AP Photo/Mark Crammer
Badgers Land QB Of The Future
By Billy Tucker, Scouts Inc.Wisconsin coach Brett Bielema probably has spent most of this week contemplating his unstable quarterback situation heading into the fall, but hopefully his concerns were offset a bit by the great news he received regarding the future of the position. On Tuesday, ESPN 150 Watch List quarterback Jon Budmayr (Woodstock, Ill./Marian Central Catholic), one of the more underrated signal-callers in the 2009 class, sat down with the third-year Badger coach to inform him he had decided to play at Wisconsin -- instead of Notre Dame.
"I decided over the weekend with my family, but coach Bielema didn't know until I told him on Tuesday," said the 6-foot-1 Budmayr. "Wisconsin was just a good fit for me with their great academics and football program. I prayed a lot about this decision and faith led me to Wisconsin."
Budamayr also acknowledged the future depth chart was encouraging in Madison, and either direction the coaching staff went in regards to a starter next fall would play favorable to his career behind center. In the Illinois native's eyes, if rising junior Dustin Sherer gets the nod and performs well; he would more than likely be the incumbent QB in the fall of 2009, and Budamayr could learn the system as his understudy.
Conversely, if rising senior Allan Evridge becomes the full-time starter; Budmayr would have a realistic chance to compete for snaps upon his arrival in '09 with fellow quarterbacks lacking great game experience.
Quarterbacks coach Paul Chryst, who played an integral role in Budmayr's recruitment, might not be enamored with any of his future replacements for Tyler Donovan at the moment. In our opinion, Wisconsin's playcaller should be feeling good about the future … maybe enough to tweak his offense.
Upon hearing the news at Scouts Inc., we immediately discussed the great land for the Badger program coming off a subpar '08 recruiting class resulting in a B-minus ranking. Budmayr's junior film from Marian Central Catholic garnered high praise, and he backed it up in person with a standout performance in Columbus, Ohio, at the Nike Football Training Camp. Since late February, Scout's Inc. has tabbed Budmayr as one of the more underrated signal-callers in this class -- he would be a national household name if programs weren't concerned about his marginal height.
However, in our opinion, Budmayr has utilized his nonprototypical Division I quarterback height to his advantage, throwing, making plays outside the pocket with good athleticism and using his mobility. He brings more to the table than just the striking arm strength and accuracy of a drop-back passer. As a result, we were a bit intrigued by the commitment from a player with Chase Daniel-like qualities to a school at which the quarterback has been more of a conservative distributor than a playmaker.
When we went back to the film room on Wednesday morning, we noticed that a good amount of Budmayr's 2,000-plus passing yards in 2007 stemmed from snaps taken under center in the five-to-seven step passing game, similar to the pro style offense the Badgers run. Even his snaps in the shotgun were more "set and throw" -- designed pass plays, not scrambles.
Despite his poise in the pocket, quick release and decision-making, the shorter Budmayr likely will need some variation in Wisconsin's current package that would help mask his height by moving him around and creating throwing lanes. Chryst said Wednesday night he could have that in store.
"Coach Chryst is a great offensive coordinator and quarterback coach," Budmayr said. "He didn't talk about changing the whole offense around me because we actually run a similar offense at Marian. We will get under center a lot like Wisconsin and use a seven-step drop with similar footwork, but coach Chryst has talked about running some more shotgun and zone boot to get me moving. It is something they already have in their package."
Size is not a determining factor to be a quarterback in Wisconsin's run-oriented offense. Donovan threw for just over 2,600 yards in 2007 with close to a 60 percent completion rating despite measuring at only 6-foot-1.
Badger fans will find out shortly they are getting far more than just a distributor of the football in Budmayr. Aside from his great quarterback tools, this kid has the poise, moxie and playmaking skills to successfully lead a Big Ten offense.
By Billy TuckerWhile the actions of a few players shouldn't spoil the reputation of an entire college football program, there has been a dark cloud looming over Tallahassee as of late. The negative attention at Florida State could soon have an adverse impact on the recruiting trail.
Fortunately for Seminole fans, FSU is off to a great start in 2009. Eight of its current 10 commits appear on the ESPN 150 Watch List.
The commitment this week from safety Justin Bright (Duncan, S.C./James Byrnes), one of the two non-150 Watch List prospects in FSU's class, may not be as significant compared to some of the bigger names in this class thus far. However, when you look closely, Bright may very well be the new model Bobby Bowden, Jimbo Fisher and the rest of Florida State's coaching staff are seeking.
Make no mistake about it, the South Carolina native is a solid safety prospect with well-rounded physical skills and a great nose for the football. Few would argue with well-respected, veteran defensive coordinator Mickey Andrew's eyes, and the long time Florida State coordinator has shown special interest in Bright.
"Coach Andrews has visited my school and likes how I fit in their system," Bright said. "He said he likes how I get after it, can play down in the box like their safeties and blitz."
Coach Andrews also liked another attribute aside from Bright's play on the field, his 4.3 GPA in honors classes. Bright conveyed the FSU coaches are not substituting character for talent. He said they are looking for more well-rounded student- athletes who will proudly represent the program both on and off the field, even if that means going out of the talent rich state of Florida to find them on occasion.
"I have no character issues, do what I'm supposed to do and stay out of trouble," Bright said. "I come from a program that teaches respect, and I think that is what the Florida State coaches are starting to look for."
Sleeper Commit Of The Week
By Billy TuckerLSU is putting together one of the better classes in the country filled with blue-chip prospects, under-the-radar gems and players with great college potential. The Tigers landed the latter this week in massive 6-foot-5, 295-pound offensive tackle prospect Chris Faulk (Slidell, La./Northshore). Faulk is currently the Tiger's only non-ESPN 150 Watch List prospect in this impressive class. He is also only the fourth in-state commit out of 12 '09 pledges. The correlation? We think Les Miles and his staff have had a chance to watch Faulk develop throughout his high school career. Perhaps they see a kid with the natural physical tools and feisty attitude needed to mold into a solid SEC lineman.
Faulk has long, very strong arms and is not afraid to use them violently. He strikes inside with good hand placement and drives defensive linemen off the ball as a run blocker. In pass-protection, he does a good job shooting his hands and riding defenders outside the pocket. Faulk flashes raw speed and mobility for his awesome size, but his flexibility, footwork and overall technique will need some polish. Expect both to come during his college career with LSU's great coaching.
Running back Rodney Scott (Cross City, Fla./Dixie County) is one of the more elusive backs in this class and should be able to create major mismatches in space. Tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen (Marietta, Ga./Lassiter) lacks great in-line blocking skills, but he is a receiving tight end with the athleticism and receiving skills to pose major matchup problems for SEC linebackers. The Tigers are quietly building an impressive class with system-fitting talent and good top-to-bottom quality.
-- Billy Tucker
From The Briefing Room
Watch List WR Bryce McNeal picks Michigan
Top wide receiver Bryce McNeal committed to play for the Wolverines on Saturday, the Detroit Free Press reports.
Gators, Buckeyes top Jaamal Berry's list
Berry mentioned a few other schools that appear to be in the mix.
"I think Florida would be second right now," he said. "I'm going to visit some schools in the summer. I think I'll visit Michigan, LSU and Auburn."
DE Civil staying close to home with Rutgers
ESPN 150 Watch List defensive end Andre Civil has committed to Rutgers over Clemson, Georgia Tech, Connecticut and Syracuse, the New York Daily News reports.
"My mother and father took me down there Saturday, and they showed me around. My mother and father were really comfortable with it," Civil told the Daily News.
Chat With Craig HaubertKenton (Indianapolis): Craig, I've seen mixed reviews on ND commit Cierre Wood. What is your opinion on him and do you see him being the type of game-changing RB that the Irish need.
Craig Haubert: We have Wood listed at Athlete and that is because we like him more for his overall athletic ability than just for his skills at RB. We feel he is the type of player who can help ND -- by getting the ball in his hands in different ways and trying to get him out in space where he can make big things happen. We are not sure he is a back who can carry the load and be a between the tackles threat. So he can help ND and make plays -- just don't know if he will do it purely as an every down running back.
Kenny (Denver): Do you project Manti Te'o as a MLB or SLB at the college level, and do you agree with Dr. Luginbill that he will end up signing with the Trojans?
Craig Haubert: USC seems like a good early choice. As far as position -- I like him outside -- but he could play either. It really depends on where he lands and the team feels it could use him best -- I do think "Baby Seau" is a talent though and one heck of a linebacker.
Meet Isaiah Bell
As a junior, Bell recorded 49 total tackles and four interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. He was also a standout wide receiver on offense and -- believe it or not -- returned punts and kickoffs. College coaches were quick to notice his talents and offers streamed in to the gifted athlete. Football wasn't the only sport in which he stood out. Bell averaged 18 points per game and eight rebounds for his high school basketball team.
Bell didn't wait long and jumped at the University of Michigan, a gutsy pick for a kid from Ohio. When asked why, he said "I really felt comfortable there and I have a chance to play early. I am impressed with coach [Rich] Rodriguez and secondary coach Tony Gibson."
Tracking The Badgers' Class
|Wisconsin's 2009 signees|