AggieYell.com's Jeff Tarpley has started his top players in the state of Texas, position by position, with his look at the crop of 2014 quarterbacks.
1. Jerrod Heard (committed to Texas)
2. Foster Sawyer (committed to TCU)
3. Patrick Mahomes (committed to Texas Tech)
4. Aaron Sharp
5. Grayson Muehlstein (committed to TCU)
7. Jeremy Jones
This year's quarterback crop in the state of Texas includes just one member of the Rivals 250. It's a far cry from the 2013 class when the state boasted five quarterbacks in the Rivals 250 and several others who received strong consideration for that honor. It's because the number of pro style quarterbacks is down and most of the dual threat quarterbacks really need work as passers. That's surprising for a state that has been producing top notch passers due to the influence of the spread offense at both the high school and college level and the off season 7 on 7 tournaments.
The consensus top prospect in the state this season is Denton Guyer's Heard who already boasts an impressive resume. Heard started as a sophomore and led Guyer to a state title as a junior, hitting 62% of his passes last season with a 17/7 touchdown to interception ratio and rushing for 35 touchdowns and 2,138 yards on the ground. Heâ€™s capable of lowering his shoulder and using his size to be a real force around the goal line. He's elusive and can read blocks well. However, he still has work to do in the passing game with regard to his mechanics (although he looked better in a camp setting in terms of keeping the ball up in his delivery) and footwork. Like a lot of spread quarterbacks, he'll moves his feet too much, he'll plant them too far apart, and the ball comes out too high as a result. That doesn't affect him on the deeper routes but from a down to down standpoint it impacts his consistency. He also likes to hold the ball and use his arm to make a big play down the field and can also display nice touch. He is making progress as a passer, but he wasn't named as one of the top performers at either the Rivals.com camp in Dallas or the Elite 11 at Valley Ranch for those reasons.
In contrast, Sawyer is much more advanced than Heard is. He doesn't move his feet around a lot which provides him with a good base for his throwing motion. His delivery is compact which means that balls come out quickly. He's not a dual threat guy but appears to be capable buying time with his feet. The only questions about him concern his ability to play at a higher level and for his mechanics and footwork to be able to hold up under pressure.
Mahomes is a dual threat quarterback who seems to be more about moving around and using his feet to find open receivers than actually taking off and running. He makes pretty good decisions (46/9 touchdown to interception ratio) and has really good vision. As with Heard, he needs to refine his mechanics in terms of how he holds the ball, making his release more compact, and balancing his feet and keeping them under his body. Watching his film, you can see why new Tech head coach and former Texas A&M offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury offered him: he has the vision and mobility to take advantage of situations where things break down in a manner reminiscent of that of A&M Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.
Sharp is the best of the rest, hitting 65% of his passes and putting up a 38/6 touchdown to interception ratio last season. He seems to have a better grasp of keeping his feet underneath him in the pocket than almost anyone else on this list with the exception of Sawyer. As a result, he's much more consistent in throwing motion from a down to down standpoint. This also enables him to have good touch. He has an elongated delivery which means that the ball does not come out as fast as your would like at times. He's also got good hand/eye coordination and handles high or low snaps with ease.
You may be surprised to find Muehlstein on this list, but he's a TCU commit who was in line for multiple offers before pulling the trigger to the Horned Frogs. He played on a team that didn't make the playoffs, but he throws the ball well under pressure. He's a physical runner and even plays in the secondary on defense. He has good vision so he can find people while he's on the move. His mechanics and footwork are pretty good for a guy who has to move around a lot, either rolling out or to escape pressure.
The next few guys on the list -- Monroe, Jones, and Lee-Campbell -- are more like athletes playing quarterback than quarterbacks right now. All of them are 6 foot 3 or taller but need lots of refinement in terms their footwork, delivery, and release points. They will need to spend time at camps in order to improve their abilities and garner more scholarship offers. In fact, Heard and Sawyer are the only quarterbacks on the list with more than five FBS offers.
Given the preceding, the Aggies have looked predominantly out of state for quarterbacks. They have extended offers to Edmond (OK) Santa Fe's Justice Hansen (who committed to Oklahoma) and Scottsdale (AZ) Desert Mountain's Kyle Allen. Allen is a pure dropback passer who has a combination of footwork and mechanics that are better than anyone in the state of Texas, as evidenced by his 72% completion percentage. He sets up quickly and follows through with his throwing shoulder pointed at the target. Hansen is a better runner, faster and more physical. His delivery is more elongated and he holds the ball lower than he should which contributes to that.
The Aggies are also in on two other out of state prospects in Bossier City (LA) Parkway's Brandon Harris and Westlake Village (CA) Oaks Christian Brandon Dawkins. Harris is elusive with good arm strength. Dawkins is a big, strong guy like Hansen who can make good throws under pressure and can make difficult throws (off balance, etc.) with his a good arm.