Newberg's Mailbag - No. 4

It's a quarterback driven mailbag this week discussing the top quarterbacks from Florida in this class and the next. There's also a question/answer regarding 2016 quarterback Shea Patterson from Louisiana as well as wide receiver Tristan Payton and his flirtation with USC.

Who do you feel is the top quarterback from the state of Florida? Is it really Torrance Gibson?

Torrance Gibson (Plantation American Heritage) is an absolutely incredible athlete and a five-star recruit. But he's not a five-star quarterback, at least not yet. Having said that I would never give up on him as a signal caller. It's way too early in his career. Heck, he still has his senior year to play. I have learned not to give up on athletic kids aspiring to be college quarterbacks.

A perfect example is from this past recruiting cycle – Treon Harris (Miami Booker T. Washington). Just about everyone bailed on him as a quarterback. We even had him rated as a cornerback. Now he does have incredible upside there but we also saw so much growth and development as a passer over the last few seasons and he's going into a great situation in Gainesville with the Gators.

Back to Gibson; there is not a more athletic kid in this class from the Sunshine State. He will be a five-star athlete once we create this position category this fall. That is coming along with other database and site changes on Scout. Gibson has size (6-4/207), speed and quickness to be an elite wide receiver or defensive back. In fact, he may be one of the "finer" athletes to come out of the state in recent years. I can only imagine what he could evolve into with better quarterback mechanics and an improvement in accuracy as a passer.

After seeing everyone this spring and watching junior film I would have to answer your question like this – no it's not Gibson. I would go Deondre Francois (Bradenton IMG Academy) No. 1, DeAndre Johnson (Jacksonville First Coast) No. 2 and probably Lamar Jackson (Boynton Beach, Fla.) No. 3.

Francois is now playing at IMG and is being coached by Chris Weinke. Weinke is one of the country's best teachers. There's a reason why high end NFL draftees pay him good money to get them ready for the combine and their respective pro days. I can all ready tell a difference with Francois after seeing him workout last month at one of their spring practices. Auburn, Florida State and Oregon are his final three and he will announce at the end of July.

Johnson lacks ideal height but has everything else. He has looked fantastic this spring and summer. He has committed to the Seminoles. In fact, he gave his pledge to FSU as a freshman. Jackson is another super athlete. In fact, of this trio, he's the best athlete of the bunch and a true dual-threat quarterback that excels at the zone read. What people don't realize is the arm strength this kid possesses. At this point he's leaving the state.

To me, the two wild cards at this position are both Gibson and Dwayne Lawson (Tampa Hillsborough). Lawson recently committed to Miami. I put him in the high risk, high reward category. He's raw and has a long way to go. But he also has the upside and talent, that if he puts it all together, could develop into the best of the bunch down the line. The same can be said for Gibson only he has superior athleticism.

That's how I see things now with these five. We will see how their senior season's play out and address this in January.

What's your assessment of Miami commitment Jack Allison?

Hey, it's all about the quarterback. Miami coach Al Golden and offensive coordinator James Coley have to be ecstatic that they received a commitment from Jack Allison (Palmetto, Fla.).

Right now, there are a handful of quarterbacks in this next class from Florida in recruits Allison, Feleipe Franks (Crawfordville, Fla./Wakulla), Xavier Gaines (Frostproof, Fla.), Ervin Barrett (Winter Garden West Orange) and Kato Nelson (Hialeah Champagnat Catholic).

I know Miami loved Franks, who they offered, but he committed to LSU. Then you have Allison, who camped at Miami and always loved the ‘Canes. I think it's a great fit for both Miami and Allison. This is a big signal caller at 6-foot-5 or so. He's improved tremendously from one year to the next. Allison has the big arm and good mechanics already. His confidence is growing. If Allison continues on this trajectory there is no telling where he will be two years from now.

I love this pickup for Miami.

How can LSU let Shea Patterson leave the state?

I know it's hard to see LSU passing on an in-state talent like Shea Patterson (Shreveport, La./Calvary Baptist). I have always said that recruiting is a lot like judging a beauty contest and we all see something different. Remember, the Tigers committed Feleipe Franks (mentioned just above) and he's not too shabby.

I say that kiddingly, as Franks is your classic drop-back passer with elite size (6-5) and everything else. It would be hard to pass on that guy if he wanted to come to my school.

I absolutely love Patterson and I can say that right now he's the better quarterback. In fact, I will go as far to say is that he has perhaps the best "arm talent" I have seen in the last few years. As I said here, he reminds me a lot of Aaron Murray at the same stage.

Patterson has committed to Arizona but is looking around. He recently visited Oklahoma State and Texas. Teams like Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State and others have all offered him. Right now he's a four-star recruit and the No. 2 ranked quarterback in the 2016 class.

Should I be worried that Tristan Payton visited USC? I am a very concerned Gator fan. Thanks.

Absolutely. As I have said a million times over the past few years, I don't hold too much stock with the early commitments. It just tells me who the team to beat is at the time of that particular decision.

Having said that, I do believe Florida is in great position to hold Tristan Payton (Jacksonville First Coast). Of course, we will have to see how his visit went out West to Southern Cal. He camped with the Trojans and told me via text message that USC would be his only stop while out there. To know surprise Payton performed well and walked with a scholarship offer from the Trojans.

For Florida I think he's important. They need playmakers on the perimeter and he's one of the better wide receivers from the state. He's not a blazer but he's physical and a terrific red-zone threat.

But it's so early in the process and we have seen a very volatile and fluid commitment list with the Gators under coach Will Muschamp. They typically have so much turnover, as recruits either back off their Florida pledge or the staff flips a prospect from another team. Then you have the season ahead; will it be a promising one like 2012 or a disappointing one like last season?

Bill, there's a long way to go. Strap on your seat belt as it will be another wild ride in Gainesville.

If you would like to submit a question for next week's mailbag please email me at

Big Red Report Top Stories