But if you wanted to take the leap and make the claim, you might be pretty safe in doing it with Nate Longshore, 6-5, 225, Canyon Country (Calif.) Canyon.
I saw Longshore this weekend at a passing tournament in Glendale. He was the most impressive quarterback prospect I've seen this spring, and one of the best I've seen in the west in recent years. In fact, I think he's the best I've seen next to Ben Olson.
|Longshore moves well.|
So, physically alone, Longshore is a freak.
And after seeing him initially, your first reaction would be: This guy is probably playing out of position and projects as a college tight end or defensive end. We've seen a few guys who looked like this in high school who thought they were quarterbacks. Teyo Johnson immediately comes to mind. Longshore's body is similar to Johnson's, and it even looks like there's considerable room for Longshore to put on more muscle. He could top out at 250 pounds.
But the idea that he's playing out of position because of his body type is dispelled quickly, pretty much as soon as you see Longshore take one drop back and throw the ball one time. You then know he's a quarterback.
From what I've seen of the quarterbacks in the west in the 2004 class, he looks like the most polished and fundamentally sound. He has a excellent release on the ball, with his throwing motion looking the same no matter what throw he's making. It's a quick release, with so much arm strength that he doesn't need to wind up. And what really makes an impression is how effortless he throws the ball. When he puts heat on the ball, he doesn't have to force it. It just explodes out of his hand. His footwork, for a kid his size, is very good. In fact, he's naturally nimble-footed, but has also gotten excellent coaching and knows how to set up and step for every throw. He also showed great instincts and intelligence, not hesitating to throw to secondary receivers, and being able to dump off short when it was needed without hesitation.
And it's even more astonishing to know that Longshore hasn't played quarterback that long. He didn't play quarterback his freshman year. And he only played tackle football one year when he was a child. Football is still very new to him. So, his mechanics are very impressive, given that he's only been taking quarterbacking seriously for a couple of years.
His arm strength is unparalleled among quarterbacks in recent memory in the west. In my opinion, he has a stronger arm at this point in his development than Ben Olson, Matt Moore, and J.P. Losman, and is competitive with Kyle Boller. In fact, during the day on Saturday, you couldn't really determine the topside of his arm strength since playing on a smaller passing league field was very limiting for a kid of this size and strength. He did, though, throw 40-50 yard passes with the ease of 10-yard curls. A couple of times he tried to throw a ball into a well-covered receiver and put some heat on it. You could literally hear the ball whizz like it was a baseball pitcher throwing a 90-mile-per-hour fastball. On one such throw, he knocked his receiver off his feet with the force behind it.
But Longshore is just not a big, strong kid with a huge arm, he's very, very accurate, and showed great touch. He made some throws Saturday that showed pinpoint accuracy. He threaded needles, he hit receivers on post routes in perfect stride. Receivers were consistently hit in the numbers on long out patterns. And he adjusted well with different throws. He put great touch on the ball when it was needed, took some off for shorter throws. In fact, with Longshore playing on a smaller, shortened field, it looked like he had to take something off just about every throw. As the quarterback gurus like to say, he made all the throws.
There have been some scouts that saw him play last year as a junior and gave him a mixed review. And again, this was a passing league, without a pass rush to harrass him.
But Canyon did win the tournament, and it handily beat such teams as Playa Del Rey St. Bernard's, with arguably the #1 quarterback prospect in the west in Rocky Hinds, and Westlake Village Westlake, with highly recruited quarterback prospect Rudy Carpenter. Comparing the three, it wasn't close. It truly was an instance where that over-used adage of "a man among boys" is applicable.
|Just to give you a sense of Longshore's size, here among his teammates.|
Again, Longshore will need to prove it consistently on the field, in game situations, during his senior season. If he does, though, he has a clear chance to be considered among the best in the country. In the most recent recruiting update we did on Longshore for Bruin Report Online, he said he already had nine scholarship offers, so there are programs that have recognized his ability and potential. UCLA has shown some solid interest to date, but has yet to offer him a scholarship. But if Longshore proves to be as good as he showed Saturday, that might be a foregone conclusion.
Being a Mormon, Longshore has some issues that he'd have to work through in regards to his recruitment. Having spoken to him lately, here's the latest on how being LDS could affect his recruitment: Latest comments from Longshore
A video highlight of Longshore's performance in Saturday's passing tournament will be published on Bruin Report Online within a few days...