IN THE HUDDLE: Chris Uhrig

The state of Florida is not known for producing nationally-rated quarterbacks, but there is a sense that things are changing. Here is yet another quarterback who brings more to the table than a game film or a solid camp/combine performance!

During the spring and into the summer, www.floridakids.us will bring you our IN THE HUDDLE segments with football players throughout the state of Florida.

These are similar to the evaluations we pass on to the hundreds of colleges who visit our website, call us on the phone and correspond via e-mail.

Here is another top football player to keep an eye on this season – and beyond.

PLAYER: Chris Uhrig
POSITION: QB
SCHOOL: Tampa Jesuit
HEIGHT: 6-1
WEIGHT: 190
40 SPEED: 4.7
HEAD COACH: William Schmitz
www.floridakids.us Pre-Spring Rating: Not rated

There's a feeling across the country that although the state of Florida is the place to come for skilled athletes, there are very few quarterbacks who could pass that test, if you will, on a national level.

While two years ago saw Xavier Lee, Cornelius Ingram and Drew Weatherford receieve national attention, and this year has watched the courting of Nease standout Tim Tebow, quarterbacks from this state usually are thought of as backups or starters at smaller programs.

Those who believe in that statement will point to the Big 3 in the state. Although this season, FSU has three Florida-bred products at quarterback, the Seminoles have relied on "outsiders" in the past. Florida has Chris Leak (North Carolina) and Miami has Kyle Wright (California).

I, for one, don't believe in that theory. What I do believe needs to happen here in this state is to open up an elite quarterback camp, where you rely on people associated with state like Don Strock, Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Craig Erickson, Steve Walsh, Vinny Testaverde and Daunte Culpepper to host camps within the state to spotlight the great athletes we do produce.

When you look at a player such as Uhrig, you are dealing with someone who has gotten it done in big games, displays all the positives you need in a top-flight quarterback. But then again, you have "experts" who have never watched him play before, trying to assess his ability from just viewing film or listening to others.

This is someone who attended the Scout.com combine in Tampa, and while all eyes were in other directions, this is the one quarterback who was missed. Believe me, I watched his every throw – much the way I did with Robert Love of Pahokee.

STRENGTHS: There are signal callers who you look at for the first time and immediately know exactly that he fits in anywhere, and there those who you need to watch to appreciate. Uhrig is the ladder. He brings a lot of qualities to the game that you cannot see if you are not looking for them. But those qualities go a long way in winning and losing!

While he does have a good arm, makes above average intermediate and longer throws, his leadership, knowledge of the football field and instincts to win games is something that has been missed here. That is what I look for everytime I evaluate a quarterback's potential now – and into the future.

He is one player who you can watch on film and perhaps not be bowled over with right away. If you happen to be looking for the right things, he is quite impressive. This is someone who has been taught to play the position the right way. His mechanics are tremendous and his footwork has been perfected.

There are quarterbacks who will try and put the entire game on their own shoulders and those like Uhrig, who simply take what is given to him and uses a tremendous running game and a very good line to his advantage.

The TEAM concept, for some, has gone out the window. But if you watch Uhrig, he may be the ultimate TEAM quarterback who wins and takes a leadership role.

As I watched him at that combine, his arm strength wasn't tremendous, but his footwork and mechanics were. I like an athlete who uses his head and thinks plays in advance. That, especially at the high school level, is a lost art.

WHAT HE NEEDS TO WORK ON: Obviously, there is a knock that he isn't tall enough to fit into some programs, but with that in mind, coming out of the pocket a little more will be essential. Not to be a run/pass quarterback, but to add more variety to his overall package.

He also needs to look off his primary receiver a little bit more. Locking in on that first choice will start tendancies that are easy to pick up from the other side of the field – or from watching on film.

OVERALL: While there are several very good quarterbacks in the state this year, here is one who may not turn your head the first time you watch him, but if you continue to look at his mechanics, footwork, above average arm strength and leadership, you will have a better idea of what you are getting.

COLLEGES ON THE HORIZON: At the Scout.com combine, Uhrig mentioned that UCF, Northwestern, Alabama Birmingham (UAB) and the University of Connecticut were among the the schools he was keeping a close eye on.

Get IN THE HUDDLE with some more of Florida's emerging stars:
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IN THE HUDDLE: SAM YOUNG – FORT LAUDERDALE ST. THOMAS AQUINAS
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