Hello, all. Safe to say it’s been awhile since I’ve gotten to sit down and actually do some stuff for the site. Now that things have calmed down a bit, I’ve found some time to get back and in some ways shake the rust off before the season.
So… the Sooners have had themselves a pretty eventful few weeks, yeah? However, nothing tops the commitment of 2021 QB, Brock Vandagriff — who you know by now is the top overall-prospect in his class according to Rivals. To try to put this in perspective, even with Oklahoma’s success in the 2000’s and more recently in the past 4 seasons, it’s is a feat they’ve only ever achieved once in Adrian Peterson. That should give you some indication of how rare and what level of recruiting this commitment is on. In a recruiting world dominated by juggernauts Alabama and Clemson, this may be the “win” Lincoln Riley has been looking for to finally elevate his program to top level.
For perspective, take a look at what Clemson was able to do with 2018 QB, Trevor Lawrence who committed to the Tigers in December of 2016. At that point, Lawrence was the only offensive commitment the Tigers held but used it as foundation to land two, 5-star wide receivers in Derion Kendrick and Justyn Ross as well as 5-star OL, Jackson Carman. Two of those four played major roles in Clemson’s blowout win over Alabama in the national championship game. Now that’s not to say that is what will happen with Vandagriff, but it does show just how much of an impact this kind of commitment can have on the future of a program.
Now, let’s take a look at just what Oklahoma has in Brock Vandagriff. With Oklahoma being used to the smaller, shiftier QB’s in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, Vandagriff should be quite the change as far as measurables. Listed 6’2.5 heading into his junior season and a stout 199 lbs, Vandagriff you’d think Vandagriff would compare more to QB’s of OU-past Sam Bradford or Landry Jones — both stood around 6’4″ but that just isn’t the case.
For what it’s worth, I’m not a big fan of comparisons as there is very rarely one that is even an 60% match. So, instead of going down that path, let’s try breaking down the highlights of what makes Vandagriff such an intriguing prospect.
There are a lot of guys that have the “big arm” in each class, but what stands out about Vandagriff is how effortless he makes it look. Ok, maybe a small comparison here… but it is in a way similar to Aaron Rodgers. A guy that generates a lot of power in each throw, but doesn’t necessary derive it off sinking his hips and pushing it off his back foot. He’s consistently upright with a lot of rotation in the upper-body. Now that’s not necessarily uncommon mechanics, but maybe since both Mayfield and Murray were guys that lowered a lot of their weight onto their back leg, it stands out in this instance.
As far as mobility, Vandagriff isn’t what you exactly call a willing runner but if put in the situation, he can make plays with his legs. Now highlights don’t give you the full picture, never do. However, there are plenty of instances within his film where the pocket collapses and Vandagriff navigates the traffic at an extremely high-level for someone entering their junior year of high-school.
Out-of-the-pocket presence is excellent as well. This is where you can maybe can make some similarities to that Mayfield moxie. There are a couple plays where it might have been advisable to fall forward and move the chains just a couple yards. Instead, Vandagriff shows great awareness and is able to buy some a couple extra seconds to make a play downfield. I’m not sure how much of that will translate to the next level as defenses are quicker and more aggressive, but it’s fun to watch.
Again, this isn’t to say Vandagriff is the next Rodgers, Mayfield, or Murray. There are never carbon copies. However, there are facets in everyone’s game that you can find similarities in and there are a lot exceptional ones here. Take away the ranking for a second and this is still a major pick-up for Lincoln Riley and Oklahoma. Put the ranking back on and this is potentially a program changing commitment as it shows that Oklahoma has started to make it’s way into the upper echelon of recruiting.