SI All-American 2021 Watch List: Quarterback
John Garcia, Jr.
The class of 2020 is in the books so as SI All-American turns the page to 2021, in addition to looking at top recruiting classes out of the gate, looking at top prospects by position will dominate the remainder of the month during the NCAA dead period.
In search of preliminary names to know well ahead of naming the next SI All-American team, the quarterback position is the most natural place to begin.
Caleb Williams, Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga
LSU, Clemson, Oklahoma and many other programs are chasing Williams' verbal commitment for good reason. He's a strong dual-threat talent at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds or so with the ability to change the game on any given play. As a passer he packs plenty of power behind the ball with relative ease in pushing it down the field and/or outside the numbers. Williams works with pace and features good feel and footwork to pair with a quick trigger to play the short game as well.
Just as appealing is Williams' ability as a runner, where he combines great explosion with very strong top end speed within a decisive and efficient running style. He has a mature build and can avoid the initial rush with ease but can work to extend the play to buy his receivers time as well. There just aren't many prospects at the position with the physical traits Williams brings to the table.
2019 Stats: 1,770 yards, 19 touchdowns, 4 interceptions. 838 yards rushing, 18 touchdowns.
Brock Vandagriff, Bogart (Ga.) Prince Avenue - Committed to Georgia
The one-time Oklahoma commitment elected to stay close to home with a Georgia commitment in January and it was big enough to create big buzz despite the class ahead of his -- 2020 -- down to the last couple of weeks of their own cycle. Vandagriff is productive in the pocket and out, especially as a sophomore when he ran for more than 1,000 yards, but his efficiency and accuracy make his floor one of the highest at the position.
Vandagriff sprays the ball beyond the numbers and down the field with relative ease thanks to good footwork and elite decision-making. He can get through progressions without much wasted movement and drives the ball well on short notice. There is plus presence on display more times than not, too, with an internal clock that helps to push the envelope when needed. Vandagriff has some of the best velocity manipulation in the class, too, based on coverage, pressure and space.
2019 Stats: 2.471 yards, 31 TDs, 3 INTs. 262 yards rushing, 6 TDs.
JJ McCarthy, La Grange Park (Ill.) Nazareth - Michigan
Good frame, big arm and rock solid mechanics make up the future Michigan passer's top traits. McCarthy is also fairly mobile and can play accurate ball to all three levels. There is a slight build in his throwing motion but he compensates with drive consistency. The live arm and elite ability to climb and slide in and out of the pocket with his eyes downfield make him a fit in most new-age offensive styles, too.
2019 Stats: 2,704 yards, 33 TDs, 8 INTs.
Sam Huard, Burien (Calif.) Kennedy Catholic - Washington
The lefty is coming out of a gaudy 2019 season where he was able to spread the ball all over the field, especially vertically, as a junior. Long and lean with his physical development, the NFL legacy's arm is already as plenty polished as one may expect given the surname. Huard's release is effortless, with good speed and arc. He is one of the best deep ball passers in the class but has enough whip to make plays underneath as well.
2019 Stats: 4,168 yards, 56 TDs, 11 INTs
Jake Garcia, La Habra (Calif.) - USC
The Californian headed staying home to play for the USC Trojans has a lot of the physical tools desired at the position. He has a physically mature build with and a powerful arm and strong athleticism. Quicker than fast, Garcia has a classic three-quarter delivery and is willing to take risks down the field.
2019 Stats: 2,301 yards, 25 TDs, 8 INTs.
Drake Maye, Charlotte (N.C.) Myers Park - Alabama
Big, athletic, productive and just scratching the surface of his passing potential, the ceiling for the Alabama commitment is among the highest in the class of 2021. He may end up as the top long-term play at the position years from now with his overall ability. Maye has an elongated release despite easy downfield ability and flashes excellence along the sidelines with his wide accuracy.
2019 Stats: 3,512 yards, 50 TDs, 2 INTs. 201 yards rushing, 6 TDs.
Aaron McLaughlin, Alpharetta (Ga.) Denmark
The former Auburn commitment, who just decommitted this month and says he is "wide open" with the process moving forward, has been a known pocket passer type since he entered the prep ranks in Georgia. McLaughlin is a great athlete who throws a catchable ball short or long distances. He maximizes his tall frame with a near 90-degree release point ideal for the pocket despite his escapability.
2019 Stats: 2,018 yards, 17 TDs, 7 INTs. 284 yards rushing, 9 TDs.
Garrett Nussmeier, Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus
Despite the lack of ideal size Nussmeier pushes the ball downfield like few others, even completing a score that traveled some 60 yards in the air as a junior. Ultra productive in the state of Texas, the coach's son plays with a sense of calm amid the pass rush and shows toughness in taking shots to get his targets the ball. Nussmeier is nimble inside the pocket and out and plays comfortable on the run with accuracy and a snap release.
2019 Stats: 3,788 yards, 38 TDs, 10 INTs.
Preston Stone, Dallas (Tex.) Parish Episcopal - SMU
A dynamic play-maker at the position with elite mobility. The productive passer plays with efficiency and protects the football along the way. Stone is a good runner in the open field with savvy and quickness in space but he is at his best making plays behind the line of scrimmage. The local land for SMU as the New Year began, Stone shows great timing, touch and understanding of defenses relative to his age.
2019 Stats: 3,271 yards, 37 TDs, 4 INTs. 876 yards rushing, 11 TDs.
Miller Moss, Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Academy
A balanced quarterback prospect with well above average traits, Moss looks built for a spread system that allows him to play point guard on grass. He has a great, efficient release with good arm strength and accuracy while on the move. In the pocket he can play pinpoint ball to all three levels with a strong off speed passing ability when needed.
2019 Stats: 3,118 yards, 28 TDs, 10 INTs. 105 yards rushing, 2 TDs.
Tyler Buchner, La Jolla (Calif.) The Bishop’s School - Notre Dame
Just skip to the numbers below, my goodness. Now think of the gaudy tallies coming off of a torn ACL the year prior and the story of Buchner's breakout gets better and better. Not only is he built for today's wide-open style of offense based on his accuracy and athleticism, but he's got a very quick release and a live arm on top of it. There are samples of off-platform work, multiple arm angles and even some self-trusting, across the body balls he completes that very few would even attempt.
2019 Stats: 4,474 yards, 53 TDs, 6 INTs. 1,610 yards rushing, 28 TDs.
Kyle McCord, Philadelphia (Pa.) St. Joseph’s Prep - Ohio State
Despite missing some time in 2019, McCord displayed a well-rounded quarterback arsenal as a junior. He's strong in the pocket with a big right arm, solid footwork and plus pocket presence. An easy delivery and good anticipation maximizes how evenly he can distribute the football.
2019 Stats: (Limited) 1,600 yards, 25 TDs, 1 INT.
Dematrius Davis, Houston (Texas) North Shore - Virginia Tech
100 touchdowns and a pair of state championship rings over the last two seasons speaks for itself but Davis is as legit a dual-threat as there may be in the class. He plays with a sense of calm as a passer with a high-arching ball made for pushing the envelope down the field. As a runner the future Virginia Tech Hokie is cat quick with great instincts and enough open field speed to gash a defense.
2019 Stats: 2,393 yards, 30 TDs, 5 INTs. 1,171 yards rushing, 21 TDs.
The 2020 SI All-American team will be announced after the completion of the prep football season in December. The inaugural teams, featuring 99 senior prospects in total, were as follows: