Michigan transfer quarterback Dan Villari committed to Syracuse on Tuesday. What is the Orange getting in Villari? We spoke to his private quarterback coach James Brady to find out.
James Brady: "Biggest strength would be his size and athleticism. He's every bit of 6-4, 235 and he can run with the best of 'em. The way the game's played these days, quarterbacks that can get out and create off schedule, make plays with the ball in their hands, take off and run, keep the chains moving. That is most certainly what sets him apart. He's not just a pocket passer, he will get out and make plays. He excels when he gets out of the pocket. He's just as consistent out of the pocket as he is inside the pocket. If you watch film on, especially his high school highlights, he's hurdling guys. His athleticism is definitely a big part of his game."
BIGGEST IMPROVEMENT SINCE HIGH SCHOOL
Brady: "Something I know he's been spending a lot of time on this past spring and summer and fall is really understanding the game. Processing information. When you get into the division one level as a freshman, your head can start turning a little bit. Just the conversations we're now having, the time he spent with coach Harbaugh and coach Gattis, just his understanding of how defenses attack offenses and being able to slow the game down. Process the information of what he's looking at. Where to get his feet and eyes and where the ball should be delivered to be able to anticipate has gone through the roof. I can see it on film. He always sends me practice clips throughout the year. Probably his first year, probably can get that out a split second sooner. You could see he wasn't processing things as fast. Now it's like he throws the ball before the receiver has even broke yet and he's throwing it behind a linebacker's head in a tight window. That's definitely where he's made the most progress and I'd say he's still working to get even better. Understanding the game, processing information and having the game slow down a little bit so he's always one step ahead."
Brady: "He can throw with anybody. I think what sets him apart is the ability to get out and create with his legs. But, he has as big of an arm, in terms of deep ball and velocity, and then accuracy and consistency, he can throw with anybody, in my opinion, in the country. When you watch him throw, the ball leaves his hand different than most guys. It jumps off his hands. He can put it wherever he wants. That's something where, the most time I've spent with him, really is in the fundamentals in the throwing motion and footwork, and where he's made a lot of progress in the last year in particular. Tightening up his stroke, using his lower body and his core more efficiently. The way he's throwing the ball now, to be quite frank, I've been doing this for 14 years, I haven't seen many people throw like he does in person. As good as he is with his legs, he is just as good if not better throwing the ball around. He's the total package. I have no other way to say it. He's not going to go somewhere and just because he can run, they'll put him in. No. If he stays in the pocket all game long, he'll be just as good. And he can get out and create."
BETWEEN THE EARS
Brady: "This has remained consistent from the first day I met him to now, and now even more so, he is a sponge. Student of the game. Gym rat. He lives and breathes it. If he could do it 24/7 he would. If it's something that's going to help him, the team, get better, he's all in on it. He knows the mental part of the game, the playbook, that's what it takes to excel at this level. He has stories that he shares with me. The boy JD Johnson, he was the boy who originally committed to Michigan, had a heart issue and now he's able to play again. He became best friends with him and they would stay up til all hours of the morning going through the playbook, breaking down film. He's like a little puppy walking around next to Cade McNamara in practice, in meeting rooms, just hearing the way he speaks. Seeing whatever he's seeing, asking questions. He's not one of those guys who just shows up and throws the ball around. He understands completely and loves it. He loves learning about the game and the whole mental side of it. I'd say that's a strength of his as well and that's helped him get to where he is. He is extremely coachable. He understands that he can always get a little better. If you can share something with him that can help, he's going to do everything he can to get better at it. He's a sponge, student of the game, and he loves every piece of it. I think that's where he's made the most progress is in the mental side of it. So I think he'll have a lot of fun getting to learn a whole new system, and putting time in with that."