Smith: Comparing Quinn Ewers' Development Between The 2020 Season And His 2021 Elite 11 Performance

Quinn Ewers was back in action over the weekend, earning a spot at the Elite 11 Finals in the process
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Watching Quinn Ewers during the Elite 11 regional proved to be fascinating Sunday. After watching him during the latter portion of his junior season, much was learned from the in-person throwing performance.

If you want to find out just how good a quarterback can be, go watch that player during a live performance. During this past weekend’s Elite 11 Dallas camp, several quarterbacks strutted their stuff, and the 6'3", 210-pound Ohio State commitment was as impressive as anyone. Here’s a look at the prospect with comparisons from his junior season compared to his Elite 11 performance. 

Arm Strength 

Power throws down the field from a three, five, or seven-step drop, done deal. Capable of throwing a line drive during a go route, absolutely. Throwing a dart during a deep comeback route, check. Ewers displayed serious arm strength during the Elite 11 camp, and it proved something to any onlookers at the event. 

Ewers battled through injury last fall, including but not necessarily limited to a sports hernia, and he did not always power through the football due to those injuries. It was very difficult to judge just how good of an arm he had. 

Keep in mind, those in and around Dallas probably already knew Ewers could absolutely throw with serious velocity. Those individuals outside the area that were not fortunate enough to see him play prior to the injury, it may have been a different story. Eliminate any doubts, if there truly were any. This young man has a gun. 

With Ewers’ arm strength, and his knowledge of the game (see below), this young man’s ceiling is still very far from being reached. 

Throwing Outside The Pocket 

This was the true test. Sometimes players lose some flexibility after a serious injury. How one labels a sports hernia is subjective, but it’s definitely something that appeared to be behind Ewers. He looked quite comfortable throwing on the run and showed no ill effects from injury.

Even when rolling to his left, against the grain of his right arm, Ewers did not appear to be struggling at all. Quite the opposite in fact, Ewers seemed to be going through the motions and enjoying himself. 

It’s one thing to be comfortable for a powerful gunslinger to throw from the pocket, and quite another to watch that same gunslinger to make plays moving against his body. During the playoffs last year, Ewers made more throws in and near the pocket, quite possibly because of the injury. It was really nice to see him be truly mobile and make those throws and for them to look effortless. 

Accuracy and Footwork 

During Ewers’ Pro Day, a section of the Elite 11 workout that each signal caller went through to judge accuracy, he missed on a couple of throws. It’s typical of the vast majority of quarterbacks. With that said, he absolutely threw darts all day long. While many quarterbacks would seemingly look to simply place the football exactly where they wanted and/or not always go through their drops at full speed, Ewers was consistent in letting it rip. 

Respect earned. It’s more difficult to complete passes when it’s full go. Ewers had no fear and just played quarterback. That’s important moving forward as he’s going to benefit from practicing like it’s a live game situation. 

Another point is a bit ironic. Even when Ewers was not completely balanced with his throws because his mechanics were not great for a particular rep, he still showed the ability to place the football well. This is important because like any other young quarterback, Ewers will inevitably continue to improve footwork and consistency. With more finetuning, this young man’s rifle arm will be even better served. 

Running The Football 

Obviously this is not something Elite 11 features. It’s still important to mention that Ewers can and will make plays with his feet. Over the last two seasons, Ewers played in 22 football games, and he rushed for 12 touchdowns. Keep in mind that he went through the injury during this past season, so he did not run the football nearly as much as he would have. Further, he missed several games while rehabbing and going through physical therapy. This is important to remember because of what Ewers could do this next season and beyond.

Ewers and his teammates came up just a little short for Southlake Carroll High School in the state championship. Now, consider how much more difficult it will be to defend Ewers because he’s healthy and a considerable running threat. This will add to his ability to utilize read-option plays, add to his ability to scramble and keep plays alive before throwing the football, and taking off outside the pocket and picking up yardage. 

In short, Ewers will be primed to have a monster senior season and lead Southlake Carroll to another deep run into the Texas state playoffs. It’s also why nobody should doubt what Ewers can do long term for Ohio State. This is a bona fide big-time talent with all the tools to succeed at the most crucial position in all of sport. 

Tough As Nails 

With all that Ewers went through last season, yet still returned to play in the playoffs, he needs to be given his just due. Seeing the difference in how the football came out of his hand on April 18 justified just how banged up his was. 

Going out and playing tackle football, and still being really good at this past season, is proof that Ewers wants to compete and win. A tip of the cap to this young man for doing everything he could to get back on the gridiron and leading his Carroll teammates all the way to the 6A division one state title game. 

Long-Term Projection 

Ewers can be as good as any quarterback in this class, and it’s easy to see why so many people believe he’s the top overall player in the nation. Ewers has the arm strength, athleticism, and grit to succeed. He is a legitimate national player of the year candidate and a quarterback with vast potential well beyond the high school level.

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