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Friday, May 2, 2014
QBs getting snapped up quickly

By Jeremy Crabtree

Schools looking to still land an elite quarterback in the Class of 2015 had better get on the ball. That’s because the list of top-flight uncommitted quarterbacks continues to get shorter and shorter.

With Brady White's commitment to Arizona State on Friday evening, more than 60 percent of the nation’s top 30 quarterbacks have already made up their minds. There’s even less inventory if you’re looking for a good pocket-passing quarterback, as 11 of the top 15 and four of the top five have committed.

“The recruiting process for quarterbacks is the most sped-up of any position out there,” UCLA coach Jim Mora said recently. “You identify the guy you want almost two years in advance and really zero in on him. If you miss out on your guy, then you almost are better off focusing on the quarterback you want in next year’s class. That’s how sped-up things have gotten, especially with this 2015 class.”

White continues a trend by Arizona State offensive coordinator Mike Norvell of stockpiling the best available passers. ASU signed two quarterbacks in 2014 (Manny Wilkins and Coltin Gerhart) and it already has a pledge from 2015 three-star passer Bryce Perkins. However, White wasn’t worried about the competition. Looking at his scouting report, he’s a perfect fit for Arizona State’s system, especially when you see words like “makes good decisions and possesses a quick release” used to describe him. Plus, he fell in love with the campus and town at Arizona State, and two visits to Tempe in April helped seal the deal.

You can count on White, like most other top quarterbacks that have committed early, to play a large role in helping lure other good players to Arizona State. His teammate, four-star receiver Trent Irwin, lists Arizona State as one of his top schools. White’s pledge might end up being the biggest of the class for the Sun Devils, especially when you hear coaches talk about how big of an impact landing an elite quarterback early can have on a program.

Kyler Murray
Kyler Murray is the top dual-threat quarterback in the 2015 class.
“Prospects follow recruiting very, very closely and they know where others are going or where they're leaning,” Mora said. “I think any time you are able to early in the recruiting process land a high-profile recruit at whatever position, it's going to help you. Good players want to play with other good players. They want a chance to go win a championship. So when you can get a verbal commitment from somebody that's high-profile at an important position like quarterback, then it is certainly going to help your recruiting prospects.”

With White off the board, the top remaining uncommitted pocket passers are No. 2-ranked Zach Gentry and No. 7-ranked Kyle Kearns. Don’t be surprised if you see both make decisions before the end of the summer. Gentry is focused on Alabama, Oklahoma State, Tennessee and Texas. Kearns hopes to make his pick after attending several summer camps.

There’s a little more left at the dual-threat spot, with the biggest prize in the country at quarterback still on the board. Top-ranked overall quarterback Kyler Murray continues to be a heavy lean to Texas A&M after an unofficial visit to Oregon on April 13. Auburn is making a late push, but the race to land him will also be over in the not-too-distant future.

Sure, there will be other names that rise at the quarterback spot throughout the year, but when Murray comes off the board, it will officially signal the end of the chase for the elite passers in the country. Coaches will have to pay heed to what Mora says and start working on next year’s quarterbacks, or maybe even the Class of 2017.

Yes, recruiting quarterbacks has become that expedited.