On Tuesday, news broke that quarterback Gunner Stockton would be backing off his verbal pledge to South Carolina. Stockton is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the country and will have many schools vying for his services. Brooks Austin, lead editor of Dawgs Daily on SI.com, took a deep dive into the film to show exactly where Stockton stands.
Stockton has an extremely compact lower half of his body that allows him to generate torque in his throwing motion and make defenders miss in the open field. He is a plus athlete who will get outside of the pocket at the next level and make plays on the run, although he won’t explode on the ground.
The most impressive thing about Stockton is his arm. He has one of the most explosive arms in the country as only a junior in high school and can make any throw in the book. He improvises well when forced out of the pocket and can throw off any platform. Multiple times last year at Rabun County High School, he launched the ball 55-plus yards in the air, hitting receivers in stride on these throws more often than not. That included 68-yard touchdown pass.
Stockton also has his mechanics under control. He gets all of his body into throws and generates a great deal of velocity behind them. However, he doesn’t only throw line drives. He can loft the ball with touch over the top of defenders when needed and has found a good balance between power and touch when making decisions.
Stockton understands and processes the game at a high level. His high-school team plays in Georgia’s 2A classification, meaning he doesn’t have to be fundamentally sound in all areas to have success. However, he has perfected these little details even when he doesn’t have to. So, when he gets to the college level, he will be ready to be thrown into action. He progresses through reads, makes quick decisions and doesn’t put the ball in harm's way often.
Perhaps his best trait is leadership. He is the epitome of a football player and competes every time he steps on the field. His teammates love playing with him, and when Rabun needs someone to make a play, everyone is looking No. 14’s way.
Austin summarized it best when he revealed his player comparison for Stockton: Baker Mayfield. Both are around the same size and are good athletes with similar traits. They possess great arm talent, but most important, compete harder than anyone else on the field.
Before Stockton pledged his services to South Carolina, he had narrowed his decision to two schools: Georgia and South Carolina. There has been some buzz around the Auburn Tigers lately, but no one truly knows where Stockton is headed. The coming months will tell, but whoever lands him is getting one of the best quarterback prospects in the class of 2022.
It should also be noted that nothing about Stockton says he's afraid of competition. All of the Georgia fan base assumes that because Brock Vandagriff signed in the class of 2021, Stockton may stay away, but Stockton is one to seek competition, not avoid it.
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