Huffman on the Dreammaker Academy and UCLA’s quarterback prospects for the 2011 class

This is a pretty long interview, with some great answers, so take a look after the jump…

Given the Brett Nottingham situation, does that change UCLA’s mindset regarding a quarterback recruit?
BH: “I think so. I think they absolutely – it’s a no-brainer – they’re taking one quarterback, but it also forces their hand to take two. Especially when you take into consideration Crissman’s shoulder and Prince getting dinged up as he did. They need some stability. You can’t have a roster of three quarterbacks the same year and expect to be competitive. The reality is, once 2012 comes, you could have three senior QBs.”


How about the way it went down? Do you expect UCLA to be a little more tentative about an early recruit?

BH: “Regardless of how it went down, since it went down – it is what it is – they have to take two quarterbacks; but because they need to take two, they can try to get one early and then try to get a senior who has a great year. Go after an elite guy early on, get his commitment, then if somebody blows up like a Trevor Gretzky, then I think they go from there. Say they get a Max Wittek this spring, then you’ve got your quarterback and a guy who blows up. But they cannot afford to go two years in a row without a QB. That’d be fatal.”

Does Norm Chow’s name still hold the same cache?
BH: “It certainly does. But now, it has really nothing to do with the offensive coordinator so much as, ‘How soon am I gonna get on the field?’ Earlier this decade, guys waited their turn to be a starting quarterback. Look what USC did: You have John David Booty, one of the best high school quarterback recruits in years, waiting three years. Mark Sanchez, three years. It wasn’t that long ago that guys, even though they were physically ready to play, were ready to wait. Then you get a guy like Terrelle Pryor who maybe isn’t physically ready, but wants to play immediately. You’re seeing these square pegs in round holes.”

Who at the Dreammaker Academy would fit UCLA the best?
BH: “I would say Brett Hundley, no question. You look at him, and he’s a good athlete, but he’s a guy with a cannon for an arm, great accuracy. He doesn’t want to be labeled as a dual threat QB, but as a quarterback. He’s a guy I think would be a great fit for that offense. He can play under center, but he’s athletic enough to move.”

Who were the standouts?
BH: “Hundley by far was clearly the best quarterback that day. He’s already made a good case to be the No. 1 in the west. Gretzky looked really good. I was saying for a year he’d be a better long term prospect than Montana. You can see the athleticism is there; very fundamentally sound, very technical, but not robotic or mechanic. The pieces are there, all he needs is the chance to take some snaps. After that, Michael Eubank from Corona Centennial. Probably the best kid physically there, but he’s not quite there mechanically. Imagine a guy like Ben Olson’s size, right-handed, but barely scratching the surface of where he can be physically.”

Who were the diamonds in the rough? The guys who on March 2 might not be a huge name, but could blow up?
BH: “Gretzky is one of them, Michael Bercovici from Taft they should keep an eye on. He was at Westlake, splitting duties, so he transferred to Taft, and he’s another guy who needs more game snaps. Derrick Brown from Vista Murrieta, a dual threat guy, and a really good punter, too. Big kid, looks like he can be an outside linebacker. He’s a guy that as the spring goes on, his profile grows. Jake Geringer from Newbury Park, heading into his third year as a starter. Evan Hunko at Mayfair in Lakewood, good size, height-wise. Pretty good arm. Those are the primary names right now for guys to keep an eye on.”

Last question: Does UCLA need to make a big splash at QB?
“Well, people forget Crissman was top-10 and Brehaut was top-10, and in Brehaut’s case, that was as good a QB year as you’d have. Brehaut was the last big-name quarterback, but Ben Olson is the last really, really big name. I think that UCLA will see that a lot of the underdog guys have ended up being the guy. It’s going to be hard to make a home-run type splash this year, because frankly, there’s not many home-run talents available. This is one of those years where you kind of take what can you get.”

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  • Boston Bruin

    And don’t forget, under Norm Chow, Matt Cassell, never played a down of importance in his whole career, but was drafted and played a heck of a year for the Patriots 2 years ago.

    That is a terrific story for any kid hesitant to wait his turn.

    Also, in Coach Rick’s playing days that was the norm for UCLA also — highly talented and trained 5th year seniors having successful enough nyears to be drafted into the NFL.

  • MaltBaa

    DOes anyone have any insight to which service is more informative.. scout or rivals??

  • Anonymous

    Scout and it’s NOT even CLOSE….

  • Anonymous

    That girl Traci does a good job on Scout

  • Voice of Reason

    Before we go nuts over 5- and 4-star studs, check out the star ratings for the top 10 QBs in 2009. The Scout star rating is after the QB Efficiency Rating

    1 Tim Tebow, Florida SR 164.17 5
    2 Kellen Moore, Boise St. SO 161.65 4
    3 Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame JR 161.42 5
    4 Max Hall, BYU SR 160.13 2
    5 Nathan Enderle, Idaho JR 157.28 2
    6 Case Keenum, Houston JR 154.79 2
    7 Ryan Mallett, Arkansas SO 152.46 5
    8 Andy Dalton, TCU JR 151.83 2
    9 Joe Webb, UAB SR 150.71 2
    10 Bill Stull, Pittsburgh SR 150.61 3

  • Anonymous

    Jon,

    Just wanted to say thanks and give you to big thumbs up for the great work you do on this site! If this site didn’t exist I would be forced to go back to haterville led by king nestor.

