There is perhaps no better debate in recruiting than whether great intangibles should ultimately outweigh less-than-stellar tangibles.
Should a player’s attitude and effort count for more during the evaluation process than his lack of blue-chip size or athleticism? There’s certainly a fine line, especially at the quarterback position.
The nation typically produces a handful of signal callers in each recruiting class who have the ideal combination of smarts, leadership, feel for the game, size and arm strength. Those prospects are given five stars from the recruiting services and quickly make commitments to the schools of their choice, leaving the rest of the nation’s college programs – most programs sign one quarterback in every class – to sift through a pool of prospects that are likely lacking in one major area or another.
South Carolina has already landed one of those players in the Class of 2012, Allentown Central Catholic (Pa.) quarterback Brendan Nosovitch. At 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, he isn’t huge and neither is his arm. However, he’s a proven winner and leader with dual-threat capabilities and an accurate arm.
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None of the major recruiting sites have him ranked any higher than 40th at his position, though he was the quarterback that USC coveted during the recruiting process. He committed to the Gamecocks in July.
Is he capable of becoming USC’s quarterback of the future?
“I don’t think there is any question this guy could develop into a SEC guy,” said ESPN’s Tom Luginbill, the national recruiting director for Scouts Inc.
“He’s a really interesting player, because I think he’ll be very different three to four years from now than he is today. He has a very high ceiling for development. There are some guys coming out that you wonder if they’ll be better as a redshirt junior than they are right now. With him, I don’t think that’s the case. I think he’s got a chance to be pretty darn good.”
PApreps.com publisher Andrew Chiappazzi agrees.
“In my opinion, South Carolina got a good one,” he said. “He’s a proven winner on a great high school team, and he definitely has some talent that’s still emerging. If he can refine his mechanics, get a little faster, and get a little more zip on the football, he could be really fun to watch.”
Nosovitch’s dual-threat abilities certainly aided his stock in the recruiting process, but it likely also made him more difficult to evaluate.
College coaches have to decide if he’s a pass- or run-first quarterback, if he’ll sit in the pocket to make downfield throws and if he’s capable of taking snaps from under center. Though Nosovitch operates mostly from the shotgun, he’s maintained a desire to beat teams with his arm and run only when a play breaks down or his number is called on draws or the read option in the huddle.
These are the positives that Nosovitch will bring to Columbia, according to Luginbill and Chiappazzi:
-- He’s a winner capable of willing his team to victory. Nosovitch has won 28 or his past 30 starts and won a state championship last season.
-- He’s accurate. Nosovitch completed 59 percent of his passes in 2010 for 3,111 yards and 43 touchdowns.
-- He’s extremely mobile with a great feel for the pocket. Nosovitch rushed for 1,647 yards and 25 touchdowns as a junior.
“It’s not a fair comparison, but I’ve started to call him Tim Tebow’s opposite coming out of high school,” Chiappazzi said. “Tebow was bigger and had a stronger arm. Nosovitch is smaller and is much more accurate. But their running ability is about the same. Neither is all that fast, but they’re smart runners with good vision.”
When the recruiting sites evaluated Nosovitch, these are likely some of the downsides that were considered:
-- He lacks ideal size.
-- His throwing mechanics aren’t polished.
-- He lacks great arm strength.
As with any prospect, only time will tell if his strengths outweigh his weaknesses.
“It’s not like this guy has many physical weaknesses, but he’s a late bloomer,” Luginbill said. “I would say that he’s got a good arm, but I think he’ll have an even better arm after entering a collegiate weight program. I think he’s going to blossom and grow.
“He’s not that big, but that’s not something Steve Spurrier has put a lot of stock into. One of the things I worry about is that sometimes he’s a bit unorthodox in his throwing methods. But that’s not something to be concerned about, because there may have not been anybody more unorthodox in the history of college football than Danny Wuerffel.”
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