Spring Camp Preview 2010: Quarterback

In this series Websider's Jeffrey Jennings will take an in depth look at the personnel of A&M's quarterbacks. The focus will be on their attributes, current status, what they have on the line this spring, and where they hope to find themselves at camps end. Jennings will also give a brief sneak peak at the new faces that will be joining them in August. Subscribe to Websider today!

Spring Camp Preview 2010: Quarterback

There is nothing earth shattering going on at the top of the quarterback heap this spring but fans and coaches couldn't ask for a better situation with the three incoming talents arriving early. Jerrod Johnson is firmly entrenched as starter after a great junior season, leading a highly potent Aggie offense and establishing himself as one of the most dangerous signal callers in the nation. Behind him will be the more than capable Ryan Tannehill who gave Johnson all he could handle and more last August, actually appearing to have the lead several times throughout camp. Needless to say, the young leaders give the Ag's two great options at the all-important position.

With Johnson graduating and moving on after the next season, it's important A&M restocks the cupboard and quickly develops several young quarterbacks from the 2010 signing class (Matt Joeckel, Jameill Showers, and Clay Honeycutt). To that end, they will get a jump on the process as they are already enrolled and will participate this spring. It's always advantageous when freshmen can come in early, but to have the entire group of quarterbacks here for spring camp is truly a blessing.

Quarterback

Jerrod Johnson wrapped up a highly successful junior campaign having a major hand in A&M's top five ranking in total offense (2nd in the conference). Johnson wields a cannon for an arm and is a great decision maker (136.75 efficiency rating, 30:8 touchdown to interception ratio, 8th in the nation in total passing yards at 3,579 and 11th in yards per game 275.3). He also has proved to be dangerous with his feet, behind the line of scrimmage and in the open field (grossed about 760 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground). His delivery is always going to be a work in progress (as long-armed as he is, it's really hard to compress his delivery into a quick release) but his tempo (which was a concentrated focus for Coach Sherman & Coach Rossley last off-season) is much better, having been in this system for over two years. He can throw the deep ball with the best of them and while he cleaned up his short game considerably, it is one of the areas of his game that needs to be worked on this spring and throughout summer (he was just at about 60% in his completion percentage). This fall (and spring for that matter) he will have the luxury of not only a talented array of targets, but seasoned ones at that as well as an improving offensive line. If you recall last spring his developmental efforts were not served well by a razor thin receiving corps and an extremely injury depleted offensive line. Our improving running game should also benefit him immensely heading into next season.

Ryan Tannehill started off the fall camp competition a few steps behind Johnson last August as he was nursing an injury in his throwing shoulder, limiting him a great deal the previous spring. However, he more than proved his capability, quickly catching up and make a serious run at the starting job. His skill set is a bit different but very effective. As David Sandhop observed this fall, ". . .while Johnson can hit homeruns, Tannehill can get you a single almost every time. . .". Doubling as one of Johnson's primary targets at receiver (46 grabs last year for 609 yards and four touchdowns), he is very athletic and a great scrambler as well. Sherman has bragged on Tannehill, for being so remarkably sharp, quick and adaptable in picking the mental things up. Like Johnson, his leadership is also unquestioned and he will have his the huddles respect if called on to step in this year.

Newcomer Matt Joekel is a pocket passer that topped 3,000 yards his junior and senior seasons in high school as well as a great touchdown to interception ratio, completion percentage and ability to get it done with his legs when things broke down. Joekel has a strong accurate arm and can make all the throws. A gutsy competitor and hard worker, he'll be served well by the extra reps this spring. His twin brother Luke Joekel also joins the Aggie's this spring as a highly touted offensive tackle expected to at the least crack the two deep at one of those spots in fall. Jameill Showers looks to have a great spring showing after missing his senior year in high school due to a preseason injury. Cut from a similar mold as Johnson, Tannehill, and Joekel, he's a great decision maker, a true student of the game and a pocket quarterback with good presence that is also very productive with his feet. However, his footwork is very well on another level than his Aggie counterparts as he's not just fast but very elusive. He has a great arm, is a highly accurate passer and has a very quick release. Clay Honeycutt won't likely stick at the position but he'll start at quarterback this spring so it bears mentioning. He has great size, speed, toughness and football smarts. He could eventually find himself at receiver or even on the other side of the ball stepping in to the fray at the wide-open free safety battle.

Quarterback Overall

A&M has two signal callers very capable of leading this team at a high level currently, and several up and comers who will be pushing themselves this spring as they get a head start on their development, allowing the Aggie's to continue their offensive momentum when the time comes. All will be looking to take their next steps in the following weeks and set the table for not only a highly talented but very deep stable of quarterbacks in 2010 and the years to come.


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