Arm Strength: Will be owner to one of college football's bigger arms as soon as he steps on campus. His arm strength is really evident on deep slants, which he hits on a line. The longest pass I witnessed was a deep bomb that flew approximately 55 yards, measured from the point of release to the point at which the pass was caught. 55 yards in game situation is certainly impressive for a HS junior. There were several bombs in the 50-yard range and most of them hit their intended targets in-stride. Perhaps what is most amazing is the fact that JD can throw the ball as hard as he can with his thin physical build. I saw JD in person at USC a few weeks back and he arms looked rather skinny. He was probably 6'3" and 185 lbs. when I saw him. I also saw his brother, Josh, the NFL quarterback, and he was anything but skinny. I would say that he looked to be in the 220 plus range. It was pretty obvious that JD had yet to fill out physically. So perhaps once Carlisle gets a hold of JD, that rifle of his may be upgraded to rocket-launcher status. Should be interesting.
Accuracy: Hard to judge from watching at a highlight reel, because I wasn't able to witness any of his bad throws, but I can say that he throws a pretty spiral and on many plays that I saw, he really threads the needle to make the play. For example, on several separate occasions, JD throws a laser beam to a WR tiptoeing the sideline in the end zone. Though the WR's aren't uncovered, JD places the ball into a spot where only the WR can catch it and the ball is traveling so fast that the DB's in coverage can't react in time. A different play that stands out to me has Booty lofting the ball downfield 30 yards into the waiting hands of a receiver who has safties right in front of him and linebackers just to the back of him. The receiver was tackled shortly thereafter, but touch and timing of the pass impressed me. I can also say that JD leads his receivers extremely well. Even on bullets, most of his passes hit their targets in stride.
Release/Mechanics: His release is quick, but not as quick as
Field Vision: Unbelievable for a HS kid. On several plays, he runs around with the ball for a good four seconds, checking off his intended targets until he finds an open receiver and then, pow, TD. One particular play that stands out in mind has Booty at the opponents 20 yard line running to his right. A wall of defenders are in his face with the sideline closing on him quickly. His targets look to be covered but just before Booty runs out of bounds he throws a lob across his body, over the wall of defenders, and into the waiting hands of a wide open receiver in the middle-back portion of the end zone. It was pretty amazing. Most HS QB's and many college QB's would have likely run out of bounds or would have thrown the ball away in a similar situation. Few, however, would have kept their eye on a receiver all the way on the other side of the field in such a situation. On tape he often throws the ball before the play fully develops and it is baffling how JD is able to recognize the correct WR to throw to while all his targets are seemingly covered. It's as if he knows what the defense will do before they do it. In sum, he seems to have an uncanny ability to find the open target.
Running Ability: A good portion of the Booty hype has to do with the idea that he is highly mobile. After all, he did run a 4.5 forty and a very quick shuttle (actual time escapes me) at the Nike camp a two years back. Well, don't get too excited because while he seems to have good speed, especially for a drop-back type, he is not the type that will make a living running the ball a la Mike Vick. I say so for a couple of reasons. Firstly, he doesn't seem to have great shakes despite his great shuttle time. He does have good straight away speed, but I didn't see anything to suggest that he can cut like a running back going forward. Second, Booty is a passer, and as such, he will look to throw first and run only in situations that are obvious run scenarios. As I stated above, he doesn't give up on throwing the ball very quickly. Finally, as of this moment he is fairly thin. Unless he bulks up significantly, I just don't see him breaking tackles and running for daylight. But his straight away speed is good. As an example, JD looked pretty fast in one play that had him running out of his own end zone. I don't know whether the play was a planned run, but Booty ran to his right, pump faked, and then headed back left towards the side line. Running along the left sideline, he almost broke away for a very long TD but was shoelaced by the last defender. Still, the play resulted in a near 40 yard gain and really showed me that his straight away speed may be as good as advertised.
Intangibles: Simply put, JD has great intangibles. I think he has lost one game as a varsity QB. Thus, he knows how to win. Like Tiger Woods, his dad started coaching him as a near infant, so JD knows the QB position inside and out. He can throw a wide variety of passes: the deep lob, the mid-range touch lob, the frozen rope, etc. Furthermore, he dramatically adjusts the velocity on his throws according to the situation, which is something that QB's with big arms often don't do. Finally, Evangel runs a spread offense reportedly based on Norm Chow's offense at BYU. Experience with the spread will certainly go a long ways for JD at USC.
Bottom line: JD is easily the most talented HS QB that I have ever seen, though I will admit that I haven't seen them all. I should note that I have seen clips of
Do I think he will be the starting QB for our team next year? At any other school I would say no. Being a successful QB at the college level requires as much game experience as it does raw talent. And while his physical gifts are unquestioned, he will have approximately three weeks of any meaningful experience before the season. However, with Norm Chow you never know. Norm turned Phillip Rivers into a huge success as a true frosh and I think it is safe to say that Booty is far more talented than is Rivers and he has a higher football IQ to boot (no pun intended). Furthermore, JD will have the luxury of playing behind a veteran OL and throwing to some of the most talented receivers in the land.
So my personal crazy prediction is as follows: Booty will be the guy by mid-season. He is just too talented and savvy to ride the pine for an entire season. I just don't think Norm would have advised Booty to come in early if he didn't believe he could start and Mr. Chow knows more about QB's than anyone on the planet. So while I think