En route to another state championship for Brother Rice, junior quarterback Alex Malzone turned in a productive season that put him in the discussion as one of the Midwest's best QBs in 2015. Malzone finished 190 for 291 for 2,785 passing yards, 25 touchdown passes and three rushing touchdowns in 2013 and is drawing interest from a long list of regional schools including much of the Big Ten.
Malzone is a college-ready quarterback that is capable of making a lot of big-time throws as he displayed time and time again in 2013. Squashing any doubts about a partial sophomore campaign, Malzone looked like a polished passer as a junior with more than adequate arm strength and a quick, repeatable release.
What sets Malzone apart from other quarterbacks with similar qualities is his ability to stay composed within the pocket. Awareness is crucial at the quarterback position and Alex shows poise as he moves freely up and down within the pocket.
With heavy interest from in-state powers Michigan and Michigan State, it looks like Malzone has his sights set on playing in the Big Ten. Malzone has visited both schools several times over the past year and he seems focused on adding more offers to his growing collection. For Central to become a legitimate player in Malzone's recruitment, several schools that he has higher on his list would have to go cold in the coming months heading into his senior season.
Jake Johnson – DeWitt (Mich.)
Checking in as the No. 3 quarterback in the state of Michigan for 2015, DeWitt junior Jake Johnson possesses a considerable amount of upside. Johnson has been the victim to unfortunate injuries over the past two seasons, with a spleen ailment last year and a thumb injury the year prior.
Johnson put up gaudy numbers in 2013 despite missing time due to his spleen injury, recording 2,055 passing yards, 31 touchdown passes and a 68.3 completion percentage for DeWitt. These numbers are nothing to scoff at and point to Johnson's main asset- his accuracy.
After his spleen injury, Johnson has been working on his weight and is up to around 200 pounds as of now. At 6'2", this is good size and will not work against him going forward. What will, however, is the fact that his numbers are against sub-par competition.
While Central is the only offer currently on the table, Johnson thinks that Toledo may soon join in with an offer of their own. Johnson will be holding a throwing session in mid-April to allow various college coaches a closer look at his mechanics. This event could yield an offer or two if all goes as planned for the DeWitt signal-caller. CMU is believed to be in attendance for this throwing session and Jake has expressed interest in visiting down the line.
Joey Burrow – The Plains (Oh.) Athens
On the heels of a prolific junior season, The Plains (Oh.) Athens quarterback Joey Burrow has drawn attention from across the Midwest. Burrow posted a 71.2% completion rate on 306 throws for 3,732 passing yards and 47 touchdowns. In addition to his exploits through the air, Burrow gained 589 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground.
As a four-star quarterback with numbers to back up that distinction, Burrow has heard from a collection of schools across the Midwest including Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Maryland, Michigan State, Nebraska and Tennessee. Three Mid-American Conference schools other than CMU have offered (Ohio, Toledo, Western Michigan) and more could be in the mix later down the road.
Burrow has a throwing motion similar to Jake Johnson and may be the product of a similar environment. At 6'4", Burrow stands tall over his competition inside the pocket, although he is both successful and willing to flee the pocket for additional yardage on the ground. His agility is impressive for his size.
On tape Burrow looks the part of a college quarterback and has a lot to offer at the next level. His arm strength is above average and he has a high release point on his throws, which is only benefited by his natural height. These qualities when combined with his athleticism have helped bring in each of his nine offers.
James Morgan – Green Bay (Wis.) Ashwaubenon
Central Michigan is the first school to step in and offer three-star quarterback James Morgan, but they will almost certainly not be the last. With 2,540 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2013, Morgan has heard from Arkansas, Auburn, Iowa, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Wisconsin as well.
At 6'4" and 205 lbs., Morgan has the size necessary to play QB in college. He also has the skills necessary to play college at a big time school as well. Morgan has a compact, quick release and fires the ball at a high point which allows his passes to travel over the line of scrimmage uninhibited.
What sets Morgan apart from other three-star quarterbacks is his above average arm strength and ability to fit the ball in tight windows with great success. These qualities directly apply to the college game and are highly sought after skills for a quarterback to possess.
Since Central Michigan is the first school to offer Morgan, he is quite excited about the Chippewas. He is planning a visit to check out the campus in the near future, but is keeping his options open in the meantime. Expect Morgan to gain traction on the camp circuit and for other schools to get involved before heading into his senior season for Ashwaubenon High.
Kyle Shurmur – Wyndmoor (Pa.) La Salle College
During his junior season, Kyle Shurmur sliced opposing defenses to the tune of 2,502 yards and 26 touchdowns for La Salle College. Central Michigan and Illinois are the only schools that have offered Shurmur at this juncture, but his film suggests that the Chippewas got in on a good prospect early.
Shurmur is a three-star QB that stands 6'4", 210 pounds and shows potential to develop into a very talented college quarterback. Playing against quality competition in Pennsylvania, Shurmur displayed good zip on his passes, but applied necessary touch at times last year as well. Because of his natural arm strength, Kyle doesn't properly step into each throw, but he has the tools to compete at the next level.
While Central Michigan and Illinois are the only schools to offer so far, the Chips may be the only school of the two still pursuing Shurmur. The Illinois Fighting Illini locked up an early commitment from Champaign (Ill.) Centennial quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald, so it is unclear if they will continue to recruit other offered prospects at the position.
Brandon Childress – Baldwin (Mich.)
Childress is a prospect who brings versatility to the table from all aspects of the word. As quarterback for the Baldwin Panthers, Childress is a true dual-threat quarterback who causes defenses to pause due to his electric potential on the ground. At 6'3", 185 pounds, Childress maneuvers well for his size and gets to the second level in a hurry due to his long stride length.
His size and quickness might not be best used at quarterback; however, Childress has a skill set that might translate to wide receiver in college. His length could be utilized in the slot as a possession wide receiver that has the ability to stretch the field. That is, if he decides to play football in college.
While Brandon's offer to Central Michigan is for football, he is also an accomplished basketball player who has entertained the thought of playing both sports in college. Childress defaults to football and should be preparing for fall camp in a year and a half, but he may opt to play both sports in college.