freshman year of high school. He was a young prodigy, already gifted with not just arm strength and touch but poise beyond his years. He never looked rattled in any situation and had an advanced knowledge of where to go with the ball and could make every throw on the field and make it look effortless.
Rosen was also an underrated athlete who ran out of the zone read quite a bit in H.S. He'll stay take off and run from time to time but is obviously much more comfortable staying in the pocket and making throws down the field. Rosen started as a true freshman last season at UCLA and is already projected as a likely 1st round pick following his junior season.