Position Analysis: Quarterbacks

Junior quarterback Brad Iciek had another spectacular season, and will be bringing his senior leadership into 2009 for the Lakers. GVReport looks over the 2008 body of work for Iciek, and what to expect from the quarterbacks in 2009 along with how quarterback recruiting is going.

Same old same old for Brad Iciek. Another Harlon Hill-nominee season, some more All-GLIAC honors, some more All-Region honors.

If anyone was left thinking the 2007 season was a flash in the pan and beginner's luck for Iciek, they should be silenced at this point in time. Iciek for the second straight season posted a top-notch national QB rating as he threw for 2,252 yards, 31 touchdowns, and six interceptions. The gleaming spot on the résumé being the magical night against Ashland University when Iciek out-dueled All-American quarterback Billy Cundiff in a 48-42 victory where Iciek was 16-for-25 for 319 yards and four touchdowns. Let us also not forget the precision that he operated with on the upper peninsula schools as Michigan Tech (9-for-10, 190 yards, 4 TD) and Northern Michigan (12-for-14, 266 yards, 3 TD) saw Iciek tear them apart with nearly every single drop-back.

It took over 100 pass attempts for the first opponent to get an interception off of him, and that came at the cost of bouncing off the helmet of one of his receivers. The next interception in the same game came on a dropped pass.

The season wasn't without it's rough spots and struggles as Wayne State (11-for-24, 112 yards, 1 TD) and Minnesota-Duluth (13-for-46, 160 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT) gave Iciek and the rest of the Lakers some trouble, but the bottom line is that Iciek continued to do what he did best this year, and that is win. Without a true wide receiver seeing consistent time for the Lakers, it makes it even more impressive that Iciek was able to do what he did this season.

Some quarterbacks would express some disappointment in his team taking on a primarily-rushing attack and would see a performance decline. Not from Iciek. Less pass attempts? No problem, a gaudy 15.4 yards-per-completion average took care of that.

Expect more of the same in 2009, despite the grumblings from some who think the position should be an open competition over the summer. Make no mistake - Brad Iciek will be the starting quarterback in 2009, he will put up more great numbers, and even more importantly, he will continue to be on the winning side of things.

Brad Iciek's 2008 Game-By-Game
vs Indianapolis: 18-for-27, 285 yards, 2 TD
at #25 Saginaw Valley State: 11-for-18, 111 yards, 1 TD
vs #24 Ferris State: 14-for-26, 158 yards, 3 TD
vs #23 Michigan Tech: 9-for-10, 190 yards, 4 TD
at Tiffin: 9-for-16, 115 yards, 5 TD
vs Hillsdale: 13-for-19, 275 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT
at Findlay: 8-for-16, 159 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
vs #23 Ashland: 16-for-25, 319 yards, 4 TD
at Northern Michigan: 12-for-14, 266 yards, 3 TD
at #25 Wayne State: 11-for-24, 112 yards, 1 TD
vs #17 Ashland: 10-for-19, 102 yards, 1 TD (NCAA Division II Playoffs Second-Round)
vs #6 Minnesota-Duluth: 13-for-46, 160 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT (NCAA Division II Playoffs Super Regional 3 Championship)
Season Stats: 144-for-260, 2252 yards, 31 TD, 6 INT, 162.87 QB Rating

Marquel Neasman again was efficient as the backup quarterback for the Lakers, going 10-for-19 for 156 yards and one touchdown this season. He has one more season behind Iciek before this speedy play-maker is perhaps the next great quarterback in the Laker repertoire as a senior.

Quarterback Recruiting

However, with that all said, this is everyone's favorite time of the year...the busy recruiting time. Grand Valley State University is again poised to reel in some high-caliber quarterbacks at this year's February 4th signing day.

The class of the potential group is Ann Arbor Pioneer signal-caller Nader Furrha. Furrha has an arm that is on par perhaps only with Michigan State-commit Andrew Maxwell in terms of power. In workouts and at this past July's GVSU camp, receivers said that Furrha's passes were among the fastest that they have ever been on the receiving end of. While he does have an unorthodox drop-back as he places only his palm on the ball with his off-hand to steady it, this quarterback packs a punch when the ball is rifled from his shoulder. Oh, and let's not forget his 4.5-4.6 speed which has resulted in some highlight-reel plays that can be found on YouTube. The only downfall for Nader is his size, as his 5'11"/6'0" 175 pound stature is small for a quarterback.

The other name that will grab attention this recruiting season is Holland Christian quarterback A.J. Westendorp, one of the top performers this year in the state of Michigan as he put up some video game numbers all season long and carried it into the MHSAA State Finals when he set a Michigan record for state final completions and yards as he went 26-for-33 for 318 yards and four touchdowns to go along with 108 yards rushing. A near carbon copy of Cullen Finnerty, this 6'2" 210 pound gun-slinger is literally, what some people called Cullen, "a linebacker playing quarterback" as he was one of Holland Christian's top performers on defense as well. His 4.6-4.7 speed and willingness to lay the shoulder into defenders on a scramble would draw some familiar comparisons. While he doesn't have the strongest arm of pinpoint accuracy, Westendorp does possess perhaps the most important attribute in a football player, excellent decision-making.

Quarterback Big Board (Alphabetical)
Chris Cagle (6'1" 185), Hartland - Interest from Central Michigan
Taylor Copacia (6'4" 190), Utica Eisenhower - Interest from Ball State, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Illinois, Wisconsin
Nader Furrha (6'0" 175), Ann Arbor Pioneer - Interest from Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, Houston, Michigan, Northwestern, Rutgers
Isiah Grimes (6'7" 210), South Haven
Jaisaun Holt (6'1" 180), Detroit Henry Ford
Adam Morgan (5'11" 180), Dinwiddie (Va.) - Interest from Clemson, Florida, North Carolina, N.C. State, South Carolina, Syracuse, Virginia
Kyle Nichol (5'10" 170), Lowell - Interest from Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Miami (OH), Michigan State, Vanderbilt
Kyle Partlo (6'2" 185), Midland Dow - Interest from Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Hillsdale, Saginaw Valley State, Wayne State (Mich.)
Jordan Roberts (6'1" 196), Aurora Christian (Ill.)
A.J. Westendorp (6'2" 210), Holland Christian - Interest from Michigan and Saginaw Valley State

Quarterbacks in 2009

Not much to talk about here. Expect Brad Iciek to be the starter once again with Marquel Neasman backing up and Chad Somerville at third string. Waiting in the wings will still be Brandon Miller. With Iciek starting and Neasman being a capable back-up, expect any incoming quarterbacks to be red-shirted.

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