Commentary

Lemay steals the show in Athens

Originally Published: April 25, 2009
By Tom Luginbill | Scouts Inc.

On a beautiful, sunny day, when some high-profile prospects were at the University of Georgia for the EA Sports Elite 11 Regional Camp, it was obvious from the start that some unknown commodities where out to make a name for themselves. Quarterbacks from all over the South and beyond competed, and for the most part, it was not the big names who made the biggest impression on this day.

It is always good to keep in mind that a shirts-and-shorts workout to evaluate a quarterback prospect is just that -- a workout. So when we say a guy was the best or sharpest or most sound at an event like this one, it does not always mean they are the best prospect when it is all said and done. Remember, many of the drills and circuits are foreign to these prospects and it may take a big play to catch on, but when you see a guy click early, it obviously shows he has a high aptitude for learning and accepting coaching.

Best Prospect

Christian Lemay (Matthews, N.C./Butler)
6-foot-2, 190 pounds
Class of 2011

For a prospect with obvious dual-threat capabilities, Lemay was one of the more well-groomed passers of the day. His footwork and coachability were evident from the start. He quickly picked up what the coaches were teaching and zipped the ball with good velocity and arm speed. What was most impressive, however, was his ability to drop from center, hit his third or fifth step, plant and throw on time. He seemed very comfortable with what was being asked of him in each drill circuit and carried himself with a calm, confident demeanor. Lemay will be one of the better prospects for the 2011 class and a guy who isn't just an athlete playing quarterback, but rather a passer who is an athlete.

Stock Up

Barry Brunetti (Memphis, Tenn./Memphis University)
6-0, 195
Class of 2010

Based on tape evaluation, Brunetti was expected to perform, but he was even more impressive in person with his overall arm strength and ability to get great velocity on all throws. He possesses terrific feet and good overall balance and setup, and he can get rid of the ball in a hurry. He may be termed a dual-threat by most, but much like Tajh Boyd from the 2009 class, Brunetti is much more than just a runner who can throw. If he were three inches taller he would likely be one of the most heavily recruited players in this class at QB. Brunetti has to focus on accuracy and not spraying the ball around as much as we saw Friday, but he does have tools. Brunetti took an unofficial visit to Georgia last weekend and loved it, but is still waiting for an offer. Virginia Tech, Oregon State and Arizona are closing in quickly.

As Expected

Tyler Brosius (Waynesville, N.C./Tuscola)
6-3, 230
Class of 2010

It was exciting to see Brosius have a good day and confirm the production we have seen from him on tape. He was smooth, accurate and was more sound with his throwing mechanics in this workout than on tape. He isn't a great athlete, but is deceptive. He showed the ability to make all the necessary throws and his footwork seems to be improving. Brosius must dedicate some time to body conditioning, keeping himself in shape and keeping his weight down, which will quicken his feet. He is similar to last year's Zach Mettenberger in this regard. Still, Brosius is a quality prospect for this class.

Mr. Measurables

Blake Bell (Wichita, Kan./Bishop Carroll)
6-6, 230
Class of 2010

Bell's impressive physical appearance is the first thing you notice about him. He passes the eye test with flying colors and is actually more muscular and thickly built than the film shows. He has a big arm, good feet and tremendous athleticism for a player of his size. You don't get a true appreciation for his ability to run and improvise in a workout setting. But for all of his physical features, he is still developing in terms of throwing mechanics and fundamentals. He can make every throw, but can he make them consistently? On Friday, he threw with a very tense upper body and he squeezes the ball hard, which can cause the ball to flutter or sail on him at times. He has received a lot of early attention, but can get even better with attention to detail and work from under center.

Underclassmen No. 2

Everett Golson (Myrtle Beach, S.C./Myrtle Beach)
6-1, 185
Class of 2011

The case could be made that Golson displayed the finest, most consistent ball velocity of anyone on hand Friday. He possesses a tremendous arm and athletic frame, and when his feet are set, he can make every throw and looks good doing it in a workout environment. He has a better arm and RPMs than Lemay, but is not as polished or consistent fundamentally just yet. At times, Golson was just a slinger, but boy can he spin it and it should be fun to watch him develop.

State Champion Returners

Chas Dodd (Duncan, S.C./Byrnes)
5-11, 185
Class of 2010

Phillip Ely (Tampa, Fla./Plant)
6-2, 180
Class of 2010

Both of these players will return to their starting roles and defend their state championships in their respective states and both showed real promise Friday afternoon. Ely is the taller of the two and returns to Plant after filling in admirably and playing extremely well when Aaron Murray went down with an injury.

