Today's spotlight: quarterback pledge Brandon Wimbush.
Film NotesDeep ball accuracy, quick to wind and deliver though his motion remains a bit elongated and on occasion, too low…Per usual for prep quarterbacks, mild tweaking of his set-up and release will be necessary, but Wimbush showed he has a good base, back leg drive, and hip action to throw, so he doesn't have to rely upon his current "whip" motion as he winds and releases deep -- likely more of an issue to correct for the NEXT next level, not college…
Is a quarterback, not an athlete playing quarterback. That is, he understands coverages, ball placement and timing, and has good fundamentals to set up in the pocket -- thereafter, he's a quality athlete as well. Wimbush is a passer that can run and beat a defense by gaining 10-15 yards when it's there. In other words, he doesn't have to rely on the read-option approach to be a successful quarterback…Can fire to a small window on the move, crucial in Brian Kelly's spread offense…Often makes something out of nothing while remaining under control, because he's quick, strong, and competitive…Likely runs as fast as Everett Golson, not Malik Zaire, as a point of comparison, though his long strides will serve him well in comparison to Golson's choppy steps.
Does a good job placing the football where his receiver can catch it, i.e., sometimes high and "behind" a closing cornerback, not necessarily leading the intended receiver which can sometimes result in a tougher catch or off-balance catch…
Threw to mostly open receivers on film (naturally, they're highlights, after all) but I like his touch on both deep balls and shorter, easy throws…Willing to stick with a pass progression and take the occasional shot…Good pocket presence and as as Brian Kelly notes of several positions, simply understands "11-on-11" football…Quick feet but more important, shuffles them well in the pocket looking to make plays downfield…A preponderance of one-receiver reads in the cut-ups I watched which I suppose is natural for a junior year or senior year highlight reel…
Should be able to protect himself and finish scrambling runs at the next level as he's both elusive and strong, and obviously understands how to use his body in space…Has a second gear when he decides it's time to tuck and go. (I don't see a third gear, however, precious few quality passers have that type of blinding speed.)
Wimbush is a decisive runner when he decides it's time to go.
Initial concerns after watching film: None. Quarterback is a difficult position to grade in the transition from prep to college ball. For instance, was there a scout in the nation that offered Everett Golson might have major ball security issues entering his 25th start as a 21-year-old collegiate quarterback? Wimbush has moxie, a strong arm, nice touch, good size (6'2" is fine for college), great feet, and can run when he has to. He understands the game and it is clear he'll be coachable, willing to work on his delivery and to polish as a pure passer.
When the bullets go live, he'll respond. But so too did Golson. It's a difficult position to play, especially for Brian Kelly.
Key Takeaway Irrelevant to his recruitment, but I believe Golson was a better pure passer at the same stage -- Wimbush's three inch height advantage and 25 pounds might offset that by the time the latter is a redshirt-freshmen or redshirt-sophomore fighting for a starting job.
Ideal Situation for Wimbush in 2015: He'll redshirt as did each of his five Kelly-era predecessors at the position save for Tommy Rees.
Upon ArrivalA look at eligibility among Notre Dame's quarterbacks when Wimbush hits campus prior to the 2015 season:
Likely 5th-year senior Everett Golson: Enters his final season of eligibility and is far-and-away the best pure passer in the program.
Junior Malik Zaire: Has three seasons of eligibility remaining and enters 2015 as the team's best read-option triggerman by a wide margin.
Sophomores DeShone Kizer and Montgomery VanGorder: Both will have four seasons of eligibility remaining. Kizer is an intriguing prospect because of his height, speed, deep ball touch, and (albeit elongated motion) whip-action arm that gets the ball from Point A to Point B in a hurry.
Incoming Freshmen: Brandon Wimbush