Thursday, June 11, 2009

Are three-star quarterbacks that big of a deal?

No doubt that Vanderbilt's getting better and better athletes every year. But let's not get too excited that we just got a verbal commitment from a three-star quarterback (Nash Nance) to go with the three-star quarterback (Charlie Goro) we signed in February.

Yes, we should be excited that Nash Nance has a cool name and we can marvel in the wonderful coincidence that Nash will be playing in Nash-ville. And he may really turn out to be the next Jay Cutler.

But right now, he's just a three-star quarterback.

When the Commodores take the field this fall, they'll have FIVE three-star prep quarterbacks on the roster:
• Mackenzi Adams, signed in 2005
• Jared Funk, signed in 2006
• Turner Wimberly, signed in 2006
• Larry Smith, signed in 2007
• Charlie Goro, signed in 2009

In fact, in the past nine years Vandy's only signed two quarterbacks who WEREN'T three star guys. Yes, that would include Chris Nickson, and also Lance Parker, who ended up playing for Ouachita College.

Yesterday Douglas James over at VSL was warning against signing more than one quarterback in a class. Vandy's done that only once in Johnson's tenure, when he signed Funk and Wimberly in 2006. And how's that turning out? Funk's a four-year junior who's never played a snap and Wimberly, also a four-year junior, is now a wide receiver who's never caught a pass.

Right now, after making a play for four-star Andrew Hendrix who's holding out for Ohio State, Vanderbilt has made offers to four three-star quarterbacks. Nance, the lowest rated of all of them, was the first to bite. The other three — Devin Burns, Sam Gibson and Robinson — are all faster and more athletic. Burns and Gibson are even listed as athletes by some sites. Those guys could probably play other positions, and I don't mean like Wimberly is playing wide receiver right now.

In the future, a big sign for the Vandy program would be if it can get a marquee quarterback. Those guys are few and far between, and they usually go to the big-name programs. Of course, a marquee quarterback can bomb out like the rest of them (See: Jonathan Crompton).


Anonymous said...

I agree with getting a QB that is athletic would hurt however we recruited Gibson to be a wideout and he has committed to LSU already and in the rivals article about Nance it quote Bobby Johnson saying something to the fact that he know has to notify they other QB prospects that they have found their QB for this year.

Dimon said...

Yes, Gibson finally got his offer from LSU and accepted immediately. Vandy would have definitely offered him a place on our 2010 signing class with Nance and it makes sense that Johnson will stop pursuing the other guys.

It's interesting, though, that the first guy to accept his offer gets to be Vandy's only quarterback in this class. First come, first served. Which one of those 3-4 quarterbacks do you think the coaching staff really wanted?

Unknown said...

I'm the same person who wrote the first comment, and to your question I'm not sure it depends on what the coaching staff wanted, but probably either Nance or Robinson because their main aspect of their game is not necessarily running the ball. With the new spread hurry up offense in hand vandy needs a QB who can run but is more of a passer. Look at Nickson he was a run oriented QB and against the SEC he struggled at times


Clearly Vandy's coaches felt comfortable with either Nash or Robinson operating the spread. The guy they really wanted was probably Andrew Hendrix of Ohio, a four-star pro passer who initially showed some interest in the Commodores. We were also talking to another pro-style passer named Arndt from Texas. But you're right, it doesn't really matter now.

And you're right to bring up Chris Nickson. Gibson is a great runner but has accuracy problems, and Burns, from my hometown of Columbus, Ga., is a track guy not known for his throwing. We can't win consistently when we have one quarterback who's going to run every down and then a quarterback we put in when we get behind and need to throw.

We would have offered Gibson a scholarship to play another position (which he'll be doing at LSU) and we may keep looking at Burns as an athlete.