Texas set to deliver another bumper crop of QBs Print
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Tuesday, 03 February 2009 12:15
NCAAF Headline News

 DALLAS (AP) -Cypress Ridge High School coach Gary Thiebaud can see it now.
Russell Shepard, his former quarterback, leads LSU into the national championship game against the Texas Longhorns and top Austin-area recruit Garrett Gilbert.
It's unlikely to happen next season, but maybe in 2010. Or 2011.
``I'm going to that game,'' Thiebaud said. ``I would love to see that game.''
The football-crazy Lone Star State is set to dispatch another bumper crop of quarterbacks on national signing day Wednesday, just two months after a pair of Texas-bred QBs filled half the top four in Heisman Trophy voting.
The headliners are Shepard, a standout runner from the Houston area who had nearly 600 yards total offense in his team's playoff loss this past season, and Gilbert, the son of former NFL quarterback Gale Gilbert and a two-time state champion at Lake Travis.
ord for yards passing held by former Ennis and Texas Tech standout Graham Harrell, the fourth-place Heisman finisher.
Harrell is now in pursuit of an NFL career along with Georgia's Matt Stafford, a former Dallas-area high school star who will skip his senior season with the Bulldogs and could be the top pick in April's draft.
In other words, as the older Texas-raised QB stars head toward the exits in college football, here come a few new ones.
``I think definitely this class has the potential to be a banner class,'' said Chad Morris, Gilbert's coach at Lake Travis. ``Obviously time will tell in the next few years how good these kids really are, but I think that they're not going to disappoint anybody.''
While Gilbert and Shepard are at the head of the incoming class, the rest could be a feature players who grow up to be the next Chase Daniel, Brian Johnson or Todd Reesing. Those guys didn't top the recruiting charts when they signed with Missouri, Utah and Kansas, respectivley. But all become stars in college.
There's Tyrik Rollison of Sulphur Springs, who accounted for seven touchdowns in the highest-scoring 11-man championship game in state history and is committed to Auburn. Cody Green is slated to be part of Nebraska's rebuilding after passing for 36 touchdowns and rushing for 27 more at Dayton.
-BCS team to a BCS bowl.
Shavodrick Beaver of Wichita Falls Rider is hoping to get a chance to run Tulsa's high-scoring offense. The Golden Hurricane are taking a chance on him after he missed most of his senior season with an injury.
The recruiting Web site Rivals.com has all those players are among the top 30 recruits in Texas, which produced nearly a fifth of the starting quarterbacks in major college football last season.
``I don't know that you'll see guys achieving as well as McCoy and Harrell did,'' said Bobby Burton, a recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. ``Those were two of the top four quarterbacks in the country all year long. That's always going to be hit and miss. But the depth of quarterbacks in Texas is unsurpassed.''
Burton said 7-on-7 football in the summer has helped develop quarterbacks. The quintessential pass-and-catch game wasn't allowed in Texas until about a decade ago. Now, Texas does 7-on-7 like it does all other aspects of high school football: better than most. Burton said the number of 7-on-7 games in Texas dwarfs even California, the prototypical quarterback state for years.
``It's going to be the same next year and the year after until another state as big and committed to football as Texas steps up their offseason regimen,'' Burton said.
But the talent-rich southeastern corner of Texas is catching up.
Shepard, who has already graduated from Cypress Ridge and enrolled at LSU. He rushed for nearly 2,000 yards as a senior and steadily improved as a passer during three years as the starter. He picked the Tigers because they offered him a chance to play quarterback, no questions asked.
Gilbert has the label of pro-style quarterback, although Morris sees him as much more of a dual threat. In the championship game, he passed for five touchdowns and ran for two. He never wavered on playing for the Longhorns.
If things work out for both, there could be one more similarity to college football circa 2008. The SEC vs. Big 12 debate.
``You can't ask for much better football than what's being played in the Big 12 and SEC,'' Morris said. ``I'm just excited to watch 'em. To watch 'em all.''
 

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