BERKELEY, Calif. -- During a seven-on-seven practice session on Saturday at California Memorial Stadium, two of the top young quarterbacks in the Bay Area went head-to-head, both of them trained by local QB coach Will Hewlett.
Watching Ben Wooldridge -- a 2018 signal caller out of Pleasanton (Calif.) Foothill – square off with Napa (Calif.) Justin Siena’s 2017 gun slinger Aidan Willard was a glimpse into the future, as both are almost assuredly going to be highly sought after in the years to come. Willard – playing for TMP Elite – is slender, but has a big arm, and could be on a higher trajectory than his predecessor for TMP -- Ian Book.
“Aidan Willard has made some substantial improvements this offseason,” Hewlett said. “He tightened up his release, improved his drop speed. I expect him to have a big year with all the additional strength and velocity. He's underrated as an athlete. Similar to Ian Book – a WSU commit -- but and 1 1/2 inches taller.”
Willard is long and lean, and gets a lot of velocity on his throws. His short- and medium-range balls have a lot of zip, but his touch down field is superb. His field vision needs a bit of improvement, as it’s a tad inconsistent at this point, but he has the ability to throw receivers open.
“I could have done better, but I was tired today – I just had a big passing tournament with my high school team, so I’m a little worn out,” said Willard, who did throw two picks against Kenion Training. “I’m just doing what I could for Coach T, because he does what he can for me.”
Willard, who enters his second full season throwing varsity (he played in two games as a freshman), hasn’t gotten much serious recruiting attention, but when coaches see him at camp, it’s hard not to take notice.
“They see me and they like how I throw, and they tell me to keep in contact and that they’ll see me around,” said Willard, who’s been to a satellite camp staffed by Colorado and Sacramento State coaches at Contra Costa College, as well as Duke.
“I went to a camp at Duke, because they’d shown interest in me early,” Willard said. “They invited me out there so they could see me. They seemed to like me. They’re interested, I think. They told me to keep in touch with them, and they’ll contact me once they can.
Willard has also camped with Nevada and Arizona at Sacramento City College, as well as Washington, which held a satellite camp at Laney College in Oakland.
Willard will soon hit the road for Nevada’s camp in Reno, and already attended the Wolf Pack’s Junior Day.
“I really like the field there,” Willard said.
Willard could excel in the Pistol at Nevada, given that he threw for about 1,500 yards and rushed for “around 1,000” yards last season for Justin Siena, which runs an option offense.
“I love to run,” Willard said. “I consider myself a pocket passer, but I can run, and in the offense I’m in, I do run, so running would be fine in college, but I love throwing, more.”
Both of Willard’s parents went to Oregon State, and the Beavers are one school that Willard would love to hear from.
“I grew up an Oregon State fan, but I haven’t heard anything from them,” Willard said.
Willard also likes Washington, particularly offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith.
“I’m hoping for [an offer] from them,” Willard said.