Sports IllustratedJohn Garcia Jr. chooses one question posed to him via social media (@JohnGarcia_Jr and @SIAllAmerican) each week to delve into the college football recruiting topics fans want to know about the most.
With the transition from the offseason to in-season coverage of college football recruiting, there has been a bit of a lull in the verbal commitment department.
That’s understandable, of course, because football at every level has either started or is set to start next week, meaning the coaching staffs are focused on the pitch going forward – at least for now.
Fans of college football programs without key recruits at certain positions, primarily quarterback, continue to scan social media and available clips to see if there are hidden gems somehow still on the board despite so much talent at the most important position in sports in the class of 2023.
While some pass-rushers could potentially work their way into more scholarship consideration in the coming months, there is still an array of weapons that could fit the bill at the Power Five or FBS level given the unique skill sets and potential offensive systems in which they would play.
Programs like Georgia, Notre Dame, Michigan, Texas A&M, Wisconsin, Florida State, South Carolina, TCU, Purdue and others are still without a quarterback in the 2023 recruiting cycle. Intel suggests Georgia and a few others will agree and won’t take a prep passer, barring a change of plans, though most on the roster would still consider adding one before pen meets paper on National Signing Day.
Naturally, there are some uncommitted senior quarterbacks who are creating some buzz in their final season before college football begins.
Sports Illustrated takes a look at a handful worth keeping an eye on among those without Power Five offers to their name as of Sept. 1.
Ryan Brown – New Berlin (NY) Milford Academy
If his name sounds familiar, that’s because the 6’5” Browne was one of the top quarterbacks in Florida last fall, helping lead Venice (Fla.) High School to a state championship as a senior, scoring 39 total touchdowns (31 pasa ). He did so with a big arm and enough mobility to keep defenses honest, something he showed again last week in his debut at Milford Academy’s graduate program, throwing for 345 yards and three touchdowns. Brown has been invited to college camps across the country this summer, putting his name up on various boards ahead of what should be a busy fall season on the visiting front. Wisconsin will host him on campus this weekend, while Florida State and Purdue have been in touch and could earn game-day visits.
“They’ve been in touch with me all summer,” Brown told SI after addressing the staff in June. “I talk to Coach (Bobby) Engram regularly on the phone.”
AJ Samuel – New Orleans (LA) Edna Karr
A longtime starter and letterwinner at one of New Orleans’ most storied high school programs, Samuel offers dual-threat ability and short-to-mid-range accuracy at the next level. The production is also there, scoring around 60 touchdowns over the past two varsity campaigns, against big-time talent along the way. Samuel added some good bulk this offseason, something we saw in camp this spring where he took command of those around him. He projects as a productive, mature leader who will win games in college wherever he goes, though Hawaii is his best offering to date.
Earl Woods – Hueytown (Alabama) High School.
If unconventional is what the coaching staff wants, especially one with a quarterback inside the play design, Woods could be among the best fits nationally even as committed quarterbacks are grouped. The Birmingham-area star was a stat machine in 2021 leading HHS to the Class 6A state championship game in Alabama thanks to more than 3,000 yards passing and 2,000 yards rushing. Woods’ 67 touchdowns helped him win the Gatorade Alabama Player of the Year as a junior. As nervous a runner at the position as there is in the country, the 5’10” star has offers from Navy, Alabama State, Grambling, Jacksonville State, Austin Peay, North Alabama and others outside of the FBS.
Cole LaCrue – Broomfield (Colo.) High School.
Among the quarterbacks still available, the 6’2″ LaCrue may have the most fun streak to break given the athleticism and shooter-like traits he displayed Friday night. As a junior, that led to 30 total touchdowns with creativity and pizza often Also a baseball player, the arm talent and mobility make for a modern quarterback talent who could win big as a senior this fall.Central Michigan offered and hosted LaCrue for an official visit over the summer, and now others are picking up Wisconsin, California, Nebraska and others have stepped up communication, and a trip to Madison is planned for the second week of the college football season.
“I love the suspense, so I’m just going to go show them why I’m the guy,” LaCrue told SI this week of his sleeper status.
Ike Owens – Tulsa (OK) Jenks
One of the best programs in the state of Oklahoma has a new passer at the helm in 2022, and he showed big flashes at the position in 2021, throwing for nearly 900 yards and seven touchdowns last fall. Owens is an efficient player at 6’2″, 190 pounds, completing 10 of 13 passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns to start his senior season last week. He also shows a touch pushing the ball to the second and third levels, with strong signs of anticipation flashing along the way. FCS programs are courting Owens at this point, but as he gains experience, the FBS could come calling soon.
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