The Athens High School football team was impressive last Friday night. Really one of the better offenses that I have seen this fall. Of course, there were a lot of similarities to the Ohio University's football team, being in the same town. But the Bulldogs made it work.
The leader of the Bulldogs is quarterback Joe Burrow. Listed 6'4-190, but 6'3-185 every day. For me, Joe is the top QB prospect in the Ohio Class of 2015. Strong arm. Excellent pocket awareness. Good feet in the pocket. Good burst and runs well in open field. Can make all throws. Stands tall. Excellent release. Understands coverage. Even ran a speed option to his left successfully. Reminds me a lot of former Mentor QB Mitch Trubinsky, now at North Carolina.
Over the summer, Joe made the commitment to add weight and to develop his core muscles. Glad he did. I watched him at the Nike camp last summer and came away disappointed. No arm strength. Plus, his nerves were on edge. I was surprised and disappointed, because I had rated him the top QB in the Class of 2015. He threw off his back foot some and could not make the 17 yard out throw.
Last Friday, I could see all has changed. He has put on 25 pounds and has really developed his core muscles. Now he can really spin-it. No more skips. Passes were sharp and crisp. During warm-ups, he launched some 50 yarders with little effort. Have always liked his release point and follow thru. Now he has the strength to make all of the throws.
Having watched him play basketball last winter and having spoken to him briefly before the game, he has all of the qualities of a leader. And he is a leader. Excellent size for a quarterback. Sound QB fundamentals. Emotional leader. I guess I have a problem when a football player takes his helmet off and parades up and down the sidelines between his team and the crowd. I have a problem when a QB complains about a dropped pass. I guess I am "old school." But, I think a player, especially a quarterback comes to the sidelines and talks to his coach, talks positive his teammates, or sits on the bench and gets ready for the next series. To me that is class. Walking the sidelines without a helmet, just does not get it, for me.
Joe Burrow has physically matured, which I thought coming into this season was his number one area to improve. As I mentioned earlier, he reminds a lot of Mitch Trubinsky at the same stage of his development. As he continues to get stronger, his future will be bright, and he should get consideration for the top QB prospect in the Ohio Class of 2015. For MSR, the best in the Class of 2015.