Recruiting class of 2016 position analysis: Quarterbacks
The race to National Signing Day has begun. Sports Illustrated and Scout.com have partnered to provide complete coverage of college football recruiting. Over the next two weeks, SI will roll out breakdowns of the top-ranked players at each position. Today, we’re looking at quarterbacks. Follow along daily with conference-by-conference recruiting shows featuring analysis, breaking news, prospect breakdowns and much more all leading up to National Signing Day on Feb. 3.
High school: IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
Height/Weight: 6’2.5’’/198 lbs
National rank: 5
Status: committed to Ole Miss
Scout.com scouting report: “There is not much Patterson cannot do at a very high level. At times on the football field he looks like a pitching machine due to his consistent accuracy. Natural leader in the huddle and a winner—back-to-back state champion. An athlete who's playing speed surprises some. Great awareness in the pocket and a quarterback who can make the throw in the pocket or on the move. Smart young man who is self-driven.”
The latest: Patterson has been committed to the Rebels since February (he previously pledged to Arizona before decommitting last July). This season he completed more than 60% of his passes for 1,533 yards with 18 touchdowns against only four interceptions while leading IMG to a 9–0 record, according to MaxPreps. Alabama reportedly met with Patterson earlier this month, but he plans to enroll early at Ole Miss.
2. Jacob Eason
High school: Lake Stevens (Lake Stevens, Wash.)
Height/Weight: 6’5.5’’/217 lbs
National rank: 7
Status: committed to Georgia
Scout.com scouting report: “Eason has tremendous arm strength, throws with great accuracy and consistency and shows good touch on his throws. He's really flourished the past year in his field vision, going through his reads and finding the open receiver. He can really spin it and knows when to take something off his throws. He's not the fastest quarterback, but he's still decently mobile.”
The latest: Speculation over whether Eason will ultimately choose to enroll at a different school began even before Georgia fired Mark Richt. The now-Miami coach traveled to Washington to have breakfast with Eason the day after a November win against Auburn. Over the last month, Eason has visited Florida, Washington and Georgia, and he’s expected to choose either the Gators or the Bulldogs at some point over the next few days.
High school: Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.)
Height/Weight: 6’3.5’’/195 lbs
National rank: 58
Status: committed to Tennessee
Scout.com scouting report: “Guarantano showed great knowledge of the offense, commands the huddle and makes good decisions. He is physically tough, and has good arm strength. He can make yards with his feet, but he is best with his arm. He is accurate throwing while in the pocket or on the run, and he understands how to read a defense. Guarantano is a tireless worker. During his senior season, he showed improved pocket presence and made quicker decisions.”
The latest: Guarantano suffered a foot injury that was thought to be season-ending during an October win over Paramus Catholic, but he returned for a playoff game in late November against Don Bosco Prep. (the Crusaders lost.) Guarantano made a big leap—from No. 116 to No. 58—in the latest version of the Scout 300, but he’s still not the highest ranked quarterback committed to the Volunteers; Brownsburg (Ind.) High’s Hunter Johnson is the No. 40 player in the class of 2017.
High school: Avon (Avon, Ind.)
Height/Weight: 6’4’’/209 lbs
National rank: 69
Status: committed to Michigan
Scout.com scouting report: “Good height and is continuing to fill his frame in. Is a good athlete who can run and escape pressure, but he also shows good awareness and feel in the pocket. Gets rid of the ball quickly and has the arm to make throws to the sideline and drive the ball downfield. As he gets bigger and stronger, that should only increase. Smart kid, tough, calm under pressure. Must continue to work on reading defenses and going through his progressions.”
The latest: Peters became the first player in the class of 2016 to commit to Michigan after Jim Harbaugh was named as the program’s new head coach last December. He was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Indiana earlier this month after passing for more than 3,100 yards with 37 touchdowns against only five interceptions as a senior at Avon, according to MaxPreps, and is one of six finalists for the U.S. Army Player of the Year.
High school: Wakulla (Crawfordville, Fla.)
Height/Weight: 6’5.5’’/220 lbs
National rank: 86
Status: committed to Florida
Scout.com scouting report: “As soon as you see Franks pick up a ball and throw it, you know he's a quarterback. He has that size coaches covet at this position, he is so poised and mentally tough, then you see the quiet leadership he has as well. Has those intangibles that can really separate the great from the good. His technique has improved. His delivery is long, he has to improve his footwork, and just tighten things up. Has very good arm strength.”
The latest: Franks had been committed to LSU since June 2014, but he decommitted last month and pledged to Florida less than a week later. Though the Gators reportedly are in the mix for Eason, Franks said last weekend—after his Wakulla team lost by three points to Bishop Moore Catholic High in the state title game—that he intends to enroll at Florida. He told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he has already made his “final decision.”
