Recruiting 2012: Tracking the QBs

WHEN IT COMES to recruiting, they're the first ones to go. The hunt for QBs -- and the urgency to get them verbally committed -- almost seems to split the recruiting cycle into two segments. February through July is QB season, the rest of the year is every other position. That's an exaggeration of course, but there's no denying WSU and the rest of the Pac-12 is devouring QB film right now.

The state of Washington projects to have one of its stronger QB classes in recent memory in 2012, with Mercer Island's Jeff Lindquist (6-3, 225) likely at the top and Graham Kapowsin's Drew Austin (6-2 1/2, 190), Spanaway/Bethel's Justin Hordyk (6-1, 165) and Mukilteo/Kamiak's Anthony Berg (6-3, 205) not far behind.

WSU was the first school to offer Lindquist, back in July of 2010, but he is believed to be a heavy lean to Stanford, if they offer, and Washington, which he has rooted for since childhood.

Of Austin, write's Scout.com West analyst Jake Worthen, "he has a very strong arm with the ability to slow it down and put touch on the ball when necessary. Austin has good technique and moves around the pocket with ease, he is an athlete as well as quarterback. Possibly the most impressive part of his game is how quick he releases the ball once he has made a decision."

Berg, says Worthen, "fits the bill physically at quarterback at 6-3. In his first season as a starter, the junior racked up over 1,600 yards through the air and nine touchdowns. Berg has great athleticism, he even started at linebacker as a sophomore. He has good arm strength and the ability to put touch on his passes when necessary. Berg is mobile and can escape the rush while keeping the ball high and his eyes downfield."

Hordyk, named all-league and TNT all-area this past season as a junior, impressed both Scout.com's NW Analyst Chris Fetters and Worthen when he was just a sophomore. Worthen in 2009 noted particularly his escapability and athleticism. Hordyk rushed for 553 net yards and five scores as a junior, while completing 134 of 247 passes (54.3 percent) for 1,901 yards and 20 passing TDs against eight picks. He had a breakout sophomore campaign connecting on 74-of-147 passes for 1,287 yards and 15 touchdowns.

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Other in-staters who hold intrique behind center in this recruiting cycle include Vancouver/Evergreen's Andy Beamis (6-3, 186); Tacoma/Curtis's Ty Saathoff (6-1, 185) and Tacoma/Stadium's Tyler Stumph (6-3, 200) and Burien/Kennedy's Jason Thompson (6-2, 188).

In California, among the many to keep an eye on is Larry Cutbirth. He's 6-5 and 175 and looks like a rail but is a two-time Baseline League champion in wrestling. Both his passing yardage and touchdowns this past season were among the Southern Section's best last season. And there's a WSU connection.

He comes from Etiwanda High, the same school as incoming Cougar running back Marcus Mason, and second-year freshman receiver Bobby Ratliff. Etiwanda head man Steve Bryce tells CF.C that Washington State coaches have told him they'll be down during the May evaluation period to take a closer look at the QB who threw for 2,996 yards and 32 TDs last season. He also logged a 66.9 percent completion percentage.

Cutbirth threw 15 picks last season, but only three came in the latter half of the season, something his coach says suggests maturation and improvement.

A handful of other Californians believed to be in the early Cougar orbit are Brendan Keeney (6-3, 215) of Granite Bay, Jonathan Jerozal (6-0, 175) of Canyon County, and Ben Scott (6-3, 175) of Farifield.

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • One of the best evaluation tools WSU coaches have in recruiting is their summer camp. Any of those listed above, as well as a few more, could see their stock increase markedly with Wazzu if they hit WSU's camp in late June.

  • The last Cougar QB who signed with WSU from a state other than Washington or California was Eugene's Alex Brink, in the 2003 class. From 2004-11, the Cougs have signed seven quarterbacks from Washington and four from California.

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