Commentary

Walsh, Allen living the dream

Oklahoma State and Arkansas commits steal show at Clarkson Dreammaker Tour

Originally Published: March 8, 2010
By Gerry Hamilton | ESPN Recruiting

DALLAS -- A pair of quarterbacks who will play in the SEC and Big 12 next year stole the Saturday's Steve Clarkson Dreammaker Tour stop at SMU's Ford Field.

Oklahoma State commit J.W. Walsh (Corinth, Texas/Denton Guyer) came into the event as the prospect most likely to impress and the ESPNU 150 Watch List prospect didn't disappoint. The 6-foot-1½, 180-pound Walsh showed the plus arm that he unleashed on Friday nights during the high school season in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, as well as the quick, reactive feet and athletic ability that make him one of the top dual-threat prospects in the country.

Making his performance even more impressive was the fact that the actual throwing of the football can prove to be the toughest chore of the day with the main focus being on footwork and fundamentals leading up to the release of the football.

"I'm wore out," said a visibly tired Walsh. "We threw a lot of balls today, but got in some real good work. One of my coaches, Lee Vallejo, and I have been working on some of the drills. He went online and researched them, so I was familiar with some of the stuff. As you are going to through the drills, you really focus on the drill and not as much on throwing the football."

Always confident, but not cocky, the son of Denton Guyer head coach John Walsh summed up his performance without hesitation.

"There were a lot of good quarterbacks out here, but I think I was the best, in my mind. It's was great competition and I enjoyed it. I will take things from today and work on them," said Walsh, who has picked up offers from LSU, Kansas State, Purdue and Iowa since pledging to the Cowboys.

While Walsh was without a doubt the most gifted quarterback on hand, the most accurate thrower was Arkansas commit Brandon Allen (Fayetteville, Ark.). The 6-2, 200-pound Allen was extremely accurate from the start. He excelled not only in accuracy but also in timing.

"It's been a lot of fun today going against all of the good quarterbacks here," Allen said. "These kind of things will only make you better. It's about what I expected with a lot of drills and footwork stuff. I've worked on similar stuff like this, but not necessarily the same drills. They were a lot of fun, and they make you better."

Just like the decision to make the drive from Fayetteville to Dallas to take part in the Dreammaker Tour, the decision to commit to Arkansas was an easy one.

"I've lived in Arkansas for 10 years and grew up a Razorback fan. To get an offer from them was a no-brainer for me. I'm working to get better every day and be ready," Allen said.

Another prospect at Friendswood
In recent years, Houston area Friendswood High has produced a pair of Division I signal-callers in former TCU two-year starter Jeff Ballard and current Texas Tech redshirt freshman Jacob Karam. All indications are that Pete Maetzold will be the third Mustangs QB to earn a D-I scholarship this decade.

The 6-2, 180-pound Maetzold excelled in footwork drills throughout the day earning praise a number of times from instructors. Blessed with foot quickness, balance and above average agility, the junior worked through bootleg drills with fluidity and impressive accuracy.

"I wasn't sure what to expect today," Maetzold said. "I know it will help me."

Maetzold was one of the top passers in the Houston area last season, throwing for 2,798 yards and 30 touchdowns leading the mustangs to the 4A region finals. Utah, Rice and SMU are showing the most interest early on.

Another prospect with similar measureables and ability was Preston Dewey (Austin, Texas/Westlake). Dewey may have been the smoothest of the quarterbacks Saturday. He worked through the drills with calmness and confidence.

Like Maetzold, the 6-2, 175-pound Dewey is patiently awaiting his first offer. His game is all about timing and accuracy, and he is receiving interest from SMU, Purdue and many programs from around the Southwest.

New Mexico sleeper
New Mexico isn't known for producing top-notch quarterbacks, but Dustin Walton (Raton, N.M.) is hoping to break through. The 6-4, 220-pound Walton enjoyed a very good second half of the day after getting comfortable.

"I've been to a couple camps here and there, but this one was by far the best," he said. "It was run really well, and the competition was the best I've ever seen. I think I held my own pretty well. There are strengths and weaknesses every quarterback had. There are faster quarterbacks, there are bigger and stronger quarterbacks, but I think I held my own very well."

Alabama, Colorado State, Colorado, UCLA and Oklahoma have shown interest in recent weeks.

Next up at Highland Park
One of the top sophomores in attendance was Brady Burgin (Highland Park, Texas). Burgin impressed with combination of arm strength, touch and accuracy, especially throwing the ball down the field.

"It's (the day) been good and a lot different," Burgin said. "We worked a lot on footwork. I've throw to my dad working from under center some, but the bootlegs and stuff is new to me."

The 6-2, 185-pound Burgin will take over next year as the next signal-caller for the prestigious Scots program.

"I mean, it's a big thing because of [Matt] Stafford and [Luke] Woodley and the guys before me. It makes you play better and prepare better. I remember middle school watching Stafford win the state championship and most recently working with Woodley last spring," he said.

Burgin will be busy on the summer circuit with plans to camp at Oklahoma, Texas, LSU, Arkansas and Alabama. His brother is a student manager for the Oklahoma Sooners football team.

Future position up in the air
A pair of prospects who took part as quarterbacks but have the versatility to be recruited at different positions were Driphus Jackson (Cedar Hill, Texas) and Grant Peterson (Round Rock, Texas/Westwood). Jackson will be a three-year starter for the Longhorns and has enjoyed his fair share of success at the high school level with a combination of ability to stretch the field and make plays with his feet, but is open to playing at any skill position at the next level.

"I'm out here to get better," said Jackson, who has offers from Rice and Tulsa. "I don't know where I'll play in college, but I just know I have a lot of work to do to get ready to play any position. My coach says things will pick up for me in the spring. Most schools will come out and evaluate me in the spring because they don't know what position I'll play. I'm very open to whatever. It doesn't matter if it's receiver or safety of wherever."

SMU, Kansas State, LSU, Arkansas, Rice and Tulsa are showing interest.

Peterson moved to the Austin area before the start of last season from Wisconsin. As a junior, the 6-6, 210-pound Peterson played receiver and will enter the spring looking to compete for the starting quarterback job but is likely to get looks as a tight end prospect.

Gerry Hamilton has covered recruiting in Texas and the Southwest for more than a decade. He can be reached at espngerry@yahoo.com.