Ely has good height and looks like he still has some growing left to do. He is lanky and lean with a live arm. He can make most of the necessary throws when his feet are set and looked very good at times, but rather pedestrian at other times. If he can consistently get the ball to pop out of his hand with the great velocity he has flashed, he has a chance. His upside is high and his best football is likely ahead of him.

Dodd flashed the same inconsistency with arm velocity Friday, but he has it and he can spin it. He is a guy you come away with a much more favorable impression of during game study (which is obviously more important) than you do in shirts and shorts. He lacks ideal height, but is an adequate athlete, well-coached and, like Ely, has a chance with continued work and development.

Funky, But Productive

Detchauz Wray (East St. Louis, Ill./East St. Louis)
6-0, 170
Class of 2010

This is the second time we have seen Wray in person and watched countless times on film and no matter how many times you see him, his funky ball carriage and delivery really pop out. However, if you can get past the method and focus on the results, you have an athlete who can flat-out sling it with good strength and velocity. When his feet are set, he will show quality accuracy as well. He had a multitude of weapons around him last year with Kraig Appleton and Terry Hawthorne out wide, so it will be good to see what type of year he has with a new supporting cast.

Mr. Orange Shorts

Kalik Barnes (Lilburn, Ga./Parkview)
6-0, 190
Class of 2010

Barnes was jokingly termed "Mr. Orange Shorts" by coach Bob Johnson because he had these bright, Oregon State orange shorts that stood out. Thing is, he stood out for more than just his shorts. Barnes has limited height, but great feet, good athleticism and a live arm. Best of all, he picked up unfamiliar drills very quickly, adapted to what was being coached and applied the principles quickly. He always seemed to be just as good or better on the next rep than he was on the previous one.

Sleeper No. 1

Coty Blanchard (Cherokee, Ala.)
6-1, 180
Class of 2010

Blanchard really surprised throughout the day with his footwork, quick, smooth delivery and ability to be consistently accurate. He adapted well to the drills and while he isn't very big, he is a fundamentally sound prospect with growth potential and good arm strength, and he did not shy away from competition. In fact, when the groups were broken up alphabetically to begin the day, he was in a group that included Bell, Brunetti and Blanchard, and he showed he belonged.

Sleeper No. 2

Nick Bracewell (Mayo, Fla./Lafayette)
6-2, 195
Class of 2010

Bracewell was essentially a bigger version of Blanchard. Same smooth delivery mechanics, solid arm to make all the throws and good RPMs. Because of his size potential, expect to see Bracewell's recruitment heat up with a strong senior year.

ATH Or QB?

Connor Shaw (Flowery Branch, Ga.)
6-0, 185
Class of 2010

Blake Sims (Gainesville, Ga.)
6-0, 185
Class of 2010

Let's start with Shaw, who is an incredible athlete and shows flashes of being able to remain at quarterback full-time. Keep in mind he will be entering only his second full season as a QB starter, so he has upside. He threw the ball well, but not surprisingly, he is inconsistent mechanically. Like Bell, you don't get the true value of Shaw as a dual-threat guy in this setting. Height may be an issue as the launch point is not moved for him at times. We'd say that Shaw stays at QB, because South Carolina needs him there initially.

Sims, an Alabama commit, in our opinion will be moved to wide receiver or safety at the next level. He is a scrappy, competitive player with a quick release and showed flashes of being a dual-threat guy in the spread, but the Crimson Tide don't run the spread. He is athletic and has the good fortune of good players around him, including WR Tai-ler Jones.

Luginbill's Lessons

Hit that fifth step and get the ball out
Because so few kids these days are working from under center it can be very difficult for young QB prospects to find rhythm in their three- and five-step drops, plant and throw with no reset, hitch steps or gathering up in the pocket. It is imperative that young quarterbacks work on their drops and are capable of throwing on time off the fifth plant step. There are going to be certain routes that require a reset, like deep curls and comebacks, but for the most part the passing game is all about timing and getting the ball out without hesitation. At the very least timing can be improved by throwing just one route over and over again. The 10- to 12-yard speed cutout route requires a five-step drop with the throw coming on the fifth step and is a great way to enhance drop speed and timing.

Drop sequence: Two big steps (away from center, gain depth), one moderate step, two quick and the ball is out. There is no reset. If you can't throw on time with no reset, you can't play at the FBS level.

Tom Luginbill is the National Recruiting Director for ESPN's Scouts Inc.