Instant analysis -- Well, that didn't take long. In a departure from previous policy, the Longhorns extended a verbal scholarship offer to Chaparral (AZ) quarterback Connor Brewer on Sunday afternoon before the Super Bowl. In previous years, has offered the majority of scholarships in person at Junior Days, with a few scholarships offered at other times throughout the rest of the year. Whether Brewer's offer is an isolated incident or the first indication of wholesale changes in how the Longhorns go about recruiting remains to be seen.
What is apparent is that Texas is already done recruiting at the quarterback position before the first Junior Day. Brewer took about a day to mull over the offer from the Longhorns before deciding to join his older sister, who competes for the Texas swim team, in Austin. A national recruit with double-digit offers, including from programs like Auburn, Alabama, LSU, and Tennessee, among others, Brewer decided to end his recruitment early and establish some early recruiting momentum for the Longhorns entering the first Junior Day this Sunday.
In fact, according to Brewer, he had already decided to become a Longhorn ($) before he received his Super Bowl Sunday offer:
My mind was pretty much made up. I had a meeting with my head coach and my parents today. We pretty much came to consensus that this is the place for me. I don't want to be anywhere else. Playing for coach Brown and coach Harsin is going to be an honor.
In the end, it wasn't even about his sister already being in Austin, it was about the positives surrounding the Texas program:
It was definitely the atmosphere that the coaches brought to me and showed me. That made it an easy decision for me. I couldn't think of one bad thing, one place I'd rather go than Texas. I love the coaches and academic and sports wise, I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather go.
With Brewer's commitment, the first of the 2012 class, the Longhorns secured the top quarterback target on their board for the fourth year in a row, going back to Garrett Gilbert's commitment shortly after the 2008 class signed. It's an incredible run of recruiting success at the most important position on the football field. Unfortunately, the downside is that there will be attrition there over the next year, probably beginning at the conclusion of spring practice. But that's negative talk after extremely positive news, so let's leave the worrying about who will defect for later.
What's more important is what Brewer's commitment, with so many talented quarterbacks already on campus, says about how much he wants to be a Longhorn. It says that he's not worried about competition, a sign of his confidence in himself. It also says that he truly does want to be at Texas and that his desire to play for Mack Brown, Major Applewhite, and Bryan Harsin outweighs his desire to be anywhere else in the country, despite a host of other options at strong, successful programs.
Brewer also indicated that he will attend the second Texas Junior Day as scheduled.
Welcome to Texas, Connor, and hook 'em!
Instant scouting report -- Several things jump out about Connor Brewer as a quarterback. First of all, he comes from an athletic family, as his older sister is a freshman on the Texas swim team and two older brothers are pitchers, one for the Diamondbacks and one for UCLA. The second is that he's also a winner, having won two consecutive state championships at Chaparral High School.
At 6-2, Brewer has good, if not great, size for the position, aided by a recent growth spurt. His frame can hold more than his current 190 pounds -- he'll probably play at a little over 200 pounds in college. While he isn't as tall as some of the other quarterbacks currently at Texas, he has more than adequate height and will have some time to gain the necessary strength his needs to compete at the collegiate level.
As a quarterback, Brewer is the most decidedly pro-style of all the quarterbacks currently at Texas, gaining only 119 yards on the ground as a junior on 32 attempts. His listed 40 speed of 4.7 and vertical of 33 inches aren't particularly believable, but he isn't a statue in the pocket either and may be able to pull the ball on a zone read here or there or turn a bootleg with an option of running into a nice gain. It's just not going to happen particularly often.
What likely endeared Bryan Harsin -- and the rest of the Texas coaching staff, for that matter -- to Brewer is the combination of his refined mechanics and his ability to throw the deep ball with touch and accuracy. His release is fast, he doesn't drop his elbow, his release point is around the earhole of his helmet and he does a good job with his footwork and shifting his weight forward to maximize his arm strength, which appears to have improved slightly from his sophomore to his junior season and is now a plus asset for him.
Harsin loves to throw the football downfield and that may be Brewer's biggest strength as a quarterback. While he struggled at times as a sophomore to make NFL-caliber throws outside the hash marks -- no surprise given his age -- he was extremely effective throwing fades, go routes, and post routes deep downfield, where his ability to hit receivers in stride shown through.
In the end, there's really little to quibble with, as Brewer can make throws on the run as well and won't be asked to do a lot of running in the Harsinwhite offense. Another consideration is that even with Kellen Moore, quite a bit less athletic than Brewer, Boise State was still able to use some designed quarterback runs effectively, mostly the speed option, to keep defenses honest at times and Brewer will provide the same value at Texas.
Connor Brewer Junior Highlights (via bchesin)