  • Anonymous

    Why did you choose efficiency? Most of those 2 star guys wont make the pros. They play in a spread offense, not pro style.

  • Coach Thom

    NFL coaches are beginning to see the reality of having to select QBs that have played spread and are altering their offensive schemes accordingly, e.g. more shotgun formations. The game is changing and so will the NFL…in time.

  • Voice of Reason

    I thought the key was to win COLLEGE football games, not develop talent for the pros.

    The point is that not all 5-star QBs are elite players, and that 2-stars have the potential to lead winning programs. Whether they go onto to the pros is immaterial to a team’s success.

    Tebow, although a 5-star out of HS, may make it in the pros, but he certainly won’t do so as a QB. Whereas, Tom Brady was a 3-star drafted in the 7th round.

    One can never tell how a HS QB will emerge within a system.

  • Big Woof!

    Dear Mr. Anon,

    Why choose efficiency? If nothing else just to give you anonymice guys something to spout over.

    Jon, keep up the good work and ignore all the jackasses who have nothing positive to say about anything. One would think, especially those whose rooting interests lie elsewhere, might have better things to do with their uneventful lives.

  • Mike H class of 90

    I like that Rivals at least tries to break QBs into Pro Style or Dual Threat – just seeing that a guy is a 5 star doesn’t mean he would fit into a particular scheme unless you know a bit more.

  • Anonymous

    Haterville … King Nestor … Hillarious!

  • Tim Tebow

    College is there to help a student prepare for whichever profession he chooses to pursue.

    In theory, athletes are students and go to college to prepare for the profession they would like to pursue.

    Football is their desired profession.

    A college coach who cares about the future of the student should be preparing them for the NFL, where they do NOT typically run the spread.

    The argument against that is the college coaches are there to win no? as employees of the institution.

    So, at UCLA do we what our coaches to teach or win first?

  • upper hand

    Thom,

    The NFL isn’t going to adapt to college standard, it’s the other way around silly.

  • I tackled Tebow’s mom, too (IYKWIS)

    Can’t we teach our players to win?

  • Crankshaft

    Voice of Reason,

    When Neuheisel goes into the living room of a four or five star recruit to make his recruiting pitch, do you think he promises the family that he’ll make him a college star or prepare him for the NFL?

    Should he keep that promise?

  • Plumb Crack

    I thought the Dreammaker Academy was an USC pipeline?

  • cranium

    All the QB’s mentioned are only 1-3 stars.

  • Stand True And Tall

    Cassel was drafted by the Patriots because Pete Carroll still had a few friends in the organization and asked them to give him a shot.

    But to be fair, Norm Chow did had a hand in the preparing Matt Cassel for the NFL -which he also did for Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, John David Booty and Mark Sanchez. All of whom were drafted and still collecting NFL paychecks.

  • Voice of Reason

    Dear Mr. Tall,

    When Billo Belichick came on board with the Pats in 2000, the only connection left to Cheaty Carroll after Billo cleaned house were the Krafts. No former coaches fom Cheaty’s tenure were in place when Matt Cassell as drafted 5 years later in 2005.

    Actually Floyd Reece a UCLA football All-American was a consultant to Billo had greater imfluence than the ghosts of Cheaty C. to grab Matty as the 230th pick overall behind such stalwart NFL QB stars fom that year currently residing in the ‘where are they now’ trivia questsions as Alex Smith (#1), Jason Campbell (#31), Charlie Frye (#67), Andrew Walter (#69), David Green (#85), Kyle Orton (#106), Sefan LeFlors (#121), Dan Orlovsky (#145), and let’s not forget James Kilian one palce ahead at #229.

    Point being, Matty C. was given the chance over other back-up QBs during his first 4 years in N.E. because his tutelege under Coach Chow was good enough for him to retain a job on argueably the best pro team of the 2000s.

    The stars under Chow at BYU, USC and No Carolina came into the limelight after years of learning how to be a QB. Any kid who doesn’t realize the ‘learning and work’ needed to be a top notch college QB deserves to play elsewhere.

  • Coach Thom

    dear upper hand

    The head coaches and OCs I’ve talked to in the NFL are more than willing to adapt their O strategies to suit the times…i.e. spread formations, dual-threat QBs, shotgun formations, wildcat formations, whatever will help them win and ensure butts on the seats. Money talks, and if molding their offensive schemes around spread-type personnel means ticket sales and possible Super Bowl rings, they will do it.

  • upper hand

    Coach Thom

    Who are these coaches in the NFL who predominantly use college plays? I can’t fathom a guess.