Chris Baucia has coached and trained local quarterbacks since 1999 at his Quarterback Factory in Anne Arundel County, with the likes of pupils Scott McBrien, Kevin Hogan, Shane Cockerille, Caleb Henderson, William Crest and Kai Locksley, among others, moving onto major college football.
His latest charge is Kasim Hill the former Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) four-star standout and Scout’s No. 1 quarterback prospect in the East Region, who committed April 9 to Maryland and Coach D.J. Durkin.
Hill, who will play his senior year at St. John’s (Washington, D.C.), is the third four-star commitment of the weekend, joining defensive tackle Cam Spence of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and linebacker Ayinde Eley of Good Counsel (Olney, Md.), as the 2017 Terrapin class grew to five early pledges.
Baucia, who has coached the 6-foot-2 ½, 205-pound Hill since the fifth grade (and at Gilman for the last three years), broke down the newest Terps pledge for TT today after Hill’s 2 PM announcement.
TT: First things first, how does Kasim fit the new up-tempo spread system of Walt Bell at Maryland?
Chris Baucia: I think he fits any offense perfectly for his skill set and work ethic, as he could really fit into any offense in the country.
TT: And what is that skill set that enables him to do that?
CB: A high level IQ with high level fundamentals. And a high level work ethic. You put those three together, and it can’t be beat.
TT: Break him down as a passer, both physically and mentally.
CB: Well, as a passer, I think he is one of the best pure passers that ever came out of the state of Maryland. I think at nearly 6-3, 200-pounds, he has the ability to operate from underneath the gun; he can be a dual-threat; or he can be a pocket passer. So it is very hard to categorize him in high school because he can operate in anything that I put him in.
His IQ is just off the charts as far as pre and post-snap coverages, and he’s not going to need the sideline as much as many other quarterbacks to determine what play to put him in. And he will be able to operate a lot of things that are coming in….in this day of college football, and for a long time, such as RPOs and multi-decision concepts a quarterback has to be able to put his team in on the field. So if run-pass-options are nothing but a check with me system in the old huddle days….so in the huddle, the quarterback would come up, you would have a check with me and if the defense does this, well put us into this play. And if the defense does that, well put us into that play, whether it be a throw or run.
But nowadays in up-tempo systems, a lot of people use run-pass-options where they combine three or four things within the same play-call to make it go faster. And he is someone that already has done that. He understands the fundamentals behind it, and he can move forward with that. Whether he is going to do a lot of that [at Maryland], I don’t know. But he can do it from underneath in a slow system; he can do from the gun in an up-tempo system; he can get the play-call from the sideline; and he can do multi plays wrapped up in one call. He is just way ahead of the curve.
TT: And for Terps fans that haven’t seen him run, what kind of runner is Kasim?
CB: Well, last year he won the MIAAs in a couple of [track] events, and he also won the MIAA long-jump championship. So he really worked hard last season in the off-season as far as overall athleticism, and I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised what he is able to do when he tucks it and runs with it.
TT: What does he typically run a 40-yard dash in?
CB: I think he is a nice, comfortable, 4.6 40.
TT: And so tell us about that work ethic.
CB: I have had him since the 5th grade. He originally used to have to drive a long ways to come to our training. And he started, and then he never missed a workout. Even to this day even with college visits and things like that, he makes sure he gets his training in.
TT: So who does Kasim remind you of the most, as far as past or local or any quarterback in general?
CB: You know, people ask me that all the time. It’s really hard because the minute I think he throws like this guy, he goes and make a play with his legs like that guy. And then his IQ reminds me of this guy. But I would say, quite honestly, and I know these are big shoes, and I am not saying he is that guy, but he reminds me of a bigger, stronger, faster Russell Wilson at this time. And that’s huge shoes, and we are not trying to compare him to him. But he is bigger, stronger, faster already, and his play is so calm that you just never see….when we were going into overtime last year against Good Counsel, I looked at the sideline from the press box. And we had a big lead, and then they came back…and so I look at the sideline and there is a kid skipping on the sideline. And he goes to [Gilman] Head Coach [Biff] Poggi, and he says, ‘Isn’t this fun?’
And I have never seen a kid just enjoying and appreciating the moment as much as he does because he is never about himself. And that is the number one attribute about a quarterback: you can’t worry about your stats, you can’t worry about how much playing time. You have to be all-in to the team every day, and that really identifies Kasim. He will do whatever it takes for the team to be successful, I can guarantee that.
But he was just skipping up and down the sidelines. And I’m in the press box, and we’re going into overtime, and I am like “what I am going to do?” And he is skipping on the sidelines. And so the very next play we gave him one of those option plays where he can make the call, he made the right call and put us down on the 10, and then we ran the ball in and scored in two plays.
TT: And so what area does he need to work on the most at this time?
CB: Just always trying to keep him as fluid as we possibly can in everything he does because he’s a guy that always strives for perfection. And sometimes when you have a kid like that you got to make sure he stays loose in all his movements.
But he is college-ready right now. But I think sometimes he really picks himself apart, so I just want him to always stay relaxed. Make sure he is a player first, always be a player first, and one that is totally responsible for the other people on the field. And when he does that, he stays loose and doesn’t pick himself apart too much, he is very accurate, he throws the deep ball, every ball you want he’s going to be able to throw and he is going to know where to put it before and during the snap. I mean, he is a very polished kid.
TT: And what about his move to St. John’s for his senior year, and their system?
CB: They are going to run an up-tempo spread. I think it is a good situation for Kasim, and obviously he wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t. And I just support him in his final year of high school and wish him the best there.
TT: And what about Maryland and the job they did recruiting him?
CB: Well, this is an awkward year because of all the transition. So myself, first and foremost, I was there to support Kasim to make sure his high school transfer went well and to support him there. As for the Terps, I haven’t had much time yet to talk to DJ Durkin and Walt Bell, but Marcus Berry and Aazaar Abdul-Rahim have been my main sources of contact there, and they have been very supportive and upbeat, and they are very fired-up about the direction the program is headed.
TT: And Kasim the kid, what jumps out most about him off of the field?
CB: Well, its family for him. And the way he interacts with his little sister. I can say the best thing you will ever bear witness to is how he treats her. The most special thing about him is the way he interacts with his little sister. It’s just those two kids, but he has family that comes down from New York and some extended family in Delaware. I would say the most special thing is how much and how well he treats his little sister.
And I would just add to that, he is 100 percent son, brother, and teammate. I can tell you that like, for example, his vacations have always included a football. I mean, this is something he has prepared for for many, many years. So when they would go away and see family, they would be stopping at a camp, training, or at a local university. And it’s not something they would put over family, it’s just part of them.
TT: And why do you think he chose Maryland at this early time?
CB: I think it was smart on his behalf to wrap it up before spring ball and then just concentrate on being a high school player your senior year. But also the distance had a lot to do with it so his family can be there at every home game. And he said the academic side of things really fit what he was looking for, like the business school and things like that.
And he just felt the most at home there. And he is a very good student so he will excel there as well.
Note: Hill and other local QB prospects, including Bullis 2018 standout Tucker Strachan, the nephew of Tim Strachan, will be competing on April 23 at the Quarterback Factory Prospect Spotlight Skill Showcase at Archbishop Spalding High School in Severn. The combine is open to all area rising 9-12th grade QBs, WRs, TEs, and DBs.