Quarterback recruitment is, well, weird

Aaron Murray Georgia Freshman Quarterback UGA Starting QB

Welcome to “Quarterback Week”, where Saturday Down South talks to some of the top QB targets out there for SEC schools. We’ve interviewed some of the biggest names, and we’ll rank them at the end of the week. See who your school is hoping to lure to campus.

The ‘game’ of the quarterback recruiting process is a lot like musical chairs, witnessing the domino effect and playing chess–all rolled into one.

MORE: Meet the nation’s top dual-threat QB who is eyeing several SEC schools

There is more pressure, more strategy, more ‘poker face’ to it than at any other position. Quarterback prospects in Miami watch what other QB prospects in Seattle and Phoenix are doing. They watch for news of commitments in Ohio and Michigan because it could affect whether they go to Ole Miss or not.

Yes, it’s that intricate and that gut-wrenching.

For the super-stud five star guy–this year’s version would be California native Josh Rosen or south Florida native Torrance Gibson–you can write your own ticket. You could probably wait until national signing day, like Terrelle Pryor did a few years back. You’re so highly coveted that programs will wait.

But that’s not the case for the majority of even the best QB recruits. Even if you’re a high end four-star level prospect, you’d better evaluate schools early on and be prepared to make a decision known when the time is right, or your scholarship-offer well will dry up and they’ll go to other prospects. Colleges aren’t looking to add four quarterbacks in every class, they’re looking to wrap their class around one gem QB–and they want to know very early whether their No. 1 choice is on board or not so they can go to plan 1B. If you notice, quarterbacks don’t take five official visits in the fall of their senior years–that’s because the ‘domino effect’ of their commitments begins in the spring and the BCS-level QB decisions are usually wrapped up around the country by June. Then, they are put to work by their coaching staffs recruiting future teammates. They are expected to be leaders the minute they pledge to the program.

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There isn’t as much of a circus atmosphere when they’re picking their school, and national signing day is an afterthought–and heck, most of them are on college campus as early enrollees anyway when signing day arrives. While most high school seniors are getting ready for the prom the spring of the final year, many quarterbacks have their noses buried in the playbooks, hoping to earn playing time as true freshmen.

Yes, it’s a lot different for quarterbacks.

“Oh yeah, there are a lot of eyeballs watching everything out there,” said national top five pro-style QB prospect Drew Lock, who Mizzou, Tennessee and Ole Miss want badly. “You’re watching to see who just got offered here and there, and now that school or that QB is out of the picture. Then you’re looking at the depth chart already on campus. You look at who they’ve got and how long they’ll be there.

“I mean, it’s just a different position. A team can have four wide receivers start the game, maybe even five if they have a certain type of offense. So you can sign a lot of receivers. But you could have the same quarterback for four years. That’s why it’s different, and that’s why there’s so much pressure.”

So, SEC fans … right now, more than 60 prospects are committed to SEC schools for the class of 2015. Only two of those are quarterbacks. But by June, don’t be surprised if all 14 SEC schools have their future signal caller in place. There will be a lot of activity between now and then, so stay tuned this week to see who your team’s next cornerstone recruit will be.

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