High school: Santa Margarita Catholic (Santa Margarita, Calif.)
Height/Weight: 6’4’’/220 lbs
National rank: 91
Status: committed to Stanford
Scout.com scouting report: “Costello is one of the best pure throwers in the West region as a junior. He has a big arm, can make every throw and is very accurate. He shows nice touch on the deep ball and can throw the outs and comebacks on a rope. He's a cerebral QB with a high football IQ and understands how to play the position. He's a very competitive kid with a strong work ethic off the field and is a natural leader as well.”
The latest: Costello committed to Stanford over finalists Michigan and USC in March. He’s the linchpin of a strong class that counts commitments from 20 players, including 11 assessed four-star ratings by Scout.com and four (tight end Kaden Smith, defensive back David Long, Costello and linebacker Curtis Robinson) that rank in the top 75 of the latest version of the Scout 300. The Cardinal check in at No. 9 in Scout.com’s team rankings.
7. Malik Henry
High school: Long Beach Polytechnic (Long Beach, Calif.)
Height/Weight: 6’2’’/175 lbs
National rank: 143
Status: committed to Florida State
Scout.com scouting report: “Henry has all the physical tools you want in a quarterback—tremendous arm strength with a smooth, effortless release. Has good athleticism and good footwork and can run if he needs to. Needs to be more consistent as a passer and handle the pass rush better. Can sometimes get flustered with defenders coming at him and throws it away too quick without stepping up in the pocket.”
The latest: Over seven games as a senior at Long Beach Poly, Henry passed for more than 1,400 yards with 16 touchdowns against one interception, according to MaxPreps. He previously left IMG Academy less than half a year after enrolling at the school and played his junior and sophomore seasons at Westlake (Calif.) High. In November, about a year after he committed to Florida State, Henry signed his grant-in-aid paperwork with the school.
High school: Lamar (Arlington, Texas)
Height/Weight: 6’1’’/185 lbs
National rank: 184
Status: committed to Texas
Scout.com scouting report: “Buechele is one of those players who just seems to have the it factor. Seems to sense and feel when he is in trouble in the pocket and is able to escape it and find a way to make a play, whether it is with his arm or his legs. He throws an accurate and catchable ball and seems to be able to always find a way to place it in just where he needs to, even though at times he does it with unorthodox mechanics or methods. He makes quick decisions.”
The latest: Buechele signed his financial aid agreement with Texas in October and was in Austin this weekend for his official visit. The Longhorns ranked eighth in the Big 12 in passer rating this season and last in total passing yards and have struggled to coax consistent play from their quarterbacks since Colt McCoy left school, but there is optimism Buechele could bring stability to the position because of his intangibles and dynamic dual-threat skill set.
9. Jack Allison
High school: Palmetto (Palmetto, Fla.)
Height/Weight: 6’5’’/190 lbs
National rank: 187
Status: committed to Miami
Scout.com scouting report: “Allison is a quarterback with the prototypical size you look for. Stands tall in the pocket, gets rid of the ball, and really shows good anticipation when delivering the football. Can be more of a streaky passer at times. Technique can improve with footwork, his weight transfer, and in his delivery. Throws with excellent touch. Throws a very catchable ball. Seems to be in control and know where to go with the ball.”
The latest: Allison committed to Miami in June 2014 and signed a grant-in-aid agreement with the Hurricanes in August, but the program fired coach Al Golden after a blowout loss to Clemson in October. Allison took an official visit to Miami last weekend and appears to be getting along well so far with new coach Mark Richt. Allison’s father also endorsed the hire of the former Georgia coach in a recent interview with Scout.com’s Corey Bender.
10. Jalen Hurts
High school: Channelview (Channelview, Texas)
Height/Weight: 6’2’’/203 lbs
National rank: 196
Status: committed to Alabama
Scout.com scouting report: “An excellent dual-threat type of player, who is able to beat you with the run or the pass. He put up huge offensive numbers and most impressively he does it with a calm and stoic effectiveness. He has a strong arm and can fit the ball in to tight spaces. Seeing how athletic he is on tape it is also nice to see him perform solidly throwing the ball in camp showings and seven-on-seven action. He passes the EBT test with a thick athletic frame.”
The latest: Hurts is one of three players in the class of 2016 that have committed to the Crimson Tide who hail from Texas (the two others are Shoemaker High five-star defensive tackle Kendell Jones and Arlington Lamar High four-star offensive lineman Chris Owens). Hurts took an official visit to Tuscaloosa last month and says he plans to enroll early, meaning he’ll be able to participate in workouts with the Tide this spring.