Hilbert's Eye On: QB Ricardo Young

Woodson High School in Washington D.C. has a true leader running their offense in Ricardo Young. Young, a Virginia Tech Hokie commit, is a prime example of a boom or bust prospect. He is one of the most athletically gifted players on the entire east coast, but can that athleticism translate into effective quarterback play in the ACC?

Ricardo Young possesses natural athleticism that few others do. The question with Young is whether or not he can use that athleticism to his advantage and translate it into consistent, quality performances as an ACC quarterback. There is no question about it, Young is a freakish athlete with good accuracy and un-teachable leadership qualities. The only question I have is whether or not he would be more valuable to Virginia Tech at a position other than quarterback. He does many things very well, and seems to be at his best when everything breaks down around him and he is forced to just make people miss. Take a look at his highlight videos below.


Without question, Ricardo Young is a natural leader and a game changer. He is capable of grabbing momentum for his team in a single play and has the ability to score in a variety of ways. While I am not in love with his passing mechanics, he does get the ball to his receivers accurately and on time. What stands out to me is his delivery. His windup and throwing motion is a bit off. Most of his throws come out very low, pretty much right next to his ear. This is something that he has been working on the most and his delivery is improving. However, when he has to get the ball out quickly his mechanics break down a bit and he delivers the ball low, at a troublesome angle. Most of his passes are straight-line darts. When he is able to sit back and deliver the ball to his first or second option his balls are beautiful.

If Ricardo is able to mix in the option run attack with quick screens and safe throws into one-on-one coverage he will be just fine, but if he is playing from behind and is forced to simply drop back and sling the ball around the yard 30-40 times I can see him struggling. Also, most of his running highlights come when the defense is out of position and he is able to turn the play into a helter-skelter, playground style "catch me if you can" contest. While there is nothing wrong with that at the high school level, it simply won't fly in the ACC, where defenders are much faster and more disciplined with their assignments. Young tends to backpedal or turn and run five to ten yards behind the line to escape the rush, something that just will not work at the next level. If Young possessed elite speed he might be able to get away with that style of play, but he has good, not great speed.

The biggest question with Young is whether he should stay at quarterback or use his elite athleticism at another position. I think he should definitely give quarterback a try because that is the position he has been playing for most of his football career. However, I think there will come a point where he could simply help his team more at another position. Whether that position is at receiver, where he can get the ball in space and use his blockers to make something happen, or possibly on the defensive side of the ball, where he could use his vision and knowledge of what offenses (specifically quarterbacks) are trying to accomplish to his advantage as a free safety or possibly even corner if he is able to adjust to being manned up against wideouts.

With Young, Virginia Tech knows they're getting an incredibly gifted athlete, a natural leader, and a game changer. Tech already has two quarterbacks to verbal for the class of 2010, which could put some extra heat on Ricardo to switch positions if he is not showing enough progress taking snaps. Keep an eye on this kid because if he does not work out at QB, he will come through at another position, because that's the type of kid he is.

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Dan Hilbert covers football recruiting in Virginia. He can be reached at dhilbert@scout.com. If you are submitting a recruit, please include players name, high school, primary position and the best way to get in contact with the player.

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