Is Morelli the best QB in the country?

The debate has already started as to who will be the top signal caller in the class of 2004. Some think Grand Prairie (TX) QB Rhett Bomar is the top guy. Others think Chad Henne of West Lawn (PA) or Xavier Lee of Daytona Beach (FL) Seabreeze are the best at their position. However, The Territory is going to go out on a limb and give its reasons why Anthony Morelli should get the top nod.

According to Student Sports, Morelli outperformed all of the Elite 11 invited quarterbacks, including last year's top thrower Kyle Wright. Rumor has it that he looked even sharper than camp counselor Carson Palmer, who was the number one selection in the past April's NFL draft.

"We had Morelli as a ball boy at the Student Sports Elite 11 camp last summer and his arm strength and accuracy compared favorably to just about any quarterback at the camp," Greg Biggins of Student Sports said. "Morelli has great arm strength and throws a nice tight ball every time. He can make all the throws and moves very well in and outside of the pocket."

After watching his highlights from his sophomore and junior seasons, The Territory is in total agreement.

Morelli looks like more of a polished NFL quarterback than a high school junior. It is very difficult to find any flaws in his game. His footwork and mechanics are nearly perfect. He does all the little things right, plus his arm and release has to be the best in the country. Morelli doesn't do anything to tip off the defense. He doesn't pat the ball or stare down a receiver. He sets up in the pocket quickly and he knows when to step up with pressure. Most quarterbacks that have a live arm like him don't know how to put touch on the ball. That's not the case here; Morelli puts plenty of air on the deep ball and on his fades. He also has nice touch on screen passes. He throws with an overhand delivery and his ball has a tight spiral to it. The Territory rarely saw him force the ball or make any poor decisions. If there's a flaw to his game, it might be that he's not quite the athlete as some of the other top quarterbacks. That doesn't matter much because the rest of his game puts him over the top.

Despite playing in a run orientated system, the 6-foot-4 and 210-pounder still was able to pass for almost 1,900 yards and 24 touchdowns with only 9 interceptions as a junior. He averaged over 24 yards per completion.

According to sources close to Morelli's recruitment, the hometown Pittsburgh Panthers are in the lead for his services followed by Florida State. Anthony and his father Gary are very close and distance could be a factor.

No offense to other top quarterbacks in Bomar, Henne, Lee, Ingram and Weatherford. Morelli is a rare player that doesn't come along very often. It will be scary to see what he can do in a passing-oriented system surrounded by top-notch talent. Some have compared Morelli to another Italian from Pittsburgh. Miami Dolphin fans know whom I'm talking about.

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