Over the past four years, by the end of spring, the Texas Longhorns have mostly known which quarterback they were going to target for their class.
At this time in 2009, it was a clear race between JW Walsh and David Ash, with the latter earning the nod after a summer camp performance that drew the attention of former offensive coordinator Greg Davis. In 2011, it was Tyrone Swoopes who emerged as a potential star, even based on relatively limited highlights, while Jerrod Heard distanced himself last year from competition that was not particularly strong at the time.
Only in 2010 were things less clear, when Connor Brewer didn't seriously emerge onto the scene until the summer and the early favorite was eventual Texas A&M signee Matt Davis.
The 2015 class is shaping up much more like the 2012 recruiting cycle than the other three mentioned here -- the only early offer at the position is to Fort Bend Marshall's JW Ketchum, who may be more of an athlete at 6'0 and right around 190 sturdy pounds.
At Elite 11, the left-hander didn't look particularly natural at quarterback, with a rather deliberate delivery and some trouble cutting the wind at Valley Ranch with because of the lack of spin and velocity on the football. In other words, his arm talent didn't jump off the page, though his motion is compact and he keep the ball high and tight and his elbow up at the start of his delivery -- he's far from a lost cause. Like many dual-threat quarterbacks, a camp like Elite 11 isn't ideal for showcasing his talent.
His Hudl video is set on private, too, so it's difficult to get a more accurate gauge on his upside at the position other than the brief impression that Elite 11 provides for most quarterbacks. The video below, the only publicly available highlights for Ketchum at this time, doesn't show much of his ability as a passer.
As a result, it might make more sense at this time to view Ketchum's offer as extended to him as an athlete, with the potential that it could end up being at quarterback if he can show the improvement to warrant him being the take at the position in 2015. And even as an athlete, while Ketchum looks faster on film than he tested with SpeedRank -- a 4.77 40 -- it's also difficult to envision how well he projects at other positions at this time.
JW Ketchum - Fort Bend Marshall Quarterback - Highlights - Sports Stars of Tomorrow (via GameDaySportsStars)
One potential quarterback, Temple's Chad President, who will take over for TCU signee Zach Allen, is already off the board. A wide receiver in 2012, President has significant upside as a pass-catcher, but may have as much as a quarterback because there is some excellent natural talent there and his athleticism is even more impressive with the ball in his hands all the time. Unfortunately for the 'Horns, President has already elected himself as the leader of the 2015 Baylor class as the first pledge.
None of the other options seem extremely high on the radar. Allen quarterback Kyler Murray is the top-rated player at the position in the debut edition of the 2015 LSR, but he's 5'11 and also an A&M legacy who would be hard to pull away from the Aggies if Texas did offer. The latter fact is probably the bigger issue for the 'Horns, as the perception of Murray in the industry isn't negatively impacted much by his size.
A slightly bigger prospect who already has significant varsity experience is West Mesquite's Chason Virgil, a two-year starter heading into his junior season who has some ability as a runner, but is also a bit on the small side -- he's listed at 6'1 on his Hudl page, but looks a little smaller than that and weighed in at the Dallas NFTC, but was not measured. He already holds offers from Arizona State, Clemson, Missouri, and Nebraska.
The bigger, pro-style types include Houston Kinkaid's JT Granato, a 6'4, 210-pounder who benefited last season from throwing to emerging 2014 tight end Mavin Saunders and currently under-the-radar 2015 wide receiver Samuel Mays, who has impressive ball skills, and Stephenville's Jarrett Stidham (6'4, 190), who has already picked up a Baylor offer despite playing wide receiver last season. He's on the Texas radar as a Sophomore Day attendee and is slated as the Stephenville started for the fall.
Clearly, there's still plenty of evaluation and decision-making left in the 2015 class at quarterback for the Longhorns, with no easy, home-run decisions like Jerrod Heard last year, which will make the June camps intriguing to watch as Major Applewhite tries find some separation on the quarterback board.