Athens Nike Combine: Quarterback Neil Caudle

GoBlueWolverine spent six hours watching high school prospects in the Atlanta area Friday night and Saturday morning -- mainly Alabama quarterback Neil Caudle, who sports a Michigan offer. How did Caudle do? And what did he and his mom and dad tell GoBlueWolverine?

GoBlueWolverine talked to quarterback Neil Caudle from Birmingham, Ala., Spain Park before the Sat. morning combine got going. We decided to go right to the bottom line first.

It's been stated that Auburn is your favorite school. Is that true?

"No sir," he said, shaking his head. "I'm open. I'm very interested in Michigan -- because of that guy over there (pointing across the field at Michigan quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler). He's the best there is."

Are you going to visit Michigan this summer?

"Yes. I'm attending the Michigan Camp in June."

During the passing drills chatted on and off with Neil's mom and dad.

Mrs. Caudle said, "We love Scot (Loeffler). He's just a very nice man -- Neil loves him too."

Mr. Caudle spoke about Neil's knee (he ended his 2004 season in November with an ACL injury).

"You'd never think Neil is six months past ACL surgery, would you? He ran a 4.72 40 (electronic) today. We told him not to do any of the drills, but he snuck off and ran a 40."

We asked Mr. Caudle what Neil measured as far as height and weight. "He measured 6-2, 190 today," he answered. "He's lost weight since the end of football season. He was 203 at the end of the season. He's playing baseball this spring, and it's been taking the weight off him. Baseball keeps him from lifting weights and staying bulked up, and he doesn't have enough time to eat right."

GBW's Scouting Report on Caudle

Two recent U-M recruit quarterbacks that Caudle brings to mind: Brady Quinn (2003-4, signed with Notre Dame) and Evan Sharpley (2004-05, also signed with Notre Dame). Like Quinn, Caudle has a good arm and good mobility, although Caudle at 6-2 is about an inch shorter. Like Sharpley, Quinn throws a 'soft', catchable ball, one that gets to it's destination in a hurry and looks pretty, but isn't a 'cannon shot'. Caudle and Sharpley are (at the same age) both 6-2, and 190-200 lbs., and Caudle has the quicker feet, whereas Sharpley had the better accuracy.

Then there's "the knee." As mentioned, Caudle suffered an ACL to his left knee in his ninthgame last November. On this day the right handed passer seemed to suffer no ill effects whatsoever from the injury, except for the inconvenience of the knee brace he wore (although he did decide not to run a shuttle). During the various passing drills, his quick feet was one of his strongest assets.

Al that being said, Caudle did not have the best day on this Friday-Saturday. His accuracy was somewhat inconsistant. Probably the fact that he has been playing baseball this spring kept his accuracy from being super-sharp. Some of his throws were right on the money -- passes of all types, both long and short -- but other throws 'sailed' on him a bit and were too high for his receivers.

As far as intangibles, Caudle exudes class and humility, and is also obviously a very smart kid (3.67 GPA and a 23 ACT).

All in all he showed promise during a mixed-results weekend.

Where does Caudle fit into Michigan's quarterback recruiting picture? His performance at the U-M Summer Camp will likely tell more of the story.

Photo Gallery to come.

Note: in his eight-plus games as a junior, Caudle completed 129-of-200 passes (64.5-percent) for 1,624 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also rushed for 424 yards on 43 carries (9.9 avg.) and four touchdowns.

He lists a top five of Auburn, Michigan, LSU, Georgia and Louisville (all have offered him). Coach Loeffler was in his school last week. He also plans to camp this summer at Auburn and Louisville.

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