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X's and O's: Andover QB EJ Perry IV could soar for Boston College

Brendan C. Hall/ESPN

Andover junior quarterback E.J Perry IV announced on Sunday that he has verbally committed to Boston College. In the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Perry, the Eagles are getting one of the more decorated -- and celebrated -- field generals of the much-hyped 2017 quarterback class in Massachusetts. Last season, he threw for 2,852 yards and 34 touchdown passes last season and led the Warriors to the MIAA Division 1 North Semifinal, and most memorably set the state single-game passing yardage record (636 yards) in a wild 49-41 loss to rival Central Catholic in the MIAA Division 1 North Semifinals.

What makes Perry, a 2015 ESPNBoston All-State selection, a Division 1 quarterback prospect? I think there are three reasons why he earned a scholarship to Boston College.

1. ARM STRENGTH

Perry has plus arm strength and can really push the ball vertically down the field. His pocket mechanics are sound. He stands tall in the pocket, keeps his eyes down field and keeps his feet active. Perry loads the football nice and high; he is able to step up, bend the backside knee and let it rip. He displays good accuracy and touch on his deep ball.

When you watch Andover play, they throw a lot of vertical route combinations. Stretching the field with vertical route combinations plays to Perry’s arm strength. Of course, having four receivers that are on the same page in terms of routes helps as well.

Andover’s receivers do a good job of sight-adjusting their vertical routes and getting into open space. Perry does a great job fitting the ball into spots. Diagrams 1 and 2 are two examples of the different variations of vertical concepts the Golden Warriors run.

Diagram 1: Gun Trips Right 62

Diagram 2: Gun Split Right 62 Z Out

2. HIGH FOOTBALL IQ

Perry is a smart quarterback, and the way you can tell on film is by the number of run-pass options Andover utilizes in their offense. Perry and his receivers have perfected the run-pass option portion of the offense.

Run-pass options are based on the quarterback reading the box and the number of defenders in it. The quarterback then looks outside. Based on the coverage and where the force player is, the quarterback can pull the ball if he gets a look he likes.

Some teams will call two plays in the huddle, and both plays are packaged together. Teaching quarterbacks to read the defense and locate the open receiver takes time, but Perry has mastered this art, and that should help him when he gets to Boston College.

Andover builds routes into its running game. If Perry gets the look he likes on the perimeter, he rides the run fake, pulls the ball and hits the open receiver. Here are three examples of Perry pulling the ball on a run-pass option concept:

Diagram 3: Gun Deuces Right 24 Zone Slant

Diagram 4: Gun Deuces Left 23 Zone Out

Diagram 5: Gun Trips Right 24 Zone Bubble Stop

3. ATHLETICISM

Perry isn’t just a strong-armed pocket passer. He can run as well. The Andover coaching staff is not afraid to call his number, especially in short yardage or goal line situations.

In some instances, the coaches may change the play called and signal in a run play for Perry based on the alignment of the defense. Perry is a shifty runner, but he’s also a physical runner. He won’t hesitate to stick his shoulder into a defender.

Here are a couple of example of quarterback lead plays that the Warriors use:

Diagram 6: Gun Trips Left 18 Lead

Diagram 7: Gun Split Right 14 Double Lead

As you can see, Perry has all of the physical tools to necessary to play at the next level. Perry will continue to develop and get better, and that’s a scary thought for the rest of the Merrimack Valley Conference.

Perry has already proven that he is one of the premier talents in the state. He’ll be even tougher to defend as his game continues to develop.