Coaches may run different offensive playbooks, but when they recruit quarterbacks, every single one of them is looking for certain qualities. If you’re a high-school QB who wants to compete at the next level, brush up on these five attributes to help you grab the attention of your dream university.
To be a college quarterback, first and foremost you must be a leader. This is the number one quality every college coach looks for in a QB. Arguably, the QB is most important player on the field, able to influence the game more than any other position. Other than the center, the QB is the only player who touches the ball on every snap. (Learn How to Become a Team Leader with JJ and His Buckle.)
Coaches want to find a guy they can trust and have full confidence in. They want a winner, so if a QB is not leading his high school team to victory, how will he know how to do it in college? Rarely is a quarterback with a poor high school record sought after by college coaches. It just doesn’t happen.
Decision-making is a critically important aspect of being a QB. That said, doing well in the classroom and doing well on the field are not necessarily synonymous. Lots of academically strong athletes lack “football smarts,” and vice-versa. So take care of both!
You know how to handle your studies, but how do you get smart on the turf? This is something a coach sees both through film study and face-to-face interaction. QBs are forced to do a lot of quick thinking. Questions college coaches ask when evaluating a QB prospect include: does he make correct reads? Does he avoid turnovers? Can he audible when necessary, or make other adjustments? Will he be able to understand and be successful in our offense? When the answer is always yes, the prospect stands a good chance of being recruited.
Strength & Accuracy
Yes, I know these are two attributes, but they’re evaluated together. It doesn’t matter how strong a QB’s arm is if he can’t throw to the right spot. There’s something to be said for a guy who can throw both a 25-yard post-corner and a five-yard slant, because each throw requires a different trajectory, velocity and touch. Many quarterbacks can throw a 50-yard vertical route, but the special ones can make pristine throws all over the field. (See Quarterback Essentials.)
Obviously every college coach dreams of a 6’5″ QB, but it’s often unrealistic, especially when you look away from the BCS schools. However, the taller a QB is, the better vision he will have over tall offensive linemen, making it easier to find blitzes coming, identify open receivers and avoid passes being knocked down.
Mobility is often evaluated in conjunction with size, so if you’re a QB on the shorter side, it’s even more important to be athletic. It’s just not as easy for a short QB to see over an offensive line. By mobility, I don’t mean you have to be Michael Vick. Obviously, how mobile the quarterback needs to be depends on the offense his team runs. But all QBs need to be mobile enough to step up in the pocket and extend a possession by making a play. He may choose to leave the pocket sooner, or a play might be called to get him outside of the tackle box with sprint-out action to clear his vision.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or tweet at me @PWCurran.