Former Texas Longhorns quarterback Connor Brewer has picked his landing spot and will transfer to Arizona, just down the road from his Scottsdale home. Brewer officially revealed the decision on his Twitter page Monday evening:
I have committed to the University of Arizona! So excited to play for Coach Rodriguez! More great things to come for this program soon— Connor Brewer (@ConnorBrewer7) July 30, 2013
The 6'2, 195-pound quarterback was a four-star prospect out of Chaparral High School in the 2012 class, having committed to Texas in February of 2011 as the first member of the group that would eventually become known as the Texas Gang Or Die class. After enrolling early, Brewer redshirted his first season at Texas, but then fell behind on the depth chart during the spring as he watched 2013 early enrollee Tyrone Swoopes move past him as he remained in a heated battle with fellow 2012 signee Jalen Overstreet.
Being passed by younger players on the depth chart is a death knell for many players, but most especially at the quarterback position, where few top athletes, especially former four-star prospects and Under Armour All-Americans, are willing to exhaust their eligibility taking up space on the sidelines. In fact, it was something of a surprise that Brewer didn't make the decision after the spring, but it seems that he wanted to put in a last effort to make a move, even if the coaches couldn't watch him.
It didn't happen, and Brewer was back on the market again. He visited San Diego State in addition to his trip to Arizona 10 days ago, but eventually the proximity to home and the ability to play for a noted spread coach in Rich Rodriguez seem to have won out. It surely didn't hurt that his former high school coach, Charlie Ragle, is now coaching the tight ends and special teams there, while Brewer's favorite target at Chaparral, Davonte' Neal, is at Arizona after spending a year at Notre Dame.
The operative question following up on the news is how Brewer will fit in a Rich Rod scheme that has typically employed quarterbacks with running ability through the years. In that regard, the former Longhorn isn't the strongest of fits based on his running ability, but the nature of spread offenses has changed in recent years. Where once those offenses virtually demanded a running quarterback to even up numbers in the box and feature some type of competent rushing attack, the introduction of run/pass concepts such as the stick/draw and inside zone/bubble screen have altered the equation.
Instead of the quarterback needing to option off defenders with his running ability, offenses now provide more of a horizontal stretch on defenses by reading players on the edge of the box and putting them in difficult run/pass conflicts in which they should always be wrong. Brewer was getting a taste of just such an offense this spring, as new Texas play caller Major Applewhite is also moving in that direction.
Featuring decent mobility, if not exceptional athleticism, Brewer may still be able to break off five or eight yards on the ground every once in a while if Rich Rod wants to run a little bit of zone read, but being able to do so is no longer an absolute requirement in his offense. Instead, Brewer's touch and accuracy should feature heavily in the Arizona attack if he can eventually win the starting job, making it a much better fit than perhaps it would appear on the surface.
Having already exhausted his redshirt season, Brewer will lose a year this fall and have three years to play three seasons starting in 2014.
Best of luck to him in Tucson.