Staver stands out

This is an unusually good year for in-state football talent. Check out this in-depth look at a quality quarterback prospect from the Nashville area.

At 6-feet-5 and 235 pounds, he looks like a guy who should be rushing the passer instead of being the passer.

Once Max Staver drops back, plants and uncorks one of his high-velocity throws, however, there is no doubt that he was born to be a quarterback.

Staver, who will be a senior at Brentwood Academy this fall, put on quite a show during the recent IMG 7 on 7 Qualifier at Knoxville's U.S. Cellular complex. His first attempt of the event was a beautifully thrown touch pass that would have produced a 40-yard touchdown except that his receiver dropped it.

The vast majority of Staver's subsequent passes in the 7 on 7 tournament were caught, underscoring why he is one of The South's better quarterback prospects. Mississippi State, Louisville and Tennessee State already have offered scholarships.

"A bunch of schools are really interested," Staver said. "I'm getting calls from a lot of schools — Houston, Toledo, Washington, Florida. Alabama and Auburn and LSU are really high on my board but they all got quarterback commitments lately, so my board's shuffled around. I'll probably look out west at the Pac 12, maybe look some at the Big Ten and some at the Big 12."

The home-state Tennessee Vols appear to have backed off of him ... at least for the time being.

"We were really close last summer," he said. "After that, they really didn't do anything."

Whether the Vols rejoin the chase or not, Staver will have plenty of college options to choose from in the months ahead. In addition to an imposing physique and a powerful right arm, he has surprising speed.

"I'm a big guy but I'm really athletic for how big a guy I am," he said. "I recently ran a 4.74 forty. A lot of guys underestimate that and I surprise people. I can throw it, obviously. I'm accurate and all of that. I need to improve but I've got a lot of potential and I'm already pretty good."

Staver says he passed for 1,880 yards and 19 touchdowns with four interceptions last fall on what he called "a predominantly run team." He expects to put up some really imposing numbers in a more pass-oriented attack this fall.

"I think this year is going to be more of a West Virginia-type offense," he said. "Another thing about me is I'm a leader. I'm always doing extra work in the weight room, helping guys with grades, girlfriends or other situations. I'm always there for support."

Staver seems adept at finding secondary receivers and making smart decisions on where to throw the ball. In that regard he's a lot like his idol.

"Tom Brady," he said. "He's cool, calm and collected. He's always going to bring it, no matter what the situation."

With no pads and no pass rush, 7 on 7 is a lot easier than regulation football. Still, Staver believes the competition is beneficial.

"It helps a lot, as far as understanding concepts and reading defenses and working to your internal clock as a quarterback," he said. "It's awesome. It helps receivers learn to run routes and helps the offense to see different coverages. I think it's just an all-around good thing."

Although the offense needn't worry about pass protection, Staver believes 7 on 7 actually favors the defenders.

"The defense has the advantage because they know it's not a running play, so they're going to drop into zones," he said. "A big thing in this is looking 'em off — looking the linebackers off, looking the safety a certain way. That's big for a quarterback